Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Bradwardine and Augustine, Pagans and Pelagians

It is well known that Bradwardine's magnum opus De causa Dei was heavily influenced by Augustine's De civitate Dei, but scholars rarely if ever mention the obvious parallel between the two titles.  From a quick survey, the best I can find is an incidental comment in Minnis and Johnson's introduction to The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism vol. 2 (2005): ‘the prosimetric elegance of Thomas Bradwardine's De causa Dei (written in proud imitation of Augustine's De civitate Dei)’.

The full title of Augustine's work is De civitate Dei contra Paganos. Bradwardine's work is usually cited as De causa Dei contra Pelagium, but sometimes as De causa Dei contra Pelagianos.  If Bradwardine's title is a homage to Augustine, shouldn't that count in favour of the second version?  Just a thought.


Brunellus said...

Good thinking, if I may say so myself. Perhaps some small confirmation can come from the following entry from a mid-14th-century list of books in the Merton College library: Summa domini Cantuariensis de causa dei contra pelagianos. As Rodney Thomson notes, the description of Bradwardine as ‘dominus Cantuariensis’ suggests that the entry for this book (a bequest from John Staveley, attested as a fellow of Merton in 1323 and 1335) was written during Bradwardine's brief stint as Archbishop of Canterbury in the summer of 1349.

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