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Biel, Gabriel (before 1425–95)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-C005-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 17, 2024, from

Article Summary

Biel was the last great systematizer of scholastic theology and philosophy. Not noted for originality, he sought to produce a synthesis of the work of his predecessors. His thought is pervasively religious; a profound sense of the freedom of God’s will is basic to his perspective. He followed Ockham and Duns Scotus in emphasizing the sheer contingency of things. Nature, morality and salvation depend entirely on God’s will, and God could have determined otherwise. Such a view places sharp limits on the ability of reason to discover the truth about the nature and will of God; Biel subordinates reason to faith (although he is a master in the use of reason to defend revealed truth). The radical freedom of God coexists with significant moral freedom in humanity, since it is decreed by God that humans should be free to play an active role in determining their own destiny. Implied in this view of the human situation is an activist, pragmatic tendency, an interest in concrete applications of theoretical insights rather than in abstract speculation for its own sake.

Citing this article:
Farthing, John L.. Biel, Gabriel (before 1425–95), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-C005-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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