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Durham e-Theses
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A Beautiful Mind:
The Knowledge of Christ According to St. Bonaventure – Towards a New Reading of The Seraphic Doctor’s Thought on Faith and Reason

The Knowledge of Christ According to St. Bonaventure – Towards a New Reading of The Seraphic Doctor’s Thought on Faith and Reason.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 30 January 2025.


Whilst lost to the Latin West since the end of the Patristic era, the full reintroduction of peripatetic philosophy – more commonly known as “Aristotelianism” – into Christian Europe during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries fundamentally challenged and reshaped the medieval interpretation of the relationship between faith and reason. The subject of much debate, the place of St. Bonaventure – the “Seraphic Doctor” – within the narrative of Aristotelianism’s assimilation into the Latin West, and his attitude towards philosophy and natural reason in general, has divided scholarly opinion for nearly a century. Where for some, Bonaventure is an ardent critic of Aristotle who rejects peripatetic philosophy from his very first contact with it; for others, by contrast, he is a respectful – though not uncritical – pupil of the Greek philosopher. Having generated significant disagreement amongst some of the most eminent Bonaventurian scholars – including Étienne Gilson, Fernand Van Steenberghen and Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI – contemporary scholarship has failed to reach a consensus as to the Seraphic Doctor’s attitude towards Aristotelianism and philosophy. Subsequently, a notable amount of confusion has also arisen as to what constitutes an authentically “Bonaventurian” reading of the relationship between faith and reason; indeed, it is sometimes asked if such a thing exists at all. By using Bonaventure’s much neglected writings on Christ’s knowledge as an interpretative tool for his statements on Aristotelianism and philosophy, this study seeks to offer the basis for a fresh interpretation of the Seraphic Doctor’s thought on faith and reason; one which explains both the subtleties and apparent contradictions at work within his attitude towards peripatetic philosophy, whilst identifying the driving force behind the anti-Aristotelian narrative which develops throughout his works.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:"Aristotle" "Bonaventure" "Christ" "Faith" "Noetic" "Philosophy" "Reason"
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:31 Jan 2022 13:46

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