Free Online Bible Library | Exemplarism

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(Lat. exemplum, “pattern or example”). The theological doctrine that finite things are copies of originals existing in the divine mind. Plato's archetypal ideas or forms were located by later Greek Platonist philosophers in the divine mind. Christian philosophers (Augustine and his school) made this a central point of their metaphysics and used the theory to distinguish God's free and intelligent creation from that of purely spontaneous production. The theory was prominent until its peak in the thirteenth century with Bonaventura.* The term “exemplarism” is sometimes used also to describe the “moral influence” view of the Atonement, originating with Abelard and developed by Hastings Rashdall.*