Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version)

And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you; if you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments;  but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments.” And they said to him, “Put your riddle, that we may hear it.”

And he said to them, “Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet.” And they could not in three days tell what the riddle was.    Judges 14:12-14

Epictetus 55-135 AD

  • Consider that you are the interpreter of a role whose character is determined by the Master.
  • Now there are two sorts of obstinacy: the one, of the intellect; the other, of the will.
  • And what is reason?

Justin Martyr 100-165

For Plato says, said I, that the eye of the mind is such, and was given us for this purpose, that we may with it, when it is single and uncorrupted, see that very being which is the cause of all those things which are the objects of the understanding; which has neither colour, nor shape, nor size, nor any thing which the eye can discern. (Dialogue with Typhro the Jew)

Lucian, of Samosata 125-200

Works from Gutenberg

Two women had hold of my hands, and were trying vehemently and persistently to draw me each her way; I was nearly pulled in two with their contention; now one would prevail and all but get entire possession of me, now I would fall to the other again. (The Vision)


Tertullian 160-ca. 230 AD

Others deceive themselves by fancying that they can retain the property of others which they may have found as an equivalent for their own property which they have lost. In this way verily, just as the Boradi and Goths brought the havoc of war on them, they make themselves Boradi and Goths to others.

Origen Adamantius 184-253

Into the hands of His Father He commends not His soul, but His spirit; and when He says that the flesh is weak, He does not say that the soul is willing, but the spirit: whence it appears that the soul is something intermediate between the weak flesh and the willing spirit.

Gregory Thaumaturgus 213-270

  • A Declaration of Faith
    A Metaphrase of the Book of Ecclesiastes
    The Oration and Panegyric addressed to Origen

In the exercise of a truly divine and wise forethought he brought us together, who were unknown to each other, and strangers, and foreigners, separated as thoroughly from each other as intervening nations, and mountains, and rivers can divide man from man, and thus he made good this meeting which has been full of profit to me, having, as I judge, provided beforehand this blessing for me from above from my very birth and earliest upbringing.

Methodius of Olympus (d. 311)

Uboulios. — You have arrived most seasonably, Gregorion, for I have just been looking for you, wanting to hear of the meeting of Marcella and Theopatra, and of the other virgins who were present at the banquet, and of the nature of their discourses on the subject of chastity; for it is said that they argued with such ability and power that there was nothing lacking to the full consideration of the subject.

Augustine of Hippo 354-430

“I would lay open before my God that nine-and-twentieth year of mine age. There had then come to Carthage a certain Bishop of the Manichees, Faustus by name, a great snare of the Devil, and many were entangled by him through that lure of his smooth language: which though I did commend, yet could I separate from the truth of the things which I was earnest to learn: nor did I so much regard the service of oratory as the science which this Faustus, so praised among them, set before me to feed upon.

Fame had before bespoken him most knowing in all valuable learning, and exquisitely skilled in the liberal sciences. And since I had read and well remembered much of the philosophers, I compared some things of theirs with those long fables of the Manichees, and found the former the more probable; even although they could only prevail so far as to make judgment of this lower world, the Lord of it they could by no means find out.

For Thou art great, O Lord, and hast respect unto the humble, but the proud Thou beholdest afar off. Nor dost Thou draw near, but to the contrite in heart, nor art found by the proud, no, not though by curious skill they could number the stars and the sand, and measure the starry heavens, and track the courses of the planets.”

Leo the Great 400-461

We must love both God and our neighbour, and “our neighbour” must be interpreted in its widest sense.

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite 532

  • Works
  • On Divine Names etc.

Since Almighty God is superessentially Being, but the Being is bequeathed to things being, and produces the whole Essences; that One Being is said to be fashioned in many forms, by the production from Itself of the many beings, whilst It remains undiminished, and One in the multiplicity, and Unified during the progression, and complete in the distinction, both by being superessentially exalted above all beings, and by the unique production of the whole; and by the unlessened stream of His undiminished distributions.

Saint John of Damascus 675-749

God, however, did not leave us in absolute ignorance. For the knowledge of God’s existence has been implanted by Him in all by nature.

Willibald of Mainz 760

The illustrious and truly blessed life of Saint Boniface the archbishop, and his character, consecrated particularly by imitation of the saints, as I have learned them from the narratives of pious men, who, having zealously attended upon his daily conversation and the way of his piety, handed down to posterity as an example those things which they heard or saw: this life and character I seek, hindered as I am by the darkness of knowledge, to interweave in the meager warp of this work and to present concisely in the plain garb of history; and from the beginning even unto the end, with the most thorough investigation in my power, to reveal the sanctity of his divine contemplation.

