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Mathematical TheologiesNicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres$
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David Albertson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199989737

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199989737.001.0001

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The Discovery of the Fold

The Discovery of the Fold

(p.119) 5 The Discovery of the Fold
Mathematical Theologies

David Albertson

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies Thierry of Chartres’s attempts to clarify the relationship between mathematics and theology across his three known commentaries on Boethius’s De Trinitate. Having uncovered their proximity in his Genesis commentary, Thierry sought a universal theory of science that could coordinate knowledge of God and of the quadrivium. After failing in his first commentary, Thierry hits upon a solution in his second and third commentaries. The conceptual breakthrough comes with his notion of reciprocal folding. God is the en-folding (complicatio) of the world and the world is the un-folding (explicatio) of God. This allows Thierry to build a model of four modes of being that keep theology and mathematics in close connection with each other while remaining distinct. The chapter suggests ways in which Thierry’s theology of the quadrivium inadvertently retrieves elements of Neopythagoreanism from Philolaus, Archytas, Eudorus, Moderatus, and Nicomachus, all within the sphere of Augustinian Christianity.

Keywords:   Thierry of Chartres, De Trinitate, Boethius, folding, four modes of being

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