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West European Studies Essay

1. The three-fold divisions of learning by Augustine were: ? Physical- he related it to the working of nature, and posited that there was a cause to all things- the principle of cause-effect. ? Education- the acquisition of knowledge followed some rules, i. e. the methodology of science and procedures used in scientific studies and systematic experimentations ? Practice- Augustine argued that life had some meaning and an end, which people sought in their daily lives through actions and practicing of ideologies and principles. 2. The seven liberal arts outlined by Martianus Capella were:

a) The Trivium which comprised of;  Grammar Rhetoric  Logic/dialectic b) The Quadrivium which included; Arithmetic  Geometry  Music  Astronomy Grammar taught one how to write words and understand their meaning. Music signified the cardinal virtues of temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice. Logic was necessary to help individuals distinguish right from wrong so as to avoid evil deeds. Rhetoric was the art of effective use of language to speak eloquently. Geometry was useful in measuring space, distance such as fields and cities.

Arithmetic was significant as it aided in assigning numerical values- counting objects. Lastly, astronomy was used to foretell luck or misfortune- it was an essential art in predicting the future. 3. According to St. Augustine, pagan learning was reliant on logic and skeptical criticism of scripture. It appealed to observable evidence and to those things that are physically provable. St. Augustine taught that Christians should shun those elements, which undermined their faith by challenging beliefs that could not be substantiated with physical evidence, e. g. the existence of God.

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By appealing to logic, therefore, pagan learning dismissed the spiritual aspect of life to which Christianity was intimately connected. Nonetheless, he recognized the significant of logic and reason in a Christian’s life. He observed that the scripture was given by God’s inspiration for correction and reproof of character. Thus, to understand its teachings, believers ought to examine its contents critically to make correct interpretations. At the same time, logic reflected the logical and orderliness of God’s nature, represented by the order he perfected in His creation.

Similarly, logical reasoning makes a significant contribution to the ordering of life in the world. Without logic, there would be chaos and conflicts among men. Reason appeals to the common sense that compels people to observe basic rules and obligations. 4. Hugh of St. Victor outlined four types of philosophy in his quaternary of the arts. The first three are concerned with human character, as they shape people into better mortal beings. They include: ? Truth, which is derived from theoretical philosophy- through abstract reasoning and contemplations that leads to insights about acceptable principles

Practical philosophy which leads to good virtues that guides human conduct ? Mechanical philosophy which reliefs men from physical burdens ? Logic enables men to make clear and realistic conclusions concerning the preceding three philosophies. 5. The seven mechanical arts as defined by Hugh of St. Victor are: ? Fabric- it is necessary as man is essentially naked, lacking in the fur that is endowed to wild animals ? Armaments- necessitated due to man’s innate weakness for his lack of defensive mechanisms such as the teeth and claws of animals.

Commerce- it is necessary to reconcile the world’s nations that have become divided by selfish aspirations. It leads to international relations and diplomacy that calms wars, enhances peaceful negotiations and achieves the greatest good of individual possessions.  Agriculture- it is a compensation of hard labor, what Hugh called the ‘brow’s sweat’ that goes back to Adam’s time, when the ground was cursed such that he had to sweat for a living.  Hunting was a skill necessary to help man get food by preying on wild animals

Theatrics- the sooth the mind through laughter, and by providing relaxation and refreshment to a tired spirit; probably after a day’s work. 6. The four senses of scripture of St. Gregory the Great are: literal sense, allegorical sense, moral/tropological sense and the anagogical sense. a) Literal sense- it reveals the plain facts about events or things. For instance, the creation of Adam as explained in the Book of Genesis is a literal understanding of scripture, since the events happened just the way they are stated.

b) Allegorical sense- it goes beyond what is plainly stated, to arrive at a meaning that is both metaphorical and symbolic. For instance, the creation of Eve from Adam’s rib symbolizes the subordinate role that a woman plays in her relation to man. This is exemplified in the family unit where the man is the head of the household. Similarly, it symbolizes the significance of marriage, since a woman, with her one rib taken from Adam, is considered incomplete. Consequently, she must seek completeness by uniting with her source- Adam/man.

c) Moral sense- it derives from the Greek word “trepein,” which means ‘to turn. ’ In scriptural interpretation, it refers to the act of ‘turning’ ideas, principles and divine teachings into deeds. It is reflected in an individual’s life through good deeds to all people. In the scripture, the parables of Jesus were reflections on the moral conduct of men. For instance, the parable about the Good Samaritan represents real life situations where Christians are called upon to help those in need, and not to be like the uncaring Levite who walked past the robbed man on his way to Jericho.

d) Anagogical sense- it refers to the interpretation of scripture teaching within the wider context of eternity. It attaches a universal meaning to divine concepts, which transcends all boundaries of space and time. For instance, the reference to the Lord’s feast in Mathew 22 signifies the eternal happiness to be enjoyed by the save in heaven. Likewise, the new Jerusalem refers to God’s City, the kingdom that shall reign forever after the second coming.

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