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The Richard Rufus of Cornwall Project

Preparing Critical Editions of Rufus' Extant Works


Analyzing the Evidence for the
Attributions

Aristotle commentaries

Metaphysics commentaries

Memoriale in Metaphysicam Aristoteles (MMet)
Scriptum in Metaphysicam Aristotelis (SMet)

Physics commentary

In Aristotelis Physicam (In Phys.)

Sentences commentaries

Sententia Oxoniensis (SOx) Sententia Parisiensis (SPar)

Treatises

Speculum animae (SAn) – forthcoming

Memoriale in Metaphysicam Aristotelis (MMet)

External evidence:

—Survives in Q290, a codex copied at Oxford around 1240, by a group of scribes, who employ many of the graphs characteristic of incipient Anglicana in its earliest period.

Dated by R. Rouse (to R. Wood, 8 June 1985, All Souls College, Oxford) “on the early side of the middle of the century.”

—The scribe responsible for the Memoriale wrote incipient Anglicana. In addition to the more standard crossed Tironian ‘et’ sign, its scribe used the bowed tironian ‘et’ sign found in late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century manuscripts.1

—Part of a collection of Aristotle commentaries that includes a work whose ascription to Richard Rufus is generally accepted: Speculum animae, SMet.2

—Indexed together with SMet in the thirteenth century.

Internal evidence:

—Substantial sections reused verbatim in SMet by an author who takes pains not to cite the works of others as his own, as Raedts has shown.3

—Same genre as Bacon's Aristotle commentaries.

—Comments on the Arabic based translation of Aristotle, which was only done very early in the commentary tradition.

—Refers to the work as Prima philosophia (Q290.45ra, 49vb), not as Metaphysica, a sign that the work was written early in the period when Avicenna's influence was greatest.

External evidence discounted: The 1410–1412 catalog written by Amplonius Ratingk de Berka ascribes the work to Walter Burley: “adhuc divisiones et sentencie summarie Burley super methaphisicam Aristotilis.”4

Discounted because Burley's earliest work dates from about 1300.5

Summary: Internal evidence is strong, but adequate for the ascription to Rufus only if the authenticity of SMet is accepted. External evidence of the manuscript's date and place of origin restricts the number of possible authors of a commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics; Rufus' presence in Oxford (1238–1253) at the period the manuscript was written makes it likely that his works were copied there.

Conclusion: Attribution should be accepted, since internal and external evidence support the ascription, and the evidence to the contrary is unconvincing.


1 Cf. A. Watson, Catalogue of Dated and Datable Manuscripts c. 435–1600 in Oxford Libraries, Oxford 1984, plate 90, which reproduces Bodley 672, a manuscript dated circa 1194.

2 R. Wood, “Richard Rufus' Speculum animae: Epistemology and the Introduction of Aristotle in the West,” in: J. Aertsen – A. Speer (ed.), Die Bibliotheca Amploniana, Ihre Bedeutung im Spannungsfeld von Aristotelismus, Nominalismus und Humanismus, Berlin 1995, pp. 86–109.

3 P. Raedts, Richard Rufus of Cornwall and the Tradition of Oxford Theology, Oxford 1987, pp. 57–60.

4 P. Lehmann, “Collegium Amplonianum,” Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge, Munich 1928, 2: 43.

5 J. Ottman – R. Wood, “Walter of Burley: His Life and Works,” in: Vivarium 37 (1999), 4.

In Aristotelis Physicam (In Phys.)

External evidence:

—Survives in Q312, a codex copied at Oxford around 1240, by a group of scribes who employ many of the graphs characteristic of incipient Anglicana in its earliest period.

Dated by R. Rouse (to R. Wood, 8 June 1985, All Souls College, Oxford): “on the early side of the middle of the century.”

—Part of a collection of Aristotle commentaries that includes works whose ascription to Richard Rufus is generally accepted: Speculum animae,6 MMet, SMet.

—Indexed together with SMet in the thirteenth century.

—Copied by the same scribes as SMet.7

—Richard Rufus lectured at Paris before 1238 as a proven and esteemed lecturer according to Thomas Eccleston.8

References:

—Self-references to distinctive views on instantaneous change from SMet are verified in In Phys.9

—Roger Bacon in lectures delivered before 1247 references In Phys.10

Internal evidence:

—Striking similarities with the views stated by Rufus in his other works – on, e.g., instantaneous change, active potential, and the unity of prime matter.

