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By Harry Blamires (auth.)

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There is a sermon cited by Frederick Coplestone in his History of Philosophy (volume II: Mediaeval Philosophy) 'where the Saint depicts the human soul questioning the things of sense and hearing them confess that the beauty of the visible world, of mutable things, is the creation and reflection of immutable Beauty'. 4 When men go in search of what is immutable, Augustine declares, they arrive 'at knowledge of God the Creator by means of the things which He created'. We spoke of St Augustine as a fit representative of the historical development which pushed literary criticism out of the domain of intellectual life for several centuries.

It cannot be said that aesthetic theory benefited much from the consequent debates. But one or two thinkers, pagan and Christian, had influence on the direction of aesthetic theory when the Renaissance brought it to life again. 205-270), born perhaps in Egypt, who studied under Ammonius at Alexandria. Ammonius, a thinker who was born a Christian but reverted to paganism, had among his pupils the great Christian father Origen as well as Plotinus. The school of philosophy which Plotinus represented is known as 'Neoplatonism' because it THE MIDDLE AGES 27 expounded doctrines derived and developed from the metaphysics of Plato with its strong mystical orientation.

But in no sense does this primacy of faith produce a collision with the demand of the human reason. There are many truths about the existence of God as creator and sustainer of the world which the human reason can arrive at without recourse to revelation. And the revealed truths, to which the human reason could never have attained without the gift of revelation, are never offensive to reason. On the contrary, they fill up by enrichment and amplification what reason would presuppose on its own grounds: there is a perfect interplay of revealed truth with reason's own assumptions.

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