History of Logic from Aristotle to Gödel (www.historyoflogic.com)

by Raul Corazzon | e-mail: rc@ontology.co

Bibliography on Boethius' logical works and Commentaries (Lew-Z)

Contents of this Section

Studies in English

  1. Lewry, Osmond. 1981. "Boethian Logic in the Medieval West." In Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence, edited by Gibson, Margaret, 90-134. Oxford: Blackwell.

    "Almost three centuries after his death, Boethius entered the school-room. With Alcuin of York as master and Charlemagne as pupil, a halting dialogue ensued. This Dialectica is a tenuous link between the learning of a member of the old Roman nobility, from the early sixth century, and the studious aspirations of the Frankish kingdom, at the end of the eighth. But the title is an ambitious one for these exiguous remains of classical culture, and even the presence of Boethius here is faint. In sixteen chapters, Alcuin rehearses the rudiments of the old logic. (1) He begins with Porphyry’s Isagoge, for his account of the five universals, and ends with Aristotle’s Perihermeneias, for the statement and its parts but, as his dedicatory verses to Charlemagne show, the categories are the core of his work, and for these, lacking the Praedicamenta of Aristotle himself, he had to turn to the Themistian paraphrase, the De Decem Categoriis, which he ascribes to Augustine. The Pseudo-Augustine only omits matters of minor importance, but Alcuin received an account of the categories affected by transpositions and mixed with many non-Aristotelian elements. (2) The solid contribution of Boethius himself is in his translations of the Isagoge and Perihermeneias if there are borrowings from his commentaries and treatises, they are meagre. (3) Of the nineteen valid moods of the categorical syllogism, only four appear in the treatment of argumentation, and these, the moods of the first figure with their premisses interchanged, in a form derived from the Perihermeneias of Apuleius and not from the De Syllogismis Catégoricis of Boethius. (4) The fifteen kinds of definition derive from a treatise which the Middle Ages attributed to Boethius, but this Liber de Definìtionibus was in fact by Marius Victorinus, (5) as Boethius recognised in summarising its teaching. (6) They came to Alcuin through the Institutiones of Cassiodorus, (7) and it was sixth-century interpolations in the same source that gave Alcuin some second-hand knowledge of Boethius’ De Differentiis Topicis. (8)" (pp. 90-91)


    "In the first half of the fifteenth century, however, a reaction against the influence of Boethius can be seen in Lorenzo Valla’s preface to his Dialecticae Disputationes. His reference to ‘eruditorum ultimus Boetius’ and his question, ‘How many were there after Boethius whom one would consider worthy to be called a Latin and not a Barbarian?’, (150) may suggest more than a grudging recognition for his authority, but elsewhere Boethius is sharply criticised for his doctrine. (151) Valla also thinks that he was overrated by Albertus Magnus among the scholastics and Poggio among the humanists. (152) Despising Aristotle as a man who contributed nothing to civic life and lacked practical skills, Valla’s endeavour was to bring logic back from a realm of abstractions to what he regarded as its proper concern, natural expression : in effect dialectic was to be reduced to rhetoric. (153) This enterprise of reduction could not be carried through without a reform of terminology, and this led him, at the beginning of his work, to attack the teaching of the categories as it had been mediated by Boethius (154) and the Porphyrian hierarchy of substance. (155) His second book extended the reduction to propositional logic; his third to reasoning. Here he poured scorn on Boethius and those who praise him, for their failure to see that the fourth figure syllogisms are but indirect forms of the first. (...) In this humanist reaction the authority of Cicero and Quintilian is preferred to that of Boethius." (pp. 120-121)


    "The preface to the Basel edition of 1570 [of the works of Boethius] tempers the criticism of Valla, but passes quickly over the logic to celebrate the achievements of Boethius in mathematics and music. The dedicatory letter recalls the aims of Boethius himself as a translator and commentator and praises him for opening to the Latin world what Aristotle had hidden from many, and judiciously weighing the opinions of antiquity. Regret is voiced that nothing survives of his commentaries on the Analytica and Topica of Aristotle. Of the logical works, it is the double commentary on the Perihermeneias which is particularly valued, and the 'four beautiful books De Differentiis Topicis, by which he distinguished dialectical from rhetorical topics’. Mention is still made, though, of the works on the syllogistic and division, (159) so that even if rhetoric had made its inroads here too, the legacy of the Boethian logic was still prized for its own sake." (p. 122)

    (1) PL CI. 949B-80B.

    (2) See L. Minio-Paluello, ‘Note sull’Aristotele Latino Medievale: XV. Dalle Categoriae Decem pseudo-Agostiniane (Temistiane) al Testo Vulgato Aristotelico Boeziano’, in Opuscula: The Latin Aristotle (Amsterdam, 1972), pp. 448-58, and the same author’s edition of the text, Pseudo-Augustini Paraphrasis Themistiana (AL i. 1-5, pp. lxxvii-xcvi, 129-75)·

    (3) See A. van de Vyver, ‘Les Etapes du Développement Philosophique du Haut Moyen-Age’, Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire VIII (1929), 425-52, and the account of Alcuin’s work there, pp. 430-2.

    (4) See M. W. Sullivan, Apuleian Logic (Amsterdam, 1967), pp. 178-82.

    (5) Ed. T. Stangl (Munich, 1882); reprinted in P. Hadot, Marius Victorinus (Paris, 1971), pp. 329-65.

    (6) In Cic Top III (PL LXIV, 1098A).

    (7) Cassiodori Senatoris Institutiones II. 14, ed. R. A. B. Mynors (Oxford, 1937), pp. 119-24.

    (8) PL LXX. 1175D12 1190C4.

    (150) Quotus enim quisque post Boëtium fuit qui Latinus dici mereatur et non Barbarus: Laurentius Valla, Opera Omnia (Basel, 1540), reprinted Turin, 1962, i. 644.

    (151) See Elegantiae VI, xxxiv (ed. cit., i. 215-16); De Voluptate III. xi (ed. cit., I. 973); Ep. ad Ioannem Aretinum (Venice, 1503, reprinted Turin, 1962, II. 122).

    (152) See In Pogium Antidoti II (ed. cit., I. 292-3).

    (153) See G. di Napoli, Lorenzo Valla: Filosofia e Religione nell'Umanesimo Italiano (Rome, 1971 Uomini e Dottrine XVII), pp. 57-99.

    (154) Dialectica I. i (ed. cit., i. 645-6).

    (155) Ibid., I. vii (i. 646-7).

  2. Lopez-Astorga, Miguel. 2021. "Aristotle and Boethius: Two Theses and their Possibilities." Praxis Filosófica no. 53:69-84.

    Abstract: "There is a kind of logical theses that can be a cognitive problem. They are theses that are not tautologies and people tend to accept as absolutely correct.

    This is the case of theses such as those of Aristotle and Boethius. This paper tries to give an explanation of the reasons why this happens. The explanation is based on the theory of mental models. However, it also resorts to modal logic and the account of the ideas presented by Lenzen. Thus, relating the general framework of the theory of mental models to basic aspects of modal logic and this last account, a possible solution of the problem is proposed."

  3. Magee, John. 1989. Boethius on Signification and Mind. Leiden: Brill.

    Contents: Acknowledgements IX; Sigla X; Abbreviations and Editions XI; Introduction 1; I. Aristotle: Peri Hermeneias I, 16a3-9; 7; II. Boethius’ Translation 49; III. Orandi Ordo 64; IV. Cogitabilis Oratio 93; Afterword 142; Bibliography 150; Index Locorum 155; Index Nominum et Rerum 162-165.

    "The following is a study of Boethius' thought on signification which attempts to situate that thought historically and to evaluate it philosophically. Its justification is found in the present lack of any systematic examination of the subject, (1) and in the intrinsic importance of that subject for the history of later ancient and especially of medieval thought. It is frequently the case that medievalists will have read Boethius' philosophical works with an eye only to subsequent developments; those classicists who bother with him at all will probably have done so out of an interest (one which shows signs of increasing) in investigating the very last stages in the history of ancient learning. That Boethius has sometimes run afoul of misunderstandings originating on both sides of the academic fence can, I believe, be explained in part by the fact that his work as both commentator and translator sets him somewhat apart in the history of ancient commentary on Aristotle. As a commentator, he has tended to be ignored by those classical scholars who are accustomed to the massive and weighty Greek commentaries from the likes of Alexander (late 2nd-early 3rd c. AD) and Simplicius (6th c. AD). As a translator, he has sometimes obscured, for the medievalists not working in the Greek tradition of commentary (as indeed for the many medieval writers who depended upon his translations), the prehistory of certain ideas expressed during the course of his commentaries on the texts of what in the Middle Ages came to be known as the logica vetus."


    "The present work is divided into four chapters, taking as its starting point the lines of Aristotle’s Peri Hermeneias around which Boethius’ theory of signification turns. The first chapter of the study plunges in medias res, and for that the reader’s patience is requested. The Greek text is both difficult and compressed, and necessarily brings into consideration questions of the history of transmission and commentary, as well as numerous aspects of Aristotle’s thought both in this and in other works. But since Boethius translated either all or part of the Peri Hermeneias before commenting upon it, and then revised the translation for the second commentary; and since in his translation, as in all translations, there is an element of “commentary” upon the meaning of the original, it has been thought necessary to come to a clear understanding of what Aristotle wrote before proceeding to the translation and commentaries. After careful examination of the Greek passage and of the questions it poses, there follows in the second chapter an analysis of Boethius’ Latin translation of the same, and of the interpretation implicitly contained therein. The third and fourth chapters treat of Boethius’ commentaries on the passage, as seen from two points of view: (a) from the way in which Boethius thinks Aristotle to have disposed or ordered the four things (res, intellects, vox, litterae) laid down in the context of the doctrine of Peri Hermeneias 16a3-9; (b) from the point of view of the theory of cognition Boethius develops in support of the above. The question Boethius ultimately poses for our consideration is: How are the operations of the passive mind converted into words and statements that can be spoken aloud? If his commentaries allow no certain answer to this question, important ground will nevertheless have been gained in studying carefully the way in which Boethius introduces the problem, and then in suggesting the solution which seems most consistent with what is said in his commentaries." (pp. 1-2)

    (1) There are two valuable studies by L.M. De Rijk, as well as a short article by K. Berka. Beyond this, however, very little has come to my attention. [De Rijk 1981 and 1988, Berka 1968]

  4. ———. 1994. "The text of Boethius' De divisione." Vivarium no. 32:1-50.

