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A Divine Debate

Reality show feuds, the Shake Weight’s efficacy, Team Jacob vs. Team Edward? C’mon, now. The real debate is as old school as you can get: the differing philosophy between the Dominican and Franciscan Christian orders on divine illumination, a doctrine that states we need God to illuminate our mind. Take a bite out of that one, Eddy.

BookIt was a question Norm Freund, Clarke chair and professor of philosophy, posed to his class in grand fashion – a no holds barred, medieval-style debate. Sides were chosen and research on the writings of Plato and Aristotle (who disagreed on divine illumination) would color the contest.

To maintain historical context, the debate was structured as it was in ye olde times. “In those days, prolonged lectures were common,” Freund said.

When the battle of wits commenced, Freund arrived in full dress with two auditors, an older couple, in tow. So not to philosophize on an empty stomach, the woman auditor prepared a medieval recipe for apple and pears in a honey glaze for the class. Divine, indeed.

After a healthy back and forth, Freund made his decision. The Dominicans had the stronger argument.

“It certainly was a close one,” he said.

Norm Freund

Norm Freund

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