Middle Ages precursors of faith and science.

Middle Ages precursors of faith and science.

John Scotus Eriugena, a ninth-century Irish monk and philosopher taught for many years in France, and was commemorated on the Irish five pound note. He wrote, “Christ wears ‘two shoes’ in the world: Scripture and nature. Both are necessary to understand the Lord, and at no stage can creation be seen as a separation of things from God.”

He was not the only person of antiquity who started the rumour of marriage between faith and science. During late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, Aristotle’s approach dominated all inquiries on natural phenomenon. Some other ancient knowledge was therefore lost or obscured, but much of the general knowledge from the ancient world remained preserved though the works of the early Latin encyclopedists like Isidore of Seville. Also, in the Middle Eastern territories of the Byzantine empire, many Greek texts were translated into Arabic under Islamic rule, during which many types of classical learning were preserved and in some cases improved upon. (They would later return from Muslim care to the West and fuel the Renaissance.) Here are some of those early pre-modern thinkers.

Nemesius (?-c. 390) A bishop of Emesa whose De Natura Hominis blended theology with Galen’s medicine and is notable for its ideas concerning the brain. It also may have anticipated the discovery of the circulatory system.

John Philoponus (c. 490 – c. 570): His criticism of Aristotelian physics was important to Medieval science. He also theorized about the nature of light and the stars. As a theologian he rejected the Council of Chalcedon and his major Christological work is

Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – c. 636): Catholic Archbishop who preserved many scientific selections from the ancient worlds. His most popular work was Etymologiae which contained information on medicine, mathematics, astronomy, atomic theory, geography, agriculture, zoology, mineralogy, physiology, and other topics. His work was widely used throughout the medieval ages for its extent of research topics.

Rabanus Maurus (c. 780 – 856): Benedictine monk and teacher, he later became archbishop of Mainz. He wrote a treatise on Computus and the encyclopedic work De universo. His teaching earned him the accolade of Praeceptor Germaniae, or "the teacher of Germany."

Leo the Mathematician (c. 790 – after 869): Archbishop of Thessalonica, he later became the head of the Magnaura School of philosophy in Constantinople, where he taught Aristotelian logic. Leo also composed his own medical encyclopaedia. He has been called a "true Renaissance man" and "the cleverest man in Byzantium in the 9th century".

Hunayn ibn Ishaq (c. 809 – 873): Assyrian Christian physician known for translations of Greek scientific works and as author of "Ten Treatises on Ophthalmology." He also wrote "How to Grasp Religion", which involved the apologetics for his faith.

Qusta ibn Luqa (820–912): Melkite physician, scientist and translator. He wrote commentaries on Euclid and a treatise on the Armillary sphere. A Latin translation of his work ‘On the Difference between the Spirit and the Soul’ (‘De Differentia Spiritus et Animae’) was one of the few works not attributed to Aristotle that was included in a list of ‘books to be ‘read,’ or lectured on, by the Masters of the Faculty of Arts, at Paris in 1254, as part of their study of Natural Philosophy. He was known for medical works admired by Muslims as well, such as Medical Regime for the Pilgrims to Mecca: The Risālā Fī Tadbīr Safar Al-ḥa


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