    "The De divisione of Boethius ( = B.) has come down to us in nearly 200 MSS dating from the 10th c. onward. The treatise maintained a position of some importance in the medieval schools and as a result the textual tradition is highly complex, although it remains unstudied for the most part. L. Minio-Paluello investigated and compared some of the early MSS in the course of editing a fragment of B. ’s revised Topics translation that sometimes circulated as part of De divisione, and he put forward tentative conclusions as to the bearing of his findings on the history of the transmission of De divisione itself. In what follows I undertake to examine the earliest extant MSS of De divisione known to me, and to reconsider Minio-Paluello’s hypothesis concerning the early period of transmission. The study is in three parts: (a) analysis of the evidence indicating a lost ancient “edition” of De divisione, (b) the text of the treatise as transmitted to us by the oldest MSS; (c) a handlist of MSS containing De divisione." (p. 1)

  5. ———. 1997. "Boethius, De divisione 875–76, 891–92, and Andronicus Rhodius." In A Distinct Voice: Medieval Studies in honor of Leonard E. Boyle, O.P., edited by Brown, Jacqueline and Stoneman, William P., 525-560. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.

  6. ———. 2010. "On the Composition and Sources of Boethius' Second Peri hermeneias Commentary." Vivarium no. 48:7-54.

    Abstract: "The paper is in three parts, prefaced by general remarks concerning Boethius’ logical translations and commentaries: the text of the Peri Hermeneias as known to and commented on by Boethius (and Ammonius); the organizational principles behind Boethius’ second commentary on the Peri Hermeneias; its source(s). One of the main purposes of the last section is to demonstrate that the Peri Hermeneias commentaries of Boethius and Ammonius are, although part of a common tradition, quite independent of one another, and special consideration is given to the question of how Boethius interpreted and shaped the doxographical material concerning Aspasius, Herminus, and Alexander that had been handed down to him by Porphyry."

    "Sifting through the interpretations of earlier commentators was painstaking and laborious, Porphyry’s interpretation of 19b22-24 alone requiring, as we have seen, seventeen pages of commentary. By about the year 515 Boethius’ attention must have been turning toward other projects, to new translations and commentaries, the theological tractates, logico-rhetorical monographs, and so on. If the Peri Hermeneias were allowed to consume so much time and energy, what would become of the rest of the Organon and Aristotle, not to mention Plato? Even for a treatise as rich and complex as the Peri Hermeneias Boethius may have had finally to calculate his “point of diminishing returns.” He may have grown impatient with the project, his copy of Porphyry may have failed, or both. Had he known of the premature end that awaited him, he might have thought differently about how to weight the commentary, might have sought compensation in other projects for problems left unsolved in connection with the Peri Hermeneias; but as it is, he left a work which, despite its imperfections, has proved to be one of his most fascinating and influential." (p. 54)

  7. ———. 2011. "Preliminary Observations on the Textual Tradition of Boethius' First Peri Hermeneias Commentary." In Logic and Language in the Middle Ages: A Volume in Honour of Sten Ebbesen, edited by Fink, Jakob Leth, Hansen, Heine and Mora-Márquez, Ana María 13-26. Leiden: Brill.

    "In editing the first of Boethius’ two commentaries on Aristotle’s Peri Hermeneias Carl Meiser essentially worked from a single witness, F (below), which he ranked both antiquissimus and optimus. (1) Readings from three other munich manuscripts, e (MS Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 14401, s. XI), M (below), and T (MS Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 18479, s.XI), he reported perpetuo more but with varying degrees of accuracy. (2) He further consulted two st. Gall manuscripts, G (below) and S (MS Stiftsbibl. 817, s. XI-XII) omnibus locis paulo difficilioribus — citing them only infrequently, however, in his critical apparatus. from Peri Hermeneias 17b20 on, F preserves excerpted lemmata, and Meiser correctly recognized that the supplemented versions found in other witnesses violate Boethius’ intention. (3)

    But F is in fact neither antiquissimus nor optimus, and Meiser’s edition suffers from a particular failure to distinguish between the three versions of Boethius’ Peri Hermeneias translation, two of which form his commentary lemmata. Hence a full assessment of the evidence seems called for. In what follows, I hope to shed some light on certain salient characteristics of the textual tradition." (p. 13)

    (1) Boethius, Commentarii in librum aristotelis περι ερμηνειασ, pars prior versionem continuam et primam editionem continens, ed. C. Meiser (Leipzig: Teubner, 1877), pp. VIII-X.

    (2) Cf. J. Magee, ‘On the Composition and sources of Boethius’ second Peri Hermeneias Commentary’, Vivarium 48 (2010), 15, n. 32.

    (3) Above, n. 1; cf. Aristotle, De interpretatione vel Periermenias: Translatio Boethii, ed. L. Minio-Paluello, AL 2.1 (Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1965), pp. XI; LIII.

    [MS F = Munich Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 6374, s. IX

    MS M = Munich Bayer. Staatsbibl. clm 14377, s. X-XI]

  8. Magnano, Fiorella. 2013. "Boethius: the Division of Logic between Greek and Latin Traditions." In Ad notitiam ignoti. L'Organon dans la translatio studiorum à l'époque d'Albert le Grand, edited by Brumberg-Chaumont, Julie, 141-171. Turnhout: Brepols.

    "Basically Boethius’s division of logic is the foundation of a large number divisions of logic belonging to other medieval philosophers as Peter Abaelard and Albert the Great; for this reason it is extremely important to understand first of all how Boethius developed and understood his own division, and in this paper I will explore just these aspects of Boethius’s logical works. Thus, first I will describe Boethius’s two divisions of logic presented in his Isagoge commentaries. I will then look at his mature attempt to merge the Greek heritage of Aristotle with the Latin heritage of Cicero. Finally, I will focus on Boethius’s own division of logic, in order to observe where the art of the topics is exactly placed. To better achieve my goals, it will be necessary to use several diagrams through which the reader can better visualize these complex aspects of Boethius’s logical thought." (pp. 142-143, note omitted)



    In short, in Boethius’s view the Topics is the foundational discipline for the dialectician, the rhetorician, and the philosopher, precisely because it is the only way to discover the starting points of all types of argumentation. Boethius arrives at this view through combining in a particularly ingenious and 0riginal way the division of logic and the sciences more generally descended from the Aristotelian and Ciceronian, the Greek and the Latin traditions. It is necessary to think of this endeavor as a mosaic composed of many pieces, because combination of the two divisions of logic is only one stage of a much large project, and the instruments used to carry out this plan are numerous. In his second commentary on the Isagoge, Boethius began to stress that this book is also indispensable in order to understand Cicero’s ratio disserendi. As regards the art of the topics, he translated and commented on Aristotle's Topics and, after having commented also on Cicero’s Topics he stressed the original axiomatic nature of Ciceronian loci, in order to bring out their dialectical value — a process completed in the third book of the De topicis differentiis where the Ciceronian loci are presented as dialectical loci. Finally, after having shown the substantial agreement of Cicero’s division of logic (ratio disserendi) lwith that directly attributed to Aristotle and called λογική, he also tried to show the agreement between Themistius’s and Cicero’s divisions of the topics, i.e. the Greek and the Latin traditions on the topics.

    All these considerations allow us to conclude that in the fundamental reorganization of the entire logical material of antiquity made by Boethius, it is possible to discern his intention not only to rehabilitate the dialectical value of the topics, but also to return them to the centrality that they had in the authentic Aristotelian system. In this respect, Boethius does not simply repeat a neo-platonic thesis, because no neo-platonic philosopher gave, as far as know, real attention to Aristotle’s Topics. On the contrary, Boethius re-established their use, and this is one of the most important aspects of Boethius's own contribution to the development of logic. The importance of this cultural phenomenon was really enormous, since this division of logic, like this role of the topics, were the specific ways in which philosophers received and used them in the Middle Ages." (pp. 170-171, note omitted)

  9. ———. 2017. Boethius on Topical Differences: A Commentary. Barcelona - Roma: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales.

  10. Maloney, Thomas S. 2003. "Boethius on Aristotle on the Division of Statements into Single/Multiple and Simple/Composed." Carmina Philosophiae no. 12:49-74.

  11. Marenbon, John. 2003. Boethius. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Contents: Abbreviations of Boethius’s Works XV; 1 Introduction 3; 2 Life, Intellectual Milieu, and Works 7; 3 Boethius’s Project: The Logical Translations and Commentaries 17; 4 The Logical Textbooks and Topical Reasoning: Types of Argument 43; 5 The Opuscula Sacra: Metaphysics, Theology, and Logical Method 66; 6 The Consolation: The Argument of Books I-V.2 96; 7 The Consolation, V.3-6: Divine Prescience, Contingency, Eternity 125; 8 Interpreting the Consolation 146; 9 Boethius’s Influence in the Middle Ages 164; Notes 183; Bibliography 219; Index Locorum 237; General Index 243-252.

    "As a translator, Boethius was extremely literal, sacrificing Latin style, of which the Consolation shows his mastery, to precision. So far as possible, he follows the word order of the Greek and tries to render each word, even the particles. The result, though grammatical, is often awkward and heavy, but it is accurate — although there are some cases where his choice of word and phrasing does betray his own, particular interpretation of the text. (6) He seems to have revised each of his translations, and there is evidence of two forms for all of them except the Sophistical Refutations. (7)

    As a commentator, again Boethius concentrated on logic, although he did apparently write some sort of glosses or commentary to Aristotle’s Physics. (8)

    His work as an exegete stretched less widely over Aristotelian logic than his translations: he provided, as already mentioned, two commentaries each for the Isagoge and On Interpretation, one (or perhaps two) for the Categories, a commentary on Cicero’s Topics, 9) very probably a commentary on (Aristotle’s) Topics and some glosses, at least, for the Prior Analytics. (10) He also wrote a set of logical monographs, mainly on different sorts of argument (see chapter 4).

    Since Boethius’s working life was unexpectedly and violently curtailed, his failure to complete his original plan cannot be taken as proof that he did not propose it in earnest. Still, he seems to have given logic the priority and was willing in this area to go beyond the project he had set out, writing double commentaries and logical monographs, rather than hurrying on to Aristotle’s nonlogical works and to Plato."

    (7) In the case of the Categories, the two versions that survive are Boethius’s final version and a ‘composite’ version, which is probably an earlier draft by Boethius, improved by using the lemmata of his commentary (close to his final version of the translation); see Asztalos (1993) 371-72. There is a very clear summary of scholarship on Boethius’s translations in Chadwick (1981) 131–41; the fundamental work was done by Minio-Paluello — see Minio-Paluello (1972) and the introductions to the Aristoteles Latinus editions (Aristoteles Latinus, 1961–).

    (8) See Chadwick (1981) 139, who cites 2InDI 190:13, 458:27 and TC 1152B.

    (9) I discuss this commentary in chapter 4 below, because it is closely related to Boethius’s treatise on topical reasoning.

    (10) As Obertello (1974) 229 has noted, Boethius refers to a commentary by him on Aristotle’s Topics in his On Topical Differentiae, 1191A, 1216D. But none has survived. He also clearly refers to having expounded ‘the Analytics’ (cf. Obertello (1974) 229–30); Minio-Paluello has discovered marginal annotations in a medieval manuscript of the Prior Analytics which, he argues, are Boethius’s: see Aristoteles Latinus (1961–) III.1–4, lxxix–lxxxviii and (for edition of the scholia) 295–372.


