PAVLÍČEK, O., ed., Studying the Arts in Late Medieval Bohemia: Production, Reception and Transmission of Knowledge, Turnhout: Brepols 2021 (=Studia Artistarum 48), 358 pp.
From its foundation in 1348, the University of Prague attracted students as well asscholars from all over Europe to its Faculty of Arts, where they studied and taught the subjects of the curriculum in all their variety. Nevertheless, our knowledge about these Prague scholars and their thought is still rather limited. In an effort to fill this gap, this volume is the first devoted entirely to the production, reception, and transmission of knowledge in the Arts Faculty of the medieval University of Prague, covering topics in astronomy, linguistics, logic, metaphysics, meteorology, and optics. It also links Prague’s Faculty of Arts to several others at universities across Europe and it examines the study of the arts in Bohemia outside the university, including the Jewish milieu. The book ontributes to advancing the status quaestionis in various ways, mainly through the analysis of less well-known and even unpublished texts, critical editions of some of which are printed here for the first time.
CAMPI, L., ‘A Quaestio on Friendship Ascribed to Matthias of Knín, with some Notes and Questions on the Academic and Intellectual Life at the Prague Faculty of Arts at the Turn of the Fifteenth Century’ [containing the critical edition of Utrum, si amicus et veritas dissenciant, veritas sit amico preferenda]. Documenti e studi sulla tradizione filosofica medievale 32 (2021, published 2022), 297–343.
A little-known master from the Faculty of Arts of Charles University, Matthias of Knín actually took part in a series of events that were of considerable relevance for the academic and intellectual life in Prague at the turn of the fifteenth century. Among the few extant works ascribed to him isthe quaestio ‘Utrum, si amicus et veritas dissenciant, veritas sit amico preferenda’ that is published in the appendix to this article. After sketching Matthias’sintellectual biography, the article presents the manuscript transmission of the quaestio and its structure, and raises a number of questions about academic practices and intellectual life at the Prague Faculty of Arts at the turn of the fifteenth century. Since the quaestio significantly depends on John Buridan’s commentary on the Ethica Nicomachea, a throughout analysis of textual correspondences has been carried out.
CAMPI, L., ‘Is Perfection of this World? A Quaestio on Creatures’ Perfection in Terms of Propinquity to or Distance from the First Being, Ascribed to Matěj of Knín,’ Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 62 (2020, published 2021), 213–250.
The article focuses on Matěj of Knín, a member of the circle of the Bohemian followers of John Wyclif. It proposes a reconstruction of Matěj’s academic career and sheds light on the role he played in the late 14th and early 15th century in the reception and development of Wyclif’s metaphysical views in Prague. In particular, Matěj’s views on creatural perfection are taken into account, as they are presented in a quaestio ascribed to Matěj by a marginal note in the only extant manuscript copy, and edited in the appendix.
LUKŠOVÁ, Z., ‘Quodlibetal Problemata in the Arts Quodlibets at the University of Prague c. 1400–1417: An Analysis with a Catalogue,’ Bulletin de Philosophie Médiévale 63 (2021, published 2022), 321–363.
The paper focuses on the so-called problemata, a topic that has not yet evoked much scholarly interest. In the beginning of the 15th century, problemata regularly occurred in the quodlibetal handbooks of the Prague University masters alongside the usual quaestiones. The paper introduces a catalogue of problemata found in the quodlibetal handbooks of the Prague University masters active between 1400 and 1417, i.e. John Arsen of Langenfeld, Matthias of Knín, John Hus, Simon of Tišnov, and Procopius of Kladruby. Moreover, it provides a basic overview of how the individual authors of quodlibetal disputations formulated their problemata and the sources they used.
PAVLÍČEK, O., ‘Stephen of Páleč’s Works on Universals, with a Critical Edition of His Question Utrum universale sit aliquid extra animam preter operacionem intellectus,‘ Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age 88 (2021, published 2022), 287–336.
This contribution is the editio princeps of Stephen of Páleč’s Quaestio de esse aeterno accompanied by an introductory study. The first part of the study introduces Páleč’s life and work, in particular dealing with his relation to masters at the Prague University who accepted parts of John Wyclif’s thought. Based on an analysis of the manuscripts, the second part dates the quaestio to ca. 1407-1411. The final part of the introduction outlines the sources and the doctrine of the quaestio, which is based on Páleč’s understanding of the First Cause and its relation to the universe and is influenced by Stanislav of Znojmo and Augustine.