St. Anselm, (1033-1109)  1903 translation of all these works

Anselm. The will of God ought to suffice us for a reason when He does a thing, although we may not see why He so wills it, for the will of God is never unreasonable.

Boso. That is true, if it be admitted that God did will the way in which it is done. Many, however, will by no means allow that God wills a thing, if it seem contrary to reason.

Saint Bernard 1090-1153

Do you suppose that He depends on the service of a bodily sense to contemplate the things which His Hands have made? No! He is the Light omnipresent which nothing can ever escape, yet He needs not the ministry of sensitive faculties to put Him in possession of knowledge. And not alone does He know all things without a bodily medium, but also, without a bodily medium He reveals Himself to the clean of heart.

Peter the Lombard 1100-1160

Book one opens with Augustine’s distinction between things and signs and between enjoyment and use.

Distinction X: That all souls have a good angel to guard them and an evil one to train them.

John of Salisbury died 1180

Our own generation enjoys the legacy bequeathed to it by that which preceded it. We frequently know more, not because we have moved ahead by our own natural ability, but because we are supported by the [mental] strength of others, and possess riches that we have inherited from our forefathers. Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature. P. 167

Albertus Magnus 1200-1280

How needful is it, then, that the soul, lifted upon the wings of reverence and humble confidence, should rise above itself and every creature by entire detachment, and should be able to say within itself: He Whom I seek, love, desire, among all, more than all, and above all, cannot be perceived by the senses or the imagination, for He is above both the senses and the understanding.

He cannot be perceived by the senses, yet He is the object of all our desires; He is without shape, but He is supremely worthy of our heart’s deepest love.

He is beyond compare, and to the pure in heart greatly to be desired. Above all else is He sweet and love-worthy; His goodness and perfection are infinite.

Saint Bonaventura (1221-1274)

According to this triple progress, our minds have three principal outlooks. The first is toward corporeal things without, and with reference to this it is called animality or sensuality. The second is directed inward upon and into itself, and with reference to this it is called spirit. The third is directed upward above itself, and in reference to this it is called mind. With all these it must dispose itself to ascend to God, that it may love him with the whole mind, the whole heart, and the whole soul, in which consist at once perfect observance of the law and Christian Wisdom.

Meister Eckhart 1260-1327

He says ‘every gift.’ The very best and the very highest, these are innate gifts and in him the most innate of all. God gives nothing so gladly as great gifts. Once in this very place I said, God likes forgiving big sins more than small ones. The bigger they are the gladder he is and the quicker to forgive them. It is the same with graces, gifts, and virtues: the greater they are the greater his pleasure in bestowing them, for the giving of largesse is his nature. The bigger the things and the better the more shall ye get.

John van Ruysbroeck 1293-1381

To those who live after His Commandments:  And they, who in their hearts despise the world, Shall mount the steps of Heaven, And shall be filled with the Grace of God, Inasmuch as they follow His Counsels. They, who have emptied themselves of the things of earth, Shall be fulfilled with Love, Which is as a great Weight in the scales, Outweighing all earthly ties, Prevailing over flesh and blood, And speeding us towards every virtue.

Johannes Tauler, ca. 1300-1361

On the various and especial works of the nine choirs of Holy Angels in man, in his threefold state and being; that is in the outer man, his powers of reason, and in his being, formed in the Image of God. How, by their care and supervision, he may be enabled to attain to the very highest degree of Perfection in a spiritual life.

The Cloud of Unknowing 1350?

Sir John Mandeville 1300-1371

The Travels of Sir John Mandeville

Francesco Petrarca 1304-1374

It needs but a trifle sometimes, when the soul is emerging from its miseries, to plunge it quite back once more into the abyss. To see the purple on the shoulders of another will rouse again all our sleeping ambition; the sight of a little pile of money sets up our thirst for gold; one look at some fair lady will stir again our desire; the light glance of an eye will awaken sleeping love.

Walter Hilton 1340-1396

Thus I find in the gospel that the woman of Canaan asked of our Lord health to her daughter that was travailed with a fiend, and our Lord made first refusal because that she was an alien. Nevertheless she ceased not for to cry, till our Lord had granted -her her asking and said to her thus: O woman, mickle is thy trowth; be it to thee right as thou wilt. And in the same hour was her daughter whole.

