Born in Ireland, the ninth century theologian and philosopher, John the Scot, Eriugena (810-877), left behind several commentaries, translations, books, and poems (Patrologia Latina vol. 122). Eriugena was initially a translator and commentator of Dio ...
Born in Ireland, the ninth century theologian and philosopher, John the Scot, Eriugena (810-877), left behind several commentaries, translations, books, and poems (Patrologia Latina vol. 122). Eriugena was initially a translator and commentator of Dionysius via the footsteps of Maximus. Eriugena illustrates an unrivalled breadth of theological ingenuity in early medieval Christianity. First, he received, digested, and appropriated the theme of procession and return, which had developed from the Neo-Platonists, including Proclus, and the legendary theologian, Pseudo-Dionysius. Second, the Periphyseon was one of the earliest theological masterpieces in medieval Christianity, anticipating the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century.
Lastly, as a faithful student of the early Fathers, Eriugena was a genuine scholar who both synthesized Eastern and Western Christian thought in philosophy and theology and also creatively reconstructed the theological discourses and themes of his predecessors, especially those pertaining to the concept of procession and return.
Eriugena has been known one of the best translators and commentators in Christian thoughts. He began his career as a translator of Pseudo-Dionysius’s corpus. In translating project, Eriugena could extract the theological nexus, coin many new terms, and also apply those terms and terminologies in his own thoughts. His commentary and expositions on Dionysius’s Celestial Hierarchy well display Eriugena’s theological genius. Eriugena’s theological works were inherited by Hugh of St. Victor and even by Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas’s Summa reflect a huge impact of Eriugena. As a commentator and translator he finally opened a new scholarly chapter in medieval Christianity.