chapter  8
58 Pages


For thinkers in the universities, the first three-quarters of the thirteenth century had been full of the thrill of discovery. The excitement lay not simply in the richness and range of argument in the newly available texts of Aristotle, and by Islamic and Jewish philosophers, but even more in the questions they posed about how to be both a Christian and a philosopher (or whether, indeed, it was possible to be both). These very general questions were open, and were answered in very different ways by, for instance, Bonaventure, Siger and Albert and Aquinas. But, by the 1290s, a way of doing scholastic theology was being established which dispensed individual thinkers from the need to face such problems. Three thinkers working during this decade (Chapter 8, section 2) – Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaines and Peter John Olivi – provide an eloquent illustration of the direction in which intellectual life was moving.