Ashworth, Earline Jennifer. 1989. "Boethius on Topics, Conditionals and Argument-Forms." History and Philosophy of Logic no.
"Eleonore Stump’s splendid translation of Boethius's In Ciceronis Topica (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1988) is a
very welcome companion to her earlier translation of Boethius's De topicis differentiis (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1978). Together
the iwo volumes provide us with a hitherto unequalled opportunity to come to grips with the logical work of an author whose influence on medieval and
Renaissance developments in this field was surpassed only by Aristotle himself. Indeed, it was only because of Boethius, his translations and commentaries,
that Aristotle was first transmitted to the Latin speaking West. The importance of Boethius's work on the Topics is not purely historical, for it offers us a
valuable insight into a type of logic which is aimed not at the production of formal languages or the examination of valid inference forms, but at ways to
produce belief in the context of debate and against a background of straightforwardly metaphysical doctrines.
In this essay review I shall first make some general remarks about the nature of Topics-logic, with particular reference to In Ciceronis
Topica . I shall then explore just one Topic, that of incompatibles, which is a particularly interesting Topic for several reasons. First. Boethius's
attempt to define incompatibles shows the limitations of any formal approach to the material in hand. Second, Boethius's use of the Topic casts considerable
light on his view of conditionals and their basis in metaphysical features of the world. Third, the examination of these issues helps explain Boethius's
interpretation of certain key argument forms and their relation to Stoic logic. Finally, I shall make some remarks about Stump’s translation and notes." (p.
Asztalos, Monika. 1993. "Boethius as a Transmitter of Greek Logic to the Latin West: the Categories ." Harvard Studies in
Classical Philology no. 95:367-407.
"...my purpose in this paper is to bring out what these commentaries, and especially the ones on the Isagoge and the
Categories , reveal about Boethius’ working methods in his earliest works on Greek logic. I intend to deal less with the end product than with the
road to it, and to point to the stages of development and improvement exhibited within these early works." (p. 367)
"Boethius devoted his first effort in Greek philosophy to Porphyry’s Isagoge , and later, in the year of his consulate (510), when
he was in all likelihood in his late twenties, he spent all his spare time commenting for the first time on a work by Aristotle, the Categories . Ever
since Samuel Brandt attempted a chronology of Boethius’ works on the basis of their internal references, it has been commonly held that when Boethius began
commenting on the Categories , he had already written both his expositions of Porphyry’s Isagoge (hereafter Isag. 1 and Isag.
2 ), the first one a dialogue in two books based on Marius Victorinus’ apparently incomplete Latin version, the second a five book commentary on his own,
complete translation. (2) This is certainly not the place for a full discussion of the chronology of Boethius’ works, but for the arguments of this paper it is
necessary to establish the order between Isag. 2 and the commentary on the Categories (CC)." (p. 368)
"... I am not in a position to judge whether or not Boethius displays real originality in his later, more mature works. But I think that it
would be unfair to expect novel interpretations in commentaries like the Isag. 1 and CC, which, if my assumptions in the first sections of this paper
are correct, are not only the earliest of Boethius’ works on Greek philosophy but also the context in which he first encountered Aristotle. He seems to have
come quite unprepared to both the Isagoge and the Categories , unarmed with proper translations and unfamiliar with the work he was
commenting on. Boethius is indeed an epitome of the expression docendo discimus ." (p. 407)
(2) 2 S. Brandt, “Entstehungszeit und zeitliche Folge der Werke von Boethius,” Philologus 62 (1903), 141-154 and 234-275. See also
pp. XXVI-XXIX of the Prolegomena to Anicii Manlii Severini Boethii In Isagogen Porphyrii commenta , rec. S. Brandt, Corpus
Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 48, Wien/Leipzig, 1906. In his “ Stylistic Tests and the Chronology of the Works of Boethius,”
Harvard Studies in Classical Philology 18 (1907), 123-156, A. P. McKinley’s conclusions concerning the chronology of Isag. 7 ,
Isag. 2, and the commentary on the Categories (hereafter CC) are the same as Brandt’s.
McKinley studied the frequency of certain particles in these commentaries as well as in Boethius’ translations of the Isagoge and
Categories , assuming that Boethius’ language was influenced by his translations of Porphyry and Aristotle. Now, some of McKinley’s data corroborate
Brandt’s chronology whereas others support the one I will suggest below. Furthermore, McKinley’s tests were made before the appearance of L. MinioPaluello’s
critical editions of Boethius’ translations in the Aristoteles Latinus and would therefore have to be remade. I also believe that a necessary
preliminary stage in examining whether Boethius’ translating activities influenced his choice of particles is to compare his Latin commentaries with the extant
Greek sources. Since there is no adequate source apparatus in any of the editions of Boethius’ commentaries, this would mean a great deal of work. Concerning
the question whether Boethius wrote Isag. 2 before or after CC, L. M. De Rijk follows Brandt’s view on pp. 125-127 of “On the chronology of Boethius’
works on logic,” Vivarium 2 (1964), 1-9 and 125-162, on exactly the same grounds as the ones on which Brandt based his conclusions and without
corroborating them further.
———. 2003. "Boethius on the Categories ." In Boèce ou la chaîne des savoirs , edited by Galonnier, Alain, 195-205.
Louvain-Paris: Éditions Peeters.
"Among Boethius’ commentaries on Greek works on logic (that is to say, on Porphyry’s Eisagoge and on Aristotle’s Categories
and Peri hermeneias ), only the one on the Categories has so far not been critically edited. At present I am editing the text and at the same
time preparing an English translation of it to appear in Ancient Commentators on Aristotle . (1) So far only translations of Greek commentaries have
appeared in this series, and consequently the fact that Boethius’ work on the Categories will be included is a statement about his heavy dependence on
Greek sources. It is of course a well-known fact that all Boethius’ commentaries on Aristotle’s works are heavily dependent on Greek Neoplatonic
interpretations. However, the extent to which this is true has so far not been revealed in the form of a source apparatus accompanying the texts edited. In the
case of the commentaries on the Peri hermeneias , the two volumes of which appeared in 1877 and 1880 respectively, the editor did not have access to a
modern edition of the extensive commentary by Ammonius which has since appeared in Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca. (2) But for an editor of
Boethius’ commentary on the Categories the work is easier: first of all, there are a number of Greek commentaries on this work that have been edited
in CAG. In addition, those by Porphyry, Dexippus, and Ammonius have appeared in commented translations in Ancient Commentators on Aristotle .
So, while in the process of editing Boethius’ work on the Categories , I have provided the text with an apparatus indicating
parallels in the Greek commentaries. A great deal of work has already been done in order to map out the nature and extent of Boethius’ dependence on the Greeks
in this particular work of his. There is Bidez’ groundbreaking article “Boèce et Porphyre”, where Porphyry’s little commentary on the Categories in
the form of questions and answers (3) is described as “la source unique, ou a peu près unique, du commentaire de Boèce” (p. 195); James Shier's provocative
papers presenting Boethius as a translator of scholia that he allegedly found in the margins of his copy of Aristotle, some of them originating from the school
of Proclus but the majority taken from Q&A ; Sten Ebbesen’s article on Boethius as an Aristotelian scholar, in which Q&A is described
as Boethius’ main source, a source from which he deviated when he wished to avoid introducing Neoplatonic entities such as the Eternal Mind into his own
elementary work; a contribution of my own in which I claim that Boethius used Q&A but also a commentary on the Categories written by a
follower and occasional critic of Iamblichus; and the valuable footnotes to Steven Strange’s English translation of Q&A with their references to
Boethius’ commentary. (4) What all these different studies have in common is that they consider Porphyry’s Q&A to be Boethius’ main source.
So, one may justifyibly ask, is there anything really new to be said about Boethius’ use of the Greek sources in his commentary on the
Categories ? The purpose of this paper is to show that while putting together a source apparatus for Boethius’ text I have come to the conclusion that
our view of Boethius’ dependence on Porphyry needs to be modified. (5)" (pp. 195-196)
"To conclude: Boethius naturally used Porphyry’s extant little dialogue on the Categories . But his main source is a later Greek
commentary that makes use of Iamblichus’ commentary but whose author takes an uncompromisingly Aristotelian stance. Since Iamblichus made ample use of
Porphyry’s no longer extant Ad Gedalium , the influence of Porphyry is quite heavy on Boethius’ commentary. When the two sources (Q&A and
the later commentary) expressed different views, for example on the scope of the Categories , Boethius did not bother to try to harmonize between the
two. In that respect, he is not a full-fledged scholastic in his commentary on the Categories , which is an early work of his, at least not as
full-fledged as he was to become later, when he wrote the Consolation of philosophy ." (pp. 204-205)
(1) General editor: Richard Sorabji.
