What to cover in Latin medieval?

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Calling all HoPWaG listeners: I need to start thinking about what to cover (figures, themes) for Latin medieval philosophy, which is the next big series after I am done with the Islamic world. Any suggestions/requests? You probably don't need to suggest more obvious figures like Aquinas, say, but if you want to steer me towards certain topics within the thought of these big figures that would be really helpful.


Stamatios Gero… on 28 December 2013

Peter Payne's works on

Peter Payne's works on predestination, very heretic and anti-Aristotelian, must be propagated. In fact, I want to edit them. Payne was a necessitarian thinker whose main influence was Wycliff. I found the mss in Prague, where he spent part of his life, and Vienna.

Daniela Didier on 29 December 2013

Martianus Capella, one of the

Martianus Capella, one of the earliest developers of the system of the seven liberal arts that structured early medieval education.

In reply to by Daniela Didier

Peter Adamson on 21 January 2014

Sorry, I'm late replying to

Sorry, I'm late replying to this but I just wanted to say I already did Martianus, he's in episode 117.

Yannick Kilberger on 1 January 2014

Happy new year! Do Guillaume

Happy new year!

Do Guillaume de Champeaux vs Abelard on Universals. Add a bit of French touch and what have you!

Yannick Kilberger on 2 January 2014

Wait a minute Peter, are you

Wait a minute Peter, are you going all the way to Del Medigo?

In reply to by Yannick Kilberger

Peter Adamson on 21 January 2014

Hi there,No, actually I'm not

Hi there,

No, actually I'm not - I have decided the current series on medieval Jewish philosophy will stop with Isaac Abravanel. I will come back and do more Jewish philosophy later when I get to the Renaissance though.


Stephen Hart on 2 January 2014

Hi Peter, A couple of

Hi Peter,

A couple of suggestions:

1) Like the above commentator, I would like to learn more about the first universities in Europe: who formed them, their impetus for forming them, and their culture.

2) I would really enjoy an episode juxtaposing Bonaventure's and Thomas' metaphysical approaches, over and above other episodes that you may devote to them; I am familiar with the latter's views, but not the former's. I am interested because I know that their differences still figure heavily in current Catholic philosophy and theology.

3) Speaking of metaphysics, I would also appreciate your thoughts on the late medieval debate on God as absolute Divine Reason or absolute Divine Will & nominalism vs. realism - from what I know, the European variety stems largely from Scotus reacting against Thomas, but I have three main hang-ups that I'm still not clear on: a) did Scotus misunderstand Thomas' understanding of God's free will and the Eternal Law? b) did Scotus' conception of God align more with medieval Islamic thought on God than with the Christian one? If so, how? If not, how not? c) did Scotus' thought end up contributing a philosophical framework for the Protestant Reformation? Wycliffe is often assumed as a theological pre-reformer, but, from what I know of the nominalists, I also wonder whether Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin could have been themselves without Scotus and his school...

Many thanks!

Yannick Kilberger on 9 January 2014

At any rate don't use Ricky

At any rate don't use Ricky Martin's "un, dos, tres" as intro music for latin "medieval". It's the kind of pun that would get old faster than Ricky. :)

Michael Kolodziej on 10 January 2014

Hi, I have a few


I have a few suggestions.

1) The more mystical or Neo-Platonist metaphysics developed by followers of Albertus Magnus, especially Meister Eckhart and Dietrich von Freiberg.

2) An account of what took place in Paris between the death of Aquinas and Scotus' visit to Paris would be fascinating (Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaines and Giles of Rome...)

3) the theory of intentionality as developed by Radulphus Brito, Peter Aureoli, Hervaeus Natalis

4) the Oxford Realists (Robert Alyngton, but also William Penbygull and Roger Whelpdale)

S. Matthew Stolte on 12 January 2014

I’ve always wanted to learn

I’ve always wanted to learn more about Matthew of Aquasparta.

Mick on 19 January 2014

Perhaps an obvious one would

Perhaps an obvious one would be Ficino who revived Platonism and was one of the forerunners of humanism, despite his enthusiasm for occult topics. Another in a similar vein would be Boehme, and others in the mystical tradition. Whether such mystics come under the category of philosophers is a matter of discussion, however such thinkers were quite influential in the history of thought.

