Hart on pre-modern reason

August 6, 2009

It’s David Bentley Hart week around here, and we are reading selections from his book Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and its Fashionable Enemies, out recently from Yale University Press.  In this short excerpt Hart reminds us of the classical and medieval understanding of reason.

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“Reason, in the classical and Christian sense, is a whole way of life, not the simple and narrow mastery of certain techniques of material manipulation, and certainly not the childish certitude that such mastery proves that only material realities exist.  A rational life is one that integrates knowledge into a larger choreography of virtue, imagination, patience, prudence, humility, and restraint.  Reason is not only knowledge, but knowledge perfected in wisdom.  In Christian tradition, reason was praised as a high and precious thing, principally because it belonged intrinsically to the dignity of beings created in the divine image; and, this being so, it was assumed that reason is also always morality, and that charity is required for any mind to be fully rational.”

David Bentley Hart
Atheist Delusions.

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