LIČKA, L., ‘Shadows in Medieval Optics, Practical Geometry, and Astronomy: On a Perspectiva Ascribed to Thomas Bradwardine‘, Early Science and Medicine 27.2 (2022): 179-223.
In examining the roles of the shadow (umbra) in medieval science, this paper analyses a hitherto unstudied early fourteenth-century optical treatise with the incipit Perspectiva cum sit una (PCSU), which, on the basis of medieval evidence, may arguably be attributed to Thomas Bradwardine. The third part of this treatise, on shadows, presents the doctrine of three shadow shapes – a doctrine which was popular in pre-modern optics and astronomy and was important in explaining eclipses – as well as the theory of umbra recta and versa, parallels of (co)tangent functions, which were essential for (instrumental) measurements. While the bulk of the treatise draws on John Peckham’s Perspectiva communis, an extensive analysis of medieval canons to astronomical tables, manuals of practical geometry and texts on instruments leads us to Campanus of Novara’s Practica quadrantis as the chief source of the last chapter of PCSU. Finally, the paper reflects on whether the light-centred conception of optics embodied in the PCSU may echo an alternative current to the otherwise predominantly sight-centred approach in pre-modern optics.
CAMPI, L., ‘Puri philosophi non est theologizare: Reflections on Method in John Wyclif’s and his Bohemian Followers’ Discussions of the Eternity of the World.‘ In: GHOSH, K., SOUKUP, P., eds., Wycliffism and Hussitism: Methods of Thinking, Writing, and Persuasion, c. 1360 – c. 1460. Turnhout: Brepols, 2021, 117-137.
At the turn of fifteenth century, the refusal of Aristotle’s view that the world is eternal was one of the hallmarks of the group of Bohemian masters of the Charles University influenced by the teachings of John Wyclif and played a part in the academic controversies related to the reception of his thought. This contribution offers an overview of Wyclif’s anti-eternalist arguments and evaluates to which extent Jan Hus, Jerome of Prague and other Prague masters were influenced by them.
LIČKA, L., ‘Studying and Discussing Optics at the Prague Faculty of Arts: Optical Topics and Authorities in Prague Quodlibets and John of Borotín’s Quaestio on Extramission,‘ In: PAVLÍČEK, O., ed., Studying the Arts in Late Medieval Bohemia: Production, Reception and Transmission of Knowledge, Turnhout: Brepols 2021(=Studia Artistarum 48), p. 251–303 (Open Access, https://doi.org/10.1484/M.SA-EB.5.122641)
The paper presents a preliminary estimation of the extent of dissemination of optical texts, ideas, and issues among the masters connected with the Prague faculty of arts in the late 14th and early 15th century. Investigation of this topic, so far rather neglected, is based chiefly on manuscript research. The paper brings evidence that perspectiva was taught in Prague at least since the 1370s. It suggests that investigation of Prague quodlibetal disputations (ca. 1390s – 1410s) and consideration of perspectivist authorities employed in these texts can also shed some light on the issue. However, the paper is mainly devoted to the question on the mechanism of vision disputed by Bohemian arts master John of Borotín (Iohannes de Borotin, 1378 – after 1458) in the quodlibet organised by John Hus in 1411. It is suggested that the single extant exemplar of the question (preserved in the codex Prague, National Library, X.H.18) probably is Borotín’s autograph. The structure and sources of the question are analysed, with the conclusion being that Borotín proposes a compromise between intromission and extramission influenced by John Peckham’s Perspectiva communis. A critical edition of Borotín’s question is appended to the paper.
LIČKA, L.,‘The Aims of Perspectiva in 1360s Paris: Investigating Texts Written in the Hand of Reimbotus de Castro.‘ In: CERMANOVÁ, P., ŽŮREK, V., eds., Books of Knowledge in Late Medieval Europe: Circulation and Reception of Popular Texts. Turnhout: Brepols, 2021, 299-329. Utrecht Studies in Medieval Literacy, 52. ISBN 978-2-503-59463-7. (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1484/M.USML-EB.5.125796)
This paper investigates how later medieval intellectuals dealt with perspectiva – the medieval discipline of optics, which had seen considerable popularity in Latin Europe since the 13th century and was epitomized in several “books of knowledge” of differing scopes, levels of difficulty and intended audience. This paper is focused narrowly on one of these intellectuals – Reimbotus de Castro (fl. 1350s–1380s), who was not only personal physician to the Roman Emperor Charles IV but was also a diligent copyist and abbreviator of many quadrivial and medical texts, and the owner of several codices now kept in the Bibliotheca Palatina. One of these codices, Pal. lat. 1380, includes two optical treatises copied by Reimbot himself. A closer reading of these texts, hitherto unnoticed by historians of medieval science, provides fresh insight into the reception of optical knowledge in the intellectual milieu of Paris in the 1360s, when Reimbot resided here. The first text is Reimbot’s reportatio of lectures on the famous optical textbook Perspectiva communis by John Peckham, the second is Reimbot’s redaction of the unknown optical compendium Perspectiva cum sit una. Finally, this paper addresses the issue of why optics was interesting at all for people at the intersection of the scholarly and courtly communities like Reimbot (and late medieval scholars generally). It is suggested that medieval optics, being useful for astronomical observations, could be considered a sort of auxiliary discipline for astrology and astrological medicine.
