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Free Will ~ William of Auxerre, on Peter Lombard.

The first medieval theologian to develop a systematic treatise on free will, the virtues, and the natural law.

245J Guillermus Altissodorensis , or  William of Auxerre, c.1150-1231 (sometimes also called William of Beauvai)

Summa aurea in quattuor libros sententiarum : a subtilissimo doctore Magistro Guillermo altissiodore[n]si edita. quam nuper amendis q[uam]plurimis doctissimus sacre theologie professor magister Guillermus de quercu diligenti admodum castigatione emendauit ac tabulam huic pernecessariam edidit.

Impressa est Parisiis : Maxima Philippi Pigoucheti cura impensis vero Nicolai vaultier et Durandi gerlier alme vniuersitatis Parisiensis librariorum iuratorum,  3 Apr. 1500/01.                                $28,000

H19386-L153309897 4

Folio, 306, [20] ; A-z8, §8ç8A-M8, N10,A-B6,C8.    First edition. Large woodcut device (Davies 82) on title, Durand Gerlier’s woodcut device (Davies 119) within 4-part border at end. Gothic types, double column. Small marginal tear, old ms. marginalia.H19386-L153309911This is a wonderful copy which is well preserved. Bound in contemporary Flemish blind stamped calf over wooden boards, rebacked with old spine, endpapers renewed, manuscript author’s name on fore-edge.  Fine blind-stamped panelled calf over beveled wooden boards with pineapple stamps in lattice pattern, within a border of double eagle and round rose stamps. Clasps and catches missing the boards have metal strips .

Provenance:old ms. inscription ‘Societatis Jesu Brugensis’ on title page ; Bibliotheca Broxbourniana (1949) ; heraldic ex libris with the letters A and E of Albert Ehrman (motto: pro viribus summis contendo)  John Ehrman (1920 – 2011) received the library that his father Albert had started; he used a bookplate with the script “Bibliotheca Broxbourniana”  In addition to his historical scholarship, he worked to enhance his father’s library, and disposed of it by gift and auction sale in the late 1970s, ending with a final sale in 1978.

H19386-L153309886-1 2

FIRST EDITION of the major work by William of Auxerre. In his commentary on Peter Lombard, William treats creation, natural law, the nature of man, a tripartite God, usury, end the Last Judgment, among other topics. He applies the critical reasoning of classical philosophy to his writing, He was an Archdeacon of Beauvais before becoming a professor of theology at the university in Paris. In 1231, he was made a member of the commission (the others were Simon of Authie and Stephen of Provins, both canons of Rheims)  appointed by Gregory IX to examine Aristotle’s writings on the natural sciences and to offer amendments where religiously necessary.   And “correct” the corpus of Aristotle and his Arab commentators (which had been banned at the university of Paris since 1210) and extirpate dangerous passages.  Contrary to the papal legate Robert of Courçon and other conservatives, who in 1210 condemned Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics as corruptive of Christian faith, William saw no intrinsic reason to avoid the rational analysis of Christian revelation. Confident of William’s orthodoxy, Gregory urged the King to restore him to the university faculty so that he and Godfrey of Poitiers might reorganize the plan of studies. William fell ill and died before any of these projects were begun.The work of the committee was never completed.

The Summa Aurea, written between 1215 and 1220, the Summa Aurea, is divided into  four books as a  commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, that was an important precursor to Aquinas.  It contains an ample disquisition on usury and the natural law basis of economic matters.  William was one of the H19386-L153309903first theologians to be influenced by Aristotle. Preceding as he did the Aristotelian revival, William was largely influenced by St. Augustine, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Richard and Hugh of Saint–Victor, and Avicenna.  He is considered the first medieval theologian to develop a systematic treatise on free will, the virtues, and the natural law. His Summa Aurea shows an intellectual awareness and insistence on the physical which had not been seen in earlier philosophers.  Both in method and in content it shows a considerable amount of originality, although, like all the Summæ of the early thirteenth century, it is influenced by the manner and method of the Lombard.  William was probably a student of the Parisian canon and humanist Richard of St. Victor  but the teacher  whom William was most profoundly influenced was Praepositinus, or Prevostin, of Cremona, Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1206 to 1209.  William was, in turn, the teacher of the Dominican, John of Treviso, one of the first theologians of the Order of Preachers. The importance of the “Summa Aurea” is enhanced by the fact that it was one of the first Summæ composed after the introduction of the metaphysical and physical treatises of Aristotle.

