Monday, February 8, 2010

Bonavanture and the Intellectual Life

Clearly, Bonaventure was an intellectual. But just as clearly, he saw the point of intellectual training to be integrated within a wider vision of the human person and the goal of human life. Outside the world of the biblical revelation the nature of that goal remains always an open question. But within the world of revelation, faith opens the vision of a final destiny with God that transcends even what the great Plato and Aristotle were able to think of as the final destiny of humanity.

Learning, therefore, is an important element in the spiritual journey, at least for certain people; though non necessarily for all. But even for those whose way to God includes the discipline of the intellectual life, the goal of intellectual culture is not knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Nor is it knowledge for the sake of the market place. Nor is it knowledge for the sake of fame and popularity. . . . It is clear that Bonaventure had a high regard for the intellectual life, but he never envisioned knowledge independently of the only goal that the human person finally has: loving union with God.

--Zachary Hayes, Introduction to On the Reduction of the Arts to Theology

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