Faith and Reason in the Medieval Philosophy


Location: via Zoom

PLEASE NOTE: Indicated event times are Eastern Daylight Time: 8:30am - 10:30am, Rome | 2:30pm - 4:30pm, Beijing

"Middle Ages" is not only a concept of world history, but also a philosophical concept. In the history of philosophy, the middle ages means the "medium", which inherited the ancient philosophy and started the modern philosophy. The medieval philosophy in history of philosophy history includes the patristic philosophy from the 2nd century, scholasticism from the 11th century, and the late medieval philosophy from the 15th to the 16th century. In these three stages, religious faith and Greek philosophy were combined, and maintained tension. The relationship between faith and reason is the pivot of other philosophical issues. We can see such a regular phenomenon: in the important turning period of medieval philosophy, there will always be three kinds of positions: the feudalist’s, the rationalist’s and the comprehensives. The feudalist’s often have the upper hand temporarily, but the comprehensives always win in the end. In the patristic period, the feudalists initially manifested themselves as biblical fundamentalism, while the rationalists represented by the Gnostic heresy, and the rationalism represented by Augustine finally gained the orthodox status. During the birth of scholasticism, the conflict between rationalists and feudalists was manifested in the opposition between dialectics and anti-dialectics. The dialectical theology represented by St. Anselmo integrated the two and became orthodox. After the introduction of Aristotelianism in the 13th century, rationalists and feudalists showed the conflict between Latin Avelloism and Bonaventunism, and Thomism which integrated the positions of the two schools, finally gained the orthodox status. In the late Middle Ages, Ockhamism caused the separation of scholasticism, while humanism revived the Greek Roman rational culture. The theology of "only faith" of the reformists opened up the way for early modern philosophy.

Dunhua Zhao Event Qr Code

This lecture is the second installment of the "Western Medieval Philosophy Lecture Series" organized by the Beijing Global Gateway, the Jacques Maritain Center at Notre Dame, and the Thomistic Institute at the Angelicum in Rome. It will be conducted virtually in Chinese. The lecture will be recorded and all registrants will receive the recording after the event. Learn more about this lecture series.


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Professor Dunhua Zhao (Peking University)

Zhao Dunhua (1949-) is a Boya Chair Professor at Peking University, National Teaching Celebrities in Higher Education. He received Ph.D. at KU Leuven in 1988. His books written in Chinese related to the topic of this lecture include The Philosophy of Biblical History, 2vols. (2012), Christian Philosophy in 1500 Years (1994), Plotinus (1998), Ten Lectures on Mediaeval Philosophy (2019).