(2) Anicii Manlii Severini Boetii commentarii in librum Aristotelis PEPI EPMHNEIAS , rec. Carolus Meiser, I-II, Leipzig, 1877, 1880.
Ammonius, In Aristotelis De interpretatione commentarius , ed. A. Busse, Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca (=CAG) IV:5, Berlin, 1897.
(3) Porphyrii in Aristotelis Categorias expositio per interrogationem et responsionem , ed. A. Busse, CAG IV: 1, Berlin, 1887. This
work is henceforth referred to as Q&A .
(4) J. Bidez, “Boèce et Porphyre”, Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire , 2,  ρ. 189-201. J. Shiel, “Boethius’ commentaries
on Aristotle”, Mediaeval and Renaissance Studies , 4, 1958, p. 217-244; Boethius . Ed. by M. Fuhrmann and J. Gruber. Darmstadt, 1984, p.
155-183; Aristotle transformed. The ancient commentators and their influence . Ed. by R. Sorabji. London, 1990, p. 349-372. S. Ebbesen, “Boethius as
an Aristotelian Scholar” in Aristoteles, Werk und Wirkung, Ραμί Moraux gewidmet . Bd II. Ed. J. Wiesner. Berlin-New York, 1987, p. 286-311. M.
Asztalos, “Boethius as a Transmitter of Greek Logic to the Latin West: the Categories”, Harvard Studies in Classical Philology , 95, 1993, p. 367-407.
Porphyry, On Aristotle Categories . Translated by S. K. Strange. London, 1992.
(5) I wish to thank Börje Bydén, Göteborg University, for his valuable comments on this paper.
———. 2014. "Nomen and Vocabulum in Boethius’s Theory of Predication." In Boethius as a Paradigm of Late Ancient
Thought , edited by Kirchner, Andreas, Jürgasch, Thomas and Böhm, Thomas, 31-52. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
"Anyone who tries to make sense of Boethius’s commentary on Aristotle’s Categories will be intrigued by his use of the terms
nomen and uocabulum . Sometimes it is clear that he cannot be using the terms to refer to names (in our sense of the word) and words, but
then how does he use them? They may appear to be interchangeable, (1) but there is a difference in how Boethius uses these terms, and it is important to
establish what the difference is, given that they are essential in Boethius’s theory of predication. Then there is a cluster of verbs — uocare, nominare,
nuncupare —which are clearly connected with uocabulum and nomen , but how? The purpose of this paper is to present Boethius’s thoughts
on predication by exploring the way he uses these key terms.
I will be quoting extensively from my own forthcoming edition of Boethius’s commentary on the Categories . I have not given
references to the text printed in Migne’s Patrologia Latina vol. 64 but have specified which lines in Aristotle’s text the passages quoted comment on.
This will make it fairly easy for readers to find the appropriate places in the Migne edition. All translations are my own.
In Boethius’s commentary on Aristotle’s Categories , nomina and uocabula are couched in a theory involving also
res, uox, significare, significatio, and designare .
These are main protagonists in Boethius’s commentaries on the De interpretatione , a work in which nomina and
uocabula take the back seat." (p. 31)
"Does Boethius’s use of uocabulum and nomen make him a paradigm of Late Ancient thought? In the case of nomen as a
term for a mental collection of things he could to a certain extent lean on tradition, given that the word is commonly used for a collection like a family or a
people in classical Latin. Furthermore, it cannot be ruled out that Aristotle uses ὄνομα in the same way. But what about uocabulum and its connection
with uox and uocare ? Only a study of earlier Latin texts can confirm that Boethius has introduced a new tool in the theory of predication.
And it remains to be investigated whether or not medieval philosophers appreciated the value of the tool and employed it in their own discussions of
predication." (p. 50)
(1) In her recent book Boethius on Mind, Grammar and Logic. A Study of Boethius’ Commentaries on Peri hermeneias, (= Philosophia
antiqua; 127), Leiden/Boston 2012, Taki Suto holds: “Even though there may be some difference in Boethius’ usage of these two expressions, the difference is
slight, and he may not differentiate between them.” (p. 68, note 109).
Barnes, Jonathan. 1981. "Boethius and the Study of Logic." In Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence , edited by Gibson,
Margaret, 73-89. Oxford: Blackwell.
Reprinted in J. Barnes, Logical Matters. Essays in Ancient Philosophy II , New York: Oxford University Press, Chapter 26, pp.
"Boethius’ logical oeuvre contains works of three types. First, and at the centre, there are the Latin translations of the Greek texts:
Boethius put into Latin the Categories , the de Interpretatione , the Prior and Posterior Analytics , (5) the
Topics , the Sophistici Elenchi; and he prefaced his Latin Organon with a version of Porphyry’s Isagoge , the standard
Greek introduction to Peripatetic philosophy. (6) Secondly, there are the commentaries: Boethius planned commentaries on the Isagoge and on each book
of the Organon , and he added, as a supplement, a commentary on Cicero's Topics. (7) The commentaries on Aristotle's Topics and
Analytics have not survived; and some scholars doubt if Boethius lived to complete his commentatorial task. (8) Thirdly, there are the treatises:
On Division covered much of the ground tilled in the Categories ; On Categorical Syllogisms and the unfinished Introduction to
Categorical Syllogisms correspond in part to the de Interpretatione and the Prior Analytics ; On Hypothetical Syllogisms has no
counterpart in Aristotle’s works, but answers to a fixed feature of later Peripatetic logic; On Topical Differences matches Aristotle’s
Topics . (9)
Thus on three distinct levels Boethius translated Peripatetic logic from Greece to Rome. His achievement is remarkable by any reckoning; and
his work in logic stands as a paradigm of sustained and systematic scholarship. The next three sections will discuss separately the translations, the
commentaries, and the treatises; but it should not be forgotten that, for Boethius, those three types of scholarly production were complementary parts of a
unitary whole." (pp. 74-75)
"What, then, was Boethius’ contribution to the study of logic?
First, Boethius was not an original logician: he did not pretend to be. He saw himself as a translator, conveying Greek wisdom to a Greekless
world; the insights which his works contain are not his own, his knowledge is tralaticious. From time to time we can, I believe, hear Boethius’ own voice; and
some at least of the disposition and organisation of his material originated in his own head. But those touches of personality are relatively rare and
relatively unimportant: the summa logicae which Boethius determined to present was traditional Peripatetic logic; and it is an error to speak of a
Secondly, it must be admitted that today we owe little to Boethius’ immense labours. He strove to transmit Aristotle to the West; but our
present knowledge of Aristotle depends hardly at all on his strivings. Aristotle’s texts, and the texts of his Greek commentators, have survived in their
original Greek: we can study Peripatetic logic, as Boethius himself did, in the original sources. Had all Boethius’ logical writings been lost, ihr modern
student of logic would have little to bewail, apart perhaps from the treatment of hypothetical syllogistic.
It is rather within the context of his own dark times that Boethius’ service to logic must be sought. Greek learning was increasingly
inaccessible, and the Latin world was rude. By his sole efforts Boethius ensured that the study of Aristotle’s Organon , and with it the discipline of
logic, was not altogether eclipsed in the West. Boethius’ labours gave logic half a millenium of life: what logician could say as much as that for his work?
what logician could desire to say more?" (pp. 84-85)
(5) The translation of the Posterior Analytics has not survived; but see AL [Aristoteles Latinus ], IV. 1-4, pp.
(6) For the status of the Isagoge see in Isag ed 1. 14-5. Boethius regarded the Organon , prefaced by the
Isagoge , as a unitary — but not a fully comprehensive — treatment of logic.
(7) At first blush, the commentary on Cicero seems anomalous; but in fact Cicero presents his Topics as a version indeed, a
translation — of Aristotle’s Topics , and Boethius regarded Cicero’s work as forming an integral part of Peripatetic logic (in Cic Top
(8) (i) Topics : Boethius states categorically that he has written a commentary (Top diff 1191 A, 1209 C, 1216 D). Nothing
is known to have survived.
(ii) Prior Analytics : we possess only preliminary notes (published in AL , III. 1-4) ; at Syll cat 829D Boethius
says that he will comment on the Analytics , but he nowhere asserts that he has composed such a commentary.
(iii) Posterior Analytics : a note to a thirteenth-century commentary on the Sophistici Elenchi quotes from ‘Boethius’
commentary on Book I of the Posterior Analytics ': see S. Ebbesen, ‘Manlius Boethius on Aristotle’s Analytica Posteriora , CIMAGL IX (1973),
68-9. If we believe the note, then — contrary to orthodox opinion — Boethius did write such a commentary.
