David AlbertsonUniversity of Southern California
For the final installment of our Spring 2020 lecture series on "Reason and Wisdom in Medieval Christian Thought," Professor David Albertson leads us in exploring the work of German philosopher, theologian, astronomer, and mystic, Nicholas of Cusa.
Nicholas of Cusa (d. 1464) was a great late medieval, early modern thinker and polymath who digested the medieval theological and contemplative traditions and pressed these in new directions. Living in tumultuous times, his career in the Church as a cardinal was occupied by his work as a reformer and his efforts to re-unify the Eastern and Western Churches. Professor David Albertson will offer an introduction to the lesser-known but rich life and thought of this great German personality.
What can reason discover about God? Are there other possible ways to know God? Medieval Christians undertook great rational enterprises—including the sharp logic of Abelard and the grand system of Thomas Aquinas—as well as practiced experiential and contemplative modes of knowing, as did Bernard of Clairvaux. This course will examine how different preeminent medieval Christian thinkers saw the relationship between reason and wisdom, how to arrive at them, and so how to seek the face of God.
This series is cosponsored by the Calvert House Catholic Center, the Collegium Institute, the Harvard Catholic Center, the Nova Forum, the Saint Benedict Institute, the Beatrice Institute, and the Institute for Faith and Culture.
David Albertson is Associate Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California. He received his B.A. in Religion from Stanford University, and both his M.A and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Albertson studies the history of Christian thought in medieval and early modern Europe, particularly the way that theological discourses have been conditioned by other modes of knowledge. His research has focused especially on mystical literature. He is the author of Mathematical Theologies: Nicholas of Cusa and the Legacy of Thierry of Chartres (Oxford University Press, 2014), and has co-edited a volume on biotechnology and ecological crisis in contemporary religious ethics, Without Nature? A New Condition for Theology (Fordham University Press, 2009).