Saint Bonaventure’s Catalogue of Aristotelian Errors

saint-bonaventure-on-the-errors-of-aristotle“Bonaventure’s approach to dealing with the Averroist crisis contrasts radically with Aquinas’s. Whereas Aquinas tried to meet the crisis by rescuing Aristotle, that is, by trying to insure that Aristotle was correctly interpreted, Bonaventure argues that the problem lies much deeper: the Averroists’ fundamental error was to use reason to judge the truths of the faith. While Aquinas attacks their interpretation of Aristotle, Bonaventure attacks their fundamental rationalism, which would subject the truths of the faith to the judgment of reason and the criticism of philosophy. In these conferences, Bonaventure finally presents his complete catalogue of errors attributable to Aristotle: (1) the denial of exemplarism (or the theory of forms in a transcendent cause, which Bonaventure explicitly associates with Plato); (2) denial of divine knowledge of world; (3) the necessity of all things (which flows from the second, according to Bonaventure, since if God does not know the world, all things happen either by chance or absolute necessity; the former is impossible, so the latter must obtain); (4) the denial of eternal life where reward or punishment is found; (5) the eternity of the world; and (6) the existence of a single intellect for all men (a view that Bonaventure is careful to say Averroes attributes to Aristotle)”

– Christopher M. Cullen, Great Medieval Thinkers: Bonaventure – 


– Lucas G. Westman

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