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Title: The De Aeternitate Mundi of Boethius of Dacia and the Paris Condemnation of 1277
Author(s): DE MOWBRAY, Malcolm
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 73 Issue: 2 Date: 2006
Careful examination of the arguments used in the De aeternitate mundi attributed to Boethius of Dacia shows that this is not a work of radical Aristotelianism, but a teaching text aimed at showing students how to approach the question of the eternity of the world in their disputations. A comparison of the text with some of the articles condemned in 1277 demonstrates that the articles do not originate from the text and that the work was not targeted by Tempier. What is learned from the text about disputations on the eternity of the world is then used to show another way of reading these articles which is consistent with Tempier’s assertion that they were put forward by students during disputations and to some extent enables one to reconstruct the debates as they happened. This also shows how the students distorted the arguments of their masters for their own ends, which in turn suggests how the so-called ‘double truth’ may have been inspired by the De aeternitate mundi or a text like it. Finally, this helps explain the apparent reaction against the arguments used in the De aeternitate on the part of a number of philosophy teachers during the 1270s.