Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres - Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (Hardback)
  • Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres - Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (Hardback)

Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres - Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (Hardback)

Hardback 512 Pages / Published: 10/07/2014
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The writings of theologians Thierry of Chartres (d. 1157) and Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464) represent a lost history of momentous encounters between Christianity and Pythagorean ideas before the Renaissance. Their robust Christian Neopythagoreanism reconceived the Trinity and the Incarnation within the framework of Greek number theory, challenging our contemporary assumptions about the relation of religion and modern science. David Albertson surveys the slow formation of theologies of the divine One from the Old Academy through ancient Neoplatonism into the Middle Ages. Against this backdrop, Thierry of Chartres's writings stand out as the first authentic retrieval of Neopythagoreanism within western Christianity. By reading Boethius and Augustine against the grain, Thierry reactivated a suppressed potential in ancient Christian traditions that harmonized the divine Word with notions of divine Number. Despite achieving fame during his lifetime, Thierry's ideas remained well outside the medieval mainstream. Three centuries later Nicholas of Cusa rediscovered anonymous fragments of Thierry and his medieval readers, and drew on them liberally in his early works. Yet tensions among this collection of sources forced Cusanus to reconcile their competing understandings of Word and Number. Over several decades Nicholas eventually learned how to articulate traditional Christian doctrines within a fully mathematized cosmologyanticipating the situation of modern Christian thought after the seventeenth century. Mathematical Theologies skillfully guides readers through the newest scholarship on Pythagoreanism, the school of Chartres, and Cusanus, while revising some of the categories that have separated those fields in the past.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780199989737
Number of pages: 512
Weight: 796 g
Dimensions: 236 x 162 x 42 mm

This is the most insightful and learned monograph on Nicholas of Cusa to appear in the last decade. Cusanus scholars will have to grapple with his new reading of the Chartrian lines of influence, including his brilliant insight into Nicholas's alleged forgery. Even more exciting is the new sketch for the pre-history of today's debates about science and theology. Are the intellectual presuppositions of our spiritual a-cosmism only to be found within the age of Galileo or can the ancient and medieval synthesis of arithmetic and Incarnation still speak to us? Albertson adds considerable depth and light to that pressing discussion. * Peter Casarella, University of Notre Dame and President, American Cusanus Society *
The heritage of Pythagoras has influenced Western thought for two-and-a-half millennia. One of the neglected aspects of this tradition was the development of Christian Neopythagoreanism in Late Antiquity and its rebirth in the twelfth century with the early scholastic Thierry of Chartres. David Albertson's wide-ranging and impressive book uncovers the significance of Thierry's mathematical theology and demonstrates its powerful influence on the Renaissance Cardinal and speculative thinker Nicholas of Cusa. Mathematical Theologies is a ground-breaking study in the history of Western theology and a major new interpretation of Cusanus. * Bernard McGinn, University of Chicago *
Mathematization is usually regarded as the central element in the transition from medieval theology to modern science. David Albertsons genealogical study of the roots of Nicholas of Cusas thought in the Christian Neopythagoreanism of Thierry of Chartres demonstrates that theology and mathematics did not always go separate ways. What if, in our age of unprecedented quantification, Word and Number could be made to meet once again? That is the provocative question of this brilliant book. * Philipp W. Rosemann, University of Dallas *
This book is a brilliant example of how much the history of ideas can still add to the history of practices, especially scholarly practices. * Richard J. Oosterhoff, Isis *

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