The Sacred Cosmos

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-02-15
  • Publisher: Univ of Scranton Pr
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William of Conches and Thierry of Chartres are important figures in the twelfth-century intellectual movement known as the School of Chartres. Their teachings are frequently the focus of scholarly debates. In his controversial book, The Sacred Cosmos, theologian Peter Ellard makes a bold contribution to those debates, elucidating the most radical aspects of Chartrian thought, as he pursues key themes in their theology and presents them in relation to earlier sources in classical and late-antique thought, e.g., Boethius. Macrobius, Plato, etc. Those themes include the World Soul, the Chartrian cosmology, and the belief that all creation is equally theophanic and can thus be used as a way to bring one closer to God-awareness. In addition, Ellard skillfully interweaves the architecture of the actual Cathedral of Chartres as proof and example of Chartrian theology. The Sacred Cosmos is a compelling book that will be enjoyed by anyone interested in spirituality, theology, philosophy, or the environment. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Peter Ellard is associate vice president of academic affairs and professor of religious studies at Siena College.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introduction: The Scope of this Bookp. xv
The Lives and Writings of Two Chartrian Mastersp. xvii
The Life of Thierry of Chartresp. xvii
The Life of William of Conchesp. xix
The Writingsp. xx
Chapter Outlinesp. xxii
Notesp. xxiv
The School of Chartres: Context, Sources, and Methods of Interpretationp. 1
The School of Chartres and Its Historical Context in the First Half of the Twelfth Centuryp. 3
Introduction: A Renaissance by Any Other Namep. 3
The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century: Standing on the Shoulders of Giantsp. 4
The Schools of the Twelfth Century and the School at Chartresp. 6
The School of Chartresp. 9
The Love of Learning and the Desire for Godp. 10
Natural Philosophy: The Changing Face of Science in the Twelfth Centuryp. 16
Philosophy: The Study of Everything and the Value of Reasonp. 22
Theology: The Study of Godp. 26
Conclusion: The Milieu of the First Half of the Twelfth Centuryp. 27
Notesp. 28
Plato and Chartrian Neoplatonismp. 33
Introduction: Platonisms of the Twelfth Centuryp. 33
Plato and the Timaeus in the Twelfth Centuryp. 34
Philosophical and Theological Implications of the Timaeusp. 36
The Timaeus among the Chartriansp. 37
Neoplatonic Influences on the School of Chartresp. 38
Augustinep. 39
Macrobiusp. 40
Boethiusp. 40
Hermetic Literaturep. 41
Additional Influencesp. 42
Conclusion: Chartrian Christian Neoplatonismp. 42
Notesp. 43
Chartrian Methods of Interpretation: Integumentump. 45
Introduction: Everything Means Somethingp. 45
Integumentump. 46
The Senses of Scripture in the Twelfth Centuryp. 48
The Interpretation of Scripture within the School of Chartresp. 49
Reading Christian and Pagan Authorsp. 52
Reading the Cosmosp. 56
Conclusion: Integument and Theological Truthp. 58
Notesp. 58
Summary and Conclusion of Part Ip. 61
Exemplarism: God, Eternal Ideas, and the Cosmosp. 63
God the Creator in Chartrian Thoughtp. 65
Introduction: Theological Speculation in the Early Twelfth Centuryp. 65
Chartrian Theology: God as Metaphorp. 66
God the Creator in Plato's Timaeusp. 68
Plato's Creator Through Christian Eyesp. 70
God as the Good: Divine Motivation for Creationp. 73
The Creating Trinityp. 75
Conclusion: Cosmological Theologyp. 77
Notesp. 78
The Archetypal Model: Eternal Exemplar, Mind, Wisdom, and Son of Godp. 83
Introduction: The Debate over Universalsp. 83
