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Measure of a Different Greatness

The Intensive Infinite, 1250-1650

Series:

Anne Davenport

This volume examines a selection of late medieval works devoted to the intensive infinite in order to draw a comprehensive picture of the context, character and importance of scholastic efforts to reason philosophically about divine infinity. As Dominican masters face Franciscan 'spirituals' and as university-trained theologians face evangelical laymen, the purpose and meaning of divine infinity shift, reflecting a basic tension between the Church's Petrine vocation for geopolitical orthodoxy and its more Pauline mission to promote Christian orthopraxis. The first part of the book traces the scholastic defense of divine infinity from the holocaust of Montségur up to John Duns Scotus. The second part examines the semiotic breakthrough initiated by William of Ockham and the subsequent penetration of infinist theory into a wide variety of disciplines.

Series:

Anne Davenport

This volume has a single goal: to argue that Descartes’s most fundamental discovery is not the epistemological subject, but rather the underlying free agent without whom no epistemological subject is possible. This fresh interpretation of the Cartesian “cogito” is defended through a close reading of Descartes’s masterpiece, the Meditations. Special attention is paid to the historical roots of Descartes’s interest in free agency, particularly his close ties to the French School of spirituality. Three aspects of Descartes’s personal evolution are considered: his aesthetic evolution from Baroque concealment to Classicism, his political evolution from feudal nostalgia to modern secularism, and his spiritual evolution from Stoic wisdom to active engagement in the world through the scientific project.

Anne Davenport

Abstract

Between Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter (1610) and the publication of Newton's Principia (1687), uncertainty regarding the structure of the heavens combined with a lyrical fascination for extraterrestrial life inspired a distinctly Baroque outpouring of speculation in which angels played a key part. English Catholic "recusants," haunted by a feeling of lost unity, vividly illustrate the imaginative character of Baroque speculation.

Anne Davenport

Abstract

This article examines the philosophical teaching of a colorful Oxford alumnus and Roman Catholic convert, Christopher Davenport, also known as Franciscus à Sancta Clara or Francis Coventry. At the peak of Puritan power during the English Interregnum and after five of his Franciscan confrères had perished for their missionary work, our author tried boldly to claim modern cosmology and atomism as the unrecognized fruits of medieval Scotism. His hope was to revive English pride in the golden age of medieval Oxford and to defend English Franciscans as more legitimately patriotic and scientifically progressive than Puritan millenarians.

Reading Hobbes before Leviathan

The case of Philip Scot

Anne Davenport

The purpose of this paper is to provide new information about Philip Scot’s 1650 Treatise of the schism of England, in which Hobbes is discussed in surprising detail. Who was the author and why did he wish so urgently to engage Hobbes? By learning the identity of “Philip Scot” and examining the Treatise in light of it, we gain new insight into reactions to Hobbes’s political views prior to Leviathan.