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Calvin at the Centre$
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Paul Helm

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532186.001.0001

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The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves

The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves

(p.4) 1 The Knowledge of God and of Ourselves
Calvin at the Centre

Paul Helm

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the meaning and sources of the overarching theme of Calvin's Institutes, that true wisdom chiefly consists in the knowledge of God and of ourselves. The origins of this theme in ancient philosophy and later in Augustine are explored. Calvin's view is discussed, and compared with Augustine's encounter with the Platonists as recounted in his Confessions. Taking up some of the issues in Stephen Menn's book Descartes and Augustine, Descartes, who was also influenced by Augustine in the matter of the relation of God and the soul, is also discussed. The views and respective methods of Calvin and Descartes are compared.

Keywords:   Augustine, Calvin, Descartes, knowledge of God, knowledge of ourselves, Platonists, Stephen Menn

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