This hints at an entire metaphysics, perhaps like that articulated by Nicholas of Cusa
, a close contemporary of Donatello, in which the Christ unfolded to the world in revelation is the one in whom the whole universe is enfolded.
Nicholas of Cusa
and Times of Transition: Essays in Honor of Gerald Christianson
The Renaissance Christian humanist and theologian Nicholas of Cusa
(1401-64) called this self-centered arrogance "unlearned ignorance," the ignorance of those who trust in their human intelligence and who, through pride and presumptuousness, close themselves off to the path of divine wisdom.
Although Gibbons positions the Book of Common Prayer as the central historical text in his interpretations of the poems, his study is equally inflected by a range of Catholic sources--including Augustine, Nicholas of Cusa
, the Spanish mystics, and Francois de Sales.
This intellectual tradition can be traced from Plato to Plotinus and Proclus, to Eriugena and Nicholas of Cusa
, to Luther and Giordano Bruno, who was burned as a dangerous heretic for his opposition to Aristotelian and Thomistic thought.
Populated worlds showed up more prominently in writings by the renegade thinkers Nicholas of Cusa
(1401-1464) and Giordano Bruno (1548-1600).
The strip of land I am here drifting to belongs, of course, to Nicholas of Cusa
, where ratio and intellectus have been meted their respective and different duties.
Holder quotes Bonhoeffer's prison letters to the effect that the concept of the autonomy of the world began with the speculations of Nicholas of Cusa
and Bruno about an infinite universe.
The specific thinkers he considers are Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Nicholas of Cusa
, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Michel Montaigne, Rene Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Henri Poincare, the neopositivists, and Karl Raimund Popper.
shows how Augustine's pessimism about the salvation of people of other religions influenced much of the official teaching of the Catholic Church through the Middle Ages to the twentieth century, despite Thomas Aquinas's writings on "implicit faith" and despite the bold explorations of the salvation of people of other religions by Ramon Llull and Nicholas of Cusa
. The impact of the discovery of the Americas in the sixteenth century and subsequent missionary initiatives made it more difficult to defend a literal reading of extra ecclesiam nulla salus, and opened the way to the sea change of the church's relationship to other religions ushered in by Vatican II.
I "cultivate my ignorance" about spiritual matters, a lesson I learned from my favorite theologian, Nicholas of Cusa
, who said each of us should pursue our own unique form of spiritual ignorance, our own ways of shedding the need to know everything.