256. Frequently Asked Questions: Henry of Ghent

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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


Sati on 23 June 2016

I found this episode both

I found this episode both fascinating and illogical.

In reply to by Sati

Peter Adamson on 24 June 2016


That's an intriguing reaction. Who did you think was being illogical, me or Henry? (Or both.)

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Sati on 24 June 2016

Just Spock, we both know he'd

Just Spock, we both know he'd never break out of prison.

Thank you for another enjoyable episode.


In reply to by Sati

Peter Adamson on 24 June 2016


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.

Harshad Inamdar on 24 June 2016

Zip folder of "Thirteenth Century" section

Dr. Adamson,  

Could you please upload a zip folder of all podcasts within the "Thirteenth Century" track of the series? 

Much thanks! 

In reply to by Harshad Inamdar

Peter Adamson on 24 June 2016


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 on 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?



In reply to by Michael Gebauer

Peter Adamson on 5 December 2016

Henry's affiliation

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).

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Michael Gebauer on 5 December 2016


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!


In reply to by Michael Gebauer

Peter Adamson on 6 December 2016


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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