(9) The dating of Boethius’ logical works is to some extent conjectural: see the long discussion of L. M. de Rijk, 'On the chronology of
Boethius’ works on logic’, Vivarium II (1964), 1-49, 125-62. His first opus was in Isag ed 1, composed in 504/5; he was probably
working on Intr syll cat and in An Pr in 523; in Cat is dated to 510. There is not much awry with the following ordering: in
Isag ed 1; Syll cat ; Div ; trans Isag ; in Isag ed 2; trans Cat ; in Cat ; trans de Int ;
in Int ed ι; in Int ed 2; trans Top ; trans Soph El , Syll hyp , in Top ; in Cic Top ; trans
An ; Top diff ; Intr syll cat ; in An Pr .
Belli, Margherita. 2014. "Boethius, disciple of Aristotle and master of theological method: The term indemonstrabilis ." In
Boethius as a Paradigm of Late Ancient Thought , edited by Kirchner, Andreas, Jürgasch, Thomas and Böhm, Thomas, 53-82. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
"Indemonstrabilis . This term belongs to the Late Latin language and is a legacy of Aristotle’s logic, especially of the
Analytica posteriora . It can be considered, therefore, a useful tool to focus on three aspects of the deep and wide knowledge of the Aristotelian
logic, which contributes to making Boethius a unique figure among the Late Ancient authors of the Latin West and the leading guide of the so-called
boethiana aetas . The three aspects entail:
a) the relationship between Boethius and the Author of the Peri hermeneias , as both committed themselves to transmitting the
Aristotelian logic to the Latin West and to developing a suitable terminology;
b) the methodological meanings that Boethius conveyed to indemonstrabilis , in order to open it to rational theology, through the
convergence between maxima propositio and comunis animi conceptio ;
c) the way in which some 12th-century authors transformed the previous convergence into an identity, making it the starting point of a method
that distinguishes theological knowledge from the other arts and places it above them all.
From a research conducted by using the Library of Latin Texts A–B, Aristoteles Latinus Data-base, Patrologia Latina Data-base, and
Repertorium edierter Texte des Mittelalters , (1) it results that indemonstrabilis was rarely employed until the first half of the 12th century,
when the Analytica Posteriora came back to the Latin West, along with Aristotle’s other treatises. During the Late Antiquity indemonstrabilis
was used only by the Author of the Peri hermeneias and by Boethius. It does not matter if the Author of the Peri hermeneias cannot be
identified as Apuleius of Madaura, because in the worst hypothesis the Peri hermeneias must be dated no later than the 4th century, having been quoted
by Martianus Capella in De nuptiis Philologiae et Mecurii . (2) Among the pages of the Peri hermeneias and Boethius’s De syllogismo
categorico (505–506), In librum Aristotelis De interpretatione secunda editio (513–516), and De topicis differentiis (522–523),3 there
are 16 occurrences of indemonstrabilis , which signify (for the related passages see the appendix):
1.1.a. the first four moods in the first figure of categorical syllogism
1.2. the Stoic hypothetical indemonstrables
1.3.a. the maximal propositions of dialectic." (pp. 53-54)
(1) Brepolis Latin , www.brepolis.net (accessed 30/05/2014); Patrologia Latina Database , Alexandria/Cambridge 1995–2008;
Repertorium edierter Texte des Mittelalters aus dem Bereich der Philosophie und angrenzender Gebiete , ed. by Rolf Schönberger et alii, Berlin
(2) The authorship of the Peri hermeneias is still questioned. Some scholars maintain Apuleius’s paternity of the treatise and
others reject it. Among the scholars in favour are Sandy, Sullivan, Londey, Johanson, and Sallmann, whilst Beaujeu, Lumpe, Moreschini, and Harrison are
contrary. See Stephen J. Harrison: Apuleius. A Latin Sophist , Oxford/New York 2000, 11; Gerard Sandy: The Greek World of Apuleius. Apuleius and
the Second Sophistic , (= Mnemosyne. Supplementum; 174), Leiden/New York/ öln 1997, 38–41; Die Literatur des Umbruchs. Von der römischen zur
christlichen Literatur, 117 bis 284 n. Chr., ed. by Klaus Sallmann, (= Handbuch der Altertumswissenschaft; 8,4), Munich 1997, 301; Claudio Moreschini:
“Ricerche sulla tradizione manoscritta del De interpretatione pseudoapuleiano”, in: Pan 10 (1990), 61–73; David Londey/Carmen Johanson:
The Logic of Apuleius. Including a Complete Latin Text and English Translation of the Peri Hermeneias of Apuleius of Madaura , (= Philosophia
antiqua; 47), Leiden/New York 1987, 8–15; Adolf Lumpe: Die Logik des Pseudo-Apuleius: ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Philosophie, Augsburg 1982, 44–46;
Apulée: Opuscules philosophiques et fragments, ed. J. Beaujeu, Paris 1973, vii–viii; Mark W. Sullivan: Apuleian Logic. The Nature, Sources, and Influence
of Apuleius’s Peri Hermeneias, (= Studies in logic and the foundations of mathematics; 37), Amsterdam 1967, 235–242.
(3) Apuleius: Peri hermeneias , in: Apuleius: De Philosophia libri , ed. C. Moreschini, (= Bibliotheca Teubneriana),
Stuttgart/Leipzig 1991; Boethius: De syllogismo categorico , ed. C. Thomsen Thörnqvist, (= Studia Graeca et Latina Gothoburgensia; 68), Gothenburg
2008; Boethius: Commentarii in librum Aristotelis Περὶ Ἑρμηνείας, ed. C. Meiser, II, (= Bibliotheca Teubneriana), Leipzig 1880; Boethius: De
topicis differentiis und die Byzantinische Rezeption dieses Werkes , ed. D.Z. Nikitas, (= Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi. Byzantinoi philosophoi; 5),
Bird, Otto. 1960. "The Formalizing of the Topics in Mediaeval Logic." Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic no. 1:138-149.
"The Topical Difference, or more literally the Difference of the Maximal Proposition, is that by which one Topic differs from another (BDT.
Thus the Topic of Definition, for instance, differs from that of Whole and Part in that the Maxim of the one warrants an inference among
terms in which a Definition occurs, while the other warrants an inference among terms in which Whole and Part occur.
Topical Differences, according to Boethius, "are drawn forth from the terms constituting the question and then discoursed about" (BDT.
Thus in our example, it is the question, whether trees are animals, that makes it possible to appeal to the Topic of Definition, since,
knowing the definition of "animal" and that trees do not satisfy it, we are warranted by the Topical Maxim to conclude that trees are not animals.
The De Differentiis Topicis is little more than a listing of such Topical Differences with representative Maxims for each. Book II gives the
compilation of Topics made by Themistius from Aristotle; Book III that of Cicero, followed by a comparison of the two. Book I is a general introduction dealing
with the terms used for analysing an argument, and Book IV, the final book, considers the Topics used by rhetoricians.
This work became the source for mediaeval Topical doctrine. It seems to be the only work Abelard used for his extensive treatise on the
Peter of Spain made a precis of it (primarily of the second book) and provided additional Maxims in the fifth tract of his Summulae. Since
this became a standard elementary text in logic from the late 13th through the 15th centuries, Boethius thus remained indirectly the auctoritas for the Topics,
and this seems to have remained true even after the recovery of the Aristotelian Topic a in the late 12th century." (pp. 140-141)
BDT = Boethius, De Differentiis Topicis , in Migne, Patrologia Latina , T. 64.
Bobzien, Susanne. 2002. "A Greek Parallel to Boethius De hypotheticis syllogismis ." Mnemosyne no. 55:285-300.
"In this paper I discuss a longish anonymous scholium to Aristotle's Analytics which is a Greek parallel to Boethius' De
Hypotheticis Syllogismis .
The scholium is available in print only in Theodor Waitz's edition of Aristotle's Organon (Leipzig 1844). It is Codex Laur. 72.5,
ff. 210-2, appended at the end of a manuscript of the Prior and Posterior Analytics . Dieter Harlfinger has dated this part of the codex to
the second half of the 10th century (7) this gives us a terminus ante quem .
The scholium has, I believe, so far not been recognized as a parallel to Boethius, nor has it been discussed in the literature on
hypothetical syllogisms. (8) I am also not aware of any translation. The scholium is important for the history of hypothetical syllogistic, because it is the
only extant Greek text that provides a close parallel to the particular theory Boethius presents in Latin. We can assume that the scholium was composed no
later than the 10th century (see above). But it preserves elements of a theory that was most probably developed before the 6th century. There are a number of
idiosyncrasies in the terminology, a fact that sets the text apart from all other Greek sources on hypothetical syllogistic, and thus adds to its interest.
