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Plato vs Aristotle

Posted By: John_C

Plato vs Aristotle - Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:13 AM

I've started reading Nick Needham's book on the Renaissance and the Reformation. From what I gather the Reformers sided with the humanists taking Plato's view, while those loyal to RCC sided with the scholastics taking an Aristotle view. What is the difference between Plato and Aristotle in those debates?
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Plato vs Aristotle - Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:12 AM

None of the Reformers were followers of Plato, IF that is what the author is trying to propose. So, it would be more than helpful if you could provide some details as to what exactly Needham has written on what he means by the Reformers "siding" with Plato. Surely, he spells this out in his book, right? scratchchin
Posted By: John_C

Re: Plato vs Aristotle - Tue Aug 27, 2019 7:57 PM

I posted the question after reading Needham's book "2000 Years of Christ's Power - Volume 3 Renaissance and Reformation" chapter on the subject. Here is the best summation in the book that I found. "Petrarch's hostility to scholasticism was to be a typical humanist attitude. This was partly because humanism led to renewed enthusiasm for Plato, while most scholastics tended to be Aristotelians. It was also partly because humanists thought that scholastic theology was over-complicated, too philosophical, divorced from Scripture, and expressed in barbaric medieval Latin; the schoolmen usually studied the Latin Bible of the Vulgate - humanists demanded that theologians must study Scripture in its original languages of Greek and Hebrew. There was, however, another factor which intensified the clash between scholasticism and some humanists. A significant number humanists were, like Petrarch, admirers of Augustine. But as we saw in Volume 2, Chapter 7, scholastic theology after Thomas Aquinas had (on the whole) begun to drift seriously from Augustine's views on humanity's bondage to sin and the soverignty of God's grace in salvation. The great English schoolman William of Ockham had started a powerful trend towards a 'neo-pelagian' theology, which emphasied human free will, effort, and worthiness as the way to secure God's mercy. This gave many of those humanists who admired Augustine another strong reason to loathe scholasticism*."

* On the other hand, many humanists - notably Erasmus - were light years away from Augustine's theology of original sin and predestination, even though they admired his spirituality. Humanism could be thoroughly anti-Augustineian in this respect. Perhaps it would be better to say that humanism, through its devotion to the early Church fathers, provided a setting in which a 'back to Augustine' movement could potentially flourish.

So this doesn't tell me (maybe you) the actual difference between Plato and Aristotle, nor scholasticism and humanism in this regard.
Posted By: Pilgrim

Re: Plato vs Aristotle - Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:44 AM

Originally Posted by John_C
So this doesn't tell me (maybe you) the actual difference between Plato and Aristotle, nor scholasticism and humanism in this regard.

nope I don't see the connection between the Reformers and Plato in what you've provided. And to be honest, I don't remember (something that happens too often now) anything I've read in the past that would indicate that the Reformers were influenced in any significant way by the writings of Plato. I have read a little of the writings of both Aristotle and Plato and they certainly were not men of "faith" by any stretch of the imagination. And when I read the writings of the Reformers, e.g., Calvin, I do not recall anything that would remotely indicate any Platonic ideas. shrug
Posted By: Tom

Re: Plato vs Aristotle - Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:01 AM

I am no expert on either Plato or Aristotle.
However, I have over the years as a Reformed Christian, been accused of falling for Augustine's (I think they called it) Neo-Platonic views.
They tried to use the argument that Augustine was heavily influenced by Plato and that carried over to the Reformers.
My guess is this is more of the same garbage.

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