Jesus Christ, Natural Philosopher and Renaissance Man

Bonaventure’s Breviloquium, part 9

The quest for and “re-birth” of ancient wisdom and learning during the Renaissance was driven by a desire for the kind of knowledge of and insight into the world that Adam was believed to have possessed prior to the Fall, but which he lost through his sin against God. The idea that Adam possessed a thorough scientific knowledge of the natural world, however, was of medieval origin, as may be seen, for example, in Bonaventure’s characterization of the knowledge had “according to an integral human nature, as Adam had [before the fall]; by virtue of this he knew all things related to the structure of the universe” (Breviloquium 4.6.1). For Bonaventure, however, the lost knowledge of Adam had already been recovered, in principle, in the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, who “understood everything that has to do with the organization of the material universe, much more fully than did Adam” (4.6.7). The Incarnation, in other words,was the Renaissance, the (re)birth of divine Wisdom itself.

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