RAIMUNDUS, rai'mūn'dus, DE SABUNDE (RAYMUND SABIEUDE): Spanish physician and educator; b. at Barcelona toward the close of the fourteenth century; d. at Toulouse in 1437. He was a teacher of medicine and philosophy and later of theology at Toulouse 1430-32, and rector of the high school at that place until 1437. Trithemius places the time of his literary activity c. 1430. His fame rests upon a remarkable religious philosophical work, the earliest Parisian manuscript (in translation) of which places the date of the original at 1434-36. Originally in Spanish, it appeared in a Latin translation, Theologia naturalis seu liber creaturarum (first, as Liber natur sive creaturarum, about 1484; Deventer, before 1488; Strasburg, 1496; French transl., by M. de Montaigne, La Théologie naturelle, Paris, 1569). The theology of the Middle Ages had been dominated by the distinction made by Augustine between "light of nature" and "light of grace." The latter, more or less in the ascendency, supported itself by a Platonic, realistic formulation, giving to reason a place for logical guidance, metaphysical cognition (even of the idea of God), and ethical instinct (Anselm, Aquinas). Formal dogmatism came to deny to speculation the liberty to investigate on its own account; but emboldened by the Arabian Aristotelian philosophy, speculation arrayed itself against dogmatism, with the result that reason and faith were ranged as irreconcilable opposites (William of Occam, q.v.). Reason was reduced to the office of mere formal dialectic, while theology was represented as having nothing to do with reason and no claim to classification, but at most to an insight into incomprehensible articles of belief. At this point arose natural theology to effect a union in the divided field of human thought, by providing a rational substructure to the doctrines of revelation.
While orthodoxy represented faith and knowledge, grace and reason, doctrine and self-knowledge, as antitheses only for imperfect human thinking, yet by its deficient methods it never consummated their harmony. Moreover, in Spain scholastics, in combating Islam, borrowed the weapons of their erudite antagonists. Close internal resemblance indicates that Raimund de Sabunde was preceded in method and object by Raymund Lully (see LULLY, RAYMUND). Not employing the term "natural theology" himself, his work must not be confused with modern representations of the same title. Far from implying a separation of the rational and the illumination of faith, and not disavowing the necessity of the latter, he takes over the main body of traditional theology. After the medieval method, separating neither the dogmatic from the ethical nor the natural from the supernatural, he, nevertheless, exceeded all previous similar efforts in clearness and unity of presentation. What is new and epoch-making is not the material but the method; not of circumscribing religion within the limits of reason, but, by logical collation, of elevating the same upon the basis of natural truth to a science accessible and convincing to all. He recognizes two sources of knowledge, the book of nature and the Bible. The first is universal and direct, the other serves partly to instruct man the better to understand nature, and partly to reveal new truths, not accessible to the natural understanding, but once revealed by God made apprehensible by natural reason. As to subject matter the two cover the same ground. The book of nature, the contents of which are manifested through sense experience and self-consciousness, can no more be falsified than the Bible and may serve as an exhaustive source of knowledge; but through the fall of man it was rendered obscure, so that it became incapable of guiding to the real wisdom of salvation. However, the Bible as well as illumination from above, not in conflict with nature, enables one to reach the correct explanation and application of natural things and self. Hence, his book of nature as a human supplement to the divine Word is to be the basic knowledge of man, because it subtends the doctrines of Scripture with the immovable foundations of self-knowledge, and therefore plants the revealed truths upon the rational ground of universal human perception, internal and external.
The first part presents analytically the facts of nature in ascending scale to man, the climax; the second, the harmonization of these with Christian doctrine and their fulfilment in the same. Nature in its four stages of mere being, mere life, sensible consciousness, and self-consciousness, is crowned by man, who is not only the microcosm but the image of God. Nature points toward a supernatural creator possessing in himself in perfection all properties of the things created out of nothing (the cornerstone of natural theology ever after). Foremost is the ontological argument of Anselm, followed by the physico-theological, psychological, and moral. He demonstrates the Trinity by analogy from rational grounds, and finally ascribes to man in view of his conscious elevation over things a spontaneous gratitude to God. Love is transformed into the object of its affection; and love to God brings man, and with him the universe estranged by sin, into harmony and unity with him. In this he betrays his mystical antecedents. Proceeding in the second part from this general postulation to its results for positive Christianity, he finds justified by reason all the historic facts of revealed religion, such as the person and works of Christ, as well as the infallibility of the Church and the Scriptures; and the necessity by rational proof of all the sacraments and practises of the Church and of the pope. It should be added that Raimund's analysis of nature and self-knowledge is not thoroughgoing and his application is far from consistent. He does not transplant himself to the standpoint of the unbeliever, but rather executes an apology on the part of a consciousness already Christian, thus assuming conclusions in advance that should grow only out of his premises. This accounts for his forced defense of a long array of Catholic institutions, alongside of his rational justification of the doctrines of redemption and ethics, such as indeed can be founded neither on the book of nature nor the Bible. In his zeal to unify reason and faith, their deeper antitheses remained for him undiscovered. Yet his is a long step from the barren speculation of scholasticism, and marks the dawn of a knowledge based on Scripture and reason. [Michael Servetus (q.v.) was deeply indebted to Raimundus. Cf. R. Willis, Servetus and Calvin, pp. 12 sqq. (London, 1877). A. H. N.]