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464)

Chapter One: How it is that knowing is not-knowing? every inquiry proceeds by means of a comparative relation, whether an easy or a difficult one. Hence, the infinite, qua infinite, is unknown; for it escapes all comparative relation.


Thomas Fuller – A History of the University of Cambridge

  • The low Condition of Cambridge at the Conquest. William the Conqueror. A.D. 1066. At this time the fountain of learning in Cambridge was but little, and that very troubled. For of late the Danes (who at first, like an intermitting ague, made but inroads into the kingdom, but afterwards turned to a quotidian of constant habitation) had harassed all this country, and hereabouts kept their station. Mars then frighted away the Muses, when the Mount of Parnassus was turned into a fort, and Helicon derived into a trench. And at this present, king William the Conqueror, going to subdue the monks of Ely that resisted him, made Cambridgeshire the seat of war. Cambridge Castle built by King William. A.D. 1070.
  • A.D. 1214—1217 Most miserable at this time was the condition of Cambridge. For the barons, to despite king John, with their forces harassed and destroyed the town and county thereof, taking Cambridge Castle by assault; and no wonder, when only twenty men were found therein, not enough to make good the twentieth part thereof, —such then was its capacity and extent. To cry quits with the barons, William earl of Salisbury, and Falk de Brent, (king John’s favourite,) replundered Cambridgeshire; leaving nothing worth any thing behind them, that was not too hot or too heavy for them to carry away

Jakob Böhme 1575-1624

The soul spoke: “I want to eat from the knowledge of good and evil, in order that I arbitrarily govern all things, and be my own lord on earth. Thus I do what I want, like God himself.”

The devil spoke: “I am a ruler of the world. If you want to rule on earth you must apply your longing towards my image, in order that you obtain the intellect of my image.” And before the soul he depicted Mercury in Vulcan, as the fiery wheel of the essence, in the shape of a serpent.

Rene Descartes 1596-1650

I. THAT in order to seek truth, it is necessary once in the course of our life, to doubt, as far as possible, of all things.
II. That we ought also to consider as false all that is doubtful.
III. That we ought not meanwhile to make use of doubt in the conduct of life.

But as one is restrained from assenting to these doctrines by experience, which shows that they who make pretensions to philosophy are often less wise and reasonable than others who never applied themselves to the study, I should have here shortly explained wherein consists all the science we now possess, and what are the degrees of wisdom at which we have arrived.

The first degree contains only notions so clear of themselves that they can be acquired without meditation; the second comprehends all that the experience of the senses dictates; the third, that which the conversation of other men teaches us; to which may be added as the fourth, the reading, not of all books, but especially of such as have been written by persons capable of conveying proper instruction, for it is a species of conversation we hold with their authors.

And it seems to me that all the wisdom we in ordinary possess is acquired only in these four ways; for I do not class divine revelation among them, because it does not conduct us by degrees, but elevates us at once to an infallible faith.

There have been, indeed, in all ages great minds who endeavoured to find a fifth road to wisdom, incomparably more sure and elevated than the other four.

The path they essayed was the search of first causes and true principles, from which might be deduced the reasons of all that can be known by man; and it is to them the appellation of philosophers has been more especially accorded. I am not aware that there is any one of them up to the present who has succeeded in this enterprise.

  • Elements of Natural Philosophy, by John Locke 1632-1704
  • Matter, or body, is indifferent to motion or rest.
  • all bodies have a tendency, attraction, or gravitation towards one another.
  • these, telescopes have discovered several fixed stars, invisible to the naked eye.
  • They are called planets from a Greek word, which signifies wandering
  • The moon moves about the earth, as the earth doth about the sun;
  • What lies deeper towards the centre of the earth we know not.
  • The understanding of man does so surpass that of brutes,that some are of opinion brutes are mere machines.

John Locke, Four Letters on Toleration

John Locke 1632-1704 , Essays for the Understanding of St. Paul’s Epistles, by Consulting St. Paul Himself

  • To go about to explain any of St. Paul’s epistles, after so great a train of expositors and commentators, might seem an attempt of vanity
  • St. Paul’s epistles, as they stand translated in our English Bibles, are now, by long and constant use, become a part of the English language
  • In the ages wherein Platonism prevailed, the converts to Christianity of that school, on all occasions, interpreted holy writ according to the notions they had imbibed from that philosophy.

The philosophical works of Gottfried Wilhelm (von) Leibnitz 1646-1716
Reflections on Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding- 1696.

