Sempiternity, Angelic Time, and the Aevum

Rory Fox

in Time and Eternity in Mid-Thirteenth-Century Thought

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780199285754
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603563 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Sempiternity, Angelic Time, and the Aevum

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This chapter examines the import and meaning of the terms sempiternitas, perpetuitas, and aeviternitas or aevum. The terms sempiternitas and perpetuitas were often used interchangeably since they were basically used to refer to limitless particulars and their durations. Medieval figures recognized two types of limitlessness: durations which had no end and durations which had neither a beginning nor an end. As the terms perpetuitas and sempiternitas could be used of both kinds of durations, it is not unusual to find them used of God, angels, souls, and heavenly bodies. The terms aeviternitas and aevum were often used in a similar way, and were sometimes used synonymously with perpetuitas and sempiternitas. Nevertheless, there were serious disagreements amongst 13th century thinkers about the nature of the aevum, in particular whether it was extended or not.

Keywords: time; sempiternitas; perpetuitas; aeviternitas; aevum; angelic time

Chapter.  12924 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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