The telos of Western Thought

With Augustine and the medieval tradition that followed him, the telos of the vision of God was the goal that animated and informed his intellectual deliberations. This goal could be stated in different ways. Like Augustine, Thomas and Dante spoke of the vision of God as the ultimate telos of man. Man is on a journey to the city of God, and the climax of this journey is to one day see God face-to-face.This journey motif informs much of the Western intellectual tradition, whether in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, or even Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The telos of the beatific vision of God—the thought of seeing him face-to-face one day—impressed upon premodern Christians that the intellectual life is not simply its own end but contributes to a larger goal,the glory of God.While the notion of a telos or goal is not distinctively Christian, it certainly took root in the Christian soil of the West as the gospel spread throughout the world.

Green, Bradley G. (2010-11-03). The Gospel and the Mind (p. 59-61). Good News Publishers/Crossway Books. Kindle Edition.

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