  • The first book considers mainly the principles said to be born with us. Mr. Locke does not admit them any more than he does innate ideas.
  • My opinion is, then, that nothing ought to be taken as primitive principles except experiences and the axiom of identity, or, what is
    the same thing, contradiction, which is primitive, since otherwise
    there would be no difference between truth and falsehood; and
    since all researches would cease at the start if to say yes or no were
  • I have found that these things had not been well understood. I am in no wise in favor of the Tabula rasa of Aristotle; and there is something sound in what Plato called reminiscence. There is even something more, for we have not only a reminiscence of all our past thoughts but also & presentiment of all our future thoughts.

Isaac Newton 1642-1727

Emile by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)  1762

  • God makes all things good; man meddles with them and they become evil.
  • this being, whoever he may be, who moves the universe and orders all things, is what I call God.
  • We hold that no child who dies before the age of reason will be deprived of everlasting happiness.
  • shall we make of Emile a knight-errant, a redresser of wrongs, a paladin?

Christ or Socrates by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  • Gotthold Ephraim Lessing,1729-1781
    Hermann Samuel Reimarus  1694-1768

Fragments from Reimarus 1774

  • If salvation was alone to be found in the name of Jesus, if all who did not believe in him were to be everlastingly damned, and as this creed must have been handed down from the sayings of Jesus himself, it followed that ninety-nine hundredths of the human race, those who either had never heard of Christ or of salvation to be obtained through him, or those who had not been able to convince themselves of it, were unmercifully sentenced, after this short life, to ever- lasting torment ; and this not for the sake of making them better, but to punish them, and to satisfy God’s unquenchable wrath, for a sin committed in the beginning of Creation, and a sin of which they themselves were guiltless.

Friedrich Schleiermacher 1768-1834

The Illumination had been working in Germany for about twenty years, and was now everywhere prevalent, and all the zeal of the Moravian teachers could not stop the chinks whereby the flood was entering. Their suspicion and their attempts at discipline only hastened the catastrophe; and soon by manifold departure the poor club was scattered to the winds. Among the first, Friedrich Schleiermacher felt that he also must be gone, if all his doubts were not to harden into absolute unbelief.

In 1787, after overcoming much bitter opposition from his father, Schleiermacher entered Halle as a student. Halle was then at the height of its fame, and was almost entirely dominated by the spirit of the Illumination. This was the ground of his choice, for he believed that if ever he was to reach a fuller faith, it must be by hearing everything that could be said against it.

During his two years stay in Halle, he came entirely under the influence of the prevailing ideas. “I have always believed,” he says in a letter to his father, “that examination and investigation and the patient interrogation of all witnesses and of all parties, is the only means for attaining sufficient certainty, and above all for setting a fast boundary between that on which a man must take a side and that which, without injury to his peace and happiness, may be left undecided: ” a pretty accurate summary of the Illumination ideal.

The “Speeches on Religion” were first published in 1799

On religion; speeches to its cultured despisers by Schleiermacher, Friedrich, 1768-1834; Oman, John, 1860-1939 Publication date 1893 Introduction xiv – xv

The Aufklarung

  • The Aufklärung was an essentially German school of rationalist philosophy that began in 1706 when Christian Wolff (1679–1754).
  • If I have a book that thinks for me.
  • The doctrine of the universal spirit is good in itself.
  • Fichte was thirteen years of age, Fichte entered this seminary.
  • a “philosophical mind,” “philosophical lawyer,” “philosophical historian,” “philosophical newspaper-writer”.

Anthropology by Immanuel Kant 1798

  • The man who has learned nothing of that which must be taught in order to be known is called an ignoramus
  • To distinguish in the representation of the conceptions that belong to morality, which constitutes the essence of religion, and that therefore appertain to pure reason (which conceptions are called ideas0, the symbolical from the intellectual part – church-service from religion-and thus to separate and perhaps, temporarily useful and necessary hull form the subject-matter itself – this is enlightenment” since otherwise an ideal (of pure, practical reason) would be exchanged for an idol, and the object aimed at would thus be missed.
  • The senses of taste and smell are both more subjective than objective.
  • that of Descartes, with his so-called material ideas in the brain.
  • Profound pondering (melancholia) may also be a mere imagination of misery.
  • Together with the germs of propagation we find the germ of insanity, which also is inherited. It is dangerous to marry into families were even one person has been so affected. For, no matter how many children a married couple may have had who have not had this taint-because, for instance they took after their father, grandfather or other paternal ancestors-still if the mother has had only  one insanely tainted child (no matter how free she is herself from the taint), she will at one time give birth to a child which, takin after her mother, as one can see by the bodily resemblance, will show this inherited trace of insanity.
  • The talented author of the “Oceana,” Mr. Harrington, had the notion that his exhalations (affluvia) burst from his skin in the shape of flies. Now, this may well have originated in electric effects upon a body so surcharged, of which phenomenon, indeed, people claim to have had some practical experience; and he may, therefore, have intended merely to indicate thereby a similarity between his feeling and that origin, but on no account a perception of those flies.

