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Anonymus Aurelianensis III

The logic of Aristotle, and Aristotelian syllogistic theory in particular, has had an unparalleled impact on the development of Western thought. The syllogism, as presented in Aristotle’s Analytics, formed the core of Western logic from Late Antiquity onwards and became scholasticism’s favourite instrument for determining the validity of an argument. It has been generally believed that the Analytics were unavailable to the Latin West from the early 6th c. until the advent of the logica nova in the 12th century and that the earliest Latin commentary on the work was Robert Kilwardby‘s commentary on the Prior Analytics (c. 1240). However, a recent discovery of an extensive fragment of an anonymous Latin commentary on the Prior Analytics in the manuscript Orléans, Bibl. mun. 283 (c. 1160-80) suggests otherwise.

The commentary, which has been given the title ‘Anonymus Aurelianensis III’ by Sten Ebbesen who found the work in 1981, is significantly influenced by the Greek Aristotelian commentators and contains ancient material which has been believed to have been unavailable to the Medieval West. The aim of the present study is to make a comparative analysis of the Anon. Aur. III and its sources as well as to determine its influence on the later tradition. The Latin text will be made accessible in a critical edition and the likely origin of the work will be discussed.

Anon. Aur. III represents a highly interesting link in the development of logic and offers new knowledge of the origins of scholastic logic. A detailed study of the work has been a desideratum among medievalists and historians of philosophy since the fragment was discovered in the 1980s.

The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council and the publication ‘Anonymus Aurelianensis III’ in Aristotelis Analytica priora. Critical edition with introduction, commentary, and indexes will be published by Brill in the series Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters (2011).

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