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Eriugenas Innovation

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John Scot Eriugena's work Periphyseon is commonly regarded as having introduced Neoplatonism into early medieval thinking. Eriugena's theory of the reunification of the Creator and his creation is then viewed as being based on the Neoplatonic scheme of procession and reversion. However, this interpretation falls short of Eriugena's intentions. Above all, he denies any ontological difference between Creator and creation without taking recourse to the Neoplatonic considerations of procession and reversion. Surprisingly, according to Eriugena's explanation, God is not only the Creator but he is also created. He is created insofar as he alone, possessing all being, is the essence of all created things. Moreover, the fourfold division of nature, presented at the beginning of the work, is not Eriugena's own innovation, but a common Carolingian concept. It is rather his aim to show that from an ontological point of view this division has to be resolved.

Affiliations: 1: Philosophisches Seminar der Universität Zürich


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