Monday, May 02, 2005

Thesis: Philosophy and Religion

Thesis: Philosophy was religion prior to "religion" the way we understand religion today, especially among the intentional, rational and justified sorts of religions that exist now. It's not natural in the sense of the primal religions, but reflected through a certain level (we might say more or less) of participation in intellectual construction and justification. No, I don't mean this in an elitist sense. It's manifest today that the philosophical schools of antiquity were philosophic ways taught by masters who handed on traditions of knowledge and praxis for many generations. The roots of such institutions, while at a certain point attributable to particular individuals, also depend upon the exposure of those individuals to certain experiences and travels that enabled them to become conscious of more ancient, if less intellectual (in the broad sense), ways of living. Hadot contends that philosophy in the Christian world was separated from these roots because the Christian way appropriated, co-opted, the existing philosophical disciplines because these supplied a ready-made channel for dialogue with the people of their world. Eventually, Christians on the popular level began to forget their philosophic way, in the explicit sense, while retaining its public forms, the creeds.. The case might also be made that after the Reformation, the rejection of philosophy was explicit in the reformed traditions. (That doesn't mean it the philosophic strand no longer existed. Rejection is subjective.) In the "Catholic" traditions, where did the philosophic disciplines go? To the monasteries, certainly; less consistently, to certain university traditions.

1 comment:

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