    Asztalos, M. (1993) ‘Boethius as a Transmitter of Greek Logic to the Latin West: The Categories’, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 95, 367–407.

    Chadwick, H. (1981) Boethius. The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (Oxford; Oxford University Press).

    Minio-Paluello, L. (1972) Opuscula: the Latin Aristotle (Amsterdam; Hakkert).

    Obertello, L. (1974) Severino Boezio (Genoa; Accademia Ligure di Scienze e Lettere).

  12. ———. 2008. "Logic before 1100: The Latin Tradition." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods, John, 1-63. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

    See pp. 6-21: 2.2 Boethius 6; Boethius the Translator 7; The Neoplatonic Aristotelian Tradition 8; Boethius and the Commentary Tradition 9; Boethius’s Logical Treatises 14; Boethius and Topical Argument 18; Boethian Logic and its Survival 20-21.

    "Boethius is by far the most important figure in the ancient tradition of Latin logic, but it is important to realize that the Boethian Tradition was not the only ancient Latin one. The logic of the earlier Latin authors, along with, or transmitted by, later encyclopaedic accounts, provided a separate tradition, which would be the one on which, more than Boethius, medieval logic depended in the period up to the late tenth century. It is in the eleventh century that the Boethian Tradition begins to dominate (See §4 below). The twelfth century was the Golden Age of Boethian Logic: the six works that formed the core of the logical curriculum were Boethius’s monographs and his translations of the Isagoge, Categories and On Interpretation, which were taught making extensive use of his commentaries. And the Prior Analytics and Sophistical Refutations, also in his translation, began to be known.

    As a result of the introduction of the whole range of Aristotle’s writing and its adoption, by the mid-thirteenth century, as the Arts course in the universities, and with the development of the logica modernorum, branches of logic newly devised by the medieval logicians themselves, Boethian Logic became less important in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, although his translations continued to be used by all students of logic, and some outstanding theologians, such as Albert the Great, Aquinas and William of Ockham, made some use of his commentaries.

    Moreover, On Division and TD [De Topicis differentiis] remained part of the standard university logical collections — and commentaries were even written on TD in the thirteenth century.

    The monographs on categorical syllogisms were no longer useful now that the Prior Analytics itself was known, and the treatise on hypothetical syllogisms too was forgotten [see C. J. Martin. Denying Conditionals: "Abaelard and the Failure of Boethius’ Account of the Hypothetical Syllogism", Vivarium, 45, 153-68, 2007.].

  13. ———. 2008. "Logic at the turn of the Twelfth century." In Mediaeval and Renaissance Logic, edited by Gabbay, Dov and Woods, John, 65-81. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  14. Martin, Christopher John. 1991. "The Logic of Negation in Boethius." Phronesis no. 36:277-304.

    "Boethius' de Hypotheticis Syllogismis is by far the most extensive account of the conditional and its logic to have survived from antiquity. A rather obscure and tedious work, it has puzzled commentators from Peter Abaelard to Jonathan Barnes. Most of the difficulties that they have had in extracting the principles of Boethian logic seem to me to follow from the assumption that what he offers is an account of the application of propositional operators to propositional contents. Though generally not made explicit by modern historians, the concepts of propositional content and propositional operation are nevertheless presupposed by the symbolic apparatus which they typically use to represent the claims of ancient and mediaeval logics. I will try to show that an examination of Boethius' theory of language forces us to give up the assumption that his logic is propositional and that when we do so his remarks on compound propositions turn out to be rather less mysterious than they have seemed." (p. 277)

  15. ———. 1999. "Non–reductive Arguments from Impossible Hypotheses in Boethius and Philoponus." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no. 17:279-302.

    "While there seems to be no record of an ancient debate over the paradoxes of strict implication anticipating those of the twelfth and twentieth centuries, we can, I think, advance our understanding of ancient attitudes to conditionals with antecedents acknowledged to be impossible by considering some hitherto neglected remarks made by Boethius. I shall try to show in the present paper that at least in late antiquity some philosophers were happy to introduce acknowledged impossibilities as hypotheses and to draw inferences from them without any suggestion that there might be indefinitely inflationary consequences. By these philosophers at least, the conditional was understood relevantistically." (p. 281)

  16. ———. 2009. "The Logical Textbooks and their Influence." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, edited by Marenbon, John, 56-84. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    "The time at which Boethius wrote was not a great one in the history of logic and he himself was certainly not a great logician. His importance lies rather in acting as an intermediary between the logicians of antiquity and the those of the Middle Ages. With his translations (1), commentaries (2) and independent logical works (3) Boethius provided mediaeval philosophers with most of what they knew about ancient logic and so with the foundations upon which mediaeval logic was built. The most important parts of those foundations were the metaphysics of substance and semantics of common names which could be extracted from Boethius’ commentaries on the Isagoge, Categories, and De interpretatione, his account of conditional propositions in De hypotheticis syllogismis, and his treatment of topical argumentation in De topicis differentiis. Boethius’ own peculiar contribution to the history of logic was an exposition of the hypothetical syllogism which, for the reasons we will consider here, would play no role in the development of logic after the middle of the twelfth century." (p. 56)

    (1) Boethius’ translations of Porphyry’s Isagoge, and Aristotle’s Categories and De interpretatione, were known throughout the Middle Ages. His translations of the Sophistical Refutations, Topics and Prior Analytics were rediscovered during the first half of the twelfth century. Boethius’ translation of the Posterior Analytics (if he made one) apparently did not survive into the Middle Ages.

    (2) On the Isagoge (1IS, 2IS), on the Categories (CAT), on De interpretatione (1IN, 2IN), on Cicero’s Topica (TC).

    (3) On the categorical syllogism covering the material dealt with in Prior Analytics I.1–7 (ISC and SC), on topical inference (TD), on the hypothetical syllogism (SH), on division (D).

  17. ———. 2011. "De Interpretatione 5-8: Aristotle, Boethius, and Abelard on Propositionality." In Methods and Methodologies. Aristotelian Logic East and West, 500-1500, edited by Cameron, Margaret and Marenbon, John, 207-228. Leiden: Brill.

    "Boethius’ commentaries on de Interpretatione provided the Middle Ages with their introduction to the theory of meaning. Boethian semantics is developed on the basis of the distinction made by Aristotle in De Interpretatione 1, between the signification of terms and that of affirmations and negations – defined, remember, as the species of simple assertions. On this account of them affirmations signify mental states in which the mental items signified by their component significant terms are combined and negations signify mental states in which they are separated. Missing in the theory is an account of compound propositions showing how their meanings are obtained from the meanings of their components. Such an account requires a notion of unasserted propositional content. With it we may also locate what is common to different speech acts and explain how it is that they differ. The relevant differences are the differences in what we now call their force." (p. 211)

  18. Martin, John N. 1989. "A Tense Logic for Boethius." History and Philosophy of Logic no. 10:203-212.

    Reprinted as Chapter 5 in: J. N. Martin, Themes in Neoplatonic and Aristotelian Logic. Order, Negation and Abstraction, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004, pp. 53-63.

    Abstract: "An interpretation in modal and tense logic is proposed for Boethius' reconciliation of God's foreknowledge with human freedom from The Consolation of Philosophy, Book V. The interpretation incorporates a suggestion by Paul Spade that God's special status in time be explained as a restriction of God's knowledge to eternal sentences. The argument proves valid, and the seeming restriction on omnipotence is mitigated by the very strong expressive power of eternal sentences."

  19. McKinlay, Arthur Patch. 1938. "The De syllogismis categoricis and Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos of Boethius." In Classical and Mediaeval Studies in Honor of Edward Kennard Rand: Presented Upon the Completion of His Fortieth Year of Teaching., edited by Rand, Edward Kennard and Leslie, Webber Jones, 209-219. Freeport, N.Y: Books for Libraries Press.

  20. Mignucci, Mario. 1989. "Truth and modality in late antiquity: Boethius on future contingent propositions." In Le teorie delle Modalità. Atti del Convegno internazionale di storia della logica, edited by Corsi, Giovanni, Mangione, Corrado and Mugnai, Massimo, 47-78. Bologna: CLUEB.

  21. Minio-Paluello, Lorenzo. 1942. "The Genuine Text of Boethius’ Translation of Aristotle’s Categories." Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies no. 1:151-177.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 1-27.

    "It is known that Boethius wished to make translations of all the works of Aristotle and to comment on them, (1) but fate brought him to imprisonment and death before he was able to carry out his plan. That he translated the works on logic is certain. True, some scholars have doubted whether he translated the Analytics, Topics and Sophistici Elenchi, (2) but no one disputes that he both translated and commented on the Categories and the two books De interpretatione. This can be established with certainty by the references he makes elsewhere to these works of his, (3) by the tradition which begins with Cassiodorus (4) and is thus contemporary, and by the unanimity of the manuscripts of the Commentaries. (5) All scholars agree, and rightly so, on this point.

    On another point, however, scholars have been entirely mistaken. They have held that the translation of the Categories, which from the tenth century onwards appears in innumerable manuscripts, now scattered over European and even American libraries, is by Boethius. This is the text, often printed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and also reproduced in the Patrologia Latina of Migne and in the editions of Notker’s works. (6)

    It is the objet of the present study to prove that this is a mistake and to make known the genuine translation of Boethius, which until a short time ago remained buried in a small number of manuscripts. It is hoped also to correct certain errors arising out of this mistaken attribution and thus to throw fresh light on the history of the study of the Categories and of the translations from the Greek in the tenth century." (pp. 151-152)


    "To conclude, I hope I have made clear the following points:

    (1) That a version of the Categories, whose author has hitherto not been recognized, is the work of Boethius;

    (2) that the version, which up till now has been ascribed to Boethius partly belongs to the tenth century; and therefore

    (3) that there is a mediaeval translation of Aristotle into Latin at a date much earlier than is commonly supposed." (p. 26)

    I wish to thank Dr. Decima Douie for her help in translating this article, and the Editors of this Journal for their criticism and advice.

    (1) ‘Ego omne Aristotelis opus, quodcumque in manus venerit, in Romanum stilum vertens eorum omnium commenta latina oratione perscribam . . .' (Comment. Second, in Arist. De interpret. 79, 16 ff. Meiser). P. Mandonnet (Siger de Brabant, Fribourg 1899, xxiv f.) alone believes that Boethius had really translated all Aristotle, and quoting Migne (!) Sstates that ‘on possède les commentaires de Boèce sur tous les livres de la logique’.

