Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Richard FitzRalph: His Life, Times and Thought

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Richard FitzRalph: His Life, Times and Thought

Article excerpt

Richard FitzRalph: His Life, Times and Thought. Edited by Michael W. Dunne and Simon Nolan, O.Carm. (Dublin: Four Courts Press. Distrib. ISBS, Portland, OR. 2013. Pp. viii, 216. $74.50. ISBN 978-1-84682-369-5.)

The title of this collection of ten essays on the Anglo-Irish Richard FitzRalph may suggest that we are being offered a new biography of the fourteenth-century bishop of Armagh. This is not an altogether helpful choice by the two editors. The papers derive from a conference in November 2010 to mark the 650th anniversary of FitzRalph's death; the organizers, here the editors, are both specialists in medieval philosophy, and it is primarily to others in similar faculties that this collection has most to offer. It should not be thought that the book in any way supersedes that by Katherine Walsh (Oxford, 1981); indeed, for many points concerning FitzRalph's life and work, the reader must go back to that volume, even though more than thirty years have passed since it was published. A glance at the bibliography in the present work reveals that surprisingly little has been added at least directly on FitzRalph in that period.

Because the title may suggest to readers more general coverage, it may be helpful here to indicate the main interests of the contributors. The full chapters are nine in total, with a tenth short note by the first editor arguing that logical treatises formerly attributed to Richard FitzRalph should more correctly be recognized as the work of a later Armachanus, John Foxholes, who died in 1474. The main chapters are divided into three sections, the work of FitzRalph in Oxford, Avignon, and his "Reputation and Aftermath." With the exception, however, of the first paper in the second group (by Terence Dolan on rhetoric in the Defensio curatorum), all are to some extent concerned with FitzRalph's contribution to the medieval discussion of philosophic issues. The works primarily under discussion are the Lectura on the Sentences (chapters 1, 3, 4, and 6; and in part 7), a handful of sermons (chapter 2), and a small part of the Summa de quaestionibus Armenorum (chapter 7); the FitzRalph texts likely to be most familiar to many medievalists, the antifraternal sermons (save some aspects in chapter 8) and De pauperie Salvatoris, are hardly mentioned. …

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