PAVLÍČEK, O.,‘Notes on the Prague Faculty of Arts in 1348–1419,‘ In: PAVLÍČEK, O., ed., Studying the Arts in Late Medieval Bohemia: Production, Reception and Transmission of Knowledge, Turnhout: Brepols 2021 (=Studia Artistarum 48), 13–26. (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1484/M.SA-EB.5.122630)
This study summarises the development and recession of the Prague Faculty of Arts in 1348–1419. It brings new insights into the Prague quodlibetal tradition and the academic life at the University of Prague, including the academic life and work of two deans of the Faculty of Arts who participated at the end of the 14th century in the preparation of the new statutes of the Faculty.
PAVLÍČEK, O., ‘The Argumenta sophistica in the Debate between Jerome of Prague and Blasius Lupus,‘ In: PAVLÍČEK, O., ed., Studying the Arts in Late Medieval Bohemia: Production, Reception and Transmission of Knowledge, Turnhout: Brepols 2021(=Studia Artistarum 48), 205–233 (with M. Hanke). (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1484/M.SA-EB.5.122639)
This study focuses on the genre of sophisms with particular attention to their importance at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Prague and in the debate between Jerome of Prague and Blasius Lupus in 1409. While the first part deals with the context of the debate between the two scholars, the second suggests a new interpretation of the arrangement of the disputation and of the relevant texts. The third part offers a novel doctrinal interpretation of the three sophistical arguments included in the debate, basing on a new reading of the text extant in MS Praha, Knihovna Metropolitní Kapituly, N 12. The primary context of the solution to sophisms is the solution of an ontological question (“Utrum universalia sint ponenda”), rather than a purely logical analysis. The conclusion of those sophistical arguments is the non existence of universals and ideas, not acceptable from Jerome’s point of view. This part of the study reconstructs the basic logical and ontological principles of Jerome’s solution to Blasius’s sophisms. A new critical edition of the relevant segment of the debate is appended to the study.
LIČKA, L., ‘Buridan Wycliffised? The Nature of the Intellect in Late Medieval Prague University Disputations‘, in The Embodied Soul: Aristotelian Psychology and Physiology in Medieval Europe between 1200 and 1420, edited by M. Gensler, M. Mansfeld and M. Michałowska, Cham: Springer, 2022, pp. 277–310. (Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-99453-2_14)
The paper delves into manuscript sources connected with various disputations held at Prague University from around 1390 to 1420 and singles out a set of hitherto unknown quaestiones dealing with the nature of the human intellect and its relation to the body. Prague disputations from around 1400 arguably offer a unique vantage point on late medieval anthropological issues, since they encompass an entanglement of numerous doctrinal influences from Buridanian De anima commentaries to John Wyclif’s theories. The paper delineates several conceptual tensions regarding the nature of the intellect, e.g., between materialism (entailed by the emphasis on the intellect’s inherence in the body) and personal immortality. It presents several strategies Prague masters employed to overcome these tensions. For example, an anonymous participant of the 1409 quodlibet develops the Buridanian distinction between the rationally demonstrable materialist tendency and the indemonstrable “catholic truth” about the intellect both inhering in and separable from the body. On the other hand, Wyclif’s adherents (Jacob of Mies and another anonymous master) postulate an immortal spirit hypostatically united to each human being beside the human soul educed from the potency of the matter. Yet, the boundaries between the doctrinal standpoints in question seem permeable, whereby a rigid definition of antagonistic groups in late medieval Prague intellectual milieu (e.g., Buridanians vs Wycliffites) is rendered ineffective.