Wisdom 11, 21 - "But you have disposed all things by measure and number and weight" - appears frequently in Wyclif's theological and philosophical writings, as well as in his pastoral and political works. A learned biblicist, Wyclif considers it to be the most difficult verse in the whole of Scripture. Such an assessment is apparently due to the theoretical content it conveys, which relates to the issue of the creative, legislative and redemptive order imposed by God. While addressing various metaphysical, soteriological or ecclesiological topics, Wyclif appeals to the authority of this Wisdom verse to develop a comprehensive view of order in terms of the intimate structure of reality. Any kind of deviation from this order - described as an infringement of God's rule, or as a loss of correspondence to the divine, exemplary ideas - is ultimately seen as a shadowy area which compromises the full intelligibility of the world.
Christian, a grammarian who wrote his commentary on Matthew as an introductory text in theology for the younger monks of the abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy around A.D. 865, suggested a particularly innovative and even somewhat fantastic solution to the mystery of the time of the end. Drawing from the work of previous exegetes on this passage as well as on a number of tangential topics, and assimilating the theological concepts underlying a strikingly broad array of liturgical practices, he arrived at the surprising conclusion that the world will end during the Paschal vigil on one of the occasions that Easter falls on March 25th. An examination of this unusual approach to defining the inscrutability of the time of the end affords us a valuable insight into the manner in which new eschatological knowledge developed through the dynamic, mutually interpretative discourse that arose between the restored liturgy and the revived study of the Fathers in the Carolingian era
Recent scholarship has drawn increasing attention to the role of the English master Richard Rufus of Cornwall in the early thirteenth-century reception of the << New Aristotle >> in the Latin West. In 2003 Rega Wood published an anonymous commentary on Aristotle's Physics (Erfurt, CA Q 312), which she attributes to Richard Rufus of Cornwall. According to Wood, this commentary originated in lectures given by Rufus at the Arts Faculty of Paris in the mid 1230s and thus represents the earliest known witness to lectures on Aristotle's Physics at Paris after the interdictions of 1210, 1215, 1231. This article analyzes in detail Wood's arguments in favour of Rufus' authorship (references to a Physics commentary in Rufus' Metaphysics commentary, quotations by other authors, doctrinal parallels with Rufus' works). It concludes that the anonymous commentary certainly belongs to the early English commentary tradition on the Physics and was influential on mid-thirteenth-century English commentators, but that Rega Wood has not conclusively proved her claim for Rufus' authorship.
From the 14th to the 17th centuries the idea gradually emerged that created intellects can entertain several acts or apprehend several objects at the same time. While Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) explicitly rejects such a view, claiming that there can be one and only one intellectual act referring to one intelligible at a time, from John of Jandun (d. 1328) to the Scotist Franciscus Lychetus (d. 1520), many argued that not only in angelic but also in human intellects several intellectual acts are compossible with each other and, as a consequence, that a simultaneous grasp of multiple and distinct objects can occur. At the end of the 16th century, this conception is based on the idea that the attention of the mind can be divided. In his De angelis, Suarez (d. 1617), while ostensibly restricting the discussion to the case of the angelic intellect, nevertheless gives a systematic treatment of the way that attention can be proportioned to the nature and diversity of the objects considered.
How to explain the architectonic skills of insects, best represented by the hexagonal structure of the honeycomb? This was one of the most striking puzzles in the history of science and epistemology. How was such a lowly animal able to construct complex structures, which obviously imitated geometrical patterns? How could the obvious gap between the product and its maker be explained? These questions ignited a debate that started with Albert the Great in the High Middle Ages and included such figures as Thomas Aquinas, Roger Bacon, the Cartesians, Johannes Kepler, as well as philosophically trained natural scientists like Georges Buffon, Rene-Antoine Reaumur, Charles Bonnet, and of course Charles Darwin and the outstanding naturalists of the 19th and 20th century. Taking the skills of the bee as a starting point, the present paper reconstructs this long discussion of insect architecture and insect intelligence, and tries to uncover its medieval beginnings Although in the early modern period the amount of relevant empirical observation grew continuously, nevertheless the solutions to the riddle of the honeycomb followed patterns that remained almost unchanged since the time of Albert the Great.
Parmi les quatre sens de l'Ecriture: litteral, allegorique, moral et anagogique, l'A. s'attache au dernier sens: le sens spirituel, qui peut d'ailleurs etre reuni au sens allegorique. Deux sources: 1 L'exegese biblique fondee sur l'idee que l'A. T. annonce et prefigure le N. T.| 2 L'interpretation "paienne" des poemes homeriques et des mythes appliquee a la Bible par Philon d'Alexandrie, puis par Origene et la "lectio divina". Le sens "spirituel", qui consiste a faire apparaitre ce qui est cache dans l'Ecriture, est d'abord un art reserve a une elite (S. Gregoire), mais a la fin du 12 siecle, c'est devenu un mode rhetorique de persuasion chez les theologiens, en Angleterre et en France.
Already in Antiquity philosophers were debating how the achievements of animal intelligence could be explained without humanizing the beast. Why does animal behaviour often seem to be rational, even though animals lack rationality and an immortal soul? Why do many animals seem to learn and improve their skills? Like other Peripatetic thinkers, Albertus Magnus held that animals do not act as rational beings, because they lack universal knowledge, which is characteristic of human beings. Nevertheless, on the basis of classical theories and personal observations, Albertus Magnus developed the idea of a syllogismus brutorum, which has to be situated in the imaginative faculty of the brutes. According to Albert animals are able to connect mental pictures and build quasi-syllogistical sequences, which can be reproduced by memory and imagination, when the animal is confronted again with the same situation. Albert's model of animal syllogistics influenced other medieval philosophers like Thomas Aquinas and Dominicus of Flanders; it became important in early modern debates as a counter-model to the mechanistic philosophy of Descartes and his followers. In the academic circles of late scholasticism and Lutheran universities its traces can be followed up to the 18th century. The present paper reconstructs the reception of the syllogismus brutorum in the history of medieval philosophy and its wide-ranging influence on later philosophers.
At Summa theologiae I, 44, 2, Thomas Aquinas argues that God is the cause of all things, even primary matter, by turning historian and distinguishing four stages in the history of metaphysics, where Plato and Aristotle turn up at the third stage and unnamed aliqui at the last stage. In this paper, I conclude historically that the unnamed philosopher is Avicenna, and I conclude philosophically that Aquinas drew his philosophical doctrine of creation - that creatures depend upon God as efficient cause of their existence, which is independent from the religious notion of creation at a first moment in time - from Avicenna. In this way, the history of philosophy and philosophy itself reinforce each other in helping us to understand philosophical doctrines, both in themselves and in comparison with allied religious doctrines.
This article sheds new light on the complex relationship between Jacob Thomasius’s main occupation as a professor of Aristotelian philosophy at the Lutheran University of Leipzig and his works on the history of philosophy, which showed the incompatibility of Aristotle with central Christian doctrines. I argue for a strong inner consistency between these two seemingly conflicting aspects of Thomasius’s intellectual activity. Far from paralyzing his way of doing ‘Christian Peripatetic philosophy,’ the history of philosophy was for Thomasius an indispensable analytical tool for reforming Aristotelianism. To illustrate my thesis, I investigate the way Thomasius used his historical reconstruction of Aristotle’s theory of intellect to intervene in a contemporary debate on the origin of the human soul, a debate which played a central role in the crystallization of a Lutheran confessional identity.