Henry of Ghent

Ghent (Belgium) by crafterm via Flickr

Henry of Ghent (? – 1293) was a Medieval Scholastic who taught at the university of Paris. He revived St. Augustine of Hippo’s idea that knowledge arrives through an “illumination of the intellect” by God.

Ghent believed that even knowledge of natural phenomena depends in part on divine illumination. Some contemporary writers such as Marina Warner say it is “absurd thinking” to suppose that God intervenes in natural matters such as conception.¹

This demonstrates Warner’s belief that the idea of ‘nature’ is discrete from ‘Spirit.’ However, for Ghent, the natural and the spiritual realms mingle—at least, they do when it comes to knowing. Ghent’s view of knowledge was attacked by Duns Scotus.

¹ Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex, London: Vintage, 2000, p. 46.


One comment

  1. This article yields some odd reading caused by using Ghent (city of origin) to refer to Henry (the person) It would be like refering to his contemporary “Tomas of Aquino” by personifying the whole city he was born in “Aquino was thinking this or that”.

    As for the date you were looking for: wikipedia estimates at 1217
    See (dutch) https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hendrik_van_Gent_(theoloog) or (english) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_of_Ghent


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