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St. Bonaventure's "Doctrine Of Illumination": An Artifact Of Modernity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an invitation to see the notion of "Augustinian illumination" as both dream and artifact. Seen from the perspective of the mid-thirteenth century texts, the modern artifact of "Augustinian illumination" appears a bit like a strange dream: unnecessarily nervous about the inclusion of the divine light in cognition, bent on opposing precisely what the thirteenth century texts are intent on combining, absolutely mistaken in affiliating Augustine with a discredited Platonic position and in assuming Bonaventure and Aquinas represent substantially different epistemological positions, and driven by grand, sweeping questions that skate right over the fine-grained, nitty-gritty business of textual reconciliation. Paradoxically, "Illumination" sheds light on the dreams and visions of the modern era, at the same time it eclipses the textual artifacts from the thirteenth century.

Keywords: Étienne Gilson; Aquinas; Aristotelian; Augustinian illumination; Platonism; St. Bonaventure



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