—The Redactio brevior version of SMet belongs to the same genre as In Phys.

External evidence discounted: Catalog written by Amplonius Ratingk de Berka ascribes the work to Walter Burley: “Notule Burley super libris phisicorum.”11

Discounted because Burley's earliest work dates from about 1300.12

Internal evidence discounted: Differences in views described by S. Donati.

Discounted because though there are signs of doctrinal development, the consistency of views stated in In Phys. and in the other works is much more remarkable than the differences.13

Conclusion: Verified references and external and internal evidence support the attribution of this work to Richard Rufus.









6 R. Wood, “Richard Rufus' Speculum animae: Epistemology and the Introduction of Aristotle in the West,” in: A. Speer (ed.), Die Bibliotheca Amploniana, Ihre Bedeutung im Spannungsfeld von Aristotelismus, Nominalismus und Humanismus, Berlin 1995, pp. 86–109.

7 According to Donati (S. Donati, “The Anonymous on the Physics in Erfurt,” Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales 72 (2005) 232–362, D246–247), the same scribe copied both the GAAP commentaries (In APos, In Phys., In DGen, In DAn), and most of SMet. Actually it is the same group of scribes.

8 Eccleston, De adventu fratrum minorum VI, ed. A. Little, Manchester 1951, pp. 29–30.

9 See R. Wood, “The Works of Richard Rufus of Cornwall: The State of the Question in 2008,” forthcoming in Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales, 2.2.3.2.

10 Compare In Phys., IV, 3.18, p. 180 with Roger Bacon's Questiones supra libros octo Physicorum Aristotelis, ed. F. Delorme – R. Steele, Oxford 1935, Opera hactenus inedita 13: 277. See also R. Wood, “Roger Bacon: Richard Rufus' Successor as a Parisian Physics Professor,” in: Vivarium 35 (1997) pp. 222–250. See the comparison.

11 P. Lehmann, Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge, Munich 1928, p. 37.

12 J. Ottman – R. Wood, “Walter of Burley: His Life and Works,” in: Vivarium 37 (1999), 4.

13 See R. Wood, “The Works of Richard Rufus of Cornwall: The State of the Question in 2008,” forthcoming in Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales, 2.2.4.

Scriptum in Metaphysicam Aristotelis (SMet)

External evidence:

—The Redactio longior is found in Vat. lat. 4538,14 where a titulus above the column on fol. 1ra ascribes it to Richard Rufus.15

—The Redactio brevior survives in Q290,16 written in Oxford around 1240, by a group of scribes, who employ many of the graphs characteristic of incipient Anglicana in its earliest period.

Dated by R. Rouse (to R. Wood, 8 June 1985, All Souls College, Oxford) “on the early side of the middle of the century.”

—Part of a collection of Aristotle commentaries that includes a work whose ascription to Richard Rufus is uncontested: Speculum animae.17

Reference: Cited in Rufus' uncontested Miserabilis humana condicio, Assisi, Bibl. Sacro conv. 138 (A138), fol. 278ra: “De relatione oppositionis et relatione alibi tractatum est, scilicet super V Metaphysicae.” Cf. SMet 5, 26.Q1, 26.Q6, Q290.12ra–rb, 13ra.

Internal evidence:

—Major source for SOx.

—States views on creation (A138.262vb; Q290.37vb) and on God's knowledge (A138.262va; Q290.39va) strikingly similar to those stated in an uncontested Rufus work, his disputed question, De intellectu divino.18

—Comments on the Arabic based translation of Aristotle, which was only done very early in the commentary tradition.

—Describes Scot's translation as the translatio nova and contrasts it with the vetus. Hesitates between saying there are 10 or 11 books in the Metaphysics, so that beta is first numbered II and then III, noting (V4538.15r & 19rb) that this is the third book counting eleven books in the work: “dicitur tertius computando libros xi primae philosophiae,” another sign of an early origin.19

—Refers to the work as Prima philosophia (Q290.84ra, 88vb), almost never metaphysica, a sign that the work was written early in the period when Avicenna's influence was greatest.

References discounted:

—In a generally accepted work, SOx d.34, B62.77vb–78ra, Rufus says that he does not understand an argument and does not know what is meant by a claim stated in SMet.

Discounted because Rufus is very self-critical. The same attitude to views stated in SOx itself is reflected in a marginal note in the prologue (B62.10rb): “Nota bene hanc rationem; est enim valde difficilis ad intelligendum.” A similar marginal note appears where a whole section on fol. 11vb has been crossed out: “Dubitationes sunt ab hoc loco usque ad le vacat, et nulla reponsio sufficiens nec quae mihi, Ric' [above the line], videatur.”

—Cited by a generally accepted work, SOx prol., B62.9vb, as stating the views of a secular author, referred to in the plural as was customary: “philosophi saeculares.”20

Discounted because Franciscans believed that their secular lives ended when they became Franciscans; they wrote wills etc. Strictly speaking, then, for Rufus these were the views of a secular philosopher different from the Franciscan he had become.

External evidence discounted: Catalog written by Amplonius Ratingk de Berka ascribes the work to Walter Burley: “adhuc divisiones et sentencie summarie Burley super methaphisicam Aristotilis.”21

Discounted because Burley's earliest work dates from about 1300.22

Summary: Both external and internal evidence are strong and they are confirmed by self-reference. External evidence about Q290's date and place of origin restricts the number of possible authors of a commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics; Rufus' presence in Oxford (1238–1253) at the period when Q290 was written makes it likely that his works were copied there.

Conclusion: Attribution should be accepted, since self-reference, internal and external evidence support the ascription, and the evidence to the contrary is weak.



14 This work also survives anonymously in Salamanca, Bibl. Univ., B. General Historica 2322 and Oxford, New College 285.

15 Regarding ‘Rufus,’ there is no controversy. But Noone accepts that the titulus reads “Hic incipit metaphysica magistri Richardi Rufi de Cornub.” See T. Noone, “An Edition and Study of the Scriptum super Metaphysicam, bk. 12, dist. 2: A Work attributed to Richard Rufus of Cornwall,” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto 1987, p. 150. Wood reads “... scriptum magistro Richardo Rufo ... nub(?)”; Raedts, Richard Rufus, p. 95: “Super ... scriptum magistri Richardi super ...” The ascription to Richard is repeated by a rubricator on 1rb and again in colophon by a late hand on 102va. Whether the rubrication (also found on 2v/3r, 14v/15r) or the titulus was part of the original codex is not clear.

16 Also survives anonymously in Prague, Metrop. Cap. M 80, a manuscript that probably dates around 1285.

17 R. Wood, “Richard Rufus' Speculum animae: Epistemology and the Introduction of Aristotle in the West,” in: Die Bibliotheca Amploniana, Ihre Bedeutung im Spannungsfeld von Aristotelismus, Nominalismus und Humanismus, ed. A. Speer, Berlin 1995, pp. 86–109.

18 For parallels see T. Noone, “Richard Rufus of Cornwall and the Authorship of the Scriptum super Metaphysicam,” in: Franciscan Studies 49 (1989) pp. 79–80.

19 Cf. A. Mansion, “Les prémices de l'Aristoteles Latinus,” in: Revue philosophique de Louvain 44 (1946), pp. 118–119.

20 G. Gál, “Commentarius in ‘Metaphysicam’ Aristotelis, Cod. Vat. lat. 4538: Fons doctrinae Richardi Rufus,” in: Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 43 (1950), pp. 214–215.

21 P. Lehmann, Mittelalterliche Bibliothekskataloge, Munich 1928, p. 43.

22 J. Ottman – R. Wood, “Walter of Burley: His Life and Works,” in: Vivarium 37 (1999) 4.

Sententia Oxoniensis (SOx)

External evidence:

—Survives in an Oxford school book written shortly before 1260, of the type familiar to us only for mendicant manuscripts.

Dated by R. Rouse (to R. Wood, 8 June 1985, All Souls College, Oxford) “on the late side [of the middle of the century].”

—Roger Bacon tells us that Richard of Cornwall read the Sentences at Oxford from the year 1250.23

—Richard Rufus is the only Franciscan master of theology between 1245 and 1255 known to have lectured on the Sentences.24

Internal evidence:

—Major source of views stated in the first person in SPar.

—These must be Oxford theology lectures, since their author's principal interlocutors are Robert Grosseteste and Richard Fishacre.

—Their author was a Franciscan (frater Ric'), B62.12ra), who describes himself as the least of the lesser brothers: minorum minimum (B62.6ra).

—The author's name was Richard. See B62.12ra and B62.11vb: “Dubitationes sunt ab hoc loco usque ad le vacat, et nulla responsio sufficiens nec quae mihi, Ric' [above the line], videatur.”

