Title page for ETD etd-06082009-171023
|Type of Document
||Lewis, Eric P
||Descartes and tradition :the miracle of the Eucharist
||Master of Arts
|No Advisors Found
|Date of Defense
Descartes and the followers of his new mechanistic physics were subject to condemnation
as a result of a reaction against his philosophy on the basis that it could not adequately
explain the miracle of the Eucharist. Descartes, however, firmly believed that he could give
an explanation of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist which was not only consistent
with his physics and metaphysics, but which was also consistent with the orthodoxy
demanded by the Church. His explanation exploited the ambiguity of the language adopted
by the Council of Trent, yet rejected the Aristotelian philosophy traditionally relied upon to
explain the miracle. Descartes' explanation of transubstantiation remained provocative to
his scholastic contemporaries not because it was internally inconsistent, but rather because
Descartes attempted to overthrow the whole of traditional philosophy. Descartes'
confidence in his own explanation of the sacred rite ultimately obscured the long and
troubled history of the issue from him, leading him to believe that he could win converts to
his philosophy by publishing his own theory of the Eucharist. Consequent to this
excursion into theology, Descartes' philosophy came under fire and was condemned in part
because it could not give a traditional explanation of the Eucharist.
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