Robert Grosseteste. His Thought and Its Impact


Robert Grosseteste. His Thought and Its Impact


Editor: Jack P. Cunningham

Contributing author: R. James Long


Document Type

Book Contribution


R. James Long is a contributing author, “Between Idolatry and Science: The Magical Arts in the Grosseteste School” , pp. 167-197.

Book description: The first section examines Grosseteste's work in the field of translation and commentary. In the opinion of Roger Bacon, Grosseteste was the best Latin translator of Greek since Boethius. The Bishop's ability to combine linguistic expertise with philosophical insight made him very valuable. The second section delves into the territory of science and magic. In his treatment of light, Grosseteste traces his line of reasoning to the pre-Aristotelian physicists, thereby becoming a mentor to later generations of British Aristotelian commentators. The Dominican's musings on the nature and abilities of magi and devils furnish us with a forerunner of similar speculations in Bonaventure and Aquinas. Section three treats the theme of impact and legacy. The effect of Grosseteste's intellectual capital is noticeable in the work of Geoffrey Chaucer and Wyclif. His philosophical theories, especially those concerning universals and the notion of unequal infinities, had an overpowering influence on fourteenth-century thinkers. The last section offers ample proof that as profound and far-reaching as Grosseteste's scholarly contributions were, remarkably he did not allow them to prevent him from taking his pastoral duties seriously.



Publication Date


Publication Information

R. James Long (2012). “Between Idolatry and Science: The Magical Arts in the Grosseteste School” in Robert Grosseteste. His Thought and Its Impact, ed. Jack P. Cunningham. Papers in Mediaeval Studies 21 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2012) 167-97.