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17th Century List of Readings on the Use of Reason in Matters of Faith

January 30, 2015

Voetius It is a rare occasion to find a list of recommended readings in a 17th century author. Usually, authors of this period were silent about their sources. In published disputations, however, one often finds references and even lists such as these. Below I have translated one such list from the Dutch Reformed theologian Gisbertus Voetius. I trust you will find his references to be quite interesting, especially (to me at least) Raymund of Sabunde and Nicholas of Cusa. The following excerpt is taken from the disputation, “De ratione humana in rebus fidei” in which Voetius discusses the proper use of reason in matters of faith. Enjoy!

Gisbertus Voetius, Selectarum disputationum theologicarum

I add that [reason is used in matters of faith] for directly opposing false Theology, consequently and indirectly defending the one truth, that is, by removing impediments and prejudices, and so for strengthening the way of truth. Such a defense of the Faith appears in [the following authors of antiquity]:

1. Athenagoras

2. Justin Martyr

3. Clement of Alexandria

4. Origen

5. Tertullian

6. Arnobius

7. Lactantius

8. Augustine

9. Theodoret

10. Cyril of Alexandria, and others.

Also, writers of the Middle Ages [include]

1. Thomas [Summa] contra gentes, and the rest of the Scholastics, if they are chosen discriminatively and judiciously;

2. Also, Savanorola in his Book on the Triumph of the Cross

3. Raymund of Sabunde in [his] Natural Theology

4. Cardinal [Nicholas] of Cusa

5. Dionysius the Carthusian

6. And others [who argue] against the Muhamedans

And finally, more recent [authors]:

1. Juan Louis Vives

2. Augustino Steucho

3. Pierre Charron

4. Scholastic investigations and commentators on Lombard and Thomas

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