The history and future of philosophy’s relationship with theology

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 83 (5):318-330 (2022)
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Abstract

The Middle Ages are often described as a period when there was no stark separation between theology and philosophy. This article will qualify that characterisation, highlighting the inter-dependent relationship medieval thinkers often associated with theology and philosophy, which respectively considered the nature of God and things other than God, which nonetheless find their source and purpose in him. As the article will demonstrate, these disciplines began to develop into unique areas of specialisation following the founding of the first universities in the early thirteenth century. In this context, scholars gained access to the recent translations of the major works of Aristotle and leading Islamic philosophers like Avicenna and Averroes, which enabled them to offer more precise renderings of philosophical and theological questions. At the end, the article will outline two of the main approaches to defining the relationship between philosophy and theology that prevailed in the Middle Ages: the Franciscan and the Dominican. The goal in doing so is to offer a resource and inspiration for efforts to overcome the divide that often characterises the relationship between philosophy and theology and to encourage their interaction today.

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Lydia Schumacher
King's College London

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