The Immortality of the Soul: De Immortalitate Animae

The Immortality of the Soul: De Immortalitate Animae

The Immortality of the Soul: De Immortalitate Animae

The Immortality of the Soul: De Immortalitate Animae

Excerpt

Before one can date De immortalitate animae, one must face the question of its authorship. One version of the work has been attributed to Dominicus Gundissalinus, and a slightly different version has been attributed to William of Auvergne. Though the contemporary scholarly judgment now attributes both versions of the work to William, an introduction to the question must say something about Gundissalinus, who had for a long time been considered its author.

Dominicus Gundissalinus (Dominic Gundisalvi) was a twelfth century cleric and scholar who is principally known as the translator of various works of Arabian philosophy, though he is also the author of several works of his own. He was an archdeacon of the diocese of Segovia; yet he spent much of his life in Toledo. In collaboration with either Ibn Daoud (Avendeath) or John of Spain, he translated Avicenna's De anima, Metaphysics and a part of his Posterior Analytics, as well as the Metaphysics ofAlgazel and the Fons vitae ofIbn Gabirol (Avicebron). Gundisalvi's own works include The Division of Philosophy (De divisione philosophiae), which was written about 1150, The Procession of the World (De processione mundi), Unity (De unitate), and The Soul (De anima). The Immortality of the Soul has, of course, also been attributed to him, though the evidence now indicates, as I shall show, that William of Auvergne is its author. According to Aubert, Gundissalinus's significance lies in the fact that he introduced to the West "the mixture of Neoplatonic and Aristotelian philosophy developed in the Arab world" and thus was "one of the artisans of what E. Gilson has called 'Avicennizing Augustinism'." Gundissalinus died sometime after 1190.

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