—These lectures were delivered, at least in part, before the death of Frederick II, since the author refers to the pope's releasing the faithful from their allegiance to Frederick “now” (Potest enim his papa absolvere ... absolvit nunc a fidelitate Frederyci) and shows no awareness of Frederick's death in December 1250.

Reference discounted: Its prologue (B62.9vb) cites a generally accepted work (SMet 1), in a manner that suggests it is by a different, secular author: “philosophi saeculares.”25

Discounted because Franciscans believed that their secular lives ended when they became Franciscans; they wrote wills etc. Thus Rufus regarded the views he stated as a Parisian master of arts as the views of a secular philosopher different from the Franciscan he had become.

Summary: External and internal evidence indicate that Rufus is the author of SOx. There are numerous of citations of SMet, an attribution that is somewhat more strongly supported by external evidence but not internal evidence. SOx's consistent use of SMet as a source of important views with which he found it difficult to disagree (SOx I.35, B62.78rb) indicates that these are two works by the same author.

Conclusion: Strong evidence for the attribution must be accepted; there is no convincing counter-evidence.







23 Bacon, Compendium studii theologiae, IV, 86, ed. T. Maloney, Leiden 1988, p. 86.

24 A. Little, “The Franciscan School at Oxford in the Thirteenth Century,” in: Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 19 (1926) pp. 831–845.

25 G. Gál, “Commentarius in ‘Metaphysicam’ Aristotelis, Cod. Vat. lat. 4538: Fons doctrinae Richardi Rufus,” in: Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 43 (1950), pp. 214–215.

Sententia Parisiensis (SPar)

External evidence:

—Colophon on Vat. lat. 12993, fol. 2ra: “Explicit introitus  in libros sententiarum secundum fratrem  R ... rdum ... nubiensem.” Transcribed by J. Koch, Die lateinischen Werke v, 1936, p. 16. Wood reads: “Explicit ... libros ... secundum ... R ... nubiensem”; Raedts, Richard Rufus, p. 42: “... sententiarum ... R ... nubiensem.” Though erased this colophon appears to be in the original thirteenth-century hand.

—Ioannes de Ioli, Inventarium 1381, num. 376, Assisi, Sacro Convento 691: “Conpillatio iiijor. librorum sententiarum ... secundum fratrem magistrum riccardum ruphi. de anglia. ordinis minorum. facta parisius. Cum postibus. Cuius principium est. Cupientes. Totali libro. premictit magister prologum. Finis vero. Hoc non est per executionem: sed notificationem pnu ... In quo libro omnes quaterni sunt xxiii.”

This fourteenth-century catalog entry for a lost codex states the author's name, the correct incipit, and the place of composition. Note, however, that SPar's incipit is the same as Bonaventure's and that the explicit (which differs from Bonaventure's) cannot be checked since SPar's text now ends ex abrupto at Sent. IV d.25 with the words “et quod potest per pecuniam” (Assisi, Sacro convento 176, fol. 222vb).26

Tituli in an eighteenth-century hand from V12993, 1rb: “Compilatio Mag. Ricardi Rufi Angli.” 3r: “Compilatio quatuor librorum sent. S. Bonaventurae facta per Mag. Ricardum Rufum de Anglia.”

Titulus in an eighteenth-century hand from Assisi Sacro convento 176, fol. 4r: “Compilatio Mag. Ricardi Rufi de Anglia.”

Internal evidence:

—Author reuses SOx in stating his own views.

—Author refers to himself as a Franciscan in the same manner as the author of SOx. See SPar 2.9: “Mihi autem minimo videtur sine praeiudicio ...” (V12993.173ra).

External evidence Discounted: Fr. Ioannes Ioli ascribes this work to Bonaventure in 1381, both in his catalog and in tituli added to the codex. See, for example, the titulus on Vat. lat. 12993, fol. 1ra: “Primus bonaventure.”27

Discounted because the original thirteenth-century scribe attributed it to Rufus.

Summary: Attribution supported by both internal and external evidence; no significant counter-evidence.






















26 C. Cenci, Bibliotheca Manuscripta ad Sacrum Conventum, Assisi 1981, I: p. 298, 303. L. Alessandri, Inventario dell'Antica Biblioteca del S. Convento di S. Francesco in Assisi compilato nel 1381, Assisi 1906, p 109, num. 375.

27 L. Alessandri, Inventario dell'Antica Biblioteca, p. 104, num. 345.