In the mid-thirteenth century, with the arrival of Arabian and Jewish philosophy in the West, medieval philosophy flourished. As a consequence, Christian philosophers worked hard to interpret the Truth amidst misleading ideas such as the Neo-Platonic notions of a pantheistic creation and the separate
Agent intellect. St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure and St. Albert the Great, inspired heavily by the work of Aristotle, were the main protagonists in this conquest, contributing great insights to metaphysics, Faith and Reason, the nature of man and ethics.
The main trends in thought assimilated Aristotelian philosophy to varying degrees. In reaction to
Pantheism, Franciscan Augustinianism adopted Aristotle's principles for distinguishing God from things. Alexander of Hales, the first Franciscan master in Paris, believed the pagan Aristotle lacked the knowledge obtained from Divine Revelation and thus could not produce authentic philosophy. John de la Rochelle summarised Aristotle’s philosophy of man from an Augustinian perspective and rejected
Avicebron's doctrine of
spiritual matter. St. Bonaventure defended the concept of universal
hylomorphic composition by clarifying that every creature is composed of matter and form, and this union causes individuation. Matter is pure potency and form determines whether a being is material or immaterial, thus the immortality of the soul. Following St. Augustine’s theory of ‘seminal reasons’, St.
Bonaventure mistakenly believed in Avicenna’s notion of the plurality of forms which was criticised by
St. Thomas who accepted Aristotle’s notion of a single, unique form.
St. Bonaventure contributed to our modern conception of the