In the following I present the text of the scholium, a translation, and a commentary, including some general remarks about the theory the
scholium preserves." (p. 286)
"In the commentary section it should have become increasingly apparent that the anonymous scholium on hypothetical syllogisms in Waitz is
Peripatetic, and not Stoic, in its theoretical approach as well as its terminology. There are several elements of early Peripatetic hypothetical syllogistic
preserved in it, although section (10) is likely to be witness to a later development of Peripatetic or Platonist hypothetical syllogisms. The most striking
feature in the scholium is the large number of close parallels to Boethius' De Hypotheticis Syllogismis . Since it is rather unlikely that the
scholium is based on a Latin source, we can assume that there must have been a Greek source from which both the scholium and large parts of Boethius' De
Hypotheticis Syllogismis are ultimately derived." (p. 300)
(7) D. Harlfinger, in: Paul Moraux (ed.), Aristoteles Graecus ,vol. 1 (Berlin 1976), Nachtrâge, 475-80, discusses Laur. 72.5.
(8) Except that Prantl, Geschichte der Logik im Abendlande , vol. I (Leipzig 1855), 656, quotes part of the scholium in footnote
Cameron, Margaret. 2009. "Boethius on Utterances, Understanding and Reality." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius , edited by
Marenbon, John, 85-104. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
"In this chapter, we will look at the three elements that form the basis of the theory of signification for Boethius, namely expressions,
understanding and reality, and their relation to one another. Boethius did not write separate treatises on the philosophy of language, cognition or
metaphysics. Instead, he wrote commentaries on Aristotelian logic. By the time he began to work on them around the start of the sixth century, the texts of
Aristotelian logic were read in a fixed sequence: the first three were the Isagoge , Categories and On Interpretation , and Boethius
treated topics as and when they are discussed in these texts by Porphyry and Aristotle. To grasp Boethius’ theory of signification, we must therefore gather
his views on utterances, understanding and reality from a variety of places in his commentaries and put them together. As evidenced by the sheer length of the
treatment of Aristotle’s brief comments on signification in his commentaries on On Interpretation , there is no question but that Boethius was aware
of the importance of a theory of signification in explaining how the words we use are able to make sense to others and to refer to reality. We might expect,
therefore, that Boethius’ views on language broadly cohere with his theory of cognition and metaphysics given elsewhere in the commentaries on the
Isagoge and Categories. (1)
The following sections aim to give a general overview of Boethius’ theory of signification by considering in turn what he says about
expressions, understanding and reality in his logical commentaries.
In the final section, we will consider the ways in which Boethius’ views have been variously interpreted from medieval and contemporary
perspectives." (p. 85)
(1) This is not to suggest that Boethius’ views did not change over the course of writing his several commentaries. With the exception of
Aristotle’s Categories , Boethius wrote two commentaries per treatise. Here we are concerned to acquire a general overview of Boethius’ theory of
signification, and we will concentrate mainly on two commentaries by Boethius, 2IS [Second Commentary on Isagoge ] and 2IN [Second Commentary on
On Interpretation ], as well as CAT [Commentary on Categories ].
Casey, John Patrick. 2012. "Boethius’s Works on Logic in the Middle Ages." In A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages , edited by
Kaylor Jr., Noel Harold and Phillips, Philip Edward, 193-219. Leiden: Brill.
"This chapter discusses important Boethian contributions to medieval logic, in particular his definition of the problem of universals and his
translation of Aristotelian logical works. It provides a brief introduction to the basic features of ancient logic relevant to Boethius's most noteworthy
contributions to medieval logic. The chapter also discusses the three primary avenues of Boethius's influence upon medieval logic: his translations,
commentaries, and original logical treatises. In the late ancient world, the Aristotelian and the Stoic systems of logic were considered to be incompatible
rivals. The form of Aristotelian logic survived and was translated into the Middle Ages in the work of Boethius. This meant that medieval logicians learned
about categorical propositions, syllogisms, and the problem of universals, rather than propositions, disjunctions, and conditionals." (p. 193)
Chadwick, Henry. 1981. Boethius. The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy . Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Chapter III. Logic Part of Philosophy or a Tool of all Philosohy? 108; Logic and Rhetoric 111; Porphyry 120; Neoplatonists after Porphyry:
Iamblichus, Syrianus, Proclus, Ammonius 127; Boethius' commentaries on the Isagoge 131; Translator of Aristotle 133; The Ten Categories 141; On
Interpretation 152; Future Contingents 157; The Monographs on Logic 163; Propositional Logic and the Hypothetical Syllogism 166.
"The place of logic in the hierarchy of knowledge was one of the many matters long in dispute between the Aristotelians and the Stoics. To
the Stoics 'logic' meant something wide, an independent branch of philosophy, the other two contrasted branches being ethics and 'physics' (the scientific
study of nature). The Stoics could point out that this threefold classification had a basis in the Topics (A, 14) of Aristotle himself. The
Aristotelians, on the other hand, treated logic almost in our modern sense as a practical instrument for the discovery of fallacies in argument on any subject,
an indispensable tool for every department of human inquiry. This Peripatetic attitude, from which the title Organon derives, presupposes a narrow
understanding of the discipline as concerned with propositions and syllogisms and terms.
The Platonic tradition originally preferred to speak of 'dialectic', according to Boethius because it is a power of dividing (In Cic.
Top . I, 1045B following Plato, Sophist 253d). Through its distinctions we learn to divide genera into species, and classify different things
under their proper genus. But neither the Neoplatonists of Athens and Alexandria nor Boethius mark a significant difference in force between 'logical' and
'dialectical' reasoning. (1) Until the twelfth century, when an attempt was made to classify dialectic with grammar as two branches of Logica , the
terms were to be used more or less interchangeably.
The Peripatetic case for their estimate of logic is most eloquently put by Alexander of Aphrodisias in his commentary on the Prior
Analytics (CAG II, 1) in a way that makes minor concessions to the Platonic tradition. We have a number of late Platonist accounts of this dispute, e.g.
the commentaries on the Prior Analytics by Ammonius (CAG IV, 6 pp. 811) and Philoponus (CAG XIII, 2 pp. 69). It is incautious to assume with Courcelle
that Boethius had Ammonius before him when writing his second commentary on Porphyry in which the dispute is discussed. (2) One major element in Boethius'
argument there, that logic is not confined by the limits and aims of other parts of philosophy, and is not restricted to a particular set of questions, stands
without parallel in Ammonius. It is difficult to affirm a literary relation when one is dealing with a convention of the schools which every Neoplatonic
teacher will think it his duty to expound." (pp. 108-109)
(1) The contrary is asserted, on a waferthin basis, by G. Pfligersdorffer, ['Zu Boethius, De Interpr . ed sec. I p. 4, 4 sq. Meiser
nebst Beobachtungen zur Geschichte der Dialektik bei den Römern'], Wiener Studien 66, 1953, 131-154.] p. 152.
(2) P. Courcelle, Les Lettres grecques en occident (1948), p. 272 = Late Latin Writers (1969), p. 288.
Clark, Joseph T. 1952. "Boethius and Analytical Techniques." Philosophical Studies of the American Catholic Philosophical
Association no. 3:35-37.
———. 1952. "Boethius and Material Implication." Philosophical Studies of the American Catholic Philosophical Association no.
Correia, Manuel Antonio. 2001. "Boethius on Syllogisms with Negative Premises." Ancient Philosophy no. 21:161-174.
"According to Aristotle, no syllogism is conclusive with two negative premisses (Prior Analytics i 4.41 b7-9). The observation is a central
rule of his Theory of Syllogism and recognized so by ancient, medieval, and modern logicians. In ancient scholastic discussions, however, there is a case made
in support of thepossibility of conclusion from two negative premisses. It takes, as an authoritative proof, a syllogism made by Plato in the Theaetetus and
affirms that syllogisms with two negative premisses are more frequent in philosophical literature than one might suppose.
The problem, recovered especially by Boethius' second commentary on Aristotle's De Interpretatione (Meiser 1877-1880), arises from
considerations of the logical properties of indefinite names in categorical or simple propositions." (p. 161)
"The question of whether Plato was conscious of the syllogistic technicality that Boethius indicates is surely controversial. We can instead
try to resolve the question of whether this syllogism can be reasonably derived from Plato.
