By Frederick Copleston

Conceived initially as a major presentation of the improvement of philosophy for Catholic seminary scholars, Frederick Copleston's nine-volume A historical past Of Philosophy has journeyed a ways past the modest goal of its writer to common acclaim because the most sensible heritage of philosophy in English.Copleston, an Oxford Jesuit of huge erudition who as soon as tangled with A.J. Ayer in a fabled debate concerning the lifestyles of God and the opportunity of metaphysics, knew that seminary scholars have been fed a woefully insufficient vitamin of theses and proofs, and that their familiarity with so much of history's nice thinkers used to be lowered to simplistic caricatures.  Copleston got down to redress the inaccurate through writing a whole background of Western Philosophy, one crackling with incident and highbrow pleasure - and person who supplies complete position to every philosopher, offering his proposal in a fantastically rounded demeanour and exhibiting his hyperlinks to those that went earlier than and to those that got here after him.

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180. After emphasising the fact that moral purity is necessary for anyone who would know God, he proceeds to speak of the divine attributes, God's incomprehensibility, power, wisdom, eternity, immutability. As the soul of man, itself invisible, is perceived through the movements of the body, so God, Himself invisible, is known through His providence and works. He is not always accurate in his account of the opinions of Greek philosophers, but he clearly had some esteem for Plato, whom he considered 'the most respectable philosopher among them', 1 though Plato erred in not teaching creation out of nothing (which Theophilus clearly affirms) and in his doctrine concerning marriage (which Theophilus does not give correctly).

In passing, one may note that similar difficulties might be raised in regard to certain modern theories concerning the constitution of matter. Plato, one might reasonably suppose, would welcome these theories, were he alive to-day, and it is not improbable that St. Gregory of Nyssa would follow suit. From what has been said it is clear that Gregory of Nyssa was much influenced by Platonism, neo-Platonism, and the writings of Philo (he speaks, for example, of the VOUXJI; 0e$ as being the purpose of man, of the 'flight of the alone to the Alone', of justicein-itself, of eros and the ascent to the ideal Beauty); but it must be emphasised that, although Gregory undeniably employed Plotinian themes and expressions, as also to a less extent those of Philo, he did not by any means always understand them in a Plotinian or Philonic sense.

12. ' Sermo, Ratio. , 11. * 1 , 2 0 II. 5 19. 26 PRE-MEDIAEVAL INFLUENCES theologico-philosophical system. This effort was characteristic of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, of which the two most famous names are Clement and Origen. (i) Titus Flavius Clemens (Clement of Alexandria) was born about 150, perhaps at Athens, came to Alexandria in 202 or 203 and died there about 219. Animated by the attitude which was later summed up in the formula, Credo, ut inteUigam, he sought to develop the systematic presentation of the Christian wisdom in a true, as opposed to a false gnosis.

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