In reply to by Mick

Peter Adamson on 19 January 2014

Right, Ficino is most

Right, Ficino is most definitely going to be covered, albeit probably under the heading of "Renaissance philosophy." (The border between medieval and Renaissance is not easy to draw but I guess that Ficino is Renaissance if anyone is!) That issue about mysticism is a difficult one, but as I've already made clear I do tend to include mystical texts in the story, especially if the authors are responding to philosophical texts. In upcoming episodes I will cover Kallabah and return to Sufism for another look, and in medieval I am sure I will do e.g. German mystics like Eckhart and so on. So I would imagine I will at least glance at mysticism in the Renaissance too.

Someone should do a whole podcast series on the history of mysticism, though.

Mick on 19 January 2014

Boehme comes after the

Boehme comes after the Medieval period of course, but my point is whether the religious mysticism tradition leading up to Boehme and others could be called philosophy.

Taco on 20 January 2014

Please, please, please cover

Please, please, please cover Francisco Suárez in-depth. He warrants a few episodes at least, especially out of the 54 metaphysical disputations he wrote. Some very important topics in Suárez are his proofs of God's existence, final causality, divine concurrence, metaphysics and its relation to good and evil, the nature of relations (definitely important), his theory of distinctions, and his theory of law. I can forward some good stuff your way on this later. http://homepage.ruhr-uni-bochum.de/Michael.Renemann/suarez/index.html

Aside from him, obviously Bonaventure and Cajetan. Some others you might not have planned yet are Dietrich of Freiberg, William of Auvergne, Domingo Báñez, and Peter Olivi.

In reply to by Taco

Peter Adamson on 21 January 2014

Great, thanks for the

Great, thanks for the suggestions! Suarez is most certainly going to get covered, I agree he might be someone who needs more than one episode. I hadn't thought of Banez but the others you mention are on my list.

Tom on 31 January 2014



In reply to by Tom

Peter Adamson on 31 January 2014

Given my interests that was

Given my interests that was pretty much first on the list!

In reply to by Peter Adamson

Tom on 1 February 2014

Or what about something on

Or what about something on the court of Frederick II?

JASmith on 9 February 2014

Great podcast series! I

Great podcast series! I happened to come across it for the first time about a week ago.

