Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres

Hardcover | May 21, 2014

byDavid Albertson

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Mathematical Theologies uncovers the lost history of Christianity's encounters with Pythagorean religious ideas before the Renaissance. David Albertson shows that the writings of Thierry of Chartres (d. 1157) and Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464) represent a robust Christian Neopythagoreanism thatreconceived the Trinity and the Incarnation within the framework of Greek number theory. Their sophisticated mathematical theologies challenge contemporary assumptions about the relation of religion and modern science. David Albertson surveys the slow formation of Neopythagorean theologies of the divine One from the Old Academy through Middle Platonism into the Middle Ages. Against this backdrop, Thierry of Chartres's writings stand out as the first authentic retrieval and incorporation of Neopythagoreanism withinwestern Christianity. By reading Boethius and Augustine against the grain, Thierry reactivated a suppressed potential in ancient Christian traditions that harmonized the divine Word with notions of divine Number. Despite fame during his lifetime, Thierry's ideas remained well outside the medieval mainstream. Nicholas rediscovered anonymous fragments of Thierry and his medieval readers, and drew on them liberally in his first mystical treatise. Yet tensions among this collection of sources drove Cusanus totry to reconcile their competing understandings of Word and Number. Over three decades Nicholas eventually learned how to articulate traditional Christian dogmas within a Neopythagorean cosmology of mathematized nature - anticipating the situation of modern Christian thought after the seventeenthcentury.Mathematical Theologies skillfully guides readers through the newest scholarship on Pythagoreanism, the school of Chartres, and Cusanus, while revising some of the categories that have separated those fields in the past.

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Mathematical Theologies uncovers the lost history of Christianity's encounters with Pythagorean religious ideas before the Renaissance. David Albertson shows that the writings of Thierry of Chartres (d. 1157) and Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464) represent a robust Christian Neopythagoreanism thatreconceived the Trinity and the Incarnation wi...

David Albertson studies medieval and early modern Christianity as Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. After finishing degrees at Stanford University and the University of Chicago, he has held research fellowships at the University of Cologne and The Huntington Library.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:May 21, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199989737

ISBN - 13:9780199989737

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsIntroduction: Toward a Genealogy of Christian NeopythagoreanismPART ONE: The Genesis of Neopythagoreanism: A Synopsis1. PART ONE The Genesis of Neopythagoreanism: A Synopsis2. The Neopythagorean Revival: Henology and Mediation3. The Late Antique Preservation of NeopythagoreanismPART TWO: The Pearl Diver: Thierry of Chartres's Theology of the Quadrivium4. The Discovery of Folding5. Thierry's Diminished LegacyPART THREE: Bright Nearness: Nicholas of Cusa's Mathematical Theology7. The Accidental Triumph of De docta ignorantia8. Chartrian Theology on Probation in the 1440s9. The Advent of theologia geometrica in the 1450s10. Completing the Circle in the 1460sEpilogueBibliography