Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
A Founding Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Great Ideas, make that Idea, of Time and Eternity

From time to time someone will suggest that some topic should have been, or should now be, considered one of the Great Ideas in the Syntopicon. Mortimer Adler himself later said that Equality, in the sense of equality of persons, should have stood alone as a Great Idea.

What I haven't seen is a suggestion for reducing the number of Great Ideas. I suggest it now, though not by eliminating any but by combining two, Time and Eternity. This came to mind when I noticed that the Outline of Topics for these two Great Ideas each contain 'Aeveternity as intermediate between time and eternity", Eternity 1b and Time 2b.

The References for both topics are also identical:
Confessions, Bk XII, par 9; par 12-15; par 18-22;
City of God, Bk XII, Ch 15;
Summa Theologica, Part I, Q 10, A 2, Rep 1-2; A 3, Ans; AA 5- 6;
If the same exact topic and references fit under two Great Ideas, it suggests they are closely related enough that they should be combined. In this particular case, another reason to consider combining the two is that the Outline of Topics for Eternity is one of the shortest.

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