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The concept of the hidden God in the works of Montaigne and Charron

Rigge, Emily Kate; (1999) The concept of the hidden God in the works of Montaigne and Charron. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The thesis examines the concept of the hidden God in the moral literature of Renaissance authors Michel de Montaigne and Pierre Charron. The study of the concept in these authors is preceded by a consideration of two interconnecting traditions of thought, presented jointly as the 'hidden God tradition', from within which the concept emerged. One, the 'philosophical tradition', includes the Jewish writer Moses Maimonides and the Christian writers Aquinas, Ramon Lull and Raimond Sebond, while the other, the 'Jewish mystical tradition', includes Maimonides, the Kabbalists, Leon Hebreu and Jean Bodin. The concept of the hidden God expresses the notion that God's being is revealed to human beings indirectly or negatively through the creation. The agent that makes it possible to recognise the mind of God in the created world is providence or the Holy Spirit. Well-judged moral behaviour, in harmony with nature and with the divine order, is presented as the best practical preparation for receiving wisdom: the guidance from the Holy Spirit in daily life that is conceived in the tradition as knowledge of God. In Montaigne's and Charron's interpretation of the concept, special emphasis is laid on the details of good moral practice which will lead to the knowledge of God that God intended man to have. Both authors concentrate on self-knowledge as the means to read the 'book of nature', God's articulation of truth through physical and psychological phenomena. Both develop the concept of reason inherited from the hidden God tradition, insisting that the individual must acknowledge the vanity of conventional or worldly reason and make his mind a blank sheet so that it might receive divine reason. Drawing on pagan, Jewish and Christian ideas, both authors see in this concept of reason the key to secular wisdom and a starting point for a good Christian life.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The concept of the hidden God in the works of Montaigne and Charron
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Philosophy, religion and theology; Charron, Pierre; Montaigne, Michel de
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106262
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