H19386-L153309892 2

The Summa aurea, in four books, selectively treated such theological matters as God as one nature in three persons, creation, man, Christ and the virtues, sacramental worship, and the Last Judgment.

William’s emphasis on philosophy as a tool for Christian theology is evidenced by his critique of Plato’s doctrine of a demiurge, or cosmic intelligence, and by his treatment of the theory of knowledge as a means for distinguishing between God and creation. He also analyzed certain moral questions, including the problem of human choice and the nature of virtue.

William also wrote a Summa de officiis ecclesiasticis (“Compendium of Church Services”), which treated liturgical, or common, prayer, sacramental worship, and the annual cycle of scripture readings and chants. This systematic study served as the model for the late-13th-century noted work on divine worship, Guillaume Durand’s Rationale divinorum officiorum (“An Explanation of the Divine Offices”).

É. H. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 656–657. J. Ribaillier, ed., Magistri Guillelmi Altissiodorensis Summa aurea, 7 vols. (Paris 1980–1987).                                                                                                                                                       P. Glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle (Paris 1933–34);     v. 17–18 of Bibliothèque Thomiste (Le Saulchoir 1921–) 1:293–294. c. ottaviano, Guglielmo d’Auxerre                                                                                                                                               . J. VanWijnsberghe, “De biechtleer van Willem van Auxerre in het licht der vroegscholastiek,” Studia catholica 27 (1952) 289–308.                                                                  G. Bonafede, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice–Rome 1957) 2:934–935.

Goff G718; BMC VIII, 122 ; Hain 8324 ; Proctor 8206 ; Polain 1787 ; IGI 4600; IBP 2614; IDL 2170; IBE 2788; IBPort 821; SI 1815

United States of America:

 Astrik L. Gabriel, Notre Dame IN
Boston Public Library
Bryn Mawr College, Goodhart Medieval Library
New York, Columbia University, Butler Library
San Marino CA, Huntington Library
Univ. of Chicago Libraries
Univ. of Wisconsin

Open this link for a very good introduction to Guillermus

William of Auxerre, on Peter Lombard.

The first medieval theologian to develop a systematic treatise on free will, the virtues, and the natural law.

245J Guillermus Altissodorensis , or  William of Auxerre, c.1150-1231 (sometimes also called William of Beauvai)

Summa aurea in quattuor libros sententiarum : a subtilissimo doctore Magistro Guillermo altissiodore[n]si edita. quam nuper amendis q[uam]plurimis doctissimus sacre theologie professor magister Guillermus de quercu diligenti admodum castigatione emendauit ac tabulam huic pernecessariam edidit.

Impressa est Parisiis : Maxima Philippi Pigoucheti cura impensis vero Nicolai vaultier et Durandi gerlier alme vniuersitatis Parisiensis librariorum iuratorum,  3 Apr. 1500/01.                                $28,000

H19386-L153309897 4

Folio, 306, [20] ; A-z8, §8ç8A-M8, N10,A-B6,C8.    First edition. Large woodcut device (Davies 82) on title, Durand Gerlier’s woodcut device (Davies 119) within 4-part border at end. Gothic types, double column. Small marginal tear, old ms. marginalia.H19386-L153309911This is a wonderful copy which is well preserved. Bound in contemporary Flemish blind stamped calf over wooden boards, rebacked with old spine, endpapers renewed, manuscript author’s name on fore-edge.  Fine blind-stamped panelled calf over beveled wooden boards with pineapple stamps in lattice pattern, within a border of double eagle and round rose stamps. Clasps and catches missing the boards have metal strips .

Provenance:old ms. inscription ‘Societatis Jesu Brugensis’ on title page ; Bibliotheca Broxbourniana (1949) ; heraldic ex libris with the letters A and E of Albert Ehrman (motto: pro viribus summis contendo)  John Ehrman (1920 – 2011) received the library that his father Albert had started; he used a bookplate with the script “Bibliotheca Broxbourniana”  In addition to his historical scholarship, he worked to enhance his father’s library, and disposed of it by gift and auction sale in the late 1970s, ending with a final sale in 1978.

