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Journal of the History of Philosophy 39.4 (2001) 587-589

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Maarten J. F. M. Hoenen and Paul J. J. M. Bakker, editors. Philosophie und Theologie des ausgehenden Mittelalters: Marsilius von Inghen und das Denken seiner Zeit. Leiden: Brill, 2000. Pp. x + 322. Cloth, $98.00.

Albert of Saxony, Nicholas Oresme, and Marsilius of Inghen were among the fourteenth-century Parisian masters of arts who were influenced by Buridan's philosophy and, while continuing as master of arts, simultaneously pursued a degree in theology. Marsilius, born around 1340, was a very popular master in Paris from 1362. In 1366 he began the study of theology. He did not finish his theological studies in Paris, but later at the new university of Heidelberg (1393-4), where he held a chair of theology until his death in 1396.

Marsilius wrote a number of treatises on logic, commentaries on Aristotle's works, commentaries on the Bible, a commentary on the Sentences and some tracts on ecclesiastical politics. His works were widely read and he was regarded as a representative of the via moderna and nominalist philosophy in the fifteenth century. Several scholars are currently studying and editing Marsilius's works. The collection of essays Philosophy and Theology in late Middle Ages, edited by Hoenen and Bakker, is a report on this ongoing work. It has been preceded by two similar research reports, Marsilius of Inghen, edited by H. Braakhuis and M. Hoenen (1992), and Marsilius von Inghen, Werk und Wirkung, edited by S. Wielgus (1993). Most of the articles in the present volume deal with special historical and doxographical questions. In this sense the title of the book is somewhat misleading, though the contributions themselves are of high scholarly quality and contain lots of interesting historical details and new research results.

The first part involves four papers on late medieval conceptions of the relationship between philosophy and theology. Hoenen describes the increasing separation of theology from logic and philosophy as the context of Marsilius's theological work, using as examples his treatment of the doctrines of divine foreknowledge and creation from nothing. Sigrid Müller argues that those fourteenth-century theologians who were called representatives of nominalistic theology in the fifteenth century, such as William [End Page 587] of Ockham, Gregory of Rimini, and Marsilius Inghen, had a similar view of the relationship between language and reality, though their theological sources and solutions to particular questions varied. Manfred Schulze sheds light on Marsilius's theology by comparing his views on predestination, grace, and the freedom of the will with those of Gregory of Rimini and Gabriel Biel. These papers are preceded by William Courtenay's historically illuminating study of the teachers of theology in Paris during 1362-77.

The papers on the relationship between philosophy and theology are learned and useful but somewhat general. What does it mean that philosophy and theology were increasingly separated by authors who after all were keen to make logical and semantic distinctions? Further light might have been shed on this question by concentrating more on the widely discussed controversies about logic and the Trinity which have recently been considered by many scholars. One position was to criticize the special logic of faith and to show that the alleged logical problems in theological doctrines are mainly based on incorrect interpretations of revealed truths. Showing this demanded discussions of logic and semantics in theology, as can also be seen in question nine of the first book of Marsilius of Inghen's Questions on the Sentences.

The second part involves papers on specific themes in the works of Marsilius and attempts to identify some anonymous works. Henk Braakhuis deals with Marsilius's view on the question of the different senses of a proposition, which was mentioned in the famous prohibition statute of the Faculty of Arts in Paris in 1340 and was found interesting in many contexts, one of them being Aristotle's theory of sophistic refutations. Braakhuis's paper, which is a valuable contribution to the history of logic, contains...


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