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The New Aristotle anathema


CHAP. I was the patronage of the emperor, Frederic II likely to win much favour for such literature'. He was himself accused, at a somewhat later period, of having written a book (now known never to have existed) which coordinated, as developements of a like spirit of imposture, the Mosaic, the Christian, and the Mahometan religions; the difficulty with which he had been induced by the Pope to join in the Crusades, was notorious; and his sympathies with his Moorish subjects, who were numerous in the two Sicilies, equally so. Accordingly, as the new Aristotle made its the anathemas of the Church were heard following upon the study. In 1215, the Pope's legate repeated the prohibition of 1210. In 1231, a decree of Gregory IX forbade the use of the treatises on natural science, in the same university, until they should have been inspected by authority and 'purged from all suspicion of error". We learn from Roger Bacon that this prohibition expressly pointed at the commentaries of Avicenna and Averroes. On the same authority we gather that it was about this year that the most considerable influx of the new learning took place*.


1 It was probably about the year 1220 that Frederic II sent to the university of Bologna translations, partly from the Greek, partly from the Arabic of Aristotle and other philosophers,' chiefly Ptolemy; quas adhuc, says the royal letter accompanying them, originalium dictionum ordinatione consertas, et vetustarum vestium, quas eis ætas prima concesserat, operimento contectas, vel hominis defectus aut operis ad Latina linguæ notitiam non perduxit. Volentes igitur, ut veneranda tantorum operum simul auctoritas apud nos, non absque commodis communibus, vocis organo traduce innotescat; ea per viros lectos, et in utriusque linguæ prolatione peritos, instanter jussimus verborum fideliter servata virginitate, transferri. Conringius, De Antiq. Acad. p. 101. Prantl attaches considerable importance to the Emperor's patronage:- Hingegen ist wohl anzunehmen, dass seit der Anregung, welche Friedrich gegeben hatte, fort während an verschiedenen Orten

durch Manche, von welchen wir nicht einmal die Namen kennen, neue Uebertragungen zu Tage gefördert werden konnten.' Geschichte der Logik, III 5. Among the translators employed by the emperor was the celebrated Michael Scott, who was also patronised by Honorius III.

The De Tribus Impostoribus. 'A book was said to have existed at this time, with this title; it has never been discovered. I have seen a vulgar production with the title, of modern manufacture.' Milman, Hist. Latin Christianity, Bk. x c. 4.

Ad hæc jubemus ut magistri artium unam lectionem de Prisciano, et unam post aliam ordinarie semper legant, et libris illis naturalibus, qui in concilio provinciali ex certa scientia prohibiti fuere Parisius, non utantur, quousque examinati fuerint, et ab omni errorum suspicione purgati.' Launoy, De Varia Aristotelis Fortuna, c. 1.

Opus Tertium, c. 9, ed. Brewer,

p. 28.

as it offered


Here then was a grave question pressing upon the leaders CHAP. I. of the age. Was this massive and imposing philosophy to The question be regarded as some hostile fortification menacing the rights itself to the and authority of the Church, or might it not be possible for the Church herself to garrison it, and hold it as some strong outwork against the foe? Was the new Aristotle to be repudiated and denounced, even as Gregory had denounced all pagan literature, or was it, if possible, to be accepted and reconciled with Christian dogma? The degenerate Benedictines, it need hardly be said, evaded the difficulty and the responsibility of so momentous a decision; upon the schoolmen, who, as representatives of the progressive spirit of the thirteenth century, were to be found among the mendicant orders alone, it devolved to accept the nobler alternative and to essay a perilous and arduous task. A concurrence of events appears to have largely conduced to their temporary success. Apart from the reverence with which any writings that bore the name of Aristotle were then regarded, it is evident that those influences to which we have already referred were extending the arena of mental activity. The The new litedread anticipations of preceding centuries no longer hung pealed to the gloomily over thought and action; and the impulse generated age. by the Crusades and the mendicant orders was fully shared by the new and fast increasing centres of education and learning. The scanty literature of the age failed altogether to satisfy the growing appetite. The controversy respecting Universals could not last for ever: even the Benedictines were rousing themselves to fresh literary efforts; and the rise of the Rhyming Chroniclers in England and that of the Troubadours in France are indications of a very general craving. It was precisely when this craving was at its height. that the new Aristotle appeared, and, considered in the light of the facts which we have brought together in our preceding chapter, it must be admitted that the sacrifice which the Church at first sought to impose upon the orthodox, in demanding the exclusion of such important accessions to philosophy, was one of no ordinary magnitude.

And here, before we pass on to note the effects produced

rature ap

wants of the

A Norman and an En

of the Twelfth Century.

CHAP. I. by these accessions, and the new literature to which they gave birth, it will be well to turn aside for a moment for glish Library the purpose of forming a final estimate of the sources from whence, up to about the year 1230, men like Anselm, John of Salisbury, and Giraldus, derived their learning and their inspiration. The two catalogues here annexed will serve to furnish a sufficiently just conception of those stores. They are both probably of the twelfth century, -certainly not later than the early part of the thirteenth, the one representing the library of the Norman monastery at Bec, the other, that of Christchurch, Canterbury'; the former a purely Benedictine foundation; the latter, at the period to which the catalogue belongs, a more catholic society, where canons mingled with monks, and having somewhat the relation of a mother institution to other foundations throughout the country,—a relation which probably accounts for the numerous copies of the ordinary text books in its possession.

Comparison of their contents.

It will be seen that the literary resources of these two great centres of monasticism were but little beyond what our preceding investigations would lead us to anticipate. The meagre literature of the traditional Trivium and Quadrivium is of course there. Martianus Capella, represented by a single copy at Bec, has a quadruple existence and a commentator at Canterbury; but Cassiodorus and Isidorus at the Norman foundation, and wanting to the other, may be

1 The first of these catalogues is taken from Ravaisson, Rapport sur les Bibliothèques de l'Ouest. The editor considers that the manuscript may possibly be of the thirteenth century (p. 162 and Append. p. 375); but M. Rémusat observes that the books given by the Bishop of Bayeux could not have been given later than 1164, the year of his death. Saint Anselme de Cantorbéry (Paris 1853), p. 457. The second catalogue, now printed for the first time, is from MS. Ii. 3. 12, in the University Library, Cambridge. Mr. Bradshaw, to whom I am indebted for my knowledge of it, is of opinion that the manuscript belongs to the end of the twelfth or the beginning of the

thirteenth century.


2The cathedral church of Canterbury was not a monastery in the same sense as that of St. Augustine's in the same city: the latter was founded for monastic purposes; the other was the mother church of the whole kingdom, its monastic character being almost accidental. even in the strictest days of regular discipline, it had contained many clergy who were not monks, and many monks who were so only in name. As at the first the essential character of its inmates was priestly, not monastic, so as time went on, their successors included both monks and priests.' Prof. Stubbs, Pref. to Epist. Cantuarienses, pp. xxiii, xxiv.


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