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By Anthony Kenny

Sir Anthony Kenny right here keeps his attention-grabbing account of the background of philosophy, concentrating on the thousand-year-long medieval interval. this can be the second one quantity of a four-book set within which Kenny will spread a magisterial new heritage of Western philosophy, the 1st significant single-author background of philosophy to seem in decades.

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Intellectual talent was expended mainly on theological disputation. The monophysite church to which John Philoponus belonged had been excluded from communion by the orthodox, who believed that Christ had not just one, but two, natures, human and divine. During the seventh century attempts were made by emperors and patriarchs to reunite the Christian communions by agreeing that even if Christ had two natures, nonetheless he had only one will; or that even if he had two wills, one human and one divine, these two were united in a single activity of willing, a single actuality, or energeia.

The heavenly Jerusalem above and the unquenchable Wres below are the consummation of the two cities of Augustine’s narrative. Augustine realizes that his predictions are not easy to accept, and he singles out as the most diYcult of all the idea that the wicked will suVer eternal bodily punishment. Bodies are surely consumed by Wre, it is objected, and whatever can suVer pain must sooner or later suVer death. Augustine replies that salamanders thrive in Wre, and Etna burns for ever. Souls no less than bodies can suVer pain, and yet philosophers agree that souls are immortal.

Being baptized is not enough, for the baptized may fall into heresy. Orthodox belief is not enough, for even the most staunch Catholics may fall into sin. Devotion to the sacraments is not enough: no one knows whether he is receiving them in such a spirit as to qualify for Jesus’ promises of eternal life (DCD XXI. 19–25). Philanthropy is not enough: Augustine devotes pages to explaining away the passage in St Matthew’s Gospel in which the Son of Man separates the sheep from the goats on the basis of their performance or neglect of works of mercy to their fellow men (Matt.

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