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The Latin Text "De reductione artium ad theologiam" The Text in Translation On the Reduction ofthe Arts to Theology 37 On the Reduction ofthe Arts to Theology 1. Every good gift and every perfect gift isfrom above, coming down from the God of Lights, writes James in the first chapter of his epistle. This text speaks of the source of all illumination; but at the same time, it suggests that there are many lights which flow generously from that fontal source of light. Even though every illumination of knowledge is internal, still we can reasonably distinguish what may be called an exterior light, or the light of mechanical art; an inferior light, or the light of sense perception; an interiorlight, or the light ofphilosophical knowledge ; and a superior light, or the light of grace and of Sacred Scripture. The first light illumines with respect to the forms of artifacts; the second , with respect to naturalforms; the third, with respect to intellectual truth; the fourth and last, with respect to saving truth. 2. So the first light, which sheds its light on the forms of artifacts - things which are, as it were, external to the human person and intended to supply the needs of the body - is called the light of mechanical art. Since this is, in a certain sense, servile and of a lower nature than philosophical knowledge, this light can rightly be called exterior . It is divided into seven, corresponding to the seven mechanical arts listed by Hugh in his Didascalicon, namely, weaving, armour-making , agriculture, hunting, navigation, medicine, and the dramatic art. That the above-mentioned arts are sufficient is shown in the following way. Every mechanical art is intended either for our consolation or for our comfort; its purpose, therefore, is to banish either sorrow or need; it is either useful or enjoyable, according to the words of Horace: Poets desire either to be useful or to please. And again: One who combines the useful with the delightful wins universal applause. If its purpose is to afford consolation and delight, it is dramatic art, or the art of producing plays. This embraces every form ofentertainment, including song, instrumental music, poetry, or pantomime. If, how- On the Reduction ofthe Arts to Theology 39 ever, it is intended for the comfort or betterment of the outer person, it can accomplish its purpose by providing either shelter or food, or by helping in the acquisition of either. If it is a matter of shelter, it will be concerned either with something of a soft and light material, in which case it is weaving; or with something of a strong and hard material, in which case it is armour-making or metal-working, an art which includes the production ofevery instrument made of iron or of any other metal, or of stone or wood. If a mechanical art is helpful with respect to food, this can be in two ways, for we take our nourishment from vegetables and from animals. If it is concerned with vegetables, it isfarming; if it is concerned with animals, it is hunting. Or again, a mechanical art can be useful in two ways with respect to food. Either it can aid in the production and multiplication of crops, in which case it is agriculture; or it can aid in the various ways of preparing food. Viewed in this way, it is hunting, an art which includes every conceivable way of preparing foods, drinks, and delicacies. This is the task of bakers, cooks, and innkeepers. It is named from only one of these activities, and that because of its nobility and courtly character. If it is an aid in acquiring either shelter or food, this may be in two ways. Either it serves tofill aneed, in which case it is navigation, an art which includes all forms of commerce in articles intended for shelter or for food; or it serves by removing impediments and ills of the body, in which case it is medicine, whether it is concerned with the preparation of drugs, potions, or ointments, with the healing of wounds, or with the amputation of members. In this latter case it is called surgery. Dramatic art, on the other hand, is the only one of its kind. Thus the sufficiency (of the mechanical arts) is evident. 3. The second light, which provides light for the apprehension of naturalforms, is the light of sense knowledge. This is rightly called the inferior light because sense perception begins with...


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