The Aristotelian Tradition: Aristotle’s Works on Logic and Metaphysics and Their Reception in the Middle Ages

Edited by
Börje Bydén and Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist

Papers in Mediaeval Studies 28. 2017. viii, 395 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-828-6 • Cloth • $95

While this volume amply illustrates the set of scholarly approaches characteristic of the “Copenhagen School of Medieval Philosophy” (notably a strong philological foundation and an interest in ancient as well as medieval and Greek as well as Latin texts), its thematic diversity reflects a great breadth of interests. What unites the collection in this respect is simply a concern with different historical manifestations of Aristotelian thought on logical and metaphysical matters.

The twelve essays in this volume all began their existence as contributions to workshops held between 2009 and 2011 by a Danish-Swedish research network called The Aristotelian Tradition: The reception of Aristotle’s works on logic and metaphysics in the Middle Ages, headquartered in Gothenburg and funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. Most of them were written by members of the network, some by invited speakers.

The volume includes studies of texts by, among others, Apuleius, Boethius, Anonymus Aurelianensis III, Michael of Ephesus, Averroes, Anonymus Cantabrigiensis, Nicholas of Paris, Robert Kilwardby, Anonymus O, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, and Francisco Suarez, relating to themes and passages in Aristotle’s CategoriesOn InterpretationPrior Analytics 1, Posterior Analytics 1, Sophistical Refutations and Metaphysics A and Z. The book concludes with a new edition, with English translation and commentary, of the first part of a fiercely anti-Aristotelian work, which has been described as the starting-point for Renaissance Platonism and Aristotelianism alike: George Gemistos Plethon’s On Aristotle’s Departures from Plato.


Abbreviations • xx

The Aristotelian Tradition • Sten Ebbesen • 1
The Background to the Present Volume •  Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist and Sten Ebbesen • 12

Heine Hansen • Accounting for Aristotle’s Categories: Some Notes on the Medieval Sufficientiae Praedicamentorum before Albert the Great • 16
Fabrizio Amerini • Averroes and Aquinas on the Primary Substantiality of Form • 49
Michail Peramatzis • Aristotle’s “Logical” Level of Metaphysical Investigation • 81
Jakob Leth Fink • Coming to Terms with Wisdom: Suárez on Aristotelian Wisdom • 131
David Bloch • Aristotle on the Exactness or Certainty of Knowledge in Posterior Analytics 1.27 • 151
Sten Ebbesen • Demonstrative Disputation – A contradictio in adiecto? Medieval and Recent Commentators on Aristotle’s Sophistical Refutations, Chapter 2 • 162
Julie Brumberg-Chaumont • Form and Matter of the Syllogism in Anonymus Cantabrigiensis • 188
Simo Knuuttila • Early Medieval Discussions of Modal Syllogistic • 214
Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist • Bridging the Beginner’s Gap: Apuleius, Boethius, and Porphyry on the Categorical Syllogism • 228
Ana María Mora-Márquez • Aristotle’s On Interpretation 1, 16a3–9: A New Perspective on the Origin of the Debate on Signification at the End of the Thirteenth Century • 249
Börje Bydén • George Gemistos (Plethon), On Aristotle’s Departures from Plato 0–19: Greek Text and English Translation • 267
Börje Bydén, Sten Ebbesen, Jakob Leth Fink, Heine Hansen, Katerina Ierodiakonou, Ana María Mora-Márquez, Miira Tuominen • George Gemistos (Plethon), On Aristotle’s Departures from Plato 0–19: Notes • 297

Works Cited
Ancient and Medieval • 345
Modern • 354

Contributors • 368

Index locorum • 371
Index nominum • 392


Börje Bydén is a Research Fellow at the University of Gothenburg and a member of the research programme Representation and Reality: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition based at the University of Gothenburg and funded by Riksbankens jubileumsfond 2013–2019. He has published a monograph, Theodore Metochites’ Semeioseis gnomikai and the Study of Natural Philosophy and Mathematics in Early Palaiologan Byzantium (2003), as well as numerous articles on ancient and (mainly) Byzantine philosophy. He is currently editing Theodore Metochites’ paraphrase of Aristotle’s De anima for the series Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca et Byzantina (De Gruyter, Berlin).

Christina Thomsen Thörnqvist is Professor of Latin at the University of Gothenburg. Her publications on the Latin reception of Aristotle’s syllogistic include critical editions of Boethius’ De syllogismo categorico and Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos (2008) and of the presumably earliest known Latin commentary on the Analytica priora, the so-called Anonymus Aurelianensis III (2015). Thomsen Thornqvist was coordinator of the network The Aristotelian Tradition 2009–2011 and is now the project leader of the research programme Representation and Reality: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the Aristotelian Tradition based at the University of Gothenburg and funded by Riksbankens jubileumsfond 2013–2019.


“This impressive and wide-ranging volume, the product of a research programme at the University of Gothenburg, illustrates the scholarly strengths that have come to distinguish the ‘Copenhagen School of Medieval Philosophy.’ Although its disciplinary base is both philological and philosophical, with a strong focus on the logico-semantic Aristotelian tradition as it developed from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, it is also informed by an openness to both analytic and European approaches. The individual contributors to the collection are all leading scholars of Aristotle and his intellectual heirs from Porphyry to Suárez. Successive chapters make ground-breaking contributions to the study of Aristotle’s Organon and Metaphysics, the reception of these works in the Latin West and Byzantium, and the influence of Arabic thought in Latin Christendom. The book concludes with a new edition, translation, and commentary, of George Gemistos Plethon’s On Aristotle’s Departures from Plato, a work that was highly influential on Renaissance thought.” — Paul Thom, University of Sydney


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