Overview (Masterplots II: Christian Literature)
God and Philosophy reproduces the four Mahlon Powell Lectures on Philosophy exactly as Étienne Gilson gave them at Indiana University in 1939-1940. In the preface, he treats the unifying topic of his lectures: the metaphysical problem of God and its relationship to philosophy. Gilson explains that he is applying a method of investigation previously used in The Unity of Philosophical Experience (1937) and Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (1938). This method consists of first drawing the necessary data for correct formulation of a philosophical problem from what is stated in past philosophies and then finding the correct solution to the problem in terms of the data. He concludes the preface with a statement of the intention of his lectures.
The first lecture deals with God and Greek philosophy. Gilson discusses the irreconcilable nature of Greek religion and philosophy. The notion of gods originated by the theological poets posited a multiplicity of beings or entities identifiable as gods. Living beings possessed of wills, the gods interfered in the lives of men, who were always at their mercy. Reality in Greek philosophy was that which could be seen and touched. It was composed of things governed by laws. Things were never considered as gods. Gilson points out that even Plato kept his gods separate from his philosophical principles. For Plato, ideas were the true reality, for they were immaterial, immutable, necessary,...
(The entire section is 903 words.)
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