Neoplatonic Influences On 12thcentury Theology

Certainly the most influential tradition in theology was that of St. Augustine. His nuanced views of God's inner triune life, of the divine origin of all creation, of the soul, and of God as the true object of its hunger, of peace as the tranquility of the divine order of reality, of the role of divine illumination in the processes of man's knowledge, of the nature of true wisdom and earthly science, all these were passed down in Augustine's City of God, The Trinity, The Confessions, On Christian Doctrine, and his many sermons, letters, and doctrinal and moral treatises. No other Father of the Church, only God's Scriptures, had such authority.

Boethius, though a translator and commentator on Aristotle's logical works, had strong influence in certain circles. His theological treatises, however, strongly depended on Proclus and to a lesser degree on Porphyry. His theological tractates (On the Trinity, On the Catholic Faith, Against Eutyches, and the De hebdomadibus), although not as famous as his Consolation of Philosophy, were commented on by Thierry of Chartres, Gilbert of Poitiers, and Clarembald of Arras—Gilbert's corrector and the successor of Anselm of Laon.

As already mentioned, translations of the works of Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite (The Divine Names, The Mystical Theology, The Celestial Hierarcy, and The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy), and his Greek commentators and expositors, brought further distinctions of Christian Neopla-tonic philosophy and theology to the medieval Latin world. This was especially true at the monastery of Saint-Victor, where Hugh's and Richard's commentaries on Dionysius, following in the tradition of John Scotus Eriugena and John the Saracen, led the way, and were followed up at Saint-Victor as late as the time of Thomas Gallus in the 13 th century. Nor was this influence of Neoplatonism at Saint-Victor limited to Dionysius and commentaries on his works. The doctrinal treatises of Hugh, and even more explicitly, those of Richard, carried a variety of Neoplatonic influences, even if indirectly, from Porphyry and Proclus.

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