Meiser's edition gives a valuable notice: the syllogism in question can be found at Theaetetus 186. In fact, the exact passage seems
to be Theaet. 186c5-e10." (p. 168)
"I have argued that the case of a syllogism in Plato's Theaetetus , where two apparent negative premisses draw a conclusion, is
simply a confirmation of the rule that there are no syllogisms with negative premisses and not, as Boethius suggests, a proof that a universal negation like
'Every man is not just' is equivalent to another one like 'Every man is not-just'. I have discussed this equivalence and similar ones arising from singular,
particular, and unquantified propositions.
but the result is that if the equivalence in question does work, it cannot be a characteristic of every categorical proposition. Indeed, even
though formal proofs can be provided for some cases of categoricals, unquantified ones are explicitly stated as consequences by Aristotle (,A man is not just'
follows from' A man is not-just', but not vice versa). Moreover, equivalences are indeed inconsistent with the principle that there is only one negation for a
single affirmation, which Aristotle emphasizes in De Interpretatione and Prior Analytics . In the end, the question of which was Aristotle's
idea of logic arises: whether a formal idea or a dialectical one (i.e., one compatible with the principle that an affirmation can have only one negation)." (p.
———. 2009. "The Syllogistic Theory of Boethius." Ancient Philosophy no. 29:391-405.
"Boethius played an important role in transmitting logic to the Latin West. His translations, commentaries, and treatises deal amply with the
most important thesis of Aristotelian logic, a theory whose influence is perceptible even in the last century (cf. Corcoran 2009 [‘Aristotle’s Demonstrative
Logic’ History and Philosophy of Logic , 30: 1-20]). Two of his surviving logical treatises have traditionally received the title of ‘syllogistic’,
the Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos (=ISC) and De syllogismis categoricis (=DSC), but DSC is the only one explaining syllogistic, for
ISC does little more than mention, belatedly in the course of the text, its being an introduction to syllogistic." (p. 391)
"Since there has been much discussion concerning the literary unity of DSC’s two books and its relation to ISC—including attempts to take
book 2 of DSC as book 2 of ISC (which would be the actual Introductio Boethius wrote), it is my purpose to argue that DSC proposes a unitary view of
Aristotelian logic, in which syllogistic comes to be the third of the three branches organizing the main logical inferences of the theory: opposition,
conversion, and syllogism. Accordingly, DSC is indivisible from a doctrinal point of view and no book of DSC can be the part of the other treatise. This
discussion is long overdue and it should contribute to understanding the scope of the respective treatises and their relation to each other." (p. 393)
———. 2012. "Boethius on the Square of Opposition." In Around and Beyond the Square of Opposition , edited by Béziau, Jean-Yves and
Jacquette, Dale, 41-52. Basel: Birkhäuser.
Abstract: "This article intends to reconstruct the textual tradition of the square of oppositions from the earliest textual sources just as
treated in Boethius’ commentaries on Aristotle’s De Interpretatione and his treatises on syllogistic, De syllogismo categorico and
Introductio ad syllogismos categoricos . The research discovers two different tracks. One way comes from Plato’s Sophist and Aristotle’s
De Interpretatione , and the aim is to distinguish contrariety from contradiction. The second influence also starts from Aristotle, but now in
connection with his Prior Analytics and its commentaries and treatises on categorical syllogistic, where the aim is to show the square as one of the
three main chapters of the complete theory of categorical logic. I suggest that this double ingredient has accompanied the development of the square from the
very original beginning of logic."
Cranz, Edward F. 2006. "Boethius and Abelard." In Reorientations of Western Thought from Antiquity to the Renaissance , edited by
Struever, Nancy, 1-20. Aldershot: Ashgate.
"Let me conclude with two brief general addenda. First, I have tried to outline the main development of Abelard's logic and the one most
dependent upon Boethius. What we have seen may be summarized by saying that, where Boethius closely connects, sometimes even identifies, intellections,
universals and propositions with 'res ' or beings, Abelard shifts all these relationships to a new context and then denies them all: intellections,
universals and propositions are not 'res '' as physical things. To repeat a phrase; he desubstantializes them all.
But Abelard never stops thinking. Sometimes his conclusions are more new questions than new answers, and his second treatment of a problem is
sometimes very different from his first. Some scholars have described the last stage of his thought as a 'return to Platonism': but I think he is more creative
and original. He has changed Boethius' res into 'physical things,' and he has denied that intellections or meanings were 'physical things' and turned them into
'nothings.' But there are hints, and there is no time to analyze them here, that at the end he began to move to another new solution in which meanings from
having been nothings turn into the ultimate realities. If I had to suggest parallels to his last stage, Petrarch, Lorenzo Valla and Nicholas of Cusa come to
mind. So if I have tried to describe Abelard's transformation of Boethius, what was left, and I don't believe it was ever completed, might be called Abelard's
transformation of Abelard.
Second, while Abelard's writings had no wide dispersion and while he was not followed by any school or even by very many pupils, I believe
his diffuse influence was greater than one might expect. The reorientations of thought one finds in his logic and elsewhere often spread more widely in his own
time than did his specific ideas; they were not destroyed by the reception of Aristotle and in some ways provided a context within which Aristotle was
received. So in concluding I cannot resist noting that, while I have characterized what happened as a transformation of Boethius, let us not in this group
forget that it was a transformation of Boethius." (p. 20)
De Rijk, Lambertus Marie. 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
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).
———. 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
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:
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).
———. 2003. "The Logic of Indefinite Names in Boethius, Abelard, Duns Scotus, and Radulphus Brito." In Aristotle's Peri hermeneias in the
Latin Middle Ages. Essays on the Commentary Tradition , edited by Braakhuis, Henk A.G. and Kneepkens, Corneli Henri, 207-233. Groningen: Ingenium
"Aristotle's doctrine of indefinite names (nouns) was handed down to the Middle Ages together with Boethius' comments and explanations.
Boethius' view of the matter has two characteristic features. For one thing, there is a certain ambiguity on his part concerning the precise semantic value of
such terms; for another, Boethius deviates considerably from Aristotle in that he explicitly assigns the property of 'holding indifferently of existents and
non-existents' not only to the indefinite rhéma (as it is found in Aristotle, De interpr. 3, 16b15) but to the indefinite name
(onoma ) as well.
Until the end of the 12th century the logic and grammar (1) of indefinite terms (nouns and verbs) was a much debated issue. Although
assiduously echoing the well-known auctoritates Medieval thinkers did not always go the whole way with their predecessors. For example, Abelard and
Scotus, starting from their own philosophical tenets, more or less inconspicuously corrected some dubious elements in Boethius' interpretation of Aristotle's
doctrine of the indefinite name. Peter Abelard, especially, took great pains to precisely define the meaning of indefinite terms. He focussed his attention on
the proper meaning of indefinite terms rather than on the question whether they are 'holding indifferently of existents and non-existens'. In contrast,
13th-century scholars like Duns Scotus and Radulphus Brito based their discussion of the proper meaning of the indefinite name upon the question 'Utrum
nomen infinitum aliquid ponat ' ("Whether an infinite name posits something"), which calls to mind Boethius' claim that indefinite names 'hold
indifferently of existent and non-existents'.
Abelard's discussion of the proper meaning of the indefinite name is also interesting in that it helps us to gain a good understandiiip of
what Boethius had in mind in claiming that the indefinite name 'siginifes an infinite number of things' ('significat infinita '). For, thanks to
Äbelard's expositions, it becomes clear that the phrase 'significare infinita ', which, on the face of it, may be taken as referring to the
extensional of the indefinite name, on closer inspection proves to concern its intension, because the controversy between Abelard and Boethius turns out to be
about two different views of the indefinite name's intension rather that about any opposition of intension as against extension." pp. 207-208.
(1) For the grammatical approaches to the problem of the indefinite term in the 12th century, see C.H. Kneepkens, "Orléans 266 and the
Sophismata Collection: Master Joscelin of Soissons and the infinite words in the early twelfth century", in St. Read (ed.) Sophisms in Medieval Logic and
Grammar. Acts of the Ninth European Symposium for Medieval Logic and Semantics, held at St Andrews, June 1990 (Nijhoff International Philosophy Series,
48; Dordrectt/Boston/London 1993), 64-85.
Dürr, Karl. 1951. The Propositional Logic of Boethius . Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Contents: Preface VIII; Abbreviations IX-X; Introduction 1; I. The sources of "De Syllogismo Hypothetico" 4; II. The effects of Boethius'
propositional logic in the early scholastic period 16; III. Choice of metascience and metalanguage 19; IV. Analysis of "De Syllogismo Hypothetico" 30; V.
Analysis of a section of Boethius' Commentary on Cicero's Topics 66; Appendix by Norman M. Martin 74-79.
