The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard's 'Sentences'

By Philipp W. Rosemann

© 2007

Peter Lombard, a twelfth-century theologian, authored one of the first Western textbooks of theology, the Book of Sentences. Here, Lombard logically arranged all of the major topics of the Christian faith. His Book of Sentences received the largest number of commentaries among all works of Christian literature except for Scripture itself. Now, notable Lombard scholar Philipp W. Rosemann examines this text as a guiding thread to studying Christian thought throughout the later Middle Ages and into early modern times.

This is the second title in a series called Rethinking the Middle Ages, which is committed to re-examining the Middle Ages, its themes, institutions, people, and events with short studies that will provoke discussion among students and medievalists, and invite them to think about the middle ages in new and unusual ways. The series editor, Paul Edward Dutton, invites suggestions and submissions.

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Product Details

  • Series: Rethinking the Middle Ages
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

"Broadly conceived and accessibly written." - Marcia L. Colish, Visiting Fellow, Yale University

The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard's 'Sentences'

By Philipp W. Rosemann

© 2007

Peter Lombard, a twelfth-century theologian, authored one of the first Western textbooks of theology, the Book of Sentences. Here, Lombard logically arranged all of the major topics of the Christian faith. His Book of Sentences received the largest number of commentaries among all works of Christian literature except for Scripture itself. Now, notable Lombard scholar Philipp W. Rosemann examines this text as a guiding thread to studying Christian thought throughout the later Middle Ages and into early modern times.

This is the second title in a series called Rethinking the Middle Ages, which is committed to re-examining the Middle Ages, its themes, institutions, people, and events with short studies that will provoke discussion among students and medievalists, and invite them to think about the middle ages in new and unusual ways. The series editor, Paul Edward Dutton, invites suggestions and submissions.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Rethinking the Middle Ages
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 248 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    The Story of a Great Medieval Book will be of great interest to students of the history of theology as well as for those interested in intellectual history more generally. In this broadly conceived and accessibly written book, Philipp W. Rosemann surveys the legacy of Peter Lombard in representative commentaries on his Sentences from the twelfth to the early sixteenth century, charting shifts in their literary form and in the commentators' changing views of the theological enterprise itself. As lucid as it is learned, his study succeeds admirably in introducing newcomers to this subject while at the same time mapping the terrain for future research. A distinguished and innovative contribution to the Rethinking the Middle Ages series.


    Marcia L. Colish, Visiting Fellow, Yale University

    After a somewhat controversial start, the Sentences of Peter Lombard became every author's dream, the standard textbook of its subject, and required reading on systematic theology for many generations of students. Rosemann's readable and perceptive book traces this medieval phenomenon through the changes of scholarly fashion it survived for so long and asks why it succeeded so well and why, in the end, it gave way to a new style of doing theology.


    G.R. Evans, Professor Emeritus of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History, University of Cambridge

    The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard's 'Sentences' provides an excellent introduction not only to the history and textual traditions of commentaries on Peter Lombard's Sentences, but also to how such texts were used by university students and teachers of the late Middle Ages. Through his analysis of the important commentaries on Peter Lombard's Sentences, Rosemann traces the development of the discipline of theology itself from a study of sacred texts to an independent scientific discipline within man's understanding. This is not the end of the story, though, for Rosemann also finds a late medieval reaction to this idea which returned a sense of mystery to God on the eve of the Reformation. By providing an analytical structure through which hundreds of late medieval commentaries on Peter Lombard's Sentences that survive today can be understood, Philipp W. Rosemann's work provides an extremely useful conceptual framework for new students of late medieval theology.


    Donna Trembinski, Queen's University
  • Author Information

    Philipp W. Rosemann is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas and editor of the Dallas Medieval Texts and Translations series. He has previously taught at Queen's University in Belfast, the Universite catholique de Louvain, and Uganda Martyrs University. His recent books include Omne ens est aliquid. Introduction à la lecture du "système" philosophique de saint Thomas d'Aquin, Understanding Scholastic Thought with Foucault, and Peter Lombard.

  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    Acknowledgements 

    Abbreviations  

    Introduction: The Book of Sentences and the Structure of Traditions

    1. The Twelfth Century: From the Sentences to Abbreviations and Glosses
    2. The Thirteenth Century: Age of the Commentary
    3. The Fourteenth Century: The Movement away from the Sentences
    4. The Long Fifteenth Century: Back to the Sources 

    Conclusion: Understanding Tradition with Denys the Carthusian

    Further Reading and Research

    Glossary

    Notes

    Index

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