‘The Miraculous Mathematics of the World’: Proving the Existence of God in Cardinal Péter Pázmány’s Kalauz

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Title: ‘The Miraculous Mathematics of the World’: Proving the Existence of God in Cardinal Péter Pázmány’s Kalauz
Authors: Ó hAnnracháin, Tadhg
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/7903
Date: 2010
Abstract: This paper offers a brief examination of Cardinal Péter Pázmány’s meditation on the role of the beauty and wonder of the natural world in leading to the true knowledge of God, which is placed at the beginning of his most important work, the Guide to the Divine Truth (Isteni Igazsàgra Vezérlô Kalauz). Pázmány’s treatment of this subject offers an insight into the Catholic intellectual milieu which ultimately rejected the Copernican cosmology championed by Galileo in favour of a geocentric and geostatic universe. In this regard, the confidence with which Pázmány asserts the harmony and compatibility between secular knowledge and apprehension of nature and the conviction of the existence of a creator God is of particular importance. An analysis of this section of his work also points up a surprising contrast with Calvin’s treatment of the same subject in the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Pázmány was raised within the Reformed tradition until his teenage years and as a Catholic polemicist he devoted great attention to Calvin’s writings. Indeed, to some extent it can be suggested that the Institutes served as both target and model for his own great work. Yet his handling of the topic of nature as a proof of the existence of God, an area where relatively little difference might have been expected in view of its non-salience as a polemical issue, not only offers a revealing insight into the confident intellectual perspective of seventeenth-century Catholicism, but also suggests some additional ramifications of the great sola scriptura debate which split European Christianity in the early modern period.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Journal: Studies in Church History
Volume: 46
Start page: 248
End page: 259
Copyright (published version): 2010 Ecclesiastical History Society
Subject LCSH: Pázmány, Péter, 1570-1637
Thelology--Catholic Church--17th century
DOI: 10.1017/S0424208400000632
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:History Research Collection

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