    (2) E.g. M. Grabmann, Gesch. d. schol. Meth. II, 71. Even he, however, recognised the value of the references of Boethius to his translations (In top. Cic. PL 64 col. 1051; 1052; De diff. top. 1173; 1184; 1193; 1216). On the question of the authorship of the translations of these works preserved under the name of Boethius, see B. Geyer, Die alten lat. Uebersetz. d. arist. Analytik, Topik und Elenchik (Philos. Jahrb. d. Görres-Gesellsch. 30 [1917] 25 ff.); C. H. Haskins, Studies in the histiory of mediaeval science, Cambridge Mass. 1927, p. 228 ff.; M. Grabmann, Forsch, üb. d. lat. Arist.-Uebersetz. d. XIII. Jahrb. (BGPM XVII, 5-6, p. 130); id., Bearbeitungen u. Ausleg. d. arist. Logik aus d. Zeit v. Abaelard bis Petrus Hisp. (Abh. Preuss. Akad. 1937), p. 10; E. Franceschini, Aristotele nel Medio Evo latino (Atti del IX Congr. naz. di filos., Padova 1934-35, p. 5 ff.).

    (3) See S. Brandt, Entstsehungsz. u. zeitl. Folge d. Werke von Boethius (Philologus, N. F. 16 [1903] 141-154 and 234-275).

    (4) Variae I 45, cap. 4 f. Institut. II 18 (p. 128 ed. Mynors, see Introduction xxviii); Anecdoton Holderi (ed. Usener), p. 4. On the question of Cassiodorus’ testimony see below, Appendix.

    (5) The incipit of the Commentary to the Categories in almost every manuscript is : ‘Anicii Manlii Severini Boethii, viri clarissimi ex consulum ordinibus editio prima super Categorias a se verbum de verbo translatas e graeco in latinum'; and the incipits of the two Commentaries on the De interpretatione are nearly the same.

    (6) At least 350 manuscripts of the Categories are till preserved. Not less than 24 editions were published in the 15th century (see Gesamtkatal. d. Wiegendr. nos. 2335-2342; 2390-2393; 2396-2400; 2406-2410; 4511-4512). In the Patrologia of Migne the translation is only printed as lemmata to the Commentary (voi. 64 col. 159-294). After editions by Graff and Hattemer, a critical edition of Notker’s works was given by P. Piper (Die Schriften Notkers und seiner Schule, Freiburg 1882); the commented and translated text of the Categories is in vol. I, 367-495.

    [Minio-Paluello published the critical editions of Boethius' translation of Aristotle's Categories in 1961 (Translatio Boethii).]

  22. ———. 1945. "The Text of the Categoriae: The Latin Tradition." Classical Quarterly no. 39:63-74.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 28-39.

    "The Latin versions of Aristotle’s Categoriae have never received much attention from the editors of the Greek text. J. Th. Buhle (Arist. Op. Omn. I, Bipont. 1791) and Th. Waitz (Arist. Organ, I, Lpz., 1844) availed themselves of Latin texts, but in a very unsatisfactory way; and since them the Latin field has remained unexplored throughout the last hundred years, in which both Hellenists and Orientalists have done much to increase our knowledge of the textual tradition of the Categ. It is the purpose of these pages to give a summary account of the Latin tradition and to contribute to a revision of the Greek text by a collation of Boethius’ recently discovered translation with the best printed Greek and Oriental sources.

  23. ———. 1957. "A Latin Commentary (? translated by Boethius) on the Prior Analytics and its Greek sources." Journal of Hellenic Studies no. 77:93-102.

    Reprinted in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula. The Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1972, pp. 347-356.

    "Cod. Florence Bibi. Nazion. Centn Conv. Soppr. J.VI.34—formerly in Niccolò Niccoli’s and St. Mark’s libraries—written in a beautiful French hand of c. a.d. 1150-1200—contains the second edition of Boethius’s translation of Pr. An. (1) Many scholia, written on the margins and between the lines by the same calligraphic hand which wrote the Aristotelian text or by a hand very similar to and contemporary with it, accompany the translation in this MS. They are mainly concentrated in about one-half of the work, viz. in book I.23 -30 (400-463) and book II (52a-7ob); quite a few accompany I. 1,5-6,30-45 (24a, 27b-28a, 46a-5oa) ; almost none is to be found in I.10-14,17-22 (30b7-33b25, 37a25-40b10). Arrangement and writing suggest that the scribe intended to give the reader Aristotle’s text together with what was available to him of an authoritative commentary.

    The scholia range, in nature and extent, from short glosses on single words or phrases and short summaries of sections of Aristotle’s work to detailed explanations and doctrinal developments of important or difficult passages. Here and there carefully drawn diagrams illustrate logical rules and geometrical examples." (p.93)


    "The Florentine MS. is quite unique among all the Latin manuscripts of Pr. An. It is the only one, out of about two hundred and seventy, that contains—and contained—only the Pr. An.; out of a hundred and twenty so far examined, it is the one which seems to contain the second, and very rare, edition of Boethius’s translation in its purest form, and the only one which contains the ‘corpus’ of Greek scholia translated into Latin; (21) the paleographical characteristics—big letters throughout, even for the scholia, spaciousness, very careful transcription—suggest that we are in the presence of a library copy of an important text of the past.

    The attribution to Boethius remains hypothetical; but the linguistic argument in its favour, if expounded in detail, might prove very strong; our other arguments strengthen it. No argument against this attribution has so far suggested itself." (p. 102)

    (21) Only scanty fragments from the scholia are also preserved in two or three of the many manuscripts inspected. The only important exception is in the figure of the 'pons asinorum', which exists in most MSS.; but it is likely that Boethius ha included it in the text of Aristotle itself, as it appears in Greek copies of Pr. An. independently of any commentary or scholia.

  24. Nikitas, Dimitrios Z. 2012. ""Exemplum logicum Boethii": reception and renewal." In Greek into Latin from Antiquity until the Nineteenth Century, edited by Glucker, John and Burnett, Charles, 131-144. London - Turin: The Warburg Institute - Nino Aragno Editore.

  25. ———. 2019. "The early literary construct of Boethius: Ιn Isagogen Porphyrii commenta, editio prima." In Aristotle and his Commentators: Studies in Memory of Paraskevi Kotzia, edited by Golitsis, Pantelis and Ierodiakanou, Katerina, 107-130. Berlin: de Gruyter.

  26. Prior, Arthur Noman. 1953. "The Logic of Negative Terms in Boethius." Franciscan Studies no. 13:1-6.

    "Historians of logic have recently been turning their attention to the De Syllogismo Hypothetico of Boethius, and have found in it a quite highly developed propositional calculus.(1) So far as we are aware, however, his De Syllogismo Categorico and his Introductio ad Syllogismos Categóricos have not yet been subjected to similar scrutiny; and in the latter work at least there are features of considerable interest.

    The Introductio ad Syllogismos Categoricos resembles the De Syllogismo Hypothetico in exhibiting a special interest in the results of attaching a negative particle to an element or to the elements of a proposition. Just as he gives in the latter work an exhaustive account of such varieties of the conditional proposition as ‘If p then not q’, ‘If not p then q’, ‘If not p then not q’, ‘If p then if q then not r’, and so on, so in the Introductio he considers the relations of opposition, entailment, and so on which hold between categorical propositions with and without negative (or as he calls them ‘infinite’) terms. In doing this he does not use variables such as ‘a’ and ‘b’ , but the concrete terms which he uses are selected on a definite principle, which we shall now illustrate." (p. 1)

    (1) See, in particular, K. Diirr, The Propositional Logic of Boethius (NorthHolland Publishing Co., 1951); R. van den Driessche, “ Sur le ‘de syllogismo hypothetico’ de Boèce,” Methodos Vol. I, No. 3; I. M. Bochenski, Ancient Formal Logic (North-Holland Publishing Co., 1951), pp. 106-109.

  27. Rijk, Lambertus Marie de. 1964. "On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic. Part I." Vivarium no. 2:1-49.

    "The chronological order of Boethius' works appears to be a rather difficult problem. Hence, it is not surprising that the numerous attempts to establish it led the scholars to results which are neither all conclusive nor uniform. In this article I confine myself to Boethius' works on logic. Before giving my own contribution it would seem to be useful to summarize the results of preceding studies and to make some general remarks of a methodological nature.


    My conclusion from this survey is that the best we can do in order to establish approximately the chronological order of Boethius' works on logic is to start a careful and detailed examination of all our data on this matter. In doing so an analysis of their contents seems to be quite indispensable, no less than a thorough examination of doctrinal and terminological differences." (pp. 1 and 4).

  28. ———. 1964. "On the chronology of Boethius' works on logic. Part II." Vivarium no. 2:125-162.

    "We shall now sum up the results of our investigations. First some previous remarks. Our first table gives of nine of the works discussed the chronological interrelation, which can be established with a fair degree of certainty. The figures put after the works give the approximative date of their composition (the second one that of their edition); when printed in heavy types they are based on external data; the other ones are based on calculation.

    Table 1

    Boethius' birth about 480 A.D.

    In Porphyrii Isagogen, editio prima about 504-505

    In Syllogismis categoricis libri duo (= ? Institutio categorica) about 505-506

    In Porphyrii Isagogen, editio secunda about 507-509

    In Aristotelis Categorias (? editio prima) about 509-511

    In Aristotelis Perhemeneias, editio prima not before 513

    In Aristotelis Perhemeneias, editio secunda about 515-516

    De syllogismis hypotheticis libri tres between 516 and 522

    In Ciceronis Topica Commentaria before 522

    De topicis differentiis libri quattuor before 523

    Boethius' death 524

    The rest of the works discussed cannot be inserted in this table without some qualification. (...)

    We may establish the following table for the works not contained in out first table:

    Table 2

    Liber de divisione between 505 and 509

    possible second edition of the In Categorias after 515-516

    Translations of the Topica (and Sophistici Elenchi) and of the

    Analytica Priora and Analytica Posteriora not after 520

    Commentary on Aristotle's Topica before 523

    the so-called Introductio (? = In Priora Analytica Praedicanda) certainly after 513; probably c. 523

    Scholia on Aristotle's Analytica Priora first months of 523 at the latest"

    (pp. 159-161, notes omitted).

  29. Shiel, James. 1957. "Boethius and Andronicus of Rhodes." Vigiliae Christianae no. 11:179-185.

    "G. Pfligersdorffer has recently described the attitude of the ancient editor, Andronicus of Rhodes, towards the final notes in Aristotle's Categories on opposites, simultaneity, priority, motion and possession-what the medievals called the postpraedicamenta. (1)

    The scholar has based his intricate arguments on a passage of Boethius' commentary on the Categories, and as this passage in the printed editions (2) is syntactically unintelligible he has suggested an emended text of it." (p. 179)


    "On the basis of the passage thus emended (...) the author argues that: (a) Andronicus does not imply that Aristotle was not the real author of the postpraedicamenta but only that Aristotle was not responsible for annexing them to the Categories; ..." (p. 180)


    "I believe that the text of the Boethius passage can be more convincingly presented from a wider survey of the extant manuscripts of the In Categorias." (p. 181)


    "The text I have proposed will still support Pfligersdorffer's argument (a) noted above -- but none of the others." (p. 185

    (1) G. Pfligersdorffer, "Andronikos von Rhodos und die Postpradikamente bei Boethius" (Vigiliae Christianae 7 (1953), 98-115).

    (2) ed. Glareanus, Basel, 1546; reprinted (badly) in Migne PL 64 [263b].

