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Robert Grosseteste  
ca. 1168 - 1253

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 Ancient Christian Magic
Theology and Music at the Early University : The Case of Robert Grosseteste and Anonymous IVTheology and Music at the Early University : The Case of Robert Grosseteste and Anonymous IV (Brill's Studies in Intellectual History, Vol 57) by Nancy Van Deusen.  

At the climax of one of his most important and comprehensive works, De cessatione legalium, the thirteenth-century theologian and natural philosopher, Robert Grosseteste, uses a musical example to make a point fundamental to the treatise. Music, using time as its material, located between the abstract and the concrete, served as an analogy, thus making a difficult philosophical concept perceptible. In using music as an analogy, Gorsseteste drew upon a long tradition established by Augustine, confirmed within the new Aristotelian reception, and a newly-translated Platonic dialogue. But the first rector of the University of Oxford was also demonstrating music's place within the curriculum of the early university, namely, as a ministry discipline, efficiently and efficaciously exemplifying traditional Augustinian, as well as new Aristotelian principles. This book unites the most important theological-philosophical subjects discussed by Robert Grosseteste throughout his prodigious output, with those exemplified by an anonymous contemporary English writer on music. The work shows how music collaborated with the other liberal arts, operating within the early university curriculum as a ministry discipline. Music made accessible through the figurae of its notation, and through sound, otherwise nearly unapproachable, new Aristotelian concepts. The influence was reciprocal in that new Aristotelian tools and conceptualization greatly influenced music notation and style. Music theory has been studied in isolation, as pertaining only to music. This study is the first to relate music of the early thirteenth century to its intellectual context, overturning dogma, uncritically accepted since the beginning of this century, concerning so-called "modal rhythm," and showing how "contrary motion," rather than forming a musical convention, demonstrated a key Aristotelian concept..  

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Robert Grosseteste Biography

Excerpt:

Born in Suffolk, Grosseteste studied and taught at the University of Oxford, where he became one of the most famous teachers of his time. He was the university's chancellor from 1215 to 1221, and later lectured to Franciscans there until his appointment as bishop of Lincoln in 1235....

Robert Grosseteste Biography

Excerpt:

Robert Grosseteste was educated at Oxford University. He became Chancellor of Oxford University in 1215 remaining in this post until about 1221. After this he held a number of ecclesiastical positions, then from 1229 to 1235 he was a lecturer in theology to the Franciscans.

He became Bishop of Lincoln in 1235 and remained in this position until his death. As Bishop of Lincoln he attended the Council of Lyon (1245) and addressed the papal congregation at Lyon in 1250...

 

Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln

Excerpt:

Had the leaders of the thirteenth century heeded this preacher, many of the disasters of the following three centuries might have been avoided. Robert was a peasant lad from Suffolk, born about 1175. He distinguished himself at Oxford in law, medicine, languages, natural sciences, and theology. He became what is now called Chancellor of Oxford University.

In 1235, he was elected Bishop of Lincoln, in area the largest diocese in England. He promptly visited all the churches in the diocese and quickly removed many of the prominent clergy because they were neglectng their pastoral duties. He vigorously opposed the practice by which the Pope appointed Italians as absentee clergy for English churches (collecting salaries from said churches without ever setting foot in the country). He insisted that his priests spend their time in the service of their people, in prayer, and in study. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, where he spoke out boldly against ecclesiastical abuses. Back in England, he spoke against unlawful usurpations of power by the monarch, and was one of those present at the signing of the Magna Carta...

 

References for the biography of Robert Grosseteste

This site includes links to encyclopedic articles and a short bibliography.

 

The Electronic Grosseteste

This site is dedicated to providing electronic access to the Latin works of Robert Grosseteste. Materials relating to Grosseteste's life, and the thirteenth century may also be found here.

 

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