Sacred Cosmos: Theological, Philosophical, and Scientific Conversations in the Twelfth Century School of Chartres

Sacred Cosmos: Theological, Philosophical, and Scientific Conversations in the Twelfth Century School of Chartres

by Peter Ellard


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The School of Chartres was a bold intellectual movement of the twelfth century that introduced the World Soul and the Chartrian cosmology to Christendom. In his controversial book, The Sacred Cosmos, theologian Peter Ellard analyzes the most radical aspects of Chartrian thought and traces their relation to classical and late-antique philosophers such as Boethius and Plato. In addition, Ellard investigates the Cathedral of Chartres as an important proof and example of Chartrian theology in this essential volume for anyone interested in the intersection of spirituality and philosophy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589661332
Publisher: University of Scranton Press
Publication date: 09/15/2007
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Scope of this Book
   The Lives and Writings of Two Chartrian Masters
     The Life of Thierry of Chartres
     The Life of William of Conches
     The Writings
   Chapter Outlines

Part I: The School of Chartres: Context, Sources, and Methods of Interpretation 

Chapter 1: The School of Chartres and Its Historical Context in the First Half of the Twelfth Century
   Introduction: A Renaissance by Any Other Name
   The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
     The Schools of the Twelfth Century and the School at Chartres
     The School of Chartres
   The Love of Learning and the Desire for God
     Natural Philosophy: The Changing Face of Science in the Twlefth Century
     Philosophy: The Study of Everything and the Value of Reason
     Theology: The Study of God
   Conclusion: The Milieu of the First Half of the Twelfth Century
Chapter 2: Plato and Chartrian Neoplatonism
   Introduction: Platonisms of the Twelfth Century
   Plato and the Timaeus in the Twelfth Century
     Philosophical and Theological Implications of the Timaeus
     The Timaeus among the Chartrians
   Neoplatonic Influences on the School of Chartres
     Hermetic Literature
     Additional Influences
   Conclusion: Chartrian Christian Neoplatonism
Chapter 3: Chartrian Methods of Interpretation: Integumentum
   Introduction: Everything Means Something
     The Senses of Scripture in the Twelfth Century
     The Interpretation of Scripture within the School of Chartres
     Reading Christian and Pagan Authors
     Reading the Cosmos
   Conclusion: Integument and Theological Truth
Summary and Conclusion of Part I

Part II: Exemplarism: God, Eternal Ideas, and the Cosmos 

Chapter 4: God the Creator in Chartrian Thought
   Introduction: Theological Speculation in the Early Twelfth Century
   Chartrian Theology: God as Metaphor
     God the Creator in Plato's Timaeus
     Plato's Creator Through Christian Eyes
     God as the Good: Divine Motivation for Creation
     The Creating Trinity
   Conclusion: Cosmological Theology
Chapter 5: The Archetypal Model: Eternal Exemplar, Mind, Wisdom, and Son of God
   Introduction: The Debate over Universals
   The Divine Archetype in Plato and the Neoplatonists
     The Archetypal Model in the Twelfth Century and among the Chartrians
     Platonic and Neoplatonic Understanding of the Ideas of the Divine Mind
     The Ideas in the Twelfth Century
     The Ideas in the Thought of William and Thierry
     The Divinity of the Ideas
     The Unity of the Divine Ideas and the Unity of the Godhead
   Conclusion: The Eternal Exemplar and Christian Faith
Chapter 6: The Cosmos: An Orderly Gathering of Creatures Made in the Image of God
   Introduction: A Theological and Exemplaristic Cosmology
   The Cosmos as an Image of God: William's Exemplaristic Cosmology
     The Cosmos as an Image of Divine Wisdom
     The Divine Ideas and Their Images in the Cosmos
   Plurality of the Cosmos Grounded in the Unity of God: Thierry's Theology
     The Enfolding of the Cosmos and the Unfolding of God
   Conclusion: One Existence with Two
   Interwoven Parts
Summary and Conclusion of Part II

Part III: The World Soul 

Chapter 7: The Cosmos Animated by Its Anima
   Introduction: A Fluid Idea
   The World Soul and the Lens of Integument
     The World Soul of Plato's Timaeus
     The Nature of the World Soul in Neoplatonic Thought
     The Patristic View of the World Soul
     The Conversation about the World Soul in the Twelfth Century
   The Cosmological Function of the World Soul in Chartrian Thought
   Natural Energy of Life, Growth, Sense, and Discernment Inherent in the Cosmos
   Conclusion: The Spirit of the World
Chapter 8: The World Soul and the Holy Spirit: Two Metaphors for the Same Reality
   Introduction: The Divine Woven Naturally in the Cosmos
   Thierry of Chartres on the Divine Status of the World Soul
   William of Conches on the World Soul, Divine Love, and the Holy Spirit
   Conclusion: The Soul of the World
Chapter 9: The Condemnation of an Idea, and the Aftermath
   Introduction: Perilous Times
   The Condemnation
   The Fate of the World Soul in the Twelfth Century
     The World Soul as Nature
     The World Soul as Divine Love
   Conclusion: What Happened to the World Soul?
Summary and Conclusion of Part III

Part IV: Humanity and the Sacred Study of the Sacred Cosmos 

Chapter 10: A Twelfth-Century "Scientific" Understanding of the Cosmos
   Introduction: The Study of the Natural World in the Early Twelfth Century
   Natural Science among the Chartrians
     The Elements
   Nature and Its Twelfth-Century Detractors
     The Dignity of Secondary Causes
     Nature and the Activity of the Cosmos as an Image of God's Creativity
     Evolution of Chartrian Natural Science
   Conclusion: Science as the Basis of Theology
Chapter 11: Illumination: The Soul's Journey into God
   Introduction: Science and Spirituality
   Ecce Homo: The Human as Microcosm
     The Relationship of the Human Body and Soul
     Bodily Health, Sin, and the Soul's Abilities
   The Powers of the Human Soul
     The Power of Sense
     The Power of Imagination
     The Power of Reason
     The Power of Intellect/Intelligence
     The Power of Intelligibility
   Conclusion: The Spiritual Journey
Chapter 12: The Cosmos: The Path That Leads to God
   Introduction: The Book of Creation
   Revelation in the Ongoing Act of Creation
     The Cosmos Reveals Divine Existence, Causality, and Continuing Presence
     The Cosmos Reveals the Trinity
   Conclusion: The Revelation of the Cosmos
Summary and Conclusion of Part IV

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