  30. ———. 1958. "Boethius' Commentaries on Aristotle." Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies no. 4:217-244.

    Revised version in: R. Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Transformed. The Ancient Commentators and Their Influence, London: Duckworth, 1990, pp. 349-372 (Second edition New York: Bloomsbury 2016, pp. 377-402) also reprinted in: Manfred Fuhrmann und Joachim Gruber (Hrsg.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984 pp. 155-186.

    Citations are from the reprint in Sorabji 2016.

    "It is recognised that Aristotelian logic, which was to become an integral part of medieval scholasticism, was first transmitted to Latin Christianity through the work of Boethius. But the way in which he set about his self-imposed task has never been determined in detail. (1) We know that he promised to translate and comment 'upon every single work of Aristotle I can lay hands on (omne Aristotelis opus quodcumque in manus venerit)'. (2) To form the idea was a silent judgment on the learning of his day; to realise it was more than one man could accomplish; but Boethius accomplished much.


    The genuine texts of Boethius' versions of Aristotle (except that of the Posterior Analytics) have now been identified among the manuscripts and his distinctive method of translation firmly identified.(5) The present article therefore proposes to examine the other extant results of Boethius' promise, the commentaries and treatises. Are they really original or are they too translated from Greek?" (p. 377)


    "The general impression produced by this study is that Boethius in composing his commentaries on the Organon translated Greek notes which he found added to his text of Aristotle. If this is true, it gives us new insight into the way Boethius worked.

    From the beginning it is evident that he considered the works of the Organon, including Porphyry's Isagoge (which Neoplatonic schoolwork put on a par with Aristotle), as a united whole." (p. 398)


    Cicero retired to his Tusculan study, Boethius to his 'study walls adorned with ivory and glass (bibliothecae comptos ebore ac vitro parietes)'. Our study of him as a translator emphasises anew his remarkable role of transmission: through him Aristotelian logic, the equipment of Neoplatonic paganism, is carried into the Christian Church to be eventually part of its armour of faith. (84)" (p. 401)

    (1) M. Cappuyns, 'Boèce', in Dict. d'hist. et geog. eccles. 9, Paris 1939, 367: 'The exact role of Boethius in the transmission of Aristotle's works is hard to disentangle at present.' This statement prompted the present enquiry. Dom Cappuyns' article is the best introduction to the subject. [Now however see the prefaces of Aristoteles Latinus, vols 1-6, and the supporting essays in L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula: the Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam 1972.]

    (2) in Int. II 79,16 Meiser.

    (5) L. Minio-Paluello, 'The genuine text of Boethius' translation of Aristotle's Categories', in Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies (MRS), 1942, 151-77 (=Opuscula, 1-27) and 'The text of the Categoriae: the Latin tradition' in Class. Quart. 39, 1945, 63-74 (= Opuscula, 28-39).

    (84) This illustrates a seasoned historian's judgment that 'ancient philosophies, rediscovered, are found to possess a disturbing vitality, even in modern times' (Hugh Trevor Roper, Catholics, Anglicans and Puritans, 1987, VII).

  31. ———. 1974. "Boethius and Eudemus." Vivarium no. 12:14-17.

    "In writing his explanation (1) of Porphyry's 'tree' Boethius inevitably encountered a subdivision of 'substance' where Porphyry has divided 'rational animate substance' into'mortal'and 'immortal'.

    An immortal animate could only be a god, and, since 'animate' had already been classed under 'corporeal', this would be a corporeal god as described by the ancients who identified the world and the heavens with Zeus. Boethius does not quarrel with this doctrine. Only by abruptly detaching the reference to the ancients can Pierre Courcelle (2) see in it a Christian reservation voiced by Boethius himself.

    Since similar philosophic reference to the ancient beliefis to be found in Greek (3) I believe that Boethius translated it from Greek. And the Greek he translated from was not the extant commentaryof Ammonius (4) on Porphyry." (p. 14)


    "Now one cannot help noticing that Boethius has a somewhat more complex classification than Ammonius.

    The latter includes no distinction for the two kinds of non-dialectical question. Besides, in place of 'non-dialectical' Ammonius has a more positive term, 'investigative' (pysmatike),which is not translated in Boethius. And whereAmmonius says "according to the ancients" Boethius has the more precise "according to the Peripatetics." All this should make one cautious of asserting that Ammonius is the exact source of Boethius.

    What is more, Eudemus turns out to be the rightman. This is perfectly clear from a passage of Alexander's commentary on the Topics (8) where the Boethian classification is given with an explicit ascriptiono Eudemus. Boethius however does not seem to be translating Eudemus directly, for the Latin scheme is slightly more elaborate, especially as regards substantial definition. And of course it is only part of the larger classification "according to the Peripatetics."

    And so I come back to the general conviction I have written about elsewhere, that Boethius translated his explanations from some Greek book later than Porphyry but anterior to Ammonius, and that in numerous cases one could visualise the exact Greek words he copied from. In the present case, as in that previous gloss on Porphyry's 'tree', a brief marginal scheme in Boethius' uncial Greek manuscript would have given him all the material he needed for his Latin.

    It is rather a pity, then, that this Ammonius text does not work as evidence that Boethius received his education in the school of Ammonius at Alexandria. Nor does any similar text that I have so far been able to examine." (pp. 16-17)

    (1) Boeth., in Isagogen 208.22 Brandt (PL б4.103ab).

    (2) P. Courcelle, La Consolation de Boèce dans la tradition littéraire (1967) 341.

    His suggestion and footnotes are appropriated by С. J. de Vogel, Vivarium 9 (1971) 59.

    (3) Elias, in Isagogen 69.21 Busse.

    As homage to Boethius I have transcribed the Greek into uncial type designed by my friend, Timothy Holloway, of St. John's College,Oxford. This I entrust to the elegant pages of Vivarium: ...in bibliotheca posui.

    (4) cf. Ammonius, in lib de Interp. (20 b 22) 361 Meiser (PL 64.572c).

    (8) Alexand., in Top. (104a 8) 69.13-19,22-23 Wallies. See note 3.

  32. ———. 1982. "A Recent Discovery: Boethius' Notes on the Prior Analytics." Vivarium no. 20:128-141.

    "As a matter of fact all the genuine texts of Boethius' Aristotelian translations are recent discoveries. They were all out of reach thirty years ago and they have come to light only after the long and intricate labour involved in discerning and collecting the manuscrip tmaterial for Aristoteles Latinus. This is an edition, planned for thirty-three volumes, of all the Latin versions of Aristotle surviving from the Middle Ages; each volume of the collection is devoted to a single Aristotelian work, gathering together the various translations of it so far identified. (1) The first six volumes cover the treatises on logic, collectively known to the tradition as the Organon: Categories, De Interpretatione, Prior and Posterior Analytics, Topics and Elenchi, together with Porphyry's Isagoge('Introduction'). In these volumes the pioneer translations done by Boethius have been edited for all of the treatises except the Posterior Analytics, of which the genuine Boethian version is still missing. (2)

    The procedure by which these genuine versions were discovered may prove to be one of the most impressive feats of scholarly achievement in this century. (3)" (p. 128)


    "But the PriorAnalytics is the most interesting in this regard.The copy of this work (b) which was inserted by Thierry of Chartres in his famous volume of the liberal arts was one of the very few which the Aristoteles Latinus editor found to be genuinely Boethian. (9) But he discovered another version (B), also of French provenance, in a manuscript at Florence, (10) and on examination this proved to have so much in common with Thierry's copy that it had to be regarded as a second draft by the same translator.(11) The most noticeable differences between the two drafts, b and B, occur in thefirst sixteen chapters of Book I and in chapters 17-20 of Book II.(12)" (p. 130)

    (1) A brief description of the enterprise was given by me in Medium Aevum, 33 (1964), 61-64; 42 (1973), 147-152.

    (2) AL I. I-V. 3 ed. L. Minio-Paluello, Bruges-Paris, 1961-1969; AL VI. 1-3 ed. B. G. Dod, Bruges-Paris, 1975.

    (3) Many of the basic studies relating to the work of identification are collected in: L. Minio-Paluello, Opuscula: the Latin Aristotle, Amsterdam, 1972.

    (10) AL Codices (and Supplementum) n. n.236 1412 (Firenze, Bibi. Naz. Centr. J. 6.34) (Nn).

    (11) AL III, p. XI.

    (12) AL III, p. XI-XVI.

  33. ———. 1987. "The Greek Copy of Porphyrios' Isagoge used by Boethius." In Aristoteles. Werk und Wirkung. Paul Moraux zum 65 Geburtstag gewidmet - Band 2: Kommentierung, Uberlieferung, Nachleben, edited by Wiesner, Jürgen, 312-340. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

    "In this paper I wish to ask what type of Greek book Boethius possessed for his study of the Isagoge. He certainly did use a Greek book of some kind because although he based his first commentary (c) (1) on the Latin version or paraphrase already made by Marius Victorinus, for his editio secunda (C) he made his own translation (p) of Porphyry’s work, which is a concise introduction to five basic Aristotelian terms: Genus, Species, Difference, Property, and Accident.

    Boethius’ first commentary, c, opens with an experiment in the dialogue style that had been familiar to Latin authors from Cicero to Macrobius and Augustine. That such Platonizing dialogue might employ fictional elements is admitted by Macrobius (Sat. I 1), and it has been noticed that Augustine felt less than happy in using this Platonic mode. The characters here are Boethius himself and a possibly fictional Fabius whose total knowledge of the Isagoge seems to be confined to the Latin version made by Victorinus. Boethius at the outset (c 4,6) gives Fabius a Ciceronian promise (cf. Cic.Top. 1) of deeper instruction that he could have gathered from Victorinus alone. Boethius also admits that he will be transmitting this information from others, from the introductorii commentarii of learned masters, and he seems in fact to be actually consulting some such work (c 4,4: super eisdem rebus meditantem). A question may occur to the modern reader over these sources of his instruction. How is Boethius, so often praised for his originality of thought, in fact adapting or translating some earlier commentary, when he here undertakes in the best dialogue manner to convert otium into intellectual negotium? A Latin source for his work would seem unlikely, for it appears from Cassiodorus (Inst. 2,3,18) that Victorinus had made only the Latin translation and not a commentary as well.

    The extant Greek commentaries on the Isagoge have a special character because of the work's position at the beginning of the Organon, and therefore at the beginning of all Neoplatonic school-work in philosophy. They begin with lengthy sets of prolegomena, first on philosophy in general and then on the Isagoge itself. The general set adheres to a standard school order of topics for lectures (πράξεις): definitions of philosophy both theoretical and practical, and the subdivisions of these; then a further list of preliminaries (κεφάλαια, προλεγόμενα, προτεχνολογούμενα) which must be followed before beginning the study of any philosophic work.(2) The prolegomena proper to the Isagoge then apply these considerations, one by one, to the book itself." (pp. 312-313)

    (1) For brevity of reference I employ these sigla, based on the usage of the Aristoteles Latinus (AL):

    Π Porphyrii Isagoge, ed. Busse, CAG IV 1 (1887)

    p Isagoge Porphyrii: translatio Boethii, ed. Minio-Paluello, AL I (1966) c Boethii in Isagogen, editio prima, ed. Brandt, CSEL 48 (1906)

    C Boethii in Isagogen, editio secunda, ed. Brandt, ibid.