Boe. = Anitii Manlii Severini Boethi . . . opera, quae extant, omnia . Basileae (1570).
"The text of the treatise "The Propositional Logic of Boethius" was finished in 1939. Prof. Jan Łukasiewicz wished at that time to issue it
in the second volume of "Collectanea Logica"; as a result of political events, he was not able to carry out his plan.
In 1938, I published an article in "Erkenntnis" entitled "Aussagenlogik im Mittelalter"; this article included the contents of a paper which
I read to the International Congress for the Unity of Science in Cambridge, England, in 1938 (Cf. Erkenntnis, vol. 7, pp. 160-168). The subject matter of this
paper touched upon that of the above-mentioned treatise. Recently an article of Mr. René van den Driessche, "Sur le 'de syllogismo hypothetico' de Boèce", was
published in the journal "Methodos" (vol. I, no. 3, ). Mr. van den Driessche referred in this article to the article on propositional logic in the Middle
Ages, which had appeared in "Erkenntnis". This reminded me of my yet-unpublished treatise on the propositional logic of Boethius." (From the Preface
"§ 1. The Two Books of Boethius on the Theory of the Proposition.
It is the unique property of propositional logic that the variables which are used are propositional variables, i.e. variables whose values
Among the logical writings of the man whom, for short, is called “Boethius’’ and whose full name is “Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius”, we
find two which can be characterized as presentations of propositional logic.
The first of these is entitled “de syllogismo hypothetico” (on the hypothetical syllogism).
Incidentally, it should be noted that this title, as Samuel Brandt has shown, does not originate with Boethius, and it would be more correct
to give the book the title “de hypotheticis syllogismis” (on hypothetical syllogisms) (Cf. Samuel Brandt: 'Entstehungszeit und zeitliche Folge der Werke des
Boethius'. Philologus , Bd. LXII (1903) p. 238). Nevertheless, one does well to quote the work under its incorrect title “de syllogismo hypothetico”
as long as the old editions are in use.
The second book is a commentary on the Topics of Cicero. Here we do not consider the entire commentary, but only certain sections;
we will indicate later which sections come into consideration (Cf. infra § 38)." (p. 1)
"§ 4. More Precise Charactrization of Boethius' Propositional Logic.
At the beginning of this treatise, we declared that the logic which is represented in the two works of Boethius, may be characterized as
propositional logic. We add the remark that all of the sentences that have an independent value (i.e. that do not occur only as auxillary sentences) in this
logic were deductive rules, or, which comes to the same thing, inference schemes.
In this connection we recall the explanation of Clarence Irving Lewis in the book “Symbolic Logic”: “Exact logic can be taken in two ways:
(1) as a vehicle and canon of deductive interference, or ( 2 ) as that subject which comprises all principles the statement of which is tautological” (Cf.
ClarenceIrving Lewis and Cooper Harald Langford: Symbolic Logic (1932 p. 235). We can now say that the logic of Boethius belongs to the first of these
two forms of exact logic. Boethius’ aim is not to set up sentences which are tautological, but rather to present all of the deductive rules." (p. 3)
§ 38. The Three Enumerations of the Seven Conditional Syllogisms.
We now turn to the consideration of the form of propositional logic to be found in Boethius’ commentary on Cicero’s Topics .
At the beginning of the fifth book of this commentary, Boethius notes that he has treated all the hypothetical syllogisms in another book; he
obviously has “de syllogismo hypothetico” in mind (Cf. Boe., p. 823). The exposition which follows this remark covers more than the first half of the fifth
book of the commentary; it constitutes that part of the commentary that is of interest to us here (Cf. supra , § 1).
In order to determine this section more precisely one can best indicate its beginning and its end. It begins with the words “de omnibus
quidem hypotheticis syllogismis” (Cf. Boe., p. 823) and continues to the place immediately preceding the following words of Cicero, “proximus est locus” (Cf.
Boe., p. 934).
Boethius notes that Cicero mentioned some modi (inference types). From the exposition that follows, it is to be assumed, that Boethius
identifies the modi that Cicero mentioned with the system of the seven conditional syllogisms (Cf. Boe., p. 823). By conditional syllogisms we
understand inference schemes.
At the place which Boethius has in mind, Cicero enumerates seven inference schemes. Boethius quotes this place in the fifth book of his
commentary (Cf. Boe., p. 817). We will call the quotation of this place from Cicero’s Topics in Boethius’ commentary “the quotation”.
In the text of the commentary as given by the editions we find the seven conditional syllogisms enumerated three times. The first and the
second enumerations precede the quotation, while the third follows it (Cf. Boe., p. 831-833). It may be mentioned that the second enumeration agrees so closely
with the first, that it may be called a duplication of the first.
Propositional variables are used only in the third enumeration of the seven conditional syllogisms; the system of propositional variables
which we called the simple system is used (Cf. supra, § 17). In all three enumerations each of the conditional syllogisms is illustrated by an example. These
examples are expressions related to the inference schemes; like the inference schemes, they contain functors and always contain a sign which can be identified
with the functor “igitur ”; they contain however no propositional variables, instead having simple, i.e. atomic, sentences.
The examples of conditional syllogisms which Boethius gives with the first and second enumerations, are extremely simple and the two
sequences agree almost completely member for member.
We will quote these examples in English; in this translation the English word “therefore” occurs instead of the functor “igitur” It seems
desirable to divide the seven conditional syllogisms into four groups; we will divide them in such a way that the first and second modi constitute the first
group, the third modus constituhs the second group, the fourth and fifth modi the third group and finally the sixth and seventh modi form the fourth group."
Ebbesen, Sten. 1973. "Manlius Boethius on Aristotle's Analytica Posteriora ." Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen-Âge Grec et
Latin no. 9:68-73.
"A reference to a Boethian commentary on Posterior Analytics I is found in a thirteen th-century MS (Munich, clm 14246), but this is
surely an error. The work referred to was really the translation of Philoponus’ commentary that most schoolmen attributed to Alexander of Aphrodisias. I regret
having called attention to the Munich MS in a small article of 1973 (CIMAGL 9: 68–73), and I beg my readers not to waste their time on looking up that
article." S. Ebbesen, "The Aristotelian Commentator" in John Marenbon (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Boethius, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009,
———. 1987. "Boethius as an Aristotelian Scholar." In Aristoteles. Werk und Wirkung. Paul Moraux zum 65 Geburtstag gewidmet - Band 2:
Kommentierung, Uberlieferung, Nachleben , edited by Wiesner, Jürgen, 286-311. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.
Reprinted as Boethius as an Aristotelian Commentator in: Richard Sorabji (ed.), Aristotle Transformed. The Ancient Commentators
and Their Influence , London: Duckworth, 1990, pp. 373-392.
Citations are from the reprint in Sorabji 1990.
"It has been suggested that the only material at Boethius' disposal was a copy of the Organon with marginal scholia, and that this
collection of scholia is no longer extant. (14) We may often be able to ascertain the remoter origin of one of the scholia Boethius knew, but we shall never
know whether he deviated from his direct source in any way and the standard answer to the question 'Why does Boethius say this?' can only be, 'Because it was
in his only source.'
The 'one source - no thinking' theory has the support of eminent scholars and it cannot be refuted by any means that I can think of. But
neither can it be proved by any conceivable means short of finding the supposed manuscript of the Organon with the marginal scholia. To my mind, the
circumstantial evidence in favour of this theory, though not negligible, is less than convincing. (15) The observable facts are quite as easily explained on
the assumption that Boethius had access to several Greek monographs and commentaries and that he followed the common practice of using for each work one main
source while also exploiting secondary sources. It is an old discovery that this hypothesis works well in the case of the extant short commentary on the
Categories, the only case in which we still have what may be the main source. Boethius acknowledges a debt to Porphyry (16) and actually keeps so
close to the latter's extant minor commentary on the Categories (CAG 4, 1) that it is simpler to assume that he had direct access to a
complete copy of it than to assume second-hand acquaintance by way of a book which also contained the post-Porphyrian material detectable in Boethius'
Granted that Boethius' main source was Porphyry's extant work, we can begin to examine the way he used it. As it turns out, he follows his
predecessor to the extent of reproducing most of the questions he raised and the answers he gave, but not to the extent of reproducing long segments of his
text in direct translation. Boethius expanded arguments which he found too compressed while curtailing or suppressing other passages. (17) In fact, he followed
the procedure which his own remarks in this and other works indicate (18) -- and that procedure involved making choices. It looks as if it might be worth while
to speculate about his possible motives for choosing as he did." (pp. 376-377; note 15, 17 and 18 omitted)
(14) J. Shiel, 'Boethius' Commentaries on Aristotle': Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4, 1958, 217-44, extensively revised in
Chapter 15; id, 'Boethius and Eudemus', Vivarium 12, 1974, 14-17; id, 'A recent discovery: Boethius' notes on the Prior Analytics', Vivarium
(16) Boeth. in Cat. 160A; see n. 20 below.
