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Religion & Theology
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Essay Question 1 Religion & Theology Essay Research (Essay Sample)

Instructions:

Choose one of the two essay questions below to answer and transmit back to me. ONLY CHOOSE ONE!
(1) Augustine emphasized the role of divine illumination in our thought, in which God gives us insight into the truth of our knowledge. Does this mean that God gives us knowledge that is certain? Is the truth of things as they are in the mind or in their own nature—given that both are changeable—sufficient for the soul to have knowledge that is certain, or must the soul reach things as they are in the “eternal art,” i.e. is divine illumination necessary for us to acquire knowledge of infallible truth? Is this divine illumination of the intellect sufficient on its own, without the senses?

(2) Discuss the following. Aristotle describes the active intellect in this way: “This intellect is separate, unaffected, and unmixed, being in essence activity…. It is not the case that it sometimes thinks and at other times not. In separation it is just what it is, and this alone is immortal and eternal.” One very common reading of this text, in ancient times and our own, is that this active intellect is something divine, not a human faculty at all. If one makes the further, natural assumption that the active intellect participates in ordinary human cognition, then Aristotle would clearly be committed to a version of divine illumination not unlike Augustine’s. Not everyone has been persuaded that this active intellect is something literally separate and divine rather than part of the human soul. Nevertheless, it is difficult to avoid the suspicion that some sort of special divine influence is at work. Everything in the passage cries out for some sort of supernatural element in human cognition.
Remember, the expectation is that these are formal essays. That means an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. General rule for the main body is that the number of paragraphs corresponds to the number of points being made. The expectation is that these are formal essays. That means an introduction, a main body, and a conclusion. General rule for the main body is that the number of paragraphs corresponds to the number of points being made.
Take the first question, example. Your points would be: (1) explaining the problem (of which the question itself gave you a summary, which you would expand on); (2) the realist position, citing a sampling of realist philosophers -- you should also distinguish between Platonic and Aristotelian realism, i.e. extreme and moderate; (3) the nominalist position, citing a sampling of nominalist philosophers. Your sampling would want a representative mix of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophers.That usually means at least 5 paragraphs (assuming a main body of 3 paragraphs). So I would estimate roughly 1.5 pages per essay. It will also depend on the question and your personal writing style (some people write more concisely than others).

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Essay Question 1
The role of divine illumination has been an issue of discussion among many philosophers. This is an Augustinian doctrine that can be interpreted in many ways. There is still no agreement about the nature of illumination. An issue is that Augustine does not provide a complete and comprehensive definition or explanation of the term (Harman, 2018). He often relies on scriptural text to explain his ideas and often refers to light in more than one perspective.
Augustine suggests that light is the basis of all cognition and that God is the source of knowledge that is certain. He reveals that sight is the principle of all sensible knowledge. Once light enters the eye, it helps a person to experience new things. Since cognition relies on light, vision becomes the principle that guides all cognitive performances. Augustine provides an example of reading a letter which relies upon three types of vision (Harman, 2018). The first is the eyes used for reading the words in the letter, then the spirit, which is a vision whereby one has the image or things of the letter’s writer, and finally the

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