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Chronoi Talks: “From Eternal to Everlasting: Scholastic Shifts in Theorising God’s Relationship to Time” (Hybrid)

Prof. Dr. Lydia Schumacher

April 23, 2024

3 - 4 pm (CET)

Prof. Dr. Lydia Schumacher

The Middle Ages witnessed a shift in thinking about the way God is related to time. For most of the earlier Middle Ages, scholars had followed an earlier patristic tradition of describing God as eternal and thus as timeless or outside of time. In the early thirteenth century, however, members of the Franciscan order, who played a significant role in the development of the recently-founded universities, re-defined God’s relationship to time in terms of his everlastingness. On their account, God is infinite in temporal duration, rather than simply ’timeless’, since he has no beginning and no end. So construed, God encompasses and is able to relate to every moment in time in a way that the Franciscans believed was not possible on the eternalist account. 

In arguing along these lines, the Franciscan tradition anticipated some of the accounts of time that have been developed by theologians and philosophers of religion in modernity, who seek to stress God’s temporality or his ability to interact with human history. In my talk, I will discuss some of the factors that seemingly contributed to the shift in thinking about God as everlasting instead of eternal. Among these, I will identity a shift in defining the basic nature of God as either simple (for proponents of eternity) or infinite (for proponents of everlastingness) as well as the Franciscan adoption of the metaphysics of the 11th century Islamic philosopher, Avicenna.

Participants can join the online Chronoi Talk by clicking on the following link:

The conference room can be accessed using the following methods:

  • Joining directly in your browser; simply click the link above, and look for a button with this option near the bottom of the webpage.

  • Downloading the program to your computer (instructions can be found by following the meeting link)

  • Using the smartphone app called "Cisco Webex Meetings."

You are welcome to enter the online conference room up to 15 minutes in advance of the start time

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