A Learned Thief? - Nicholas Of Cusa And The Anonymous Fundamentum Naturae: Reassessing The Vorlage Theory

Recherches de Theologie Et Philosophie Medievales 77 (2):351-390 (2010)
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Abstract

The discovery of an anonymous manuscript that parallels several chapters of Nicholas of Cusa’s De docta ignorantia raises anew the charge of plagiarism against the German cardinal. This article evaluates Hoenen’s proposal that the anonymous treatise be viewed as a model used in the composition of the Cusan work. After reviewing possible responses to the Vorlage theory, new textual evidence in support of Hoenen’s arguments is presented, but oversights and unanswered questions are also noted. Finally, a careful reading of an important passage of Apologia doctae ignorantiae reveals not only that Cusanus did name his source, however belatedly, but also how he perceived the author in relation to other sources stemming from the twelfthcentury master, Thierry of Chartres

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