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The Art and theology

Llull stated that the Art ‘was elaborated above all for the sake of theology’. By means of the Art, theology would be in a position to provide missionaries with necessary arguments for their presentations of the faith and in their debates with non-believers. The universality of the Art, on the other hand, which claimed to be the surest method and foundation for all the sciences, offered the possibility of a reform in theology. All this implied that theology had to accept a revision of its very principles in the light of the principles of the Art. Llull was not afraid to use a term which had a profound resonance in medieval science: the principles of theology were subordinate (‘subalternata’) to the principles of the Art.

The Art’s relationship to theology followed the same path as the other sciences. It was a relationship which, throughout the Art’s own process of evolution, can be described as the passage from an external to an internal relationship. At a very early stage, the Art introduced new elements into the sciences and served above all as the foundation for the specific principles of each of these. Ultimately, the sciences ended up being situated within the Art, since the Art did not simply provide the foundation for its principles, but also possessed the necessary means to bring about all appropriate investigation.

Theology, taking God, the Art’s first subject, that is, as its object, was the space in which God was to be considered according to the Art. By means of the Art, even solutions ‘per auctoritates’ [‘by authority’] could be turned into arguments ‘ad necessitatem rationum’ [‘by necessary reasons’].

Source: Jordi Gayà, Raimondo Lullo. Una teologia per la missione (Milan: Jaka Books), 2002, pp. 105-106.