- カトリック研究 (ISSN:03873005)
- vol.76, pp.1-44, 2007
In the transition from medieval scholasticism to early modern philosophy, the problem of the relation between faith and reason was raised by the Italian humanists of the fifteenth century. Searching for human perfection, they connected the ideals of ancient rhetoric with the faith of the Fathers of the Church. Marsilio Ficino (1433-1499) was the founder and leading spirit of the Platonic Academy in Medici-Florence. Through comprehensive translations, interpretations and systematic works he created a Christian philosophy supported by Platonic ontology and metaphysics of the mind. Aiming at contemplation of God or "learned piety", his theocentrism is mediated by an analysis of the mind's natural inclination to eternal beatitude. Thus, knowledge of transcendence and immortality of the human soul are the fundamentals of the mind's ascent to God, which is guided by biblical faith as taught by the authority of the Church and illuminated by rational reflection on self-knowledge. The convergence of reason and faith or philosophy and religion is endorsed historically by the development of ancient philosophy ("prisca theologia"), which - according to Ficino's construction - leads from Egyptian hermetic thought through Greek philosophy with its culmination in Plato, to Plotinos' neo-platonic theology and its medieval tradition up to Ficino's time. The neo-platonic conception of the mind in its relation to God, however, is said to have originated under the influence of the apostolic preaching as handed down through "Paul's disciple" Dionysios Areopagites and, later on, by Origen, an acquaintance of Plotinos. In this systematically and historically wide-ranging synthesis of Platonic philosophy and Christian faith, Ficino feels himself confirmed by the Church Fathers, especially by Augustine, who not only was led to Christianity by reading neo-platonic writings, but also after his conversion integrated Platonic philosophy with Christian theology, thus opening an intellectual access to faith.