Category Archives: Etienne Gilson

A Philosophical Postscript

I have not read A. C. Grayling’s new History of Philosophy (Penguin), but Nicholas Stang provides an interesting summary of the work and of the challenges facing similar intellectual pursuits. Stang points out that philosophy is different from technical or … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy

Impromptu Philosophizing

At the moment I am cleaning out some recent notes and clippings. And it’s possible that such impromptu gleanings are of more interest than my studiously composed commentaries. Here’s a passage from my omnipresent volume of Boswell’s Life of Johnson: … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Etienne Gilson, Literature, Philosophy

More on Metaphysics

Not long after reading Roger Scruton’s The Soul of the World I picked up Etienne Gilson’s short but insightful essay, Reason and Revelation in the Middle Ages (1938), in which he discusses the metaphysical systems that preceded our present era (all … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy, Religion, Roger Scruton

History of Early Christian Thought

I dipped into the first few chapters of Etienne Gilson’s monumental History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (1955). The title is somewhat misleading since the work actually begins with the Christian thinkers of late antiquity. Nevertheless their story … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, History, Philosophy, Religion

What the Scholastics Were Thinking

Josef Pieper’s Scholasticism: Personalities and Problems of Medieval Philosophy (1960) is a brisk and brilliant study of Scholastic thought from the time of Boethius in the sixth century to its decline under William of Ockham in the fourteenth. So how … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, History, Josef Pieper, Philosophy, Religion

Gilson on Misguided Theology

Continuing my recent comments on Étienne Gilson are some notes on the relationship of philosophy to religion. Metaphysics is the philosophical study of being and first causes in nature. As such it can include the study of deity as the “prime … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy, Religion

Gilson’s Philosophical Memoir

Étienne Gilson’s The Philosopher and Theology (published in English in 1962) is one of the best intellectual life histories I have read in some time. Gilson (1884-1978) was an important Thomistic French philosopher and contemporary of Jacques Maritain. He embarked … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy

Studying Philosophy for the Right Reasons

If as much time were spent meditating on our own philosophical ideas as is devoted to refuting those of other philosophers, we would probably realize how much more important it is to set forth truth than to fight error. — … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Philosophy

The Career of Peter Abelard

I have just finished Heloise and Abelard (1970) by the celebrated French scholar Régine Pernoud. It is interesting to compare it with Etienne Gilson’s book, which also details the lives of these famous twelfth century lovers and religious figures. Gilson’s work … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, History, Philosophy, Religion

Peter Abelard: A Morality Tale

Often the hearts of men and women are stirred, as likewise they are soothed in their sorrows more by example than by words. And therefore, because I too I have known some consolation from speech had with one who was … Continue reading

Posted in Etienne Gilson, Religion