From Puritanism to Platonism in Seventeenth Century England by James Deotis Roberts

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By James Deotis Roberts

The study of Professor J. D. Roberts has me for a number of years. It has me simply because he has been operating in a very wealthy sector of highbrow heritage. Even earlier than Professor Whitehead taught us to talk of the 17th century because the "century of genius," many people seemed with ask yourself at the creativity of the boys who produced spiritual and philosophical literature in that interval of contro­ versy and of strength. It used to be, in a most unique approach, a flowering time of the human spirit. the current quantity is dedicated to 1 attention-grabbing bankruptcy within the historical past of principles. we all know now, much better than we knew a new release in the past, how incendiary Puritan rules particularly have been. they'd super effects, lots of which proceed to at the present time, even with the absurd cartoon of Puritanism, that's popularly accredited. the easiest of Milton's contemporaries have been nice thinkers in addition to nice doers.

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They added no essentially new feature to this picture, nor did they have the courage and capacity for historical criticism. Plato is for them the living proof that true philosophy is never opposed to genuine Christianity. On the other hand there is something new and different in English humanism which comes out in Whichcote and his school. Even though humanism in England has its roots in Continental and especially Italian humanism, it exhibits basic differences. Italian humanism at first sought to make peace with religion; but this was mainly for the purpose of increasing its influence over the Church.

By Virginia Conant (New York, 1943), p. 7. of Marsilio 3 Kristeller, Ibid. p. viii. Elsewhere Kristeller states that through his translations and commentaries, Ficino did for Plato, Plotinus and other ancient philosophers what the humanists did for the ancient Greek orators, poets and historians. Ibid. p. II. Cf. Robb, Ibid. pp. 85-86. Kristeller adds that Ficino combines mediaeval Aristotelianism and the ChristianPlatonism of the Church Fathers and Augustine. Ficino is also in direct contact with Plato and the ancient Neo-Platonists.

Pp. 28-29, 322-323. 1 2 30 FROM ATHENS TO CAMBRIDGE We must not think (he writes to Johannes Pannonius) that the subtle and philosophical minds of men can ever be gradually enticed and led to the perfect religion by any lure other than a philosophical one. For subtle minds trust themselves only to reason, and if they receive religion from a religious philosopher, at once and of their own volition they recognize religion in general and from there more readily to the best species of religion included in that genus.

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