  34. Solmsen, Friedrich. 1944. "Boethius and the History of the Organon." American Journal of Philology no. 65:69-74.

    Reprinted in F. Solmsen, Kleine Schriften II, Hildesheim: Olms, 1967, pp. 38-43 and in: Manfred Fuhrmann und Joachim Gruber (Hrsg.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984, pp. 127-132.

    "Boethius had set himself the task of bringing into Latin the entire body of Plato's and Aristotle's writings. (1) What he actually accomplished, the translation of Aristotle's logical treatises, was a small part of this huge enterprise. There is, besides, his translation of Porphyry's Eisagoge.

    The chronological order of these translations (and of the commentaries which accompany them) has been determined with reasonable certainty by two scholars, Samuel Brandt and Arthur P. McKinlay who, though differing in their method and criteria, have yet arrived at fundamentally identical results. (2) The sequence appears to have been as follows: Porphyry's Eisagoge, Aristotle's Categories, Peri Hermeneias, Analytica Priora, Posteriora, Topica, Sophistici Elenchi. It could not remain unnoticed that this sequence is identical with the order in which the original works are integrated in the standard collection of Aristotle's logical works commonly known as the Organon; in fact, Brandt (3) points out that Boethius simply followed the order which he found established in his Greek original. This suggestion is, as we shall see, perfectly correct; but a student of Aristotle will be aware that the existence of the Organon (or of any fixed order of these writings) by A. D. 500 has never been proved. (4) Shall we then say that the studies of Brandt and McKinlay have supplied the terminus ante quem for its existence which the students of Aristotle's own works have failed to find?

    In a sense this is true, but if we wish to have the complete picture a few more facts must be taken into account.

    Byzantine manuscripts of Aristotle's logic, which are very numerous, invariably have the writings in the "orthodox" order, given above. Just as invariably they include Porphyry's Eisagoge as the first item, i. e. preceding the Categories. (5) To most scholars these facts would indicate that there were one or more late ancient editions in which the works were thus arranged. I do not know whether anyone would be inclined to think of a Byzantine scholar as responsible for the arrangement, but if anyone did he would certainly find it very difficult to maintain this view against the witness of Boethius; for it is precisely here that Boethius' testimony becomes important." (pp. 69-70)

    (1) In librum peri hermeneias Comment., Secunda editio, II, 3, p. 79, 16 Meiser.

    (2) S. Brandt, Philol., LXII (1903), pp. 141-54, 234-79; A. P. McKinlay, H. S. C. P., XVIII (1907), pp. 123-56. See also E. K. Rand, Jahrbücher f. class. Philol., Supplem. XXVI (1901), pp. 428 ff.

    (3) Loc. cit., p. 260. Aristotle (A. Pr. A4, 25 b 26) had made it clear that the Analytica Posteriora was to be considered a sequel to the Priora. Apart from this, he has nothing to do with the order sanctioned in the Organon. On the term organon and its application to Aristotle's logica, see e. g. Karl Prantl, Geschichte der Logik im Abendland (Leipzig, 1855), I, p. 532 (especially notes 4 and 5); see also W. Christ and W. Schmid, Griechische Literaturgeschichte (6th ed., Muenchen, 1920), I, p. 729, n. 3.

    (4) W. D. Ross, Aristotle (3rd ed., London, 1937), p. 20, n. 6, suggests that the term "Organon" was in the sixth century applied to the collection of Aristotle's logical works.

  35. Speca, Anthony. 2001. Hypothetical Syllogistic and Stoic Logic. Leiden: Brill.

    Contents: Acknowledgments VII; Abstract IX; Preface XI-XIII; 1. The Aristotelian Background 1; 2. The Greek Commentators on Aristotle 35; 3. Boethius: On Hypothetical Syllogisms 67; 4. Boethius: On Cicero's Topics 101; References 135; General index 139; Index locorum 141.

    Abstract: "Aristotle recorded his intention to discuss hypothetical syllogistic fully (An. pr. 50a39), but no such treatment by him has been available since at least a.d. 200, if even it ever existed. The contributions of his successor Theophrastus have also perished, as have those of his followers of the subsequent few centuries. At the same time, almost all of the surviving sources, especially the Greek commentators and Boethius, did not report hypothetical syllogistic accurately. Rather, they conflated it with Stoic logic, which it resembles in some respects, but from which it is significantly different. Modern scholars, who have not appreciated the nature or extent of this conflation, have unintentionally perpetuated the problem. As a result, the original form of hypothetical syllogistic has been misunderstood, and part of the influence of Stoic logic in late antiquity has remained unclear.

    This book is an account of the conflation of hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic logic. The first chapter is a study of Aristotle’s remarks on hypothetical syllogistic, which suggest that it was not a sentential logic such as the Stoics would develop. The second chapter details the conflation as it appears in the Greek commentaries on Aristotle, which consists principally in a confusion between the original Peripatetic division of hypothetical statements and syllogisms, whose criteria are semantic, and the Stoic division of complex propositions and inference schemata, whose criteria are syntactic. The third and fourth chapters focus on Boethius’s On hypothetical syllogisms and On Cicero’s Topics, in which even further conflation demonstrates that hypothetical syllogistic and Stoic logic had completely ceased to retain their distinct natures by the end of antiquity."

  36. Stump, Eleonore. 1974. "Boethius "Works on the Topics"." Vivarium no. 12:77-93.

    "The De topicis differentiis appears to be the mature product of an axcellent mind. It shows the same acumen, subtlety, and care as Boethius's other logical treatises; and it seems to build on the training and insight Boethius manifested in his earlier treatises. (1) It is a complete study of the discipline for finding arguments, both dialectical and rhetorical. Boethius works his diverse material, from different traditions and from different disciplines, into one coherent and elegant system unequaled, as far as I know, in any of the material that has come down to us from antiquityand the early middle ages. (2)


    But a thesis which runs counter to the common-sense view has been published; James Shiel in his article Boethius' Commentaries on Aristotle (4) has argued that Boethius's works on logic are not original compositions but are rather his translations of Greek Neo-Platonic scholia on Aristotle's Organon. His thesis seems to be gaining currency; two eminent scholars in the field, Minio-Paluello (5) and De Rijk, (6) accept or support it. In this article,after considering very briefly some treatment of Shiel's thesis in the literature, I want to discuss the thesis in detail as it applies to Boethius's work on the Topics. My main concern is to examine and discuss Shiel's evidence for his counter-intuitive theory; if it does not stand up under scrutiny, we are free to return to the common-sense view and to take Boethius's works on the Topics, at least, to be just what they appear to be -- his original compositions." (pp. 77-78)

    (1) The De top. diff. is one of the last works Boethius produced. See L. M.De Rijk, On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic II, Vivarium 2 (1964), 153-154 and 157-161.

    (2) See the Introduction and Chapters I-III in my unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Boethius's De topicis differentiis, Cornell University, 1975 [now published: Ithaca: Cornell University, 1978].

    (4) Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies 4 (1958), 217-244.

    (5) Cf. L. Minio-Paluello, Les traductions et les commentaires aristotéliciens de Boèce in: Studia Patristica II, fifth series, V. 9; 1957; pp.358-365.

    (6) Cf. L. M. De Rijk, On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic I and II, Vivarium 2 (1964), 1-49, 125-162.

  37. ———. 1978. "Dialectic and Boethius’s De topicis differentiis." In Boethius’s De topicis differentiis, edited by Stump, Eleonore, 179-204. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

  38. ———. 1981. "Boethius’ Theory of Topics and its Place in Early Scholastic Logic." In Congresso Internazionale di Studi Boeziani (Pavia, 5-8 ottobre 1980): Atti, edited by Obertello, Luca, 249-262. Roma: Editrice Herder.

    "Boethius’s De topicis differentiis is a philosophically interesting and historically influential work having to do with the art of Topics (or loci), a branch of philosophy which antiquity bequeathed to the Middle Ages but which philosophers of the scholastic period transformed almost past recognition. In this article, I want to explain briefly Boethius’s theory of Topics and then discuss in some detail that of Abelard, which seems superficially quite similar to Boethius’s but is in fact very different from it. As a result, I hope to make clearer both Boethius’s theory of Topics itself and the significant role played by Boethian Topics in the history of twelfth-century logic." (p. 249)

  39. ———. 1981. "Boethius and Peter of Spain on the Topics." In Boethius and the Liberal Arts: A Collection of Essays, edited by Masi, Michael, 35-50. Bern: Peter Lang.

    "Boethius’s influence on later medieval philosophy is, of course, enormous, and his treatment of the Topics is no exception to that general rule. Later medieval philosophers had a strong interest in dialectic. The whole technique of the disputatio, for example, and the consequent literature on obligationes have their ultimate origin in dialectic; and the study of the Topics was considered a regular part of logic and treated in a section of its own in elementary logic texts. For a long time, Boethius was the most important, and sometimes the sole source for the study of the Topics, and his work remained an important indirect source even when it was superseded by later treatments of the subject. For example, three of the best known thirteenth-century logicians, William of Sherwood, Peter of Spain, and Lambert of Auxerre, all have a chapter on Topics in their introductory logic texts; and all three reproduce the Boethian list of Topics and the major Boethian categorizations or divisions of the Topics.

    For the sake of putting Boethius’s work on the Topics into medieval perspective and of understanding the changes and developments in the Topics, it is useful to consider the treatments of the Topics among some of these later medieval philosophers. In particular, it is worthwhile examining the discussion of the Topics in Peter of Spain’s Tractatus, (9) which was the most widely used textbook of logic on the Continent from the late thirteenth to the end id the fifteenth century (10). Its discussion of the Topics is very similar to discussions found in several of the scholastics contemporary with or earlier than Peter. Besides being a representative and influential treatment of the Topics, Peter’s discussion is heavily dependent (directly or, more likely, indirectly) (11) on Boethius’s account. The chapter on dialectic in the Tractatus is like De top. diff. in organization. It begins with a series of definitions and then lists the Topics with a description and example of each. The definitions and the listing are those in De top. diff., and in some places Peter’s words are equivalent to a quotation from Boethius. (12) Consequently, comparison of Boethius and Peter is not difficult. Some of the recent literature has suggested that Peter’s work on the Topics is simply a slightly varied compilation drawn from Boethius’s De top. diff. Otto Bird, for example, who has published a number of very useful articles on the medieval Topics, says that Peter’s discussion of the Topics "is little more than a summary of the first half of BDT [De top. diff.],"13 and that "Peter of Spain made a précis of it [De top. diff] (primarily of the second book) and provided additional Maxims in the fifth tract of his Summulae [Tractatus]." (14) But such a view shows a mistaken understanding of both Peter and Boethius. In what follows here, I will examine Peter’s discussion of the Topics in considerable detail in order to exhibit with some accuracy a method for using Topics that, despite its apparent similarity to Boethius’s method, is in fact very different from it; by doing so, I hope to show what Peter’s method comes to and as a result to clarify the nature of the Boethian art of Topics." (pp. 37-38)

    (9) Ed. L. M. De Rijk (Assen, 1972).

