Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Platonism

  • Stephen Gersh
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_404

Abstract

This article provides a survey of the medieval phase of the history of Platonism. Spanning the period from the ninth to the fourteenth century, the medieval phase represents a direct tradition of Platonism to the extent that it is based on the reading of Plato’s Timaeus, and an indirect tradition to the extent that it depends on non-Christian and Christian authors of late antiquity. Medieval Platonism is also characterized by its close relation to the medieval curriculum of the Trivium (verbal arts) and Quadrivium (numerical arts), and by its dependence on sources written originally in or translated into Latin. Moving in chronological sequence, the article focuses on arguably the three most important groups of thinkers within the medieval Platonic tradition from the threefold angle of their use of textual authorities, their modes of reasoning, and their doctrinal positions. Thus, (1) John Scottus Eriugena (early to middle ninth century) represents a Platonism, which might be termed “Patristic”; (2) Thierry of Chartres and Bernard Silvestris (early twelfth century) represent a Platonism exhibiting a blend of “Humanistic” and “Encyclopedic” tendencies; and (3) Dietrich of Freiberg and Berthold of Moosburg (late thirteenth to early fourteenth centuries) represent a Platonism that might be labeled “Scholastic.”

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen Gersh
    • 1
  1. 1.The Medieval InstituteUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA