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The Richard Rufus of Cornwall Project

Preparing Critical Editions of Rufus' Extant Works


De hoc opere

(Memoriale in Metaphysicam Aristotelis)

Posted here is our edition of Richard Rufus of Cornwall’s first Metaphysics commentary, the Memoriale in Metaphysicam Aristotelis, found in Erfurt, Universitätsbibliothek, Dep. Erf., Codex Ampl. Quarto 290, fol. 46ra-55vb.

The title is based on the work’s incipit: “Quoniam temporis interruptione brevissima, scientia laboriose adquisita ab anima relabitur humana, ... ne igitur tenebris ignorantiae mens avida, conclusa mole carnis, profundius obfuscetur, sub quarum velamine famosarum maxime quaestionum veritas lateat non investigata, ... licet nobis parumper de ipsa disserere, ut ipsius habeatur memoriale.” Or “The veil of ignorance especially hides the truth of famous questions. ... So since the briefest interruption in time causes laboriously acquired knowledge to slip away from the human soul ... we are permitted to discuss the truth for a little while, in order that we may have a record of it, lest the eager mind, shut up in a mass of flesh, be more profoundly clouded.”

The manuscript includes neither a title for the work nor an author’s name. The case for Rufus’s authorship is made in Rega Wood, “The Earliest Known Surviving Western Medieval Metaphysics Commentary,” Medieval Philosophy and Theology 7 (1998) 39-49, where a date of around 1235 is suggested. Wood now believes that a date closer to 1231 should be assigned to it.

The Memoriale is a set of notes and questions, generally brief, on issues raised by Aristotle’s Metaphysics. These notes and questions quite often reappear in Rufus’s second and much longer Metaphysics commentary, the Scriptum in Metaphysicam Aristotelis (also known as the Dissertatio). Unlike the Scriptum, the Memoriale does not include a running exposition of Aristotle’s text.

Both the Memoriale and the Scriptum comment on the Arabic-Latin translation of Aristotle’s Metaphysics that accompanied Averroes’s commentary. Both also supplement this translation by reference to the Greco-Latin translation of the first part of book I (Alpha maior) known as the Metaphysica vetus. A working edition of the Arabic-Latin translation can be found elsewhere on this website, while the Metaphysica vetus is published in the Aristoteles Latinus series of critical editions.

The following conventions are used:

E = Erfurt, Universitätsbibliothek, Dep. Erf., Codex Ampl. Quarto 290
[...] = includunt verba ab editoribus addita
|...| = nova columna in codice
|... O ...| = nova columna in codice cum foliatione veteri

For the abbreviations used in the variants and editorial notes, see Variantes (Variants) and Notae (Notes).