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Jacob Of Edessa’s Use Of Greek Philosophy In His Hexaemeron

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrate Jacob of Edessa?s extensive use in his Commentary on the Hexaemeron of the Aristotelian theory of the four elements, arranged in concentric spheres according to their relative weight, which thereby give structure to the physical cosmos. This theory is at the heart of Jacob?s cosmology?which describes both the physical world and the wider, theological cosmos reflected in it?enabling him (1) to interpret in scientific terms the mystery of the upper waters in the Genesis account, and (2) to reveal the hierarchy of divine, angelic and human nature through the symbolism of the luminaries and their elemental composition. The chapter examines (3) how Jacob uses this theological-physical cosmology and adapts authoritative astronomical sources to formulate an original account of astronomy, which proves scientifically that God is the maker of all and (4) provides a refutation of astrology.

Keywords: Aristotelian theory; Hexaemeron; Jacob of Edessa; symbolism; theological-physical cosmology



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