By Paola Zambelli

ISBN-10: 0792313801

ISBN-13: 9780792313809

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Additional info for The Speculum astronomiae and its enigma : astrologv, theology. and science in Albertus Magnus and his contemporaries

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64 65 CHAPTER SEVEN ASTROLOGY IN ALBERT’S U N D ISPU TED WORKS If, as Weisheipl has pointed out, Albert rejected “ P lato’s m istake” , tak ­ en up by G rosseteste and Kilwardby, in considering “ m athem atics almost as the m other o f all other sciences” , he did not deny the im portance of this discipline. '* In the program he announces at the beginning of the Physica, Albert postpones the treatm ent o f “ all m athem atics” until an unspecified future date. In the com m entary on the Metaphysics, he de­ scribes the field as already dealt with (“ already clarified as far as possible in its natural and doctrinal features”), and as characterized by pedagogical steps, which, as they increase in abstraction, enable the student to approach metaphysics (“ according to the fact that som ething divine is given to us, when natural knowledge accom plish our intellect, in the course o f time and becoming perfect thanks to the doctrines concerning continuum ”).

This is a middle form between the necessary and the possible; whatever be­ longs to the motions of celestial orbs, is, in fact, necessary, whereas whatever belongs to the matter of things which can be generated and corrupted is mutable and possible. e. *'^ Referring again to Ptolemy, Albert adds that the so called astral-destiny though it derives from a necessary principle, it is nevertheless mutable and contingent. The reason for this is well explained by Ptolemy in the Quadripartitum, where he says that the virtues of stars are realized in the inferior things through what is different and accidental in them {per aliud et per accidens): 1.

Using A verroes’s com m entary and his “m ontage” of Aristotelian texts. The first two know n G reek-L atin translations have been preserved for us only for books I - IV, and it is not clear if the “vetustissim a” by Jacob o f Venice ever contained the whole text: in any case it was certainly not widely dif­ fused. So it is easy to understand why so many hypotheses flourished about the contents and plan o f the Metaphysics and its relationship with the doc­ trines o f “ intelligences” of the pseudo-AristoteUan De causis.

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The Speculum astronomiae and its enigma : astrologv, theology. and science in Albertus Magnus and his contemporaries by Paola Zambelli


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