H19386-L153309886-1 2

FIRST EDITION of the major work by William of Auxerre. In his commentary on Peter Lombard, William treats creation, natural law, the nature of man, a tripartite God, usury, end the Last Judgment, among other topics. He applies the critical reasoning of classical philosophy to his writing, He was an Archdeacon of Beauvais before becoming a professor of theology at the university in Paris. In 1231, he was made a member of the commission (the others were Simon of Authie and Stephen of Provins, both canons of Rheims)  appointed by Gregory IX to examine Aristotle’s writings on the natural sciences and to offer amendments where religiously necessary.   And “correct” the corpus of Aristotle and his Arab commentators (which had been banned at the university of Paris since 1210) and extirpate dangerous passages.  Contrary to the papal legate Robert of Courçon and other conservatives, who in 1210 condemned Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics as corruptive of Christian faith, William saw no intrinsic reason to avoid the rational analysis of Christian revelation. Confident of William’s orthodoxy, Gregory urged the King to restore him to the university faculty so that he and Godfrey of Poitiers might reorganize the plan of studies. William fell ill and died before any of these projects were begun.The work of the committee was never completed.

The Summa Aurea, written between 1215 and 1220, the Summa Aurea, is divided into  four books as a  commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, that was an important precursor to Aquinas.  It contains an ample disquisition on usury and the natural law basis of economic matters.  William was one of the H19386-L153309903first theologians to be influenced by Aristotle. Preceding as he did the Aristotelian revival, William was largely influenced by St. Augustine, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Richard and Hugh of Saint–Victor, and Avicenna.  He is considered the first medieval theologian to develop a systematic treatise on free will, the virtues, and the natural law. His Summa Aurea shows an intellectual awareness and insistence on the physical which had not been seen in earlier philosophers.  Both in method and in content it shows a considerable amount of originality, although, like all the Summæ of the early thirteenth century, it is influenced by the manner and method of the Lombard.  William was probably a student of the Parisian canon and humanist Richard of St. Victor  but the teacher  whom William was most profoundly influenced was Praepositinus, or Prevostin, of Cremona, Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1206 to 1209.  William was, in turn, the teacher of the Dominican, John of Treviso, one of the first theologians of the Order of Preachers. The importance of the “Summa Aurea” is enhanced by the fact that it was one of the first Summæ composed after the introduction of the metaphysical and physical treatises of Aristotle.

H19386-L153309892 2

The Summa aurea, in four books, selectively treated such theological matters as God as one nature in three persons, creation, man, Christ and the virtues, sacramental worship, and the Last Judgment.

William’s emphasis on philosophy as a tool for Christian theology is evidenced by his critique of Plato’s doctrine of a demiurge, or cosmic intelligence, and by his treatment of the theory of knowledge as a means for distinguishing between God and creation. He also analyzed certain moral questions, including the problem of human choice and the nature of virtue.

William also wrote a Summa de officiis ecclesiasticis (“Compendium of Church Services”), which treated liturgical, or common, prayer, sacramental worship, and the annual cycle of scripture readings and chants. This systematic study served as the model for the late-13th-century noted work on divine worship, Guillaume Durand’s Rationale divinorum officiorum (“An Explanation of the Divine Offices”).

É. H. Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 656–657. J. Ribaillier, ed., Magistri Guillelmi Altissiodorensis Summa aurea, 7 vols. (Paris 1980–1987).                                                                                                                                                       P. Glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle (Paris 1933–34);     v. 17–18 of Bibliothèque Thomiste (Le Saulchoir 1921–) 1:293–294. c. ottaviano, Guglielmo d’Auxerre                                                                                                                                               . J. VanWijnsberghe, “De biechtleer van Willem van Auxerre in het licht der vroegscholastiek,” Studia catholica 27 (1952) 289–308.                                                                  G. Bonafede, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice–Rome 1957) 2:934–935.

