256. Frequently Asked Questions: Henry of Ghent

Posted on 19 June 2016

Henry of Ghent, now little known but a leading scholastic in the late 13th century, makes influential proposals on all the debates of his time.

Further Reading

• Henry of Ghent, Quodlibetal Questions on Free Will; Quodlibetal Questions on Moral Problems; Summa of Ordinary Questions: Articles Six to Ten on Theology, trans. R.J. Teske (Milwaukee: 1993, 2005, and 2011).


• G. Guldentops and C. Steel (eds), Henry of Ghent and the Transformation of Scholastic Thought (Leuven: 2003).

• S.P. Marrone, Truth and Scientific Knowledge in the Thought of Henry of Ghent (Cambridge, MA: 1985).

• P. Porro, “Metaphysics and Theology in the Last Quarter of the 13th Century: Henry of Ghent Reconsidered,” in J. Aersten and A. Speer (eds), Geistesleben im 13. Jahrhundert (Berlin: 2000), 265-82.

• P. Porro, “Doing Theology and Philosophy in the First Person: Henry of Ghent’s Quodlibeta,” in C. Schabel (ed.), Theological Quodlibeta in the Middle Ages: the Thirteenth Century (Leiden: 2006), 215-31.

• W. Vanhamel (ed.), Henry of Ghent: Proceedings of the International Colloquium on the Occasion of the 700th Anniversary of his Death (Leuven: 1996).

• G.A. Wilson, A Companion to Henry of Ghent (Leiden: 2011).


Stanford Encyclopedia: Henry of Ghent


Oh I get it! Sorry, was being slow on the uptake there.

Actually in retrospect I should have worked a joke along those lines into the episode myself.

We always do that when the mini-series is done, which in this case will not be too much longer - once we have looked at Duns Scotus. Sorry, the 13th century has been a really long one! (We wait until each series is over because otherwise we have to keep updating the .zip file all the time.)

Michael Gebauer 5 December 2016

Hi Peter,

was Henry a Franciscan [cf. Franciscan Studies, towards the end of the SEP article]?
In any case, would it be of importance always to be aware which order these philosophers belonged to?
Or do e.g. the arts masters regularly not belong to any order?
In the short stuff I meanwhile consulted this information tends to be omitted.
How important is it to keep it in mind?


Peter Adamson 5 December 2016

In reply to by Michael Gebauer

Hi - no, he was a secular and even polemicized against the mendicants to some extent. It is indeed important to keep track of who is Franciscan, Dominican, etc. We'll see that this is crucial with Ockham in the 14th c and it was already the basis on which I organized some of the 13th c material (like putting Bonaventure with Olivi).

Well, then what would an Abelard or Oresme have been? (Just to mention 2 greats.) The SEP articles simply don't tell us.
Wouldn't it be a good idea to enter this bit of information into the timeline(s)?
Thanks a lot for telling me in the case of Henry!


Well, Abelard was a secular schoolmaster until the, um, unfortunate incident, after which he of course took orders and became a monk. Not sure about Oresme.

I think I won't try to add more data to the timeline; of course there is all sorts of other info one could add - for instance geographical location, which would be even more important. But I think we'll keep it simple if only because it would be a lot of work otherwise!

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