About two years ago I was helped immensely in reading two of Etienne Gilson's books on realism. I hope to write a biblical theology of knowledge, and Gilson has proved helpful. Interestingly, Gilson had some influence on the French Reformed theologian, Auguste Lecerf, as seen in Lecerf's An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics (mentioned elsewhere on this site). In discussing Augustine's understanding of "rational knowledge," there are some gems in Gilson. He writes: ""finding [i.e., finding knowledge/truth] is not making." And: "the manner in which the mind arrives at truth does not allow us to assume that the mind is the author of truth." (page 73 in Gilson's The Christian Philosophy of Saint Augustine).
Etienne Gilson, in summarizing Augustine argues that for Augustine, the teacher in a key sense does not "teach" the person he is (purportedly!) "teaching." Rather: teachers "invite him [the student] to enter into himself that he may acquire knowledge of the truths already there." (page 70)
One of the things I am doing while on research leave is trying to finish a book on Augustine. It is an introduction, and is being written for Christian Focus in Scotland. It is--to say the least--a tad intimidating to try and write an "Introduction" (!!!) to Augustine. But on we go. I am working through Etienne Gilson's The Christian Philosophy of Saint Augustine. On page 69 Gilson is discussing Augustine on the nature of teaching, and whether a teacher really teaches anything at all (a sobering thought for a professor).
Here is Gilson on Augustine:
"When a teacher instructs a pupil, does he put into the pupil's mind the ideas signified by the words he uses? In short, is there such a thing as teaching?"
Greetings Friends. The Greens are on Research Leave at Tyndale House in Cambridge, England. It is a great place to study. I am thankful that my employer, Union University, gave the green light for this. Happy to be here!