The Divine Archetype in Plato and the Neoplatonistsp. 84
The Archetypal Model in the Twelfth Century and among the Chartriansp. 86
Platonic and Neoplatonic Understanding of the Ideas of the Divine Mindp. 88
The Ideas in the Twelfth Centuryp. 89
The Ideas in the Thought of William and Thierryp. 91
The Divinity of the Ideasp. 93
The Unity of the Divine Ideas and the Unity of the Godheadp. 94
Conclusion: The Eternal Exemplar and Christian Faithp. 95
Notesp. 96
The Cosmos: An Orderly Gathering of Creatures Made in the Image of Godp. 101
Introduction: A Theological and Exemplaristic Cosmologyp. 101
The Cosmos as an Image of God: William's Exemplaristic Cosmologyp. 102
The Cosmos as an Image of Divine Wisdomp. 103
The Divine Ideas and Their Images in the Cosmosp. 106
Plurality of the Cosmos Grounded in the Unity of God: Thierry's Theologyp. 108
The Enfolding of the Cosmos and the Unfolding of Godp. 110
Conclusion: One Existence with Two Interwoven Partsp. 112
Notesp. 112
Summary and Conclusion of Part IIp. 116
The World Soulp. 117
The Cosmos Animated by Its Animap. 119
Introduction: A Fluid Ideap. 119
The World Soul and the Lens of Integumentp. 119
The World Soul of Plato's Timaeusp. 120
The Nature of the World Soul in Neoplatonic Thoughtp. 122
The Patristic View of the World Soulp. 124
The Conversation about the World Soul in the Twelfth Centuryp. 125
The Cosmological Function of the World Soul in Chartrian Thoughtp. 126
Natural Energy of Life, Growth, Sense, and Discernment Inherent in the Cosmosp. 129
Conclusion: The Spirit of the Worldp. 132
Notesp. 132
The World Soul and the Holy Spirit: Two Metaphors for the Same Realityp. 137
Introduction: The Divine Woven Naturally in the Cosmosp. 137
Thierry of Chartres on the Divine Status of the World Soulp. 138
William of Conches on the World Soul, Divine Love, and the Holy Spiritp. 140
Conclusion: The Soul of the Worldp. 145
Notesp. 146
The Condemnation of an Idea, and the Aftermath Introduction: Perilous Timesp. 149
The Condemnationp. 150
The Fate of the World Soul in the Twelfth Centuryp. 154
The World Soul as Naturep. 154
The World Soul as Divine Lovep. 157
Conclusion: What Happened to the World Soul?p. 158
Notesp. 159
Summary and Conclusion of Part IIIp. 161
Humanity and the Sacred Study of the Sacred Cosmosp. 163
A Twelfth-Century "Scientific" Understanding of the Cosmosp. 165
Introduction: The Study of the Natural World in the Early Twelfth Centuryp. 165
Natural Science among the Chartriansp. 166
Chaosp. 167
The Elementsp. 172
Nature and Its Twelfth-Century Detractorsp. 174
The Dignity of Secondary Causesp. 175
Nature and the Activity of the Cosmos as an Image of God's Creativityp. 179
Evolution of Chartrian Natural Sciencep. 181
Conclusion: Science as the Basis of Theologyp. 182
Notesp. 182
Illumination: The Soul's Journey into God Introduction: Science and Spiritualityp. 187
Ecce Homo: The Human as Microcosmp. 188
The Relationship of the Human Body and Soulp. 192
Bodily Health, Sin, and the Soul's Abilitiesp. 193
The Powers of the Human Soulp. 195
The Power of Sensep. 196
The Power of Imaginationp. 198
The Power of Reasonp. 199
The Power of Intellect/Intelligencep. 200
The Power of Intelligibilityp. 202
Conclusion: The Spiritual Journeyp. 203
Notesp. 204
The Cosmos: The Path That Leads to Godp. 209
Introduction: The Book of Creationp. 209
Revelation in the Ongoing Act of Creationp. 210
The Cosmos Reveals Divine Existence, Causality, and Continuing Presencep. 212
The Cosmos Reveals the Trinityp. 215
Conclusion: The Revelation of the Cosmosp. 220
Notesp. 220
Summary and Conclusion of Part IVp. 224
Conclusionp. 225
Epiloguep. 231
Notesp. 236
Appendixp. 237
Notesp. 241
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 265
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