ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


124. Ancient Sources. -- For a history of medieval philosophy the manuscripts of the Middle Ages are evidently the primary source. These are scattered in very large numbers all through the unexplored recesses of European libraries. Many of them are unedited and even unknown. The history of philosophy is sure to benefit by the work -- now being pretty extensively promoted -- of publishing catalogues of the manuscripts lying in the various libraries. And besides this, the editing of hitherto unpublished texts, the critical re-editing of those already edited though defectively, and, above all, their authentication -- a peculiarly delicate task in regard to medieval philosophy -- have been progressing with remarkable vigour for some years past.

Besides works dealing ex professo with philosophy or its history -- for of those the Middle Ages produced very few -- we must consult the general sources of the history of ideas. It is in these sources, very numerous and very unequal as they are in value, that we find some most important information: in works like those of the ancient annalists, continuators of the De Viris Illustribus of St. Jerome (Isidore of Seville, Sigebert of Gembloux, Honorius of Autun, etc.), men whose writings were gathered up by Trithemius in the fifteenth, Miraeus in the seventeenth and Fabricius in the eighteenth century. Of special importance are the biographical histories of the various religious orders: each order had its annalists. These were often inclined to magnify the past; but compilations like QUETIF-ECHARD's Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum (Paris, 1719, 2 vols.) and WADDING'S Scriptores Ord. Minor. (with supplement by SBARAGLEA) have a high historical value. Then too, there are the dictionaries of national biography, compiled according to countries (or provinces), like the Histoire littéraire de France, commenced by the Benedictines of St. Maur in the eighteenth century, and the Dictionary of National Biography (London); while the numerous collections of Scriptores Ecclesiae contain much useful and indispensable information on account of the close connection of philosophy with theology.

As those ancient sources are not confined to medieval philosophy, we must refer the reader to the modern bibliographies that deal with them professedly, confining ourselves to an occasional reference in treating special questions. The principal modern works on the general bibliography of the Middle Ages are the following: EBERT, Allgemeine Geschichte d. Litteratur des Mittelalters im Abendlande (3 vols., 1874-1887); H. OESTERLEY, Wegweiser durch die Litteratur der Urkundensammlungen (2 vols., 1885, 1886); CHEVALIER, U., Répertoire des sources historiques du moyen âge, I. Bio-Bibliographie (2nd édit.); POTTHAST, A., Bibliotheca Historica Medii Aevi (2 vols., 1896); BERNHEIM, E., Lehrbuch der historischen Methode und d. Geschichts-philosophie (4th edit., 1903); bibliographies relating to special countries, like WATTENBACH, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter bis zur Mitte d. 13 Jahrh. (7th edit., 1904); LORENZ, O., Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter seit der Mitte des 13 Jahrh. (3rd edit., 2 vols., 1886).

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