Goff G718; BMC VIII, 122 ; Hain 8324 ; Proctor 8206 ; Polain 1787 ; IGI 4600; IBP 2614; IDL 2170; IBE 2788; IBPort 821; SI 1815

United States of America Astrik L. Gabriel, Notre Dame IN
Boston Public Library
Bryn Mawr College, Goodhart Medieval Library
New York, Columbia University, Butler Library
San Marino CA, Huntington Library
Univ. of Chicago Libraries
Univ. of Wisconsin

Open this link for a very good introduction to Guillermus

Featured post

A most satisfying book: Boethius ,a Consolation of Philosophy

Boethius 1501
Boethius 1501

Boetius de philosophico consolatu, siue, De consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e

Edward Gibbon  in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire  stated that  A consolation of Philosophy  is  “A golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully.” And C. S. Lewis, in “The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 1964, rightly tells us “To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.”. The Consolation of Philosophy was the most copied and circulated secular text in the European middlDSC_0084e ages, the influence of Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae should not be under-estimated — some four hundred copies survive in manuscript form, making it one of the most widely disseminated pieces of writing during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Even today, this would serve as a good starting point for someone unfamiliar with the history of philosophy, and wanted to take a first plunge in the
company of a great mind from the past.  The Copy I currently have Was Printed in Straßburg Per Iohannem Grüninger, 1501

DSC_0103

This Wonderful copy is bound in its original full calf covered wooden boards, it was blind stamped and had clasps to hold it safely closed, these are now  long gone but their presence can be  traced by the indentations carved in the boards and the remaining brass brads.

Rear Cover
Rear Cover
Front board
Front board

This Edition is illustrated with woodcuts,many of which were colored at the time of printing, making this a visual treat on every page. The type faces and the layout of the pages themselves are exotic to the modern eye and transport us back to a tradition of textual exegesis whix=ch is all but forgotten.DSC_0096 (1)

 

667G Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius  a.d.480-525

Boetius de Philosophico consolatu siue de consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e: cu[m] figur ornatissimis nouit expoli

Straßbourg: J. Gruninger, 8 September 1501.                         $Sold

Small folio 11 ¼ x 7 inches. [ ]6, A4, B-X6,Y8. First illustrated edition. In this copy many of the seventy eight woodcuts  have very nice original color, it is bound in full blind stamped calf over wooden boards. It is also rubicated throughout. There are two library stamps and a release Endorsement ‘Dupl. ” Wiener K.K. Theres. It is a large and lovely copy of an important and beautiful book.DSC_0089 (1)

“Boethius is known as author of the Consolation of Philosophy and of several theological treatises. From them no theory of knowledge emerges clearly, for the concern is not primarily there with knowing, although distinctions and differentiations relevant to it are frequent.  The Consolation of Philosophy is committed (by way of Proclus’ commentary on the Timaeus, it has been suggested) to a platonic doctrine of ideas and of reminiscence: the soul is of divine elements on which its knowledge depends; it is in need only of the quickening power of sense perception to arouse it to a knowledge of ideas at rest within it. The developments of that notion bring echoes, one after the other, of pythagoreanism, neoplatonism, stoicism, and augustinism. Yet, as if these came too near to a dereliction from aristotelian principles, Boethius expounds the Trinity, in the work which shows most clearly the augustinian influence, by applying the ten categories to the persons and their relations. At the bottom of these diversified philosophic affiliations is the conviction, often explicit, that there was a single philosophy of the Greeks, to be grasped best in the reconciliation of Plato and Aristotle. That, however, was a lesson Boethius had learned from pagan roman philosophers; even before the coming of Christianity a change in the attitude toward philosophy had instituted a metaphysical conservatism. The distinctions by which the greeks thought to have divided themselves into opposed schools are needless subtleties when abstract thought is to be invoked (as it is in the very title of four works of Seneca and one work of Boethius) for refuge, or salvation, or relief, or consolation” (quoted from Selections from Medieval Philosophers I, by Richard McKeon, page 68-69).

