Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Seraph of the Heart

From Idle Speculations

The mysticism of Saint Bonaventura was peculiar in that it was based on a theory of knowledge in which all degrees of knowledge were similarly direct, immediate, and nonrational. One sees God's traces in the sensory world; one sees His image in the mind; one sees His goodness in human goodness; one sees His powers in the operations of our own powers--it is always a question of direct seeing.

Thus we have the possibility of real, rather than notional, assent in all fields of knowledge. We are not forced to know about things; we can know them. We have, to use other familiar terms, direct acquaintance with, rather than descriptions of, them. In other words, there is never any real need for rational discourse, for erudition.

The simplest man of good will can see God as clearly as the most learned scholar. That made a philosophy such as this a perfect instrument for the Christian, for throughout the Christian tradition ran a current of anti-intellectualism.

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