Johann Fichte’s Sun-Clear Statement 1801

  • concerning the latest attempts to raise philosophy to the dignity of a science.
  • had abandoned all claim to a scientific method and to scientific preparatory studies, and invited every one to participate in its investigations who was able to add two and two.
  • In short, common opinion is that philosophy is inborn in man;
  • The philosopher could produce through argument, a God, and an immortality for himself, and could argue himself wise and good.

William Hazlitt, The Spirit of the Age 11 January 1825

  • Mr. Bentham is very much among philosophers what La Fontaine was among poets:
  • The Spirit of the Age was never more fully-shewn than in its treatment of William Godwin
  • Mr. Irving is no common or mean man.
  • Mr. Horne Tooke was one of those who may be considered as connecting links between a former period and the existing generation.

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831

  • Self-consciousness has before it another self-consciousness; it has come outside itself.
  • Nothing has a spirit self established and indwelling within it; rather each is outside itself in what is alien to it.
  • This enlightenment also terminates self-estrangement.
  • The state is the march of God in the world; its ground or cause is the power of reason realizing itself as will.
  • The Stoics started from the assertion that reason is God

Hegel on The Absolute Religion 1832

  • Religion has been defined as self-consciousness of God;
  • Misery and wretchedness, the pain of existence, were the condition, the preparation of the subjective side for the consciousness of free spirit, as an absolutely free and thereby infinite spirit.
  • Theology has, commonly speaking, for its aim the cognition of God as an object
  • A spirit that does not manifest itself is not spirit.
  • Christ himself says: “There are many that will say that they have done many wonderful works in my name, and then will I profess to them that I never knew them.”
  • The highest need of the human mind is thinking.
  • Freedom, abstractly, is the relation to something objective, as to something which is not strange or alien;

Goethe on the Bible  1832

  • I hold all four evangelists as thoroughly genuine.
  • They withheld the Bible from them as long as possible.
  • we shall all gradually advance from a Christianity of word and faith to one of feeling and action.

  • Friedrich Schelling, 1775-1854,

Introduction to Idealism

  • Either the objective is made the first, and the question comes to be how a subjective agreeing with it is superinduced.
  • Or the subjective is made the first, and the problem is, how an objective is superinduced agreeing with it.
  • The philosophy of art is the true organum of philosophy.

Introduction to the Outlines of a System of Natural Philosophy (1799)

  • It is the task of Transcendental Philosophy to subordinate the Real to the Ideal, it is, on the other hand, the task of Natural Philosophy to explain the Ideal by the Real. The two sciences are therefore but once science.
  • Not only do we know this or that through experience, but we originally know nothing at all except through experience, and in this sense the whole of our knowledge consists of the data of experience.

The Lecture which I propose to submit to your consideration this evening, is an examination of the principles of Democracy, of Aristocracy, and of Universal Suffrage, as exemplified in a historical review of the present Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; with some notice of the origin of human government, as maintained by the theories of divine right of Hobbes, and of Sir Robert Filmer, on one side, and by Sidney and Locke, Montesquieu and Rousseau, on the other.


Philosophy is a mother who is served with ingratitude at the hands of her children. At one time she was all in all to them; Mathematics and Astronomy, Physics and Physiology, no less than Ethics and Politics, sprang into existence from her maternal fold. But soon her daughters had established their own affluent homes, and each one the sooner in proportion to the rapid progress made under her maternal influences, conscious of what she now had wrought by dint of her own labor, they withdrew from the control of Philosophy, who, not being able to follow them into the minutiae of their new departments of life, became troublesome by her monotonous recurrence to impertinent counsels.

And thus, after all of her offspring had branched off from the common stock. Philosophy shared the dubious lot of retaining the insoluble part of all problems as her undisputed province. Placed upon this reserve, she has still maintained her vitality, ever pondering over the old hidden enigmas, and ever sought in lonely quietude by those who founded their hopes upon the unity of human knowledge.























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