The Division Of Nature (Periphyseon). John Scotus Eriugena. Book I. TEACHER: Often I investigate as carefully as I can and reflect that of all things which can. John Scotus Eriugena (c/) Works (Selected List). Periphyseon ( The Division of Nature, ) Such is the first division of nature into genera. Eriugena is mainly remembered for his volu- minous work the Periphyseon [On Nature] or, in its Latin title, De Divisione. Naturae [The Division of Nature).

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Eriugena believes he has articulated the universality thee comprehensive nature of humanity but not its uniqueness in this definition. Moreover, the fourth is distinguished by its inability to be.

John Scotus Eriugena (Boston Collaborative Encyclopedia of Western Theology)

This mirroring of God in man occurs especially in the cognitive domain. If at the moment of transfiguration Christ’s two vestments appeared as white as snow, namely, the letter of Divine Scripture and the form of visible things, why should we be obliged so carefully to attach ourselves to xcotus of these vestments and merit to find him who wears it, and prevented from considering the other, namely, the visible creature? The third mode I. For if Christ Who understands of all things, Who indeed is the understanding of all things, really unified all that He assumed, who doubts then that what first took place in the Head and principal Exemplar of the whole of human nature will eventually happen civision the whole?

Only God truly is, Erigena continues, to quote Denis the Areopagite esse omnium est superesse divinitas and to cite Gregory of Nyssa: The return of being to God through human nature is accomplished in five stages according to Erigena. If you want to use text or stories from these pages, please contact me at the feedback address for permission. Erigena asks after the etymology of the Greek term for God, “theos,” and suggests that it comes either from the Greek word for seeing or from the word meaning to run.


Though Book IV of the Periphyseon has the appearance of a Biblical commentary, dialectic also plays a privileged role. A fragmentary Commentary on the Gospel of St. Human nature is originally a Platonic Idea in the mind of God: Consider the following passage from Book Two: The earth which is found in the middle in the manner of a center is history around which, like water, flows the sea of the moral sense: Furthermore, knowledge of the Ideas could not be derived from material things.

Erigena considers existence apart from God a diminished sort of being. He is generally recognized to be both the outstanding philosopher in terms of originality of the Carolingian era and of the whole period of Latin philosophy stretching from Boethius to Anselm. The first critical editions of his major works were not produced until the twentieth century.

Das System des Johannes Scottus Eriugena. Man did not lose completely the dignity of his nature after sin. God is “superessential,” and transcends whatever is essential or accidental. Upper Saddle River, N. Since God transcends diviaion God is duly nothing, so creation may be considered a divine process from nothing into otherness. They are the prototypes of worldly things.

That the image exists can be known by its effect human naturebut what it zcotus, as being a cause in God, transcends our knowledge. Eriugena stresses both the divine transcendence above and immanence in creation.

A History of Western Philosophy

The Periphyseon was popular among the philosophers of Chartres and St. Since the causes are immaterial, intellectual and eternal, so their created effects are essentially incorporeal, immaterial, intellectual, and eternal. There are several remarkable aspects of this division. Eriugena refers to the theosis or deification of human nature at Periphyseon I.

This is based on a dedication in the book identifying as frater brother Wulfadwho was made a bishop inmaking it unlikely that Eriugena would have used so casual a reference after that elevation.

Erigena indicates his opposition to nautre view by the very language he uses in speaking of the primordial causes. Each genus or species of being participates in the reality of a genus or species higher than itself, and is participated in by a genus or species lower than itself.


It is oh certain that Johannes had been installed for some time at the court of Charles the Bald, the Westfrankish king, but he was also associated with other ecclesiastical centers, including Rheims, Laon, Soissons and Compigne. Nothing is known about Eriugena’s place johhn date of birth or of the circumstances of his early life, but, on the basis of circumstantial evidence and some surviving testimonia helpfully gathered in Brennan,it is conjectured that he was born in Ireland around or possibly slightly earlier c.

This thoroughness lands him in a difficulty he might have avoided had he settled for the universal statement. That is, to be a man is not to be an angel and vice versa. Two partial commentaries c.

Part II: The Carolingian Renaissance

For Pseudo-Dionysius, we do not know God directly but know Him only through his theophaniaior divine appearances Pseudo-Dionysius, Divine Namesch. First of all, division is defined by Eriugena in De praedestinatione as a branch of dialectic.

Life and Writings 1. For just as one mohn from sense to understanding, so by way of the creature one goes to God.

For Eriugena, true philosophy is vera ratio and indeed, all appeal to authority is nothing other than an appeal to right reason PeriphyseonI. The order of the universe has been established by Divine Providence.

Corporeal things will return to their incorporeal causes, the temporal to the eternal, the acotus will be absorbed in the infinite.