HFIA03524U FILO Philosophy and Religion, Module 1: Philosophy and Religion in Antiquity and the Renaissance

Volume 2013/2014

Philosophy and religion have coexisted uneasily in the West since at least the days of Anaxagoras, who reportedly was sentenced to death in the mid-fifth century BCE for making claims about the stars and sun that undermined the piety of ordinary Athenians. Tensions of this kind are to be expected between philosophy and religion, given that both philosophers and religious authorities deal in claims about the nature of things, people, gods, morals, and the world as a whole. During the Middle Ages, the tension between reason and faith intensified, leading even to open conflict between church authorities and philosophers teaching at the arts faculties. At the same time, mounting controversies within ecclesiastical institutions called for various reforms, culminating in the Reformation.

Nevertheless, there have also been points in history where philosophy and religion have supported and even inspired one another.  Hellenistic and Roman paganism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam were all deeply informed in their development by the philosophical movements and texts that surrounded them. Throughout the centuries, these faiths in turn exerted profound influence on developments in philosophy.   

This course offers a fast-paced but intensive study of the relations between philosophy and religion from the days of Anaxagoras to those of Luther and the Renaissance humanists. We will concentrate on debates about the relation between human being and the divine, with special focus on claims about the soul: about its existence, nature, capabilities, and perishableness or immortality. Our readings include selections from Plato’s Phaedrus and Phaedo; Aristotle’s On the Soul and Metaphysics; Augustine’s Free Choice of the Will; Averroes’ and Maimonides’ commentaries on Aristotle; Aquinas’s Summa Theologica; the Paris Condemnation of 1277; Pomponazzi’s Treatise on the Immortality of the Soul (1516); and Luther’s On the Freedom of a Christian (1520).

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 44,5
  • Total
  • 44,5