    (10) Ibid., pp. XCV-C.

    (11) Cf., Tractatus, p. XCIII, n. 5.

    (12) Cf., for example, Peter, Tractatus, p. 55.17 and Boethius, De top. diff., 1180C4-5, Peter p. 55.23 and Boethius 1183A9-10, and Peter p. 56.16-18 and Boethius 1184B13-C1.

    (13) "The Tradition of the Logical Topics: Aristotle to Ockham", Journal of the History of Ideas, 23 (1962), p. 313.

    (14) "The Formalizing of the Topics in Mediaeval Logic", Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic, 1 (1960), 140. Jan Pinborg echoes Bird’s view of Peter. Cf. "Topik und Syllogistik im Mittelalter", in Sapienter Ordinare: Festgabe für Erich Kleineidam, ed. F. Hoffmann, L. Scheffczyk, and K. Feiereis (Leipzig, 1969), p. 164; and Logik und Semantik im Mittelalter (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 1972), p. 75. De Rijk, ed., Tractatus, p. XCIII seems to agree at least in part with Bird’s view: "This tract [chap. V of Tractatus] is not a compilation from Aristotle’s Topica but from Boethius' De topicis differentiis I and II, with some additions from Aristotle’s Topics.“ He argues in note 5 on the same page that Peter’s treatment is not taken directly from Boethius: rather, he says, it is "useful to point to the treatment of the loci in the Logica Cum sit nostra, pp. 438-445 or to that in the somewhat older work, Dialectica Monacensis, pp. 528-555." De Rijk’s point is very likely right, but what can be inferred from the claim in the text and the note is that Peter’s work on Topics amounts to an indirect compilation from Boethius’s De top. diff.

  40. ———. 1987. "Boethius’s In Ciceronis Topica and Stoic Logic." In Studies in Medieval Philosophy, edited by Wippel, John F., 1-22. Washington: Catholic University of America.

  41. ———. 1989. Dialectic and Its Place in the Development of Medieval Logic. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Contents: Acknowledgments IX; Introduction 1; 1. Dialectic and Aristotle's Topics 11; 2. Dialectic and Boethius's De topicis differentiis 31; 3. Between Aristotle and Boethius 57; 4. Topics and Hypothetical Syllogisms in Garlandus Compotista 67; 5. Abelard on the Topics 89; 6. Logic in the Early Twelfth Century 111; 7. Terminist Logicians on the Topics 135; 8. Consequences and the Decline of Aristotelianism in Formal Logic 157; 9. William of Sherwood's Treatise on Obligations 177; 10. Walter Burley on Obligations 195; 11. Roger Swyneshed's Theory of Obligations 215; 12. Topics, Consequences, and Obligations in Ockham's Summa logicae 251; Index 271-274.

    "Since 1975 my work in medieval logic has concentrated on dialectic. I have tried to trace scholastic treatments of dialectic to discussions of it in the work of Aristotle, the Greek commentators on Aristotle, and the Latin rhetorical tradition. But I have been especially interested in Boethius, whose discussions of dialectic were among the most important influences on scholastic treatments of that subject. Accounts of dialectic based ultimately on Boethius's views continued to play a fundamental role in philosophy through the fourteenth century. The earliest scholastic logician whose work we know, Garlandus Computista, devoted a great deal of attention to Boethian dialectic, and I have tried to follow the development of scholastic dialectic from Garlandus through various twelfth-century logicians (including Abelard) and the thirteenth-century terminists into the fourteenth century in the work of William Ockham." (p. 1)

  42. Suto, Taki. 2009. "Logic and Grammar in Boethius: A Logical Analysis of the Parts of Speech." In The Word in Medieval Logic, Theology and Psychology. Acts of the XIIIth International Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Kyoto, 27 September - 1 October 2005, edited by Shimizu, Tetsuro and Burnett, Charles, 65-80. Turnhout: Brepols.

    "There is no doubt that Boethius places Aristotle’s Peri hermeneias and his commentaries in the field of logic. In chapter 1 (16a8-9) of the work, Aristotle famously reserves some matters for his work on the soul, considering them beyond the scope of the subject in discussion. In commenting on this reservation, Boethius claims that “it is one thing to dispute principally on thoughts (intellectibus) of the soul, but another to take them for disputation so far as they can pertain to logical knowledge,” (1) thus holding the topic in discussion as that of logic.

    On the other hand, Boethius’ discussions in the commentaries rely heavily upon the noun (nomen) and the verb (verbum), which we usually take as grammatical distinctions." (p. 65)


    "Although using the terminology employed by grammarians, Boethius sometimes contrasts his view with theirs. He claims that grammarians regard “garalus” (which is a not a real Latin word) as a noun but philosopher do not. (10) He also claims that a grammarian counts eight parts of speech, i.e., noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, participle, conjunction, preposition and interjection, but that a philosopher counts only two, that is, noun and verb. (11) Calling the holder of the view contrasted to that of a philosopher simply “a grammarian” (grammaticus), (12) Boethius never actually names any grammarians in his discussions. (13)

    In this paper, by considering the question of how Boethius distinguishes logic from grammar, I will analyse the nature of Boethius’ investigation of logic in his commentaries. (14) Specifically, I will look at his division of the parts of speech and his notion of conjunction. The result of the examination will show that Ackrill’s criticism of Aristotle does not apply to Boethius." (p. 67)

    (1) “Etenim aliud est principaliter de intellectibus animae disputare, aliud tantum sibi ad disputationem sumere, quantum ad logicae possit pertinere peritiam.” Boethius (A.M.T. Severinus), In Peri hermeneias, Prima editio, ed. C. Meiser in Anicii Manlii Severini Boetii Commentarii in Librum Aristotelis Peri Hermeneias, Leipzig 1877, 41.11-14. Hereafter In PH I refers to the first commentary and In PH II to the second commentary.

    (10) Boethius, In PH II, ed. Meiser, 32.17-22.

    (11) Boethius, De syll. cat., in PL 64, 796C-D; Introd. syll. cat., in PL 64, 766A-B (note 39).

    (12) Note that a “grammarian” was a scholar engaged in the study broader than grammar in modern sense (including poetry especially): “Primus in eo qui scribendi legendique adeptus erit facultatem, grammatici est locus. Nec refert de Graeco an de Latino loquar, quanquam Graecum esse priorem placet: utrique eadem via est. Haec igitur professio, cum brevissime in duas partes dividatur, recte loquendi scientiam et poetarum enarrationem, plus habet in recessu quam fronte promittit.” (Qunitilianus, Institutiones oratoriae I c. 4 [1-2] in The Orator's Education, ed. and trs. D. Russell, Cambridge MA 2001. See also the appendixes of R. Kaster, Guardians of Language: The Grammarian and Society in Late Antiquity, Berkeley, 1988.

    (13) We can find the names of Aristarchus and Donatus in Boethius’ writings (Aristarchus: Boethius, In Categorias Aristotelis = In Cat., in PL 64, 171D, 182C, 189C, 260A; Donatus: In Cat., 257D). Boethius mentions their names as examples of a grammarian and says nothing about their grammatical theories.

    (14) There are only a few secondary writings on this topic: J. C. Magee, “Truth, Discourse and Mind in Boethius”, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Toronto, 1986, chapter 2 and S. Ebbesen “Boethius on the Metaphysics of Words”, in A. Galonnier ed. Boèce ou la chaîne des savoirs, 2003, 257-75.

  43. ———. 2011. Boethius on Mind, Grammar and Logic: A Study of Boethius' Commentaries on Peri Hermeneias. Leiden: Brill.

    Contents: Acknowledgements XI; Note to the Reader XV; Chart 1: Contents of Boethius’ Two Commentaries on Peri hermeneias XVII; Chart 2: Chronology of Boethius’ Works XIX; Chart 3: Chronology of Major Thinkers and Writers XXI; Chart 4: Relationships among Ancient Commentators XXIII;

    Introduction 1; Part One. Boethius on Words and Minds. I. The Significatum of Spoken Words 17; II. Words as ‘Notae’ 43; III. Three Types of Speech 77; Part Two. Boethius on Logic and Grammar. IV. Nouns, Verbs, and Conjunctions 117; V. The Varieties of Speech 151; VI. The Verb 'To Be' 187; VII. General Conclusions 223; Bibliography 237; Index of Ancient and Medieval Texts 269; Index of Names (Ancient and Medieval Authors) and Subjects 285; Index of Modern Authors (Selective) 294-296.

    "This work aims to be a study of his commentaries on Aristotle’s Peri hermeneias (De interpretatione). For my discussion of these commentaries, I use Carl Meiser’s edition, which is the only critical edition currently available. Deviations from the critical edition are recorded in the footnotes of the quotations.

    Boethius wrote two commentaries on Peri hermeneias. In Meiser’s edition, the first commentary is only 195 pages while the second commentary is 502 pages, more than double the length of the first. Writing two commentaries on the same work was not unusual for him. He also wrote two commentaries on Porphyry’s Isagoge, but the first commentary is three-fifths the length of the second commentary.(3) The striking difference in length between the two commentaries on Peri hermeneias reflects his careful planning of the role of each commentary: the first one to present basic lines of Aristotle’s thought, the second one to provide much more detailed explanations.(4) In the second commentary, he often introduces past discussions of Greek commentators and notions that he does not mention in the first commentary. The fact that he purposely wrote two commentaries should be seriously taken into account in considering the apparent inconsistencies and contradictions between them.

    This work is primarily devoted to the second commentary. I include the first commentary principally in the following two cases: First, I point out where his explanation significantly differs from that of the second commentary. His account in the second commentary can be mostly regarded as a development of the first, but the first commentary sometimes has explanations incompatible with those in the second commentary.(5) Boethius seems to make contradictory statements rather deliberately, intending to present simple interpretations in the first commentary, knowing that they are not the best.(6) Second, I refer to the first commentary when it illuminates or enhances his explanations in the latter.

    I sometimes look at Boethius’ other works, mainly logical ones, in relation to the main questions surrounding the second commentary.

    Where the texts contribute to our understanding, I discuss them in the relevant sections. Otherwise, I refer to them in the footnotes. For my interpretations of the commentaries, I have relied very little on his treatises on theology, liberal arts, and his renowned masterpiece, The Consolation of Philosophy. It is important to consider why the same individual wrote all these works in different disciplines. I would not deny that these independent treatises could illuminate his logical works. In fact, I believe they do, and I will argue so in the concluding chapter.

