Melanchthon on the Philosophical Relevance of
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Melanchthon on the Philosophical Relevance of Poetry
Melanchthon on the Philosophical Relevance of Poetry

Author(s): Sandra Bihlmaier
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: poetry;philosophia perennis;natural philosophy;melanchthon

Summary/Abstract: In my paper I will focus on Melanchthon’s concept of poetry as a legitimate means of philosophizing. I will show that he regards poetry as philosophy “arranged in verses and narratives” and that this view is grounded on his notion of perennial philosophy. I will explain this notion and emphasize Melanchthon’s specific understanding of it. In order to do so I will first (1) consider Melanchthon’s conception of philosophy which he equates with the liberal arts and delineate the significance of ancient literature for the transmission of logical, ethical and natural-philosophical knowledge. Thereby I will focus on his definition of poetry and its position amidst the liberal arts. (2) Subsequently, I will isolate citations and phrases of ancient literature which are illustratively used to substantiate moral-philosophical or natural philosophical arguments in Melanchthon’s theoretical writings. (3) I will show thereafter that the sentences of the poets function as authoritative arguments because Melanchthon’s view of poetry is underpinned by his own interpretation of the theory of perennial philosophy which, however, does not coincide with the Ficinian view on the philosophia perennis. (4) In my conclusions I will summarize Melanchthon’s view on ancient poetry and its relevance for the acquisition of philosophical knowledge.

  • Issue Year: 65/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 115-129
  • Page Count: 14
  • Language: English