Gundissalinus on the Angelic Creation of the Human Soul: A Peculiar Example of Philosophical Appropriation

Oriens 47 (3-4):313–347 (2019)
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With his original reflection—deeply influenced by many important Arabic thinkers—Gundissalinus wanted to renovate the Latin debate concerning crucial aspects of the philosophical tradition. Among the innovative doctrines he elaborated, one appears to be particularly problematic, for it touches a very delicate point of Christian theology: the divine creation