    I find, however, that these independent treatises have many differences from his logical works. For an accurate interpretation of his logical works we should be very careful in relying on these treatises.(7)" (pp. 1-2)

    (3) In Brandt’s edition of Boethius’ commentaries on Isagoge, the second commentary is 214 pages while the first commentary is 130 pages. Boethius does not allude to a second commentary in the first.

    (4) In PH1 31.6-32.3; In PH2 186.2-9; 250.20-251.4; 294.5-8. For the dates of composition of these commentaries, see Chart 2, p. XIX.

    (5) His distinction between simple and composite propositions, which I discuss in Chapter 5, is an example of this.

    (6) Sten Ebbesen (The Aristotelian Commentator (2009): 49) points this out with textual evidence: In PH1 132.3 sqq. and In PH2 276.8 sqq.

    (7) Scholars have pointed out this danger. Antony Lloyd (The Anatomy of Neoplatonism (1990): 2, n.2) cautions against cross-referencing Boethius’ different works. Ebbesen says, “one should be cautious in assuming consistency between the doctrines of the Aristotle commentaries and that of Consolation of Philosophy” ("Review of J. Magee’s Boethius on Signification and Mind.” Vivarium 29, 1991, p. 153). Vincent Spade (Boethius against Universals: Arguments in the Second Commentary on Porphyry, 1996) criticizes Peter King’s use of Boethius’ De trinitate for understanding his second commentary on Isagoge.

  44. ———. 2015. "From Analysis of Words to Metaphysical Appreciation of the World: the Platonism of Boethius." Quaestio. Journal of the History of Metaphysics no. 15:321-332.

  45. Sweeney, Eileen C. 2006. Logic, Theology, and Poetry in Boethius, Abelard, and Alan of Lille: Words in the Absence of Things. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Contents: Abbreviations IX Acknowledgments ; Introduction: Words in the Absence of Things 1; 1. Boethius: Translation, Transfer, and Transport 7; 2. Abelard: A Twelfth-Century Hermeneutics of Suspicion 63; 3. Alan of Lille: Language and its Peregrinations to and from Divine Unity 127; Conclusion: Language and the Ascensus Mentis ad Deum 177; Notes 185; Bibliography 213; Index 230-236.


    "While Augustine is the source of what has aptly been called “the semiological consciousness of the Christian West,” Boethius is the source of its technical vocabulary and academic form. (9) For the twelfth century as a whole, Boethius’s logical commentaries and theological tractates are the standard works of reference and provide the technical vocabulary for new work. As we shall see, Abelard and Alan take up not just Boethius’s vocabulary but his questions and issues in their accounts of language and theology. Moreover, they take up not just the logical and theological parts of Boethius’s project but also the questions and themes of the Consolation in their poetry.

    Boethius’s project was to translate, comment on, and transfer the language of philosophy into theology, to incorporate secular disciplines and texts into his own philosophical/theological vision. Boethius’s imaginative world is one populated largely by other texts, and is notably different from Augustine’s appropriation of secular texts in the more positive and autonomous place given to Aristotelian logic and pagan literature. The voices of these texts speak themselves in the work of Boethius." (p. 2)


    (9) Eugene Vance, “Saint Augustine: Language as Temporality,” in Mervelous Signals: Poetics and Sign Theory in the Middle Ages (Lincoln: University 0f Nebraska Press, 1986), p. 34.

    Chapter 1.

    "Although I do not pretend to have found the definitive solution to I he problem of interpreting Boethius, following the theme of language through the main parts of the corpus has yielded a stronger sense of the unity, autonomy, and originality of Boethius. One way to express it is in visual terms, terms suggested, I will show below, by the Consolation itself. (7) My contention is that Boethius’s innovation is the construction in some detail of multiple and correct, though limited, perspectives from which human understanding can view itself and the nature of reality. As we will see, the method of the Boethian project is linguistic: different perspectives are constructed by developing different vocabularies and different senses of the same terms. Then, the perspectives are arranged hierarchically, the lower encompassed by the higher.

    The themes to which Boethius returns again and again in the logical commentaries are the distinction between the order of words and things and the conventionality of language. From this fundamental distinction between what is the case and what we say, it is only a short step to the elaboration and amelioration of this gap in terms of multiple senses of terms, multiple disciplines with distinct methods and terminologies, and even multiple ontologies which either describe the same reality in different terms and/or are true descriptions of different strata of reality. The conviction that motivates a good portion of the tractates is the view that disagreement and contradiction can be mediated by the creation of or the distinction between different vocabularies. And while it is true that the Consolation attempts to hierarchize the different perspectives on Boethius’s fate, it still gives voice to those “lower” perspectives through the voice of Boethius, the prisoner.

    Boethius’s own use of language mirrors this multiplicity of meanings, methods, and rhetorics. He goes from close, careful translation, paraphrase, and commentary designed to provide an introduction to the greenest of beginners, to the terse, esoteric, and technical language of the tractates, to the complex interweaving of poetic and philosophical language and allusions in the Consolation.

    Boethius surely had important models for such multileveled and synthetic views in his Neoplatonic masters and contemporaries, who would have seen his stated plan to translate, comment on, and show the agreement between Plato and Aristotle as an understandable if bold undertaking. Boethius’s vision differs from theirs both in being Christian and in being worked out in almost exclusively textual terms — in the mediation of texts in the translation and commentary, in the self-conscious production of new textual forms, and in the development of new vocabularies. Boethius both creates his own vocabulary in his translations and transfers it from its “proper” and original location to theological topics where it is radically reworked in the theological tractates. The same project continues in the Consolation's attempt to ascend from the prisoner’s worldly perspective to that of Lady Philosophy by means of the language and arguments of different philosophical schools.

    I will trace the construction of this peculiarly Boethian textuality in Boethius’s Isagoge and Peri hermeneias commentaries, theological tractates and Consolation. In all these texts, Boethius’s most common methods are, first, the division or distinction, and second, the construction and relating of different perspectives. Following Boethius’s own pedagogical plan, then, I begin with the logic commentaries." (pp. 7-8, notes omitted)

  46. Thomas, Ivo. 1951. "Boethius’ locus a repugnantibus." Methodos no. 3:303-307.

  47. Thomsen Thörnquist, Christina. 2017. "Bridging the Beginner's Gap: Apuleius, Boethius, and Porphyry on the Categorical Syllogism." In The Aristotelian Tradition: Aristotle’s Works on Logic and Metaphysics and Their Reception in the Middle Ages, edited by Bydén, Börje and Thomsen Thörnquist, Christina, 228-248. Turnhout: Brepols.

  48. Torrijos-Castrillejo, David. 2020. "Divine foreknowledge and providence in the commentaries of Boethius and Aquinas on the De interpretatione 9 by Aristotle." Biblica et Patristica Thoruniensia no. 13:151-173.

    Abstract: "Boethius represents one of the most important milestones in Christian reflection about fate and providence, especially considering that he takes into account Proclus’ contributions to these questions. For this reason, The Consolation of philosophy

    is considered a crucial work for the development of this topic. However, Boethius also exposes his ideas in his commentary on the book that constitutes one of the oldest and most relevant texts on the problem of future contingents, namely Aristotle’s De interpretatione.

    Although St. Thomas refers to Boethius many times in his systematic works and even devotes two commentaries to two of his theological opuscules, it is of special interest that both authors composed a commentary on the above mentioned work by

    Aristotle. The commentary of Saint Thomas does not interpret the whole book, but it does study the pages about future contingents in dialogue with Boethius. We will study such texts in our presentation. They constitute one of the greatest contributions

    of Aquinas to the problem of necessity and contingency and therefore to the vexata quaestio of divine intervention in the world and particularly in human free will. Not only Augustin but also Aristotle (read by Boethius) and Nemesius of Emesa will be

    decisive in Aquinas’ perception of this matter."

  49. Tweedale, Martin. 1976. Abailard on Universals. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

    On Boethius, pp. 53-88.

Studies in Spanish

  1. Bertelloni, Francisco. 2012. "El resultado del conocimiento universal en el segundo comentario de Boecio a la Isagogé de Porfirio." Scripta no. 5:11-34

    Resumen: "El autor trata tres temas presentes en el segundo comentario de Boecio a la Isagogé de Porfirio. El primero muestra que cuando Boecio argumenta contra el universal ontológico de Porfirio, lo hace en términos cuantitativos; por ello la argumentación de Boecio contra el realismo porfiriano es diferente, por ej., de la argumentación que utiliza Abelardo en su Logica Ingredientibus. Mientras para Boecio lo que es uno no puede ser simultáneamente múltiple a causa de una imposibilidad cuantitativa, para Abelardo la misma imposibilidad resulta de una reducción al absurdo, pues la misma res universalis no puede ser racional en un sujeto e irracional en otro. El segundo tema es la distinción boeciana entre modo de ser y modo de ser conocido

    del universal. El tercer tema es la posibilidad de aferrar el universal boeciano a través de una fórmula apta para tipificar ese universal que, según Boecio, sería deficiente si fuera solo gnoseológico o solo ontológico; esa fórmula debe poder dar cuentas, simultáneamente, de ambas dimensiones del universal, es decir, la dimensión real-ontológica y la intelectual-gnoseológica."

  2. Correia, Manuel. 2007. "Los tratados silogísticos de Boecio: sus fuentes, historia e influencia en la cristiandad latina." Teología y Vida no. 48:131-140.

  3. Ferreira, Paulo. 2021. "Sobre a tese de que a bivalência implica o determinismo causal, do estoicismo ao aristotelismo." Journal of Ancient Philosophy no. 15:173-189.

  4. Molina Cantó, Eduardo. 2001. "Traducción y comentario en le Medioevo temprano: Boecio y el De interpretatione 14." Onomazein no. 6:149-162

    Resumen: "La traducción y el comentario al tratado Sobre la interpretación de Aristóteles, llevados a cabo por Boecio, son examinados en este artículo con el fin de discutir una tesis recientemente sostenida, según la cual la tarea de Boecio como comentarista del corpus lógico aristotélico se limitaría a una traducción mecánica de glosas. Frente a esto, aquí se sostiene (1) que al examinar la labor como traductor de Boecio resulta más verosímil seguir adjudicándole la autoría intelectual de los comentarios y (2) que si se atiende al contexto de los comentarios del temprano medioevo, no cabe ir en busca de originalidad en un caso como este, sino de capacidad de asimilar y evaluar las discusiones y observaciones de que podía disponerse, cosa que puede afirmarse convincentemente de Boecio."

Studies in French

  1. Hadot, Pierre. 1959. "Un fragment du commentaire perdu de Boèce sur les Catégories d'Aristote dans le codex Bernensis 363." Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge no. 26:11-27

    Repris dans P. Hadot, Plotin, Porphyre. Études néoplatoniciennes, Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1999, pp. 383-410 et dans P. Hadot, Études de Patristique et d'histoire des concepts, Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2010, pp. 323-343.

  2. Libera, Alain de. 1999. L'art des généralités. Théories de l'abstraction. Paris: Aubier.