The Exemplar Symbol of Lucifer

By: Vito Guida  

This paper investigates how the theologian and secular priest Gabriele Biondo employed in his texts the symbol of Lucifer to express the conflict between reason and faith as the tension between intellect and senses. This symbol indicates the creature inability to confront the mystery of the dual nature of Christ. Biondo distinguishes between two forms of truth. In its first sense, truth can be understood as the uncovering (aletheia) of the actual reality presented before the senses (both spiritual and physical). This meaning is closely related to the notion of perception (Wahrnehmung) as it was developed by the Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988). In its second sense, truth originates from the creatural intellectual capabilities and, therefore, closely associated with fantasy. Based on this presupposition, Biondo identified in Lucifer two faults. Firstly, his refusal to accept Christ as the Mediator, since he envisaged that the dual nature of Christ allowed for the introduction of temporal elements within the transcendent realm of the Trinity ad intra. Secondly, his active rebellion, based on pride (superbia), directed specifically at the Person of the Son. The conclusion is that, for Biondo, the difficulties produced by the dichotomy between reason and faith can be resolved only by recognizing that the Christian revelation (Trinity ad extra) is inseparable from the Filial obedience to the Father, expressed as the divine Love of the Holy Spirit (Trinity ad intra).

Faith, Fantasy, Obedience, Perception, Pride, Reason, Temporality, Trinity, Truth
Religious Foundations
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Vito Guida

PhD candidate, Warburg Institute, University of London, United Kingdom
Greater London, United Kingdom

Vito Guida is a PhD student in Cultural and Intellectual History at the Warburg Institute (supervised by Dr Guido Giglioni and Professors Alastair Hamilton). The focus of Guida's research is Philosophy and Theology of the medieval and early modern period. His expertise includes the interaction of cultural phenomena and intellectual ideas; the development of theology within the Franciscan and Dominican areas; the correlation between Reform and Counter-Reformation; the relationship between ecclesiastical institutions and laity. Furthermore, his studies concentrate on the tension existing between the notions of free will and predestination; the role of eschatology in the social structures; and the conflict between reason and faith and the ensuing debate between cataphatic and apophatic theologies.