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The Penultimate CuriosityHow Science Swims in the Slipstream of Ultimate Questions$
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Roger Wagner and Andrew Briggs

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198747956

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.001.0001

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The Two Students

The Two Students

Chapter:
(p.99) Chapter Eleven The Two Students
Source:
The Penultimate Curiosity
Author(s):

Roger Wagner

Andrew Briggs

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198747956.003.0011

In 2005 excavations in Alexandria uncovered a large complex of twenty lecture theatres from the fifth or sixth century AD. While there is to date no inscriptional proof, it seems almost certain that this was the site of a famous school where two men of different religions, one Christian, the other pagan, began their studies. This chapter focusses on the dispute between these two students, Simplicius the Cicilian and John Philoponus, which was not so much about the character of God as about the nature of the world. While each man’s thinking was grounded in their own religious viewpoint, both shared the assumption that the truths of religion and the truths discovered by reason and observation were part of a single seamless fabric. Hence their dispute was conducted not by pitting one claim to revelation against another, but through a series of closely reasoned philosophical arguments.

Keywords:   Christians, pagans, Simplicius the Cicilian, John Philoponus, religion, natural world

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