Theology and Philosophy

As a theologian Alain de Lille shared in the mystic reaction of the second half of the 12th century against the scholastic philosophy. His mysticism, however, is far from being as absolute as that of the Victorines. In the Anticlaudianus he sums up as follows: Reason, guided by prudence, can unaided discover most of the truths of the physical order; for the apprehension of religious truths it must trust to faith. This rule is completed in his treatise, Ars catholicae fidei, as follows: Theology itself may be demonstrated by reason. Alain even ventures an immediate application of this principle, and tries to prove geometrically the dogmas defined in the Creed. This bold attempt is entirely factitious and verbal, and it is only his employment of various terms not generally used in such a connection (axiom, theorem, corollary, etc.) that gives his treatise its apparent originality.[4]

Alan’s philosophy was a sort of mixture of Aristotelian logic and Neoplatonic philosophy. The Platonist seemed to outweigh the Aristotelian in Alan, but he felt strongly that the divine is all intelligibility and argued this notion through much Aristotelian logic combined with Pythagorean mathematics.[2]

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