———. 2008. "Boethius on Aristotle." In Greek-Latin Philosophical Interaction. Collected Essays of Sten Ebbesen Volume 1 , 107-114.
This chapter was written for the present volume, but to a considerable extent it recapitulates Ebbesen (1987).
"Anicius Manlius Boethius (d. c.525) was the great mediator between ancient Greek and medieval Latin philosophy. He completed a
tremendous piece of work by translating all of the Organon (except, it seems, the Posterior Analytics ) into Latin and writing commentaries as well as
other companion volumes. It is remarkable that there are two commentaries of his on Porphyry and two on Perihermeneias , but only one on the
Categories . Actually, there may have existed a second one on that work too, but at least it did not survive for the medievals to use. (2) As for the
Ars nova , Boethius himself refers to a commentary on the Topics (3) of which there is no trace in later times. It is uncertain whether he accompanied
his translation of the Prior Analytics with a commentary (the question is discussed in Chapter 13 [Analysing Syllogisms or Anonymus
Aurelianensis 111 - the (presumably) Earliest Extant Latin Commentary on the Prior Analytics and its Greek Model , pp. 171-186] Boethius’
monographs on categorical and hypothetical syllogistic, on divisions and on topical argumentation were intensely studied from the late eleventh to the early
thirteenth century, and they left their mark on Latin logic long after they ceased to be standard reading. A commentary on Cicero's Topics was less
Finally, it must be mentioned that Boethius composed treatises on the quadrivial arts: arithmetic, music, geometry (uncertain, not extant),
and just possibly astronomy •as well. In one famous passage he himself reveals a grandiose plan to translate the whole of Aristotle and Plato. (4)
Remarkable as the list of Boethius’ accomplishments is, two lacunas stand out. There is no grammar at all and no proper treatise on rhetoric,
only the somewhat related commentary on Cicero's Topics and the fourth book of De topicis Differentiis , which was actually used as a
textbook of rhetoric in medieval Paris. We can only guess at the reasons, but quite possibly Boethius thought of grammar and rhetoric as sub-philosophic
disciplines. After all, as opposed to logic and the quadrivial arts, grammar and rhetoric had traditionally been taught by their own professional teachers, not
by philosophers. (5) Moreover, he may have felt that such existing handbooks as Donatus’ Ars were sufficient for the grammatical needs of the Latin
world, and there surely was no dearth of rhetorical treatises in the tongue of Cicero." (p. 108)
"So. the way 1 read Porphyry and Boethius, they shared the view that becoming a good Aristotelian is a necessary step on the way to becoming
a good Platonist, and what you have learned in the first step of your intellectual career does not become false when you ascend to a higher level -- you are
just able to put it into a much wider context.
The medieval West inherited from late antiquity numerous texts that could help send people off on fanciful Neoplatonic stratospheric flights.
The fact that Boethius provided them with a proper set of down-to-earth, but still interesting, logic books ensured that quite a few preferred safer and saner
flights closer to the surface of mother earth, or at least tried to secure proper ground support before lifting off." (p. 114)
(2) See P. Hadot, "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 , 26, 1959, pp. 11-27.
(3) Boethius. Top. Diff. 2.8.8 (PL 64 1191A) and 4.13.2 (PL 64: 1216D).
(4) Boethius. Comm. Int. ed. 2a. Weiser, pp. 79-80.
(5) For the quadrivium as the philosophers' domain, see I. Hadot, Arts libéraux et philosophie dans la pensée antique. Contribution à
l'histoire de l'éducation et de la culture dans l'antiquité . Seconde édition revue et considérablement augmentée. Paris: Vrin, 2005.
———. 2009. "The Aristotelian Commentator." In The Cambridge Companion to Boethius , edited by Marenbon, John, 34-55. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press.
"The point, then, is that we have to start from the lowest level to work our way toward the higher. We have to learn our grammar before we
can get a deeper understanding of language-related matters by studying logic.
We have to achieve a simplified understanding of logic before we can undertake an in-depth study. We have to know our logic properly before
we can ascend to higher matters, such as Neoplatonic metaphysics, in the light of which our initial understanding of logic will appear primitive.
This way of looking upon thingswas not Boethius’ invention. In its essentials it was already Porphyry’s, it was what allowed Porphyry to
include the study of Aristotle in a curriculum aimed at producing good Platonists ready to take leave of their bodily frame. As Aristotle’s logic was supposed
not to have trespassed on Plato’s metaphysical territory, teachers of Aristotle need not and ought not Platonize him. Boethius’ extant commentaries evince a
decision to follow Porphyry, though he was clearly sympathetic to some of the more extravagant Neoplatonists – people of the stripe of Iamblichus, Syrianus and
Proclus – and it makes one shudder to imagine what the “Pythagorean” exposition of the Categories that his extant commentary says he was contemplating
was or would be like." (p. 51)
———. 2011. "Boethius as a Translator and Aristotelian Commentator." In Interpreting the Bible and Aristotle in Late Antiquity. The
Alexandrian Commentary Tradition between Rome and Baghdad , edited by Lössl, Josef and Watt, John W., 121-133. Farham: Ashgate.
"Virtually the whole of Boethius’ literary output – including his final Consolation of Philosophy – may be viewed as a Herculean
effort to transfer Greek philosophical thought to Latin, but only his Latinizations of the works of the Organon were strictly speaking translations.
The commentaries and companion volumes are free adaptations of Greek prototypes. Exactly how free is difficult to gauge because in all cases but one we are
sure that we no longer possess any of the Greek texts he used. The exception is Porphyry’s commentary on the Categories .
There is some scholarly disagreement about whether he used that text directly or only indirectly, but if he did have direct access to it, as
I believe, he did not at all follow it slavishly. In any event, even if he made a very free use of his Greek sources, producing the commentaries and companion
volumes involved a considerable amount of translation, because he had to find out how to render all the technical terminology of his sources in Latin.
Boethius did not have to start from scratch. Already in the first century B.C., Cicero and Varro had coined Latin equivalents of many
philosophical terms, and more had been added over the centuries. In fact, for most of the technical terms of logic Boethius could depend on his predecessors.
He was probably the first to use subalternus and subcontrarius when dealing with the square of opposition, and he was almost certainly the
first to translate ἀξίωμα ‘axiom’ as maxima propositio , which is the origin of the English – and pan-European – maxim . But more often than
not he would use an existing translation. His problem was rather one of choice, because in several cases Latin usage was not uniform. (pp. 123-124)
"In the short run, Boethius’ translations, commentaries and monographs met with no success, due to the collapse of the political structure
and of higher schooling in the western part of the Roman empire shortly after his death. In the long run, he was immensely successful.
Use of his works began slowly in early Carolingian times, but by 1100 his translations of Porphyry, Categories and
Perihermeneias were in common use in several schools, and so were his commentaries on those works and his handbook-like works. By about 1120 people
were beginning to also use his translations of the Prior Analytics , the Topics and the Sophistical Refutations .
This laid the foundation for the Aristotelian scholasticism that was to dominate the study of philosophy in the West for some four centuries.
It also meant that it was Boethius’ choices that decided what was to become the technical vocabulary of Latin Aristotelian logic." (p. 124)
Eco, Umberto. 1984. "Signification and Denotation from Boethius to Ockham." Franciscan Studies no. 44:1-29.
"Boethius translates "semaînein" with "significare" but he follows the Augustinian line of thought according to which "significatio" is the
power that a word has to arouse in the mind of the hearer a thought, through the mediation of which one can implement an act of reference to things. He says
that single terms signify the corresponding concept or the universal idea and takes "significare"— as well as, less frequently, "designare"— in an intensional
sense. Words are conventional instruments used to make known one's thoughts (sensa or sententias ) (In Per. Herm. I).
