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WALTER BURLEY'S PHYSICS COMMENTARIES Walter Burley's most important contribution to natural philosophy was his lengthy post-1324 commentary on Aristotle's Physics, his Expositio super totum librum Physicorum. Frequently cited, it survives in 23 manuscripts and was printed three times between 1482 and 1501. Because Burley was such an important interpreter of Aristotle, works by other authors were often attributed to him. As late as 1969, J. Weisheipl in his "Repertorium Mertonensis," one ofthe helpful publications from his vastly influential research on the Mertonians, assigned five commentaries on the Physics to Burley.1 Burley's post-1324 Physics commentary was not written quickly. It is the last of 3 commentaries written over a period of at least 20 years and possibly as many as 30 years, a period beginning before 1316 and ending in 1337. These commentaries are not completely independent works, and the final commentary includes material written before 1316. 1 Mediaeval Studies 31 (1969), 197s. Weisheipl thought it probable that two of these were "summaries or mere paraphrases of the Aristotelian text" . . . dated before 1320. "Ockham and Some Mertonians," Mediaeval Studies 30 (1968), 183. Five works are also listed by Agustín Uña Juárez, La filosofía del siglo XiV: Contexto cultural de Walter Burley (Madrid: Real Monasterio de El Escorial, 1978), p. 66-69. This paper was written in part with the support ofgrants from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the American Philosophical Society. It also owes a great deal to the work of the late Fr. James Weisheipl, O.P. whose helpful letters cited below are typical of his vast scholarly correspondence . It is dedicated to Fr. Weisheipl in grateful remembrance of his generosity to the associates of the Franciscan Institute. 276REGA WOOD In this paper I am going to discuss the relations between the three authentic commentaries. In the case ofthe first two commentaries which have not survived in their entirety, I will describe the manuscripts and indicate what has survived and how. In the case of the third commentary , I will show that Burley used passages from Ockham's Expositio Physicorum in much the same way he adopted parts of his own earlier commentaries for use in the later ones. But first I will show that not five but three Physics commentaries should be attributed to Burley. I. Inauthentic COMMENTARIES Two of these commentaries survive only in Erfurt manuscripts that Weisheipl did not have the opportunity to examine. In the case ofthe Erfurt manuscripts collected by Amplonius de Berka, the problem of authenticity is acute. Amplonius' penchant for collecting works by Burley led to his acquiring not only authentic works but also inauthentic works attributed to Burley. Indeed we must suppose that Amplonius' enthusiasm for Burley increased the chance of false attributions. 1. Erfurt, Amplon., Quarto 290, Quaestiones naturales, fol. 57-62 is a work attributed to Burley in Amplonius' 1410-12 catalogue. But fol. 57-62 is not a Physics commentary by Burley, and Quarto 290 as a whole is illustrative of the problems encountered in studying Amplonius ' Burley manuscripts. It is a miscellany, made up of4 originally separate manuscripts, three ofwhich contain works ascribed to Burley in the late medieval catalogue description ofwhat was codex Metaph. II2 and in the table of contents at the beginning of the volume written at approximately the same time. Of these, the first manuscript is a Metaphysics commentary, which though attributed to Burley by Amplonius or his librarian, was probably written by Richard Rufus ofCornwall .3 This first manuscript also contains on its last folios (40vb-45vb) some anonymous minor works. The second manuscript, fol. 45-56, 2 Paul Lehmann, Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge Deutsdddnds und der Schweiz II, (Munich 1928), 43. 3 Gedeon Gal, New Catholic Encyclopedm, XII, 482; "Commentarius in 'Metaphysicam' Aristotelis, cod. vat. lat. 4538: Föns Doctrinae Richardi Ruft," Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 43 (1950), 209-42. Burley's 'Physics' Commentaries277 is another Metaphysics commentary ascribed to Burley. The fourth and last manuscript, fol. 65-122, is a collection of works by Proclus in the Moerbeke translation.4 The third manuscript, fol. 57-64, is a single quire of eight folios, supposed to be Quaestiones naturales by Burley. In fact...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 275-327
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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