Perhaps it is a little late, but I have several suggestions. I should first say that I agree with many of the excellent suggestions above, and perhaps I do not have any new contributions at all. I, unfortunately, know next to nothing about Medieval Jewish philosophy after Maimonides and Medieval Islamic philosophy after Ibn-Rushd--periods which you have covered; so, I don't have any suggestions here (though you do seem to ending your treatments of Medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophy anyway). If only because we are as of yet deficient in female philosophers, perhaps Hildegard of Bingen ought to be covered in some way. I am not sure that you intend to treat Dante Alighieri at all. (Perhaps his contributions seem more like the epic poetry of Virgil than the allegorical writing of Boethius.) But, I think that Dante Alighieri deserves to be covered; to my mind, he stands as one of the key transitional figures between the late Medieval and the Renaissance period (though, I think, his general outlook nevertheless remains very much of the Medieval era). This is my 'odd-ball' suggestion. Another liminal figure to consider: Nicholas of Cusa. Second, perhaps you aim to structure your podcasts like this anyway, but it would seem as though many of the late Medieval philosophers can be loosely classified into several broad camps. Perhaps this would be a good way to tackle some of the key points of contention between these thinkers; this would be fitting, at least as a continuation of the disputes between the broadly Platonic and Aristotelian tendencies in the earlier eras (though this picture is of course becoming increasingly complicated) and the various attempts to reconcile these extremes in Medieval philosophy. Supposing that Aquinas is used as a sort of 'gravitational centre' by which we enter into the thinking of this period, at least two main (interrelated) disputes come into view: First, the dispute over whether the 'universal' or the 'individual' is prior. (With this, the contrast between Aquinas and Duns Scotus is made clear, and Ockham can be added after this.) Second, the dispute over whether the basis of knowledge is a priori or a posteriori--and the various synthetic resolutions to this probem. (Perhaps a word or two on Moerbecke is also due.) Because of its contemporary interest, the development of the so-called 'person' over the course of Medieval philosophy may also be a good theme to trace; as well, the Medieval developments on the matter of both 'will' and 'choice' and the 'active intellect' should also be charted; additionally, the issues around whether the body and soul of the human are a unified or divided ought to be covered. Another issue: the transformation of 'grammar' and 'logic' in this period. As someone mentioned above, it would be good if there was a way to catch sight of the structure and function of the Medieval university in general. As someone else recommended above, the issue of 'intentionality' might also be good to cover. Another topic: the Medieval reworking of classical ethical and political philosophy (much like some of the other issues noted above, some of these reformulations seem to set the stage for philosophy from the Renaissance and Modern eras onwards). Another theme: perhaps there should be a survey of the various arguments concerning the existentia (and essentia) of God and the nature of the Trinity (and the ways in which these arguments are best understood)--since, among other things, both of these areas of dispute are crucial to a number of ontological developments. Additionally, I'm not sure if it would be possible but, since a number of the philosophic authorities mention them, it would be interesting do comment what is philosophically at stake in the persecution of the Cathars as a heretical sect in this era (Although, to my knowledge, there are no extant philosophical writings of the Cathars; so, perhaps it would be approached much like the polemical attacks on the Donatists, Manicheans, and Pelagians by Augustine). Similarly, one could comment on what is philosophically at stake in the polemical dismissal the Islamic (and Jewish) philosophers (even though many of the aspects in their thought was integrated) by the Christian thinkers. In addition to the figures that I have already mentioned, Eriugena, Anselm of Canterbury, William of Champeaux, Peter Abelard, Peter Lombard, William of Auvergne, Matthew of Aquasparta, Bonaventure, Peter Olivi, Albertus Magnus, Siger of Brabant, Roger Bacon, Jean Buridan, Albert of Saxony, Meister Eckhart, Henry of Ghent, Dietrich of Freiberg, and Fransisco Suarez should probably have some sort of treatment. This is by no means a complete list, of course; but, there might be a few suggestions here. Several of these philosophers were suggested by others in the comments above. And, again, perhaps you have already considered all or most of these thinkers. Perhaps, since many of the developments seem to have come about in 'baby-steps' (between the various core thinkers, there was much 'behind-the-scenes-leg-work' by other thinkers which prepared the way for them), one or more episodes should be devoted to each of the major figures and many of the others could be condensed into episodes featuring several thinkers (since many of the less renowned figures can be gathered into groups and seem to have developed their philosophical positions through these interactions).

In reply to by JASmith

Peter Adamson on 12 February 2014

Thanks! That's very helpful.

Thanks! That's very helpful. I agree about medieval offering a chance to look at some female thinkers, including Hildegard. Actually your out-of-the-box suggestion of Dante is one I'm very much planning on, since my undergrad thesis was on him so he is sort of my first intellectual love. I also like the idea of talking about the Cathars and of course in general discussions of heresy will play some role in these episodes.

Thaddeus on 23 June 2014

This is probably far too late

This is probably far too late but there are a couple of things I'd be very happy to see in the Latin medieval episodes. This isn't coming from an expert on the subject but rather as an excited listener.

1. Political Philosophy! I'm hoping to see episodes on figures like Giles of Rome, John of Paris, Marsilius of Padua, special attention paid to the political thought of bigger names like Occam and Aquinas, along with other trends such as canon law or the 'mirror of princes' literature. If there's one thing that I feel the podcast has been a less than exhaustive on it's political philosophy, so I want to remind you that there are those here who love the stuff!

2. Whenever I glance through overviews of Latin medieval philosophy there's always a huge period of silence between Augustine and Boethius (who are often placed there) and Anselm, with only Eriugena given any substantial attention. I'm eager for you to fill this particular gap for us.

In reply to by Thaddeus

Peter Adamson on 26 June 2014

Right, both of those are on

Right, both of those are on my list! I agree that my coverage of political philosophy has been a weak point to some extent though some of that is down to the fact that it isn't a dominant strand in the Islamic world, for whatever reason.

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