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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (10): Man as Simulacrum, Man as “Smaller World”

In today’s installment from his prolegomena to Aristotle’s Physica, Zanchi again explains man as microcosm, which he now refers to as “smaller world” (minorem mundum,) in different terms–the terms of human physiology–in a way that will presumably strike most modern readers as passing strange. I leave it here without further comment. But others call him a […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (9): Man as Microcosm

In the next installment, Zanchi notes that the kind of natural philosophy he has in view ranks second only to the Word in helping us to learn the things that we need to know about nature, God, and ourselves (more on this in a moment). Zanchi here invokes the Platonist hierarchical schema to describe the various “levels” of […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (8): What Man Must Know

It’s been a while, but we now return to Zanchi’s prolegomena to Aristotle’s Physica, in which Zanchi discusses his views of philosophy in general and of natural philosophy in particular. At the end of the previous installment, we saw Zanchi’s conclusion that the study of philosophy is eminently appropriate for a Christian: Therefore, that the study of […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (7): Divine Philosophy

At long last, we continue with Zanchi’s remarks on the history of philosophy in the prolegomena to his edition of Aristotle’s Physica. In the previous installment, Zanchi claimed that it we had Solomon’s philosophy books, we wouldn’t need Aristotle. But–alas!–we don’t, and he wants to be clear about the real contributions the Greeks made to the […]

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Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy

Zanchi’s Aristotle (6): Solomon the Philosopher

In this installment, Zanchi continues his exposition of the spread of philosophy after its initial revelation to Adam. Philosophy, according to Zanchi, comes to the Hebrews eventually, but not directly. It rather goes from Adam’s direct descendants to Noah and his sons after the Flood, and proceeds to various people groups before finally arriving in […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (5): “Man Gave Names to All the Animals”

Zanchi continues his exposition of Adam as the first philosopher. His evidence? “Man gave names to all the animals.” (That’s a Bob Dylan song, of course; you can listen to Johnny Cash’s version here.) There is an important point about language in Zanchi’s position here: for him, it seems, language is not conventional (arbitrary signs […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (4): Philosophy as Revelation

Despite the title, this is about Plato rather than Aristotle. In the next section of the prolegomena to Aristotle’s Physica, Zanchi makes the case that philosophy ultimately comes to man by divine revelation. I’m afraid that I misspoke in the first note of the previous post, in which I said that Zanchi was about to express […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (3)

In this section (first see parts 1 and 2), Zanchi continues his exposition of philosophy as a revelation of God. To defend his position, he has to deal with those who think it is a discover of man. Isn’t that what Plato and Aristotle teach in saying that philosophy begins in wonder (τὸ θαυμάζειν)–that is, […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (2)

In our next installment of his prolegomena to Aristotle’s Physica, Zanchi begins to respond to the charges brought against Christians pursuing philosophy at all, a pursuit in which he here gives pride of place to natural philosophy, as Melanchthon does too. For Zanchi, it is “nearly divine.” Why? Because it comes from God; that is […]

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Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Zanchi’s Aristotle (1)

In 1554 Girolamo Zanchi, while he was teaching at Strasburg, lectured on Aristotle’s Physica and published an edition of the Greek text with substantial introduction. In the prolegomena, Zanchi recognizes that there are critics of the teaching of philosophy in general and of Aristotelian philosophy in particular (the critics are not wrong about Plato, but that is […]