The”Consolation of Philosophie” was written while Boethius was in prison and deprived of the use of his library, on false charges of treason against Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, then ruler of Rome. “Within a year he was a solitary prisoner at Pavia, stripped of honours, wealth, and friends, with death hanging over him, and a terror worse than death, in the fear lest those dearest to him should be involved in the worst results of his downfall. It is in this situation that the opening of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ brings Boethius before us. He represents himself as seated in his prison distraught with grief, indignant at the injustice of his misfortunes, and seeking relief for his melancholy in writing verses descriptive of his condition. Suddenly there appears to him the Divine figure of Philosophy, in the guise of a woman of superhuman dignity and beauty, who by a succession of discourses convinces him of the vanity of regret for the lost gifts of fortune, raises his mind once more to the contemplation of the true good, and makes clear to him the mystery of the world’s moral government.”(H.R. JAMES, M.A.,

  1. CH. OXFORD 1897.)

 

In this prosimetrical apocalyptic dialogue, Boethius our narrator encounters Lady-Philosophy , who appears in his time of need, the muse of poetry has in short failed him.  Philosophy  dresses  among great protest Boethius’ bad interpretations and misunderstandings of fate and free will…. One thousand five hundred years later It is still fair to ask, the same questions which Boethius asks..DSC_0100

 

 

And  Philosophy answers:“The judgment of most people is based not on the merits of a case but on the fortune of its outcome; they think that only things which turn out happily are good.”

“You have merely discovered the two-faced nature of this blind goddess [Fortune] … For now she has deserted you, and no man can ever be secure until he has been deserted by Fortune.”

“I [Fortune] spin my wheel and find pleasure in raising the low to a high place and lowering those who were on top. Go up, if you like, but only on condition that you will not feel abused when my sport requires your fall.”DSC_0092 (1)

 

Proctor 9886; Schmidt vol. I, 57; Chrisman C1.1.4,2; Adams B-2283; VD16 B6404; Hind, History of the Woodcut II,339-340; Redgrave Bibliographica II, 53; Not in OCLC. See also Chadwick: ‘Boethius’ 1981 Oxford, and Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible 1996, p 88, I.8.

 

How Blest Is He

How blest is he who could discern

The bright source of the good,

How blest, for he could slip the chains

Of earth, which weigh men down!

 

— Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (3:12)

 

It is not that often that a book of medieval philosophy has so much direct connection to contemporary situations, yet remains so strange, alas there is a golden chain of being (scala naturae) to be found in this most satisfying book.

 

A most satisfying book: Boethius ,a Consolation of Philosophy

Boethius 1501
Boethius 1501

Boetius de philosophico consolatu, siue, De consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e

Edward Gibbon  in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire  stated that  A consolation of Philosophy  is  “A golden volume not unworthy of the leisure of Plato or Tully.” And C. S. Lewis, in “The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 1964, rightly tells us “To acquire a taste for it is almost to become naturalised in the Middle Ages.”. The Consolation of Philosophy was the most copied and circulated secular text in the European middlDSC_0084e ages, the influence of Boethius’s Consolatio Philosophiae should not be under-estimated — some four hundred copies survive in manuscript form, making it one of the most widely disseminated pieces of writing during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Even today, this would serve as a good starting point for someone unfamiliar with the history of philosophy, and wanted to take a first plunge in the
company of a great mind from the past.  The Copy I currently have Was Printed in Straßburg Per Iohannem Grüninger, 1501

DSC_0103

This Wonderful copy is bound in its original full calf covered wooden boards, it was blind stamped and had clasps to hold it safely closed, these are now  long gone but their presence can be  traced by the indentations carved in the boards and the remaining brass brads.

Rear Cover
Rear Cover
Front board
Front board

This Edition is illustrated with woodcuts,many of which were colored at the time of printing, making this a visual treat on every page. The type faces and the layout of the pages themselves are exotic to the modern eye and transport us back to a tradition of textual exegesis whix=ch is all but forgotten.DSC_0096 (1)

 

667G Anicius Manlius Torquatus Severinus Boethius  a.d.480-525

Boetius de Philosophico consolatu siue de consolatio[n]e philosophi[a]e: cu[m] figur ornatissimis nouit expoli

Straßbourg: J. Gruninger, 8 September 1501.                         $Sold

Small folio 11 ¼ x 7 inches. [ ]6, A4, B-X6,Y8. First illustrated edition. In this copy many of the seventy eight woodcuts  have very nice original color, it is bound in full blind stamped calf over wooden boards. It is also rubicated throughout. There are two library stamps and a release Endorsement ‘Dupl. ” Wiener K.K. Theres. It is a large and lovely copy of an important and beautiful book.DSC_0089 (1)

