Medioevo 33:1-90 (2008)

During more than a century scholars have argued that the translatio vetus of De sensu can be dated to the first decade of the 13th century or to the 12th century. My investigation of the manuscripts which contain the translatio vetus of De sensu and my survey of the earliest references to De sensu in the Latin West reveals that there is no evidence that this translation was made during the 12th century. The absence of De sensu in 12th century manuscripts and the absence of references to De sensu in treatises of the late 12th and early 13th century could indicate that the translatio vetus was only made at the beginning of the 13th century. If one assumes that the translation of De sensu was made much later than the translations of De anima and De memoria by James of Venice, this could help explain why in the earliest tradition, it is not De sensu but De memoria that follows on De anima. However, we cannot exclude the possibility that the translatio vetus of De sensu already existed during the 12th century, but was not used because scholars were more interested in the other newly translated Aristotelian works or because the translation of De sensu was too difficult to understand. The fact that the 13th- century manuscripts transmit a text that is strongly corrupted and contaminated could indicate that the tradition started much earlier, during the 12th century. De generatione stelllarum, which can possibly be dated before 1225, contains several citations from the translatio vetus of De sensu. It could be the earliest evidence of the use of the translation of De sensu. The anonymous De potentiis anime et obiectis, written by a theologian between 1228 and 1232, is the earliest work that can be dated with certainty and contains a quotation from De sensu. From the 1240s onwards, De sensu was widely commented on and used in treatises on the soul and in encyclopaedic works. Adam of Buckfield’s commentary on De sensu seems to have been very influential and deserves further study.
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