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WALTER BURLEY'S TRACTATUS PRIMUS: EVIDENCE CONCERNING THE RELATIONS OF DISPUTATIONS AND WRITTEN WORKS In the course of his recent editing of Ockham's Questions on the Books of Aristotle's Physics,1 Steve Brown has noticed that a significant part of questions 139-151 ofthat work is taken directly from Walter Burley's Tractatus Primus de activitate, unitate, et augmento formarum activarum habentium contraria et suscipientium magis et minus.2 He also noticed that other parts of Ockham's Questions on the Books of Aristotle's Physics were closely intertwined with Walter Chatton's Prologue to his Reportatio and Lectura on the Sentences (it is identical for both works) in such a way that each author could be shown to have had, before writing his final draft, written versions of parts of the other author's work.3 Brown concluded that the relevant works of Ockham and Chatton must have been produced in London, where Ockham and Chatton were in the same convent, after Ockham's Summa Logicae in 1323 and before Ockham left for Avignon in the summer of 1324.4 I would like to thank Steve Brown for providing me with a copy of the proofs of his edition of Ockham's Questions on the Books ofAristotle's Physics, which I used in preparing this paper. 1 Ockham, Quaest. Physicorum (OPh VI). Burley, on the other hand frequently borrowed from Ockham's Physics Commentary. Cf. Rega Wood's article which follows. 2 Burley, Tr. Pr. (cod. Vatican, lat. 817, ff. 203ra-223ra). Subsequent citations of the Tr. Pr. will be to this manuscript unless indicated otherwise. 3 Stephen Brown, "Walter Chatton's Lectura and William of Ockham's Questiones in Libros Physicorum Aristotelis," in William A. Frank and Girard J. Etzkorn (eds.), Essays Honoring Allan B. Wolter, Franciscan Institute Publications , Theology Series, No. 10 (St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: Franciscan Institute , 1984) 81-93. 4 Brown 92. 258EDITH SYLLA These dates then provide an earlier terminus ante quern for Burley's Tractatus Primus than has previously been available, meaning that that work must have been produced between 1320 and 1324, after Thomas Wylton became Chancellor ofSaint Paul's in London in 1320 and before Ockham's Questions on the Books of Aristotle's Physics.5 A comparison of Burley's Tractatus Primus and Ockham's Questions on the Books of Aristotle's Physics can teach us something about how fourteenth century authors went about compiling commentaries, questions, and other similar works. Although, by Steve Brown's rough estimate, about 75% of the relevant section of Ockham's work comes directly from Burley's Tractatus Primus, Ockham has not so much responded to Burley's claims as used his work as a mine for raw materials to be reshaped to his own purposes. Sometimes Ockham agrees with Burley, sometimes he disagrees, and parts ofBurley he simply ignores. The reworking of material from Burley to Ockham is, in fact, so extensive , that one is led to wonder whether there might not be still other works from which both Ockham and Burley may have copied. Given the nature ofthe overlap, it seems very unlikely that Ockham's questions can be an edited version of an oral question disputation. At the very least considerable copying from written works is implied. At the same time, given the way that he made use of Burley's work, Ockham seems not to have assumed that his reader would be using his work in conjunction with Burley's. Steve Brown has plans, I believe, to write a longer paper about the relation ofOckham's work to Burley's in this instance. What I want to do here, therefore, is to provide a general description ofthe nature of the Tractatus Primus itself. It is a work I have long promised to edit, but have put aside because I have yet to identify the "quidam Reverendus socius et magister" against whom Burley argues at length with regard to his fourth conclusion, unless it should turn out to have been Thomas Wylton, described earlier in the work as "Reverendus Magister noster Dominus Cancellarius Londonensis."6 Perhaps with Steve Brown's discovery we are closer to identifying Burley's opponent...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 257-274
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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