Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Edwards and Malebranche

Jasper Reid has an interesting article on Edwards and Malebranche in the Heythrop Journal Apr2002, Vol. 43 Issue 2, pp. 152-169. Dr Reid wrote on eighteenth century immaterialism for his Princeton University doctoral thesis and this article flows from that work. The article title is 'The Trinitarian Metaphysics of Jonathan Edwards and Nicolas Malebranche.'

If you do not have access to a University network the Heythrop Journal offers 90 days sample access here.

This paper explores both the striking similarities and also the differences between Jonathan Edwards and Nicolas Malebranche’s philosophical views on the Holy Trinity and, in particular, the ways in which they both gave important roles to specific Persons of the Trinity in the various different branches of their respective metaphysical systems—ontological, epistemological and ethical. It is shown that Edwards and Malebranche were in very close agreement on ontological questions pertaining to the Trinity, both with respect to the internal, triune nature of the divine substance (characterising the Three Persons as the divine power, as the consubstantial idea of God which was generated as He eternally reflected on Himself, and as the mutual love which proceeded between the Father and this idea), and also with respect to the various roles these Three Persons played in the creation of the world. In epistemology, Malebranche postulated an illuminating union between the mind of man and the divine Word, insisting on an absolutely direct involvement of the Second Person in all human cognition, both intellectual and sensible. On this point Edwards did differ, endorsing instead an empiricist epistemology which left no room for such a direct union with the Word. However, when it came to ethics, Edwards and Malebranche both gave the Third Person an utterly central role, postulating much the same kind of union as Malebranche alone had postulated in the epistemological case, only now between the will of man and the Holy Spirit. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


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