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14th-century theology

14th-century theology

N920/0046

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Credit

CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Artwork showing the Lullian staircase by which an adept may rise to different levels of knowledge. The artwork was published in Valencia in a 1512 edition of the 1303 book De Nova Logica, written by the Spanish theologian and philosopher Ramon Llull (1235-1315, also known as Ramon Lull or Raymond Lully). Drawings (right) and words label each level, from bottom: rock, flames, plants, animals, humans, the sky, angels, and God. This chain of being, or divine order, was a key concept in the theology and natural philosophy of medieval Europe and the Renaissance. At centre left is a series of concentric circles that can be rotated to line up different words and symbols. Llull used devices like these to combine words in different ways to reveal theological truths.

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