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Eriugena, Johannes Scottus (c.800–c.877)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-B038-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 24, 2023, from

Article Summary

Johannes Scottus Eriugena is the most important philosopher writing in Latin between Boethius and Anselm. A Christian Neoplatonist, he developed a unique synthesis between the Neoplatonic traditions of Pseudo-Dionysius and Augustine. Eriugena knew Greek, which was highly unusual in the West at that time, and his translations of Dionysius and other Greek authors provided access to a theological tradition hitherto unknown in the Latin West. From these sources, Eriugena produced an original cosmology with Nature as the first principle. Nature, the totality of all things that are and are not, includes both God and creation, and has four divisions: nature which creates and is not created, nature which creates and is created, nature which is created and does not create, and nature which is neither created nor creates. These divisions participate in the cosmic procession of creatures from God and in their return to God. As everything takes place within Nature, God is present in all four divisions. Eriugena influenced twelfth-century Neoplatonists but was condemned in the thirteenth century for teaching the identity of God and creation.

Citing this article:
Moran, Dermot. Eriugena, Johannes Scottus (c.800–c.877), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B038-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2023 Routledge.

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