Debating the Authority of Pseudo-Augustine’s „De spiritu et animaˮ Cover Image

Debating the Authority of Pseudo-Augustine’s „De spiritu et animaˮ
Debating the Authority of Pseudo-Augustine’s „De spiritu et animaˮ

Author(s): Constant Mews
Subject(s): Philosophy of Middle Ages
Published by: Instytut Tomistyczny
Keywords: Isaac of Stella; Alcher of Clairvaux; Pseudo-Augustine; medieval theories of the soul; Cistercian anthropology

Summary/Abstract: This paper introduces the De spiritu et anima, widely copied in the medieval period as a work of Augustine, but whose authority and authorship was much contested in the 13th century, in particular by Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas. The text draws on and paraphrases ideas about the soul from a wide range of texts, none thematically more important than the De anima of Isaac of Stella, who addressed his treatise to Alcher, a monk of Clairvaux, reportedly of some eminence in medicine. The suggestion made in the late 17th century within the Maurist edition of the works of Augustine (and re-affirmed by McGinn) that DSA is a derivative compilation, is very different from an alternative perspective that has been raised, that it is by Isaac of Stella himself. This paper argues that while it draws heavily on Isaac’s De anima, it modifies Isaac’s perspectives in the light of both a more Augustinian approach and an interest in the physical body and that the hypothesis of Alcher’s authorship should not be dismissed out of hand. DSA formulates an anthropological perspective about the soul that would rival that of Aristotle and find strong support in the Franciscan Order.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: XXIV
  • Page Range: 321-348
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: English
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