Archive Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

God’s Existence Proven From Excellence and Wonder

In his commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism, Zacharias Ursinus has a section entitled “From What Does It Appear That There Is A God?” where he lists 11 arguments for God’s existence. Many of these are familiar, the argument from creation, rational causality, and morality, but the 8th argument stands out as delightful. We might call […]

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

Hemmingsen on the End of Political Life

In his On the Law of Nature (from which I’ve quoted several times previously), Niels Hemmingsen identifies the end, or goal, of political life (not “politics” in the crass sense in which we use the term today, but in the sense of communal life together in a commonwealth). He finds that justice, harmony, and God […]

Archive Eric Parker Nota Bene Philosophy

Education as Self-Reflection: William G.T. Shedd

We have heard quite a bit about various “turns” in the history of philosophy. One of the most significant of these “conversions” (i.e., “turnings”) is Plato’s great philosophical “inward turn.” The turn inward, for Plato and his ancient interpreters, marks the beginning of the soul’s journey away from the multitude of phenomena to the absolute […]

Authors Eric Parker Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Education and the Purification of the Mind: Ficino’s De Christiana Religione (IV)

In the third chapter of De Christiana Religione Ficino discusses the topic of educating adolescents in religion. Most, if not all, theological manuals of this period are devoid of any treatment of childhood education. Why, then, does Ficino devote a whole chapter to it? At least three possible solutions stand out. Firstly, the fact that […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy

Martin on “Plato at the Googleplex”

In the most recent Atlantic, Clancy Martin reviews Rebecca Newberger Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away and discusses the resurgence of popular philosophy, something that has a pedigree going back to antiquity (Seneca is a personal favorite). But Goldstein wisely doesn’t take philosophy’s revival for granted in a culture committed to an increasingly materialistic […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Eric Parker Nota Bene Philosophy

Augustine’s Platonic Eroticism

Phillip Cary offers an informative summary of Augustine’s appropriation of the Platonic concept of love or eros (ἔρος) – the Symposium (a dialogue “περὶ τῶν ἐρωτικῶν λόγων”) is perhaps the most famous dialogue in this regard – and its relationship to his theology of grace and freedom of the will – for those who are interested in further examination […]

Archive Eric Parker Nota Bene Philosophy

Aristotle and Other Platonists

For those of you who may be unaware of the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews or who browse it intermittently, I direct your attention to John Bussanich’s review of Lloyd Gerson’s eminently important work, Aristotle and Other Platonists (Cornell University Press, 2005). Not only does Bussanich helpfully summarize and offer caveats to Gerson’s general argument, that […]

Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

Self-Knowledge as “Foundation” and “Preparation” for Grace?

Although Martin Luther rejected the Roman Catholic notion of “preparatory works” for justification he did not reject the language of preparation altogether. Rather, he writes of the torments of the Law which “shows sin, terrifies, and humbles; thus it prepares us for justification and drives us to Christ” (Luther’s Works, 26:126). For Luther, it is […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Eric Parker Natural Law Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Clement of Alexandria on Faith, the Mother of the Virtues

Today is the feast day for Clement of Alexandria in the Church of England. Born Titus Flavius Clemens (150-215 AD), Clement is now known as one of the first church fathers and one whose theological syncretism had a profound affect on the theologies of both Origen and Augustine (among others), and through them the rest […]

Archive Eric Parker Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Know Thyself: Wolfgang Musculus and the Delphic Oracle

References to the phrase γνῶθι σεαυτὸν (know thyself) etched in stone on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi have for centuries abounded in Western literature, perhaps most significantly in the works of Plato. This phrase was also frequently cited by Protestants during and after the Reformation. A simple search of the various phrases γνῶθι σεαυτὸν, […]