Friday, November 17, 2006

Antithesis

As I embarked on this voyage, one of the first things I was faced with was the necessity of populating a "profile". This involved (among other things) one of those odd questions that people ask: "What is your favorite book?" The question is essentially unanswerable (though I did take a stab at it), but it does include in itself a comment of sorts on us. We are a people who want to be popular and to be seen with the popular. We want a government "of the popular, by the popular and for the popular."

But that said, I have been particularly attuned to comments about the eclectic "favorites" I included in my profile ... including City of God. George Grant has a great piece contrasting Augustine with Aquinas:

While Augustine categorically rejected the principles of Greek philosophy, including the ideas of Plato and Aristotle, Aquinas embraced them and wove them into his Christian understanding of the world. Augustine thought in black and white; Aquinas thought in various shades of grey. Augustine drew a line through all of history; on one side was the “City of God” on the other was the “City of Man;” nearly every fact, every event, every idea, and every movement could be sorted out on one side of the divide or the other. Aquinas drew lines of distinction as well, but they were far more complex, subtle, and broad. Augustine thought in exclusive Biblical categories. Aquinas thought in inclusive philosophical categories. Augustine drew inferences from Scriptural ideas. Aquinas drew inferences from Aristotelian ideas. Philosophers and theologians have said that Augustine’s ideas were based largely on antithesis while the ideas of Aquinas were based largely on synthesis. And never the twain shall meet.

1 comment:

Dr. Grant said...

Bob:

Welcome to the Blogosphere! Your musings will be most welcome.

Standfast. George