Free Online Bible Library | John Scotus Erigena

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John Scotus Erigena

c.810-c.877. Irish scholar. Noted chiefly as an interpreter of Greek thought in the West, he entered also into the religious controversies of his day, notably on predestination and the Eucharist. He translated the Neoplatonist author known as Pseudo-Dionysius and also Greek theologians such as Gregory of Nyssa. Erigena is of importance in the period between Augustine and Anselm. His work De Divisione Naturae (produced about 862) is markedly ambiguous and was exploited by various parties. It was condemned by Pope Honorius III in 1225. He makes no distinction between theology and philosophy, and he attempts a rational demonstration of the substance of Christian truth. This seems, however, to lead him in the direction of pantheism. The opposed tendencies in his work can be seen in the fact that he insisted on both a sharp distinction between God and the creation and on the emanation of the created order from God. Similarly he wishes to deny that creatures are a part of God, but claims, in Neoplatonist fashion, that God is the only true reality. Though he was not himself a mystic, there is thus a strong mystical strain in his writings.