History of Ideas I


Critical thinkers to the Western tradition from Homer to C.S. Lewis.


800 BC - 700 BC

Birth and date records of Homer are estimates, but most scholars agree that Homer lived sometime in the 8th century BC.


563 BC - 483 BC


551 BC - 479 BC


470 BC - 399 BC


460 BC - 370 BC


424 BC - 348 BC


384 BC - 322 BC


341 BC - 270 BC


99 BC - 55 BC

Jesus Christ

2 BC - 31 AD

Paul, the Apostle

5 AD - 67 AD


55 AD - 135 AD


205 - 270


354 - 430


480 - 524


570 - 632


1033 - 1109

Thomas Aquinas

1225 - 1274

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

John Calvin

1509 - 1564

Francis Bacon

1561 - 1626


1596 - 1650

Gottfried Leibniz

1646 - 1716

Immanuel Kant

1724 - 1804

William Paley

1743 - 1805

C.S. Lewis

1898 - 1963


Important time periods to the Western tradition.

Middle Ages

500 - 1500

It is normally marked from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire (the end of Classical Antiquity) until the beginning of the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery, the periods which ushered in the Modern Era. The dates listed above are quite general and should not be taken as specific days on the calendar.


1400 - 1700

The Renaissance was a cultural revolution marked by social and political upheaval as well as many intellectual advances. It serves as a bridge between the Middle Ages and Modernism. The Renaissance does not have any specific dates, but its influence on the thinkers during that time must have been profound.


1500 - Present

This movement's beginning is much easier to assume than its conclusion. Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses in 1517, which many see as the spark for the Reformation, although there were many criticisms of the Catholic Church before this. A conclusion is not included because there is no specific date where the Reformation can said to have been ended, and in many ways, it continues to this day. The movement is defined by Christians attempting to be the Church that Scripture intended, and there are many people still reforming their own local churches to do this very thing. Denominations continue to rise and fall out of favor, as each group attempts to study Scripture and become like what they think the earliest Christians were like.


1850 - 1980

Once again, as with all movements, all dates listed are for general purpose only. No scholar can pinpoint the day a movement begins or ends, but only the general trends of a movement. Modernism was the rejection of ideas born out of the Enlightenment, and some argue that it continues today. On this timeline, it ends in 1980, not because the movement can be officially declared ended, but that the Postmodern movement seems to be more prevalent. Other scholars will argue that these two movements are one and the same.