The World Explored, the World Suffered Education Issue Nr. 32 July 2020 - Page 22

The Carolingian Holy Roman Empire included the instituting of a school for scholars that began with the figures of Alcuin and John Duns Scotus but was not strictly speaking meeting the criterion of a renaissance laid down by the art historian and critic Adrian Stokes, namely a period of intensification of all forms of religious and philosophical activity. Aristotle's Philosophy was in this period systematically inhibited in its development by Christian and Neoplatonic influences. This was evident in the restriction of the role of philosophical psychology in the ethical and theological studies of the period. A supernatural soul remains largely an Augustinian entity not in any way related to animal life. The body and external nature are other areas of neglect in this tentative revival of Philosophy in the context of Carolingian Religious studies. The revival proper probably can only be said to have begun 50 years after the death of Alcuin with the arrival of John Duns Scotus, also known as, Eriugena to the court of the grandson of Charlemagne, Charles the Bald. Eriugena was born and educated in Ireland and arrived in the court with a good working knowledge of Greek. His learning was admired and he was quickly engaged by the Archbishop of Reims to refute the ideas of a troublesome monk by the name of Gottschalk who had been vociferously claiming that predestination defined the fate not just of the blessed and the saints but also of sinners. Eriugena used philosophical argument rather than faith-based argument to claim that the concept of predestination was otiose because God 's knowledge was complete and could not be characterized in terms of an incomplete form of knowledge, namely foreknowledge or pre-knowledge(which would imply temporal incompleteness). Eriugena's argument was found wanting by the Church authorities who eventually condemned the priest on traditional grounds of faith which reasserted the doctrine of the predestination of the blessed but rejected the claim that this also applied to sinners. The argument of Eriugena was also in fact condemned in a Council meeting a few years later. Professor Brett in his work on the "History of Psychology" has this to say about this mercurial figure: "The greatest speculative mind of the ninth century was John Scotus Eriugena... Eriugena seems more like a rhapsodist who has specialized in philosophic tradition..Eriugena was the Charlemagne of philosophy..in him is born again the tendency to pure romance which was the beginning of speculative thought...His thought struggles between two ways of looking at life, neither of which he will wholly abandon. Of these, one is the empirical obviously suggested by the Aristotelian element in Eriugena's education: the other is the Neoplatonic theory of logical