Review of John O. Riedl’s Edition of Errores Philosophorum

Review of Errores Philosophorum, by Giles of Rome, ed. John O. Riedl, Church History, Vol. 15, No. 1 (March 1946).


The Errores is a valuable document of the thirteenth century conflict between the Christian teaching and the teaching of “the philosophers,” i.e., of Aristotle and the Islamic and Jewish Aristotelians. It consists chiefly of a compilation of the “erroneous” theses of Aristotle, Averroes, Avicenna, Ghazzali, Alkindi, and Maimonides. As Koch points out, Aegidius took over Maimonides’ diagnosis of the weakness of the philosophic position: the foundation of all errors of Aristotle is the view that nothing ever comes into being except through a preceding motion (pp. lii f.).

Generally speaking, the Errores does not add much to what we know from Ghazzali, Maimonides and Thomas Aquinas about the issues involved in the conflict between revelation and Aristotelian philosophy. It is characteristic of the intellectual situation in Christian Europe that Farabi, the most outstanding Islamic philosopher and the originator of the attitude that is generally known as “Averroism,” is not even mentioned in the Errores.

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