Words do not designate res subiectas but passiones animae. The designated thing is at most called "underlying the concept
of it (significationi supposita or suppositum )", see de Rijk 1967:180-181. (3)
As for "denotatio ," Boethius uses extensively "nota ," but we know how vague was the meaning of this term in the Latin
Lexicon — at least as vague as the meaning of the equivalent Greek "symbolon ." It must be remembered that Boethius, in the translation of De
lnterpretatione used "nota " for both "symbolon " and "semeîon ," thus creating a first "sad tale of confusion"." (pp. 5-6)
(3) in Peri herm . II, pp. 26-27, ed. Meiser, debating the question whether words refer immediately to concepts or to things,
Boethius uses in both cases the expression 'designare .' In II, p. 20 he says in the same context, "vox vero conceptiones animi intellectusque
significat" and "voces vero quae intellectus désignant." In II, pp. 23-24, speaking of "litterae, voces, intellectus, res," he says that "litterae verba
nominaque significant" and that "haec vero (nomina) principaliter quidem intellectus secundo vero loco res quoque designant. Intellectus vero ipsi nihil aliud
nisi rerum significativi sunt." In Arist. Categ . col. 159 B4-C8, says that "prima igitur ilia fuit nominum positio per quam vel intellectui subiecta
vel sensibus designaret." It seems to me that "designare" and "significare" are taken as more or less equivalent. The real point is that first words signify
concepts and, because of that, and mediately, can be referred to things. Cf. on the whole question de Rijk (1967, II, I, p. 178 ff.) Nuchelmans (1973:134)
remarks that even though Boethius also uses "significare," along with "designare, denuntiare, demonstrare, enuntiare, dicere" with an object-expression to
indicate what is true or false, however when he uses the same terms with a person as a subject he means that someone makes known his opinion that something is
or is not the case: "the definition of the enuntiatio or propositio as an utterance which signifies something true or false reflects the fact
that in Aristotle's view it is the thought or belief that something is the case which is true or false in the primary sense. As Boethius puts it, truth and
falsity are not in things but in thoughts and opinions and secondarily (post haec ) in words and utterances— in Cat. 181b. Cf. also such a
passage as in In Per . I, p. 42, 1" (Nuchelmans 1973:134).
De Rijk, L. M., ed., 1967. Logica modemorum , II, 1. Assen: Van Gorcum.
Nuchelmans, G., 1973. Theories of the Proposition . [Vol. I: Ancient and Medieval Conceptions of the Bearers of Truth and
Falsity ]. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
Gili, Luca. 2015. "A neglected source of Boethius's De syllogismo categorico ." Mnemosyne no. 68:304-307.
Abstract: "This paper shows that Boethius's De syllogismo categorico had among its sources Alexander of Aphrodisias's commentaries
on the Topics and on the Prior Analytics . The first of these sources has been neglected by scholars until now. Boethius's usage of these
sources shows the originality of his logical treatise."
Green-Pedersen, Niels Jørgen. 1984. The Tradition of the Topics in the Middle Ages. The Commentaries on Aristotle's and Boethius'
'Topics' . Münich: Philosophia Verlag.
Contents: Preface 9; Part I. The Sources of the Medieval Doctrine of the Topics 11; A. Aristotle's Works on the Topics 11; B. Boethius' Works
on the Topics 39; Part II. The Medieval Approach to the Sources 83; A. Aristotle's Topics 85; B. Boethius' De Differentiis Topicis 123; C.
The University Teaching 127; Part II. The Doctrine of the Topics in the Middle Ages 135; A. Introductory 135; B. The earliest Texts 139; C. The 12th Century
163; D. The 13th Century 223; E. The Topics and the Theory of Consequences 265; F. The 14th Century 301; G. The 15th Century 321; Part IV. General Conclusion
345; Appendix 1: Selection of Unprinted Texts 347; Appendix 2. List of Commentaries 381; A. Commentaries on Aristotle's Topics 383; B. Commentaries on
Boethius' De Differentiis Topicis 418; References 433; Index 449; Summary in Danish 455-459.
"B. Boethius’ Works on the Topics
In chronological order the next work to discuss would be Cicero’s Topica , which is the first work on the topics after Aristotle
that has come down to us. I shall, however, proceed directly to Boethius’s works, partly because an acquaintance with Boethius’ doctrines contributes to a
better understanding of Cicero. Partly also because there are no medieval commentaries on Cicero’s Topica . Apparently this work was only influential
on the teaching in the very early period, probably not much after c. A. D. 1050. The teachers of those days did not write commentaries, as far as we know, but
only compendia or summaries of the texts they based their teaching on; or they added glosses to these texts. Ina later chapter we shall see how Cicero’s
Topica - directly or indirectly - is the basis of the earliest medieval teaching about the topics which we know of. Yet even in these early years the
medievale use not only Cicero’s book, but also Boethius’ commentary on it. All these facts suggest that at least in a medieval context it is better to consider
Boethius before Cicero. The things which we need to know about Cicero can be set out in connection with Boethius or with the discussion of the works which base
their teaching upon Cicero.
Boethius wrote about the topics primarily in two works, the Commentary on Cicero’s Topica (In Ciceronis Topica , ICT) and
the monograph De differentiis topicis (DDT). The commentary on Cicero is the earlier of the two, as we can infer from references in the DDT back to
the ICT and from remarks in the ICT about plans for the DDT. But the distance in time between the two is small, both were written in the last years of
Boethius’ life, i. e. after c. 520. (1) Boethius also refers to a commentary which he claims to have written on Aristotle’s Topics , (2) but such a
work has not come down to us. As the references to it are found in the DDT and no references are found in the ICT, we may conjecture that the commentary on
Aristotle’s Topics was written in the period between the ICT and the DDT. On the other hand Boethius refers to his translation of Aristotle’s
Topics in the ICT, 3 and it is natural to assume that he wrote the commentary while working on the translation.
Boethius’ commentary on Cicero’s Topica (ICT) follows the text in Cicero’s work continuously, but it is either preserved
incompletely or it was never finished by Boethius, since it ends in the comments on Cicero’s § 76. Cicero’s work contains a prologue (§§ 1-5), an introduction
(§§ 6-8), a summary statement of his list of loci (§§ 9-24), a detailed exposition of the same list (§§ 25-78), and finally a section of a more rhetorical
character (§§ 79-100). The most interesting parts of the ICT are the rather long discussions about the nature and the division of the loci which Boethius has
inserted before both Cicero’s first and second enumeration of the loci. Further Boethius utilizes Cicero’s second exposition of the locus ‘from antecedents’
etc. for a long discussion of conditionals and hypothetical syllogisms. We shall have occasion to look at these discussions more closely.
We need not know more about the contents of the ICT, but we shall instead turn to the DDT with which we must be well-acquainted in order to
understand the medieval doctrine of the topics." (pp. 39-40)
(1) De Rijk (1964) pp. 151-154.
(2) Boethius, DDT II.1191 A; IV, 1216 D. - Cf. De Rijk 1964, p. 156.
(3) Boethius, ICT I, p. 280,40-41 (1052 A-B).
L. M. De Rijk 'On the Chronology of Boethius' Works on Logic. I-II", Vivarium , 2, 1964, pp. 1-49 and 125-162.
Huby, Pamela M. 1988. "Boethius vindicates Cicero as a logician." Liverpool Classical Monthly no. 13:60-61.
"Boethius' reading of Cicero's Topics 54 shows that he had a better text than we do, and thus makes more sense of Cicero's
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),
(154) Dialectica I. i (ed. cit., i. 645-6).
(155) Ibid ., I. vii (i. 646-7).
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
"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]
———. 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)
———. 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.
———. 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)
———. 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:
"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,
(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]
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)
Maloney, Thomas S. 2003. "Boethius on Aristotle on the Division of Statements into Single/Multiple and Simple/Composed." Carmina
Philosophiae no. 12:49-74.
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).
———. 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.].
Martin, Christopher J. 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)
———. 1999. "Non–reductive Arguments from Impossible Hypotheses in Boethius and Philoponus." Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy no.
"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)
———. 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
(2) On the Isagoge (1IS, 2IS), on the Categories (CAT), on De interpretatione (1IN, 2IN), on Cicero’s
(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).
———. 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)
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."
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.
Minio-Paluello, Lorenzo. 1942. "The Genuine Text of Boethius’ Translation of Aristotle’s Categories ." Medieval 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
(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  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  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 ). ]
———. 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
———. 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.
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. Torino: Nino Aragno Editore.
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.
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].
———. 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 also reprinted in: Manfred Fuhrmann & Joachim Gruber (eds.), Boethius, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1984 pp.
Citations are from the reprint in Sorabji 1990.
"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. 349)
"The general impression produced by this study is that Boethius in composing his commentaries on the Organo n 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. 368)
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. 371)
(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).
———. 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
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
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.
———. 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.
———. 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
C Boethii in Isagogen, editio secunda, ed. Brandt, ibid .
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 & 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
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
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.
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."
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.
———. 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)
———. 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.
———. 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.
———. 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)
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
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
(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 ,
———. 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
(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 .
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.
"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)
Thomas, Ivo. 1951. "Boethius’ locus a repugnantibus." Methodos no. 3:303-307.