Weakness of Will in Renaissance and Reformation Thought

Hardcover | July 23, 2011

byRisto Saarinen

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Weakness of will, the phenomenon of acting contrary to one's own better judgment, has remained a prominent discussion topic of philosophy. The history of this discussion in ancient, medieval, and modern times has been outlined in many studies. Weakness of Will in Renaissance and ReformationThought is, however, the first book to cover the fascinating source materials on weakness of will between 1350 and 1650. In addition to considering the work of a broad range of Renaissance authors (including Petrarch, Donato Acciaiuoli, John Mair, and Francesco Piccolomini), Risto Saarinen exploresthe theologically coloured debates of the Reformation period, such as those provided by Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, and Lambert Daneau. He goes on to discuss the impact of these authors on prominent figures of early modernity, including Shakespeare, Descartes, Spinoza, andLeibniz.While most of the historical research on weakness of will has focused on the reception history of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, Saarinen pays attention to the Platonic and Stoic discussions and their revival during the Renaissance and the Reformation. He also shows the ways in which Augustine'sdiscussion of the divided will is intertwined with the Christian reception of ancient Greek ethics, and argues that the theological underpinnings of early modern authors do not rule out weakness of will, but transform the philosophical discussion and lead it towards new solutions.

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Weakness of will, the phenomenon of acting contrary to one's own better judgment, has remained a prominent discussion topic of philosophy. The history of this discussion in ancient, medieval, and modern times has been outlined in many studies. Weakness of Will in Renaissance and ReformationThought is, however, the first book to cover t...

Risto Saarinen received his Dr. Theol. in 1988 and Dr. Phil. in 1994, both at the University of Helsinki. His PhD dissertation, Weakness of the Will in Medieval Thought (1994), received broad scholarly attention. From 1994 to 1999 Saarinen worked as Research Professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France. Sinc...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.87 inPublished:July 23, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199606811

ISBN - 13:9780199606818

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Ancient and Medieval Background2. The Renaissance3. The Lutheran Reformation4. The Calvinist Reformation5. Conclusions and EpilogueSources and LiteratureIndex