Adam of Buckfield and the early universities
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This thesis represents a systematic analysis of one of the commentaries of Adam of Buckfield on the physical works of Aristotle. The aim is to indicate how natural philosophy was taught in the early universities and how Aristotle's text became canonical in the arts course. The evidence, from extensive palaeographical research, is used to assess Buckfield's influence at an important time when Oxford was a young university, still shaping its curricula. It is argued that since natural philosophy was forbidden in the university of Paris during the time when Buckfield was teaching, a particular importance attaches to Oxford's interpretation of the physical works of Aristotle. The subsequent revival of natural philosophy in Paris and other universities that followed the Parisian model, it is argued, therefore owes a considerable debt to Oxford and its early masters, among whom Adam of Buckfleld was the earliest to complete a commentary on all the major physical works. The thesis examines the manuscript traditions in which Buckfield's works survives: separate copies of commentaries; whole commentaries written out in the Corpus vetustius collections of physical works; fragments of commentaries in the standard gloss in the same collection. Reasons are suggested for the difference between the natures of these manuscripts in the context of thirteenth-century teaching. A special study of Buckfleld's commentary on the De dfferentia spirilus et anime illuminates these kinds of manuscripts, indicates where further work will be profitable, and allows a reconstruction of the teaching material and techniques of Oxford regent masters of the thirteenth century.
AuthorsFrench, Edmund John
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