Liberal Arts in the Collapse of Culture

Henry Chadwick

in Boethius

Published in print October 1990 | ISBN: 9780198265498
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191682896 | DOI:

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Liberal Arts in the Collapse of Culture

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Aristotle observes in the Categories that if something is to be known, it must be knowable; conversely something can be knowable without anyone actually knowing it, either because it has not yet been discovered or because it has sadly been forgotten and then by much effort needs to be rediscovered. This last observation fascinated Boethius, and his commentary on this passage treats it as a word for his own times. It was his great fear that amid the general collapse of higher studies in his time, the knowledge acquired by the philosophers and scientists of classical Greece may simply be obliterated by a failure in transmission. The points at which the Latin equipment was weak seemed to Boethius to be in the mathematical disciplines, that is, in arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy; and in the higher studies of philosophical logic. His efforts were therefore concentrated in these areas.

Keywords: arithmetic; music; Boethius; geometry; astronomy; Plato; Aristotle

Chapter.  14639 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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