Who Is Ioannes Scotus Eriugena?June 25, 2021
Erigena, with her philosophy that smells of pantheism, defended similar views in some aspects with philosophers such as Cusanus, Bruno and Spinoza who came after her.
Born in Ireland, Erigena went to France in 845 after completing his education here. Erigena, who is one of the most important people of his age in terms of knowledge, wrote “De Praedestinatione” (On Predestination).
In this work, he opposed the view that man’s destiny is predetermined, and argued that the solution of the problem should not be sought in traditional authorities or church fathers, but only the power of reason. Because of the ideas he put forward here, Erigena was convicted by the councils of Valence and Langres, convened in 855 and 859. But the king of France II. The sentence given under Charles’ protection was not implemented.
Erigena includes the works of some of the Greek church fathers; He translated Corpus Areopagiticum, Maximus Confessor’s De Ambiguis (On Disputes), Gregorius of Nissa’s Dehominisopificio (On the Work of Man) into Latin. De Divisione Naturae (On the Division of Nature), which he wrote in 866 or 867, is his most important work. Between 865 and 870, he wrote a statement on the Gospel of John with the Expositiones SuperIerarchiam Caeiestem (Proceedings on the Celestial Hierarchy) that tried to resolve some of the problems in Corpus Areopajjiti Cum. It has also been claimed that Erigena was killed by monks around 877.
The ideas developed by DeDivisione Naturae de Erigena, written in the form of a dialogue, are under the influence of Pseudo Dionysios, Maximus Confessor, Augustine and Gregorius of Nissa. On the other hand, it is under the influence of a dialectic based on Aristotle’s Categories and DeInterpretstione. Erigena calls everything that exists and does not exist “nature”. However, she claims that the existence of those who exist in nature is not absolute, but relative. In this form, things that we cannot notice with our senses and cannot think with our minds are also in nature. Therefore, for him, expressing the division of nature is nothing but revealing the way it works. According to Erigena, the mind has a structure, a functioning that can reflect the structure of existing things. The mind can grasp the dialectic of the universe. Therefore, what Erigena does is a kind of metaphysics.
The highest step of nature is God, who is determined as “creative and uncreated nature”. The essence of God cannot be known. This unknowability is an absolute unknowability. It is not just an unknown for the human mind. Therefore, God is not only inexpressible in his absolute transcendence, but also the only true reality, completely different from anything that man can understand and think. It is impossible for man to say anything about God. Because there is no name that best represents it. By separating God from all created things and saying that he is not like objects in the world of sense, one can only guess about his transcendence.
A wide variety of propositions can be made to understand God, but these propositions seem contradictory. God cannot be put outside of “everything” because in this case the existence of something called “everything” cannot be understood, but on the other hand, God does not form a unity with everything. Because everything is determined by its limits, but God transcends it. On the other hand, the unity of God and the trinity are symbolic words: “Oneness” represents the simplicity and integrity of the principle; the holy trinity shows that its unity is not a sterile one but a dynamic one. But everything said about God is nothing more than trying to find clues to the truth. God never falls into any category. Because with these categories, man can only understand the finite.
Regarding God, “There is.” It can be said, but “It is what is.” cannot be said. Also “There is.” When it is said, it is said that it is beyond existence. The various adjectives used in relation to God are due to the lack of human knowledge. Only he can know God; for it is transcendent to all possible categories. In this sense God is united with nothingness rather than being, on the other hand, he is the supreme cause of all things. Therefore, nothing can be outside of it. Everything that exists is from Him, in Him, and towards Him. God is the beginning, middle and end of everything. The fact that all beings are in God means that all beings are God, and for this, “God is everything and everything is God.” According to Erigena, it is not contradictory that God is both transcendent to objects and that God is immanent in objects.For him, while God created everything, he actually became everything.Creation depends on God’s will, is a natural process, and is the result of absolute will.
He always regards all these contradictions in Erigena’s views, which he claims to be in existence, as complementary elements to each other, but the contradiction between the Greek view of nature and the Christian dogma’s acceptance of God as a creation from nothing is as true for Erigena as it is for many medieval thinkers. The second part of nature is “the created and the creator nature”: the second part of nature.