Adamson on the Islamic theologians

In this brand-new post on the APA blog, Peter Adamson (Munich) tells us that “if Aquinas is a philosopher then so are the Islamic theologians.”


Research Tools, and a few queries

  • A new database has been launched: Premodern Philosophical and Scientific Hebrew Terminology in Context, or “PESHAT in Context” for short. This is part of a long-term project, organized by the Institute for Jewish Philosophy and Religion at the University of Hamburg and by the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Although it is not yet available for general access, the editors let me have an advance look, and it promises to be a remarkably useful tool for anyone interested either in Hebrew philosophy, or in the transmission of philosophical ideas across Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin. As part of the project, there will also be a regular series of colloquia etc., and a mailing list for those who want to stay abreast of the project. For more information, contact
  • The folk at the Aquinas Institute – the ones who keep publishing these big blue Latin-English volumes – are awfully excited about a new software system that has “revolutionized” their work: Trados Studio 2017. (See the breathless account here.) Really? Is this a big deal for folk like you and me? Does anyone know about this?
  • I happened to notice, over the summer, that the seventeenth and final volume has now appeared of the British Academy’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. See a review here. This made me wonder: is this huge project of any use to the study of medieval philosophy? More generally, are there any medieval Latin dictionaries that are of any help to our field (other, of course, than something like the Thomas-Lexikon)?
  • Speaking of useful lexicons, I recently had the occasion to want a digital copy of Cappelli’s great Lexicon abbreviaturarum, the essential guide to Latin manuscript abbreviations. Philip Choi hunted it down here. (This is a German version, but it doesn’t matter. I might add, as well, that this little book can still readily be purchased in print.) This too made me wonder: is there now anything better than Cappelli out there? I seem to recall talk, some years back, of a fully electronic version of something like Cappelli, but I don’t know what came of it.

Final Spring Post

Before shutting down for the summer, here are three more conference announcements and some art:

  • The annual Berlin-Groningen-Toronto Colloquium in Late Medieval and Early Modern Philosophy is on the topic of “Activity, Spontaneity, and Agency” (Toronto, June 11, 2016)
  • The Toronto Colloquium in Medieval Philosophy has been scheduled for 23-24 September 2016, although I think nothing is on the web yet.
  • SIEPM XIV is coming. It will be in Porto Alegre Brazil, on July 24-28, 2017, on the topic of “Homo – Natura – Mundus: Human Beings and their Relationships.” European scholars do not need to be told about the importance of these international congresses, which are scheduled only every five years. But perhaps I might suggest to my North American colleagues that we make a better showing this time around, particularly since the Congress is making a rare appearance on this side of the Atlantic. To get on the program, you must submit an abstract this fall — see details here. If you’re from North America, that’s the only way you’ll get on the program, because, amazingly, none of the ten distinguished plenary speakers at this international congress hail from North America.

Now for the art:

  • My colleague David Boonin alerted me to this curious bit of graphic art, with Thomas and Albert right at the center. He saw it this week in New York, at an exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt Museum, though it was commissioned originally for a 2013 exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The artist is Francesco Franchi.

That’s all until next fall, unless people send me queries for other scholars. I’ve advertised this service before, and in the past no one has sent me anything, so maybe I should just give up on the idea. But the few times I have posted a query myself, I have gotten such useful information that it seems a pity others aren’t taking advantage. Perhaps people are afraid of submitting a query that will seem too embarrassingly elementary for the rarefied audience of this blog? Well, send it to me anyway, and I won’t post it unless it strikes me as worthy.

Electronic Resources

I’m always running across useful resources on the internet. Here are some that seemed particularly notable:

  • The Logic Museum, as I’ve noted in an earlier post, has all sorts of useful material. Here’s an example: the tables of contents for all the issues of the Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge, from volume 1 (1926) to volume 78 (2011). And then skip over to the BnF’s also very useful Gallica, for the full texts for vols. 1-14. (Thanks for the pointer to
  • What else is in the Logic Museum? Well, here’s something pretty cool: a hyper-linked version of Aquinas’s commentary on Metaphysics, which gives you the Latin in one column and Rowan’s translation in the other, and then offers thorough hyperlinks that go to a separate page that gives the Greek/Latin/English of the relevant text from Aristotle. And the whole of the Physics commentary is here too. And more. I could spend months in the Logic Museum!
  • Early volumes of the Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie des Mittelalters (vols. 1-23) are inventoried and available electronically here.
  • The Albertus Magnus Institut has now produced an electronic edition of the Alberti Magni Opera omnia. Individuals can subscribe for a mere €298. Free trials available here.
  • The whole Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca is available electronically. And there’s a useful concordance to the published English translations of these works here (though those translations are still under copyright, and so not freely available).

New Tools

Andrzej Nakonieczny, a Dominican from Poland, has written an app
for Android phones or tablets, allowing users to read and search
the whole Latin Summa, even while offline. It’s free and
available from several sources:


The text is taken from the Corpus Thomisticum
project (, and there’s a manual

  • Sara Uckelman has begun a blog on Medieval Logic and Semantics. There are already a bunch of posts.
  • There’s a very ambitious hypertext version of Lombard’s Sentences in the works here. Notice you can toggle between English and French explanations. But the main aim, as I understand it, is to provide the Latin text with detailed information about sources.
  • The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana has now digitized Aquinas’s famous autograph manuscripts (Vat. Lat. 9850 and 9851). For some amusing remarks, see the discussion on

Opportunities and Initiatives

السلام عليكم

Since beginning this blog in 2012, I have resolutely tried to avoid the sort of editorializing that — depending on your perspective — makes the blogosphere at once both delightful and abominable. My guiding editorial principle has been “just the news.” But the latest political currents in my country strike me as demanding some kind of response from all decent people. And although I don’t suppose that this blog goes very far toward that end, it is, I hope, better than nothing.

Perhaps significantly better, inasmuch as scholars of medieval philosophy are particularly well positioned, among academics, to explore through their research and teaching some of the great glories of Islamic civilization. Here, then, is a brief tour of some resources pertaining to Islamic philosophy.

  • First, there are these recently announced jobs for editorial positions working on the Averroes edition at the Thomas-Institut. (There is a position for each of the three relevant languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Latin.)
  • Second, I am pleased to announce that the Routledge Companion to Islamic Philosophy (edited by Richard Taylor and Luis Xavier López-Farjeat) is, as of this fall, available in print.
  • Third, the Denver-Marquette conference series on Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions is scheduled for next July 6-8, at Marquette. It will focus on al-Ghazali.
  • Fourth, if you are interested in bring more Islamic philosophy into your classes, but need suggestions on how to do this, help is at hand. I’ve asked a few leading scholars for their suggestions in this regard, and I’ve received syllabi, for classes of various sorts, from Jon McGinnis, Deborah Black, Sarah Pessin, and Richard Taylor’s. All of Richard’s teaching material is available – along with much more – on his website. I have collected the other syllabi in a dropbox folder. (If, by the time you discover this page, that folder is no longer accessible, please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the above scholars. We’ll be glad to help.)

Finally, if what you really need is just cheering up, here’s Seth Meyers:  “A protester had to be escorted out of a Donald Trump rally last night for yelling, ‘Trump’s a racist.’ The protester was removed because the Trump campaign has that phrase copyrighted.”