“Boethius is known as author of the Consolation of Philosophy and of several theological treatises. From them no theory of knowledge emerges clearly, for the concern is not primarily there with knowing, although distinctions and differentiations relevant to it are frequent.  The Consolation of Philosophy is committed (by way of Proclus’ commentary on the Timaeus, it has been suggested) to a platonic doctrine of ideas and of reminiscence: the soul is of divine elements on which its knowledge depends; it is in need only of the quickening power of sense perception to arouse it to a knowledge of ideas at rest within it. The developments of that notion bring echoes, one after the other, of pythagoreanism, neoplatonism, stoicism, and augustinism. Yet, as if these came too near to a dereliction from aristotelian principles, Boethius expounds the Trinity, in the work which shows most clearly the augustinian influence, by applying the ten categories to the persons and their relations. At the bottom of these diversified philosophic affiliations is the conviction, often explicit, that there was a single philosophy of the Greeks, to be grasped best in the reconciliation of Plato and Aristotle. That, however, was a lesson Boethius had learned from pagan roman philosophers; even before the coming of Christianity a change in the attitude toward philosophy had instituted a metaphysical conservatism. The distinctions by which the greeks thought to have divided themselves into opposed schools are needless subtleties when abstract thought is to be invoked (as it is in the very title of four works of Seneca and one work of Boethius) for refuge, or salvation, or relief, or consolation” (quoted from Selections from Medieval Philosophers I, by Richard McKeon, page 68-69).

The”Consolation of Philosophie” was written while Boethius was in prison and deprived of the use of his library, on false charges of treason against Theodoric, the Ostrogoth, then ruler of Rome. “Within a year he was a solitary prisoner at Pavia, stripped of honours, wealth, and friends, with death hanging over him, and a terror worse than death, in the fear lest those dearest to him should be involved in the worst results of his downfall. It is in this situation that the opening of the ‘Consolation of Philosophy’ brings Boethius before us. He represents himself as seated in his prison distraught with grief, indignant at the injustice of his misfortunes, and seeking relief for his melancholy in writing verses descriptive of his condition. Suddenly there appears to him the Divine figure of Philosophy, in the guise of a woman of superhuman dignity and beauty, who by a succession of discourses convinces him of the vanity of regret for the lost gifts of fortune, raises his mind once more to the contemplation of the true good, and makes clear to him the mystery of the world’s moral government.”(H.R. JAMES, M.A.,

  1. CH. OXFORD 1897.)

 

In this prosimetrical apocalyptic dialogue, Boethius our narrator encounters Lady-Philosophy , who appears in his time of need, the muse of poetry has in short failed him.  Philosophy  dresses  among great protest Boethius’ bad interpretations and misunderstandings of fate and free will…. One thousand five hundred years later It is still fair to ask, the same questions which Boethius asks..DSC_0100

 

 

And  Philosophy answers:“The judgment of most people is based not on the merits of a case but on the fortune of its outcome; they think that only things which turn out happily are good.”

“You have merely discovered the two-faced nature of this blind goddess [Fortune] … For now she has deserted you, and no man can ever be secure until he has been deserted by Fortune.”

“I [Fortune] spin my wheel and find pleasure in raising the low to a high place and lowering those who were on top. Go up, if you like, but only on condition that you will not feel abused when my sport requires your fall.”DSC_0092 (1)

 

Proctor 9886; Schmidt vol. I, 57; Chrisman C1.1.4,2; Adams B-2283; VD16 B6404; Hind, History of the Woodcut II,339-340; Redgrave Bibliographica II, 53; Not in OCLC. See also Chadwick: ‘Boethius’ 1981 Oxford, and Pelikan, The Reformation of the Bible 1996, p 88, I.8.

 

How Blest Is He

How blest is he who could discern

The bright source of the good,

How blest, for he could slip the chains

Of earth, which weigh men down!

 

— Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy (3:12)

 

It is not that often that a book of medieval philosophy has so much direct connection to contemporary situations, yet remains so strange, alas there is a golden chain of being (scala naturae) to be found in this most satisfying book.

 

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