Book chapter

Giles of Rome on the Reduction of Fortune to Divine Benevolence: The Creative Error of a Parisian Theologian in the 1270s


  • 2018
Published in:
  • Andreas Speer, Maxime Mauriège (ed.), Irrtum-Error-Erreur. - Berlin/Boston, De Gruyter, 2018. - 2018, vol. Miscellania Mediaevalia, 40, p. 231-256
English Among the significant figures in Late Medieval intellectual history, Giles of Rome († 1316) holds a rather specific position, as a large part of his contribution has to do with errors – be they the “errors of the philosophers” forming the subject of the work sometimes ascribed to him (Errores philosophorum), or the errors he was thought to have made, which led to his disagreement with Henry of Ghent († 1293) and in the Condemnation issued by Tempier in March 1277. In addition to the errors which have traditionally been considered in scholarship on Giles, it is necessary to pay attention to an “error” which led to intense criticism from Henry and which had a profound influence on his thinking, namely the views held by Giles concerning the Liber de bona fortuna, a treatise that was part of the Latin Aristotelian corpus from the 1260s. In this essay, I examine Giles’ supposed error on good fortune from the viewpoint of its construction and its doctrinal fruitfulness. This will entail showing precisely how the way in which Giles commented on the Liber led Henry to consider the commentary unacceptable, and also led him to look for an alternative interpretation of Aristotle’s doctrine of good fortune and divine government. To do so, I focus on a passage from Giles’ Sententia de bona fortuna that proves crucial in this respect, namely a lemma corresponding to the description of “enthusiasts” in Magna moralia 1207b 3-5 which is devoted, according to Giles’ reading, to the discussion of the reduction of fortune to God’s benevolence.
Faculté des lettres et des sciences humaines
Département de Philosophie
  • English
Philosophy, psychology
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