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55 Franciscan Studies 61 (2003) Walter Burley’s Expositio vetus super librum Praedicamentorum An Edition 1. General introduction Walter of Burley (1275/76 – 1344/45) wrote three commentaries on Aristotle’s Categories. The last one is included in a commentary series on the Ars vetus Burley completed in August, 1337. This series was printed several times between 1476/78 and 1541 (and reprinted 1967).1 Of another commentary Alessandro D. Conti is preparing an edition. The shortest and presumably first commentary, which is preserved in one manuscript only, is edited here. The manuscript belongs to the library of St John’s College, Cambridge. The short commentary on the Categories as we can read it there is part of a series, too: First, there comes a commentary on Porphyry’s Isagoge, which I edited in the 2001 issue of Franciscan Studies,2 then comes the one on the Categories, and at last a commentary on the De interpretatione, of which only a fragment (the first page) has survived. Throughout this series, Burley’s comments on the lemmata are very brief and to the point. Maybe his aim was to introduce undergraduate students at Oxford to what in those times were the basic books of “logical” learning. While in the tabula in front of the codex Burley is called “magister,” we are free to suspect that when composing these commentaries he might have been only a dominus 1 G. Burlaeus, Super artem veterem, Frankfurt a. M. 1967 (reprint of Burlei super artem veterem Porphirii et Aristotelis, Venice 1497), fol. c3va – h2vb (15va – 44va). 2 “Walter Burley’s Expositio vetus super librum Porphyrii. An Edition,” Franciscan Studies 59 (2001): 237–269. About the content of the manuscript, see 239–241. – Erratum in the introduction, 237 sq.: Burley seems to have written only two, not three, commentaries on the Isagoge. The two Wroclaw manuscripts (University Library, IV. Q. 3, fol. 5r–13v, and IV. Q. 4, fol. 90r–99r [102r–111r]) do not contain a third commentary, but parts of the second, which belongs to the series Super artem veterem Burley composed around 1337. Errata in the edition: 246, lin. 4, genus: adde (ms.: igitur); ibid., 8 abici: adde (ms.: habiti); 247, 25 per: lege secundum; 248, 25 vel: adde iste; 252, 22 : lege alio; ibid., 24 istam: lege illam; 253, 9 lanum: lege Planum; ibid., 29 arguitur: lege sequitur; 254, 16 de re: lege dare (ms.: de re); ibid., 21 oportet: lege debet; 255, 6 superveniens: adde (ms.: supraveniens); ibid., 25 ponit differentiam: lege ponitur differentia; ibid., 26 “reducuntur ad unum principium:” lege “reducuntur ad unum” patrem; 256, 10 idem: adde (ms.: id est; locus fort. corruptus est); 258, 1 et; 3 et (ms.: ut); et2: lege vel; 260, 19 nec; 20 nec2; 22 nec2; 24 nec: lege neque; 261, 8 constituuntur: adde (ms.: constituunt); 262, 8 [est]: adde (ms.: expunx.); ibid., 17 angelis: adde etc.; 265, 15 sunt: lege sequitur. WALTER BURLEY 56 (bakkalaureus), that is, maybe he wrote them even before 1300.3 On the other hand, any strong evidence for excluding the commentary from Burley’s magisterium is missing. Burley usually begins with a divisio textus, then provides a paraphrase of the text and gives short answers to one or two questions of how to understand a certain expression or doctrine of Aristotle’s. Such a question sometimes is formed by a counterargument, which Burley immediately refutes; he never enters into further discussions. About Burley’s sources I can give no account but only a few hints. For training his students, he presumably did not follow closely only one or two predecessors or other authorities, but took up a sort of eclectic Oxford school tradition. Directly or indirectly, he seems to have found profit in the commentaries written by Albert the Great, Averroes and Giles of Rome. Some of the doctrinal problems which Burley establishes and solves breviter can be found in Albert’s commentary, but very seldom he uses the same words or the same termini technici as Albert. Isolated from Albert’s vast explanations, these passages often lack comprehensibility and vividness.4 Giles, in turn, sometimes is as laconic and fond of short answers as Burley, and the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 55-94
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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