Throughout the history of Christianity, the relationship of philosophy and theology has been fraught with conflict and tension, but it is a conflict that no faithful Christian can ignore. At every period of church history, leading scholars and teachers of Scripture have also sought to compare and reconcile the Word of God with what can be learned from the study of nature and human reason. The Protestant Reformation was no exception, and this dual pursuit of philosophy and theology was particularly exemplified by the great Italian Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli. A leading representative both of Renaissance humanism, with its return to the classical sources, and of an emergent Protestant scholasticism, with its careful use of philosophical tools to clarify Christian doctrine and ethics, Vermigli constantly attended to the relationship of philosophy and theology throughout his teaching and writing.
This volume brings together, in a carefully-edited modern translation, extensive excerpts from Vermigli’s biblical commentaries that illustrate his use of philosophical tools and his tackling of philosophical problems in the biblical text. These include classic problems such as the relation of soul and body, the role of divine providence, and the nature of our knowledge of God, as well as more particular questions, such as the nature and meaning of dreams. Together, these selections illustrate that our modern dichotomy between biblical and philosophical studies was thoroughly unknown to the Protestant Reformers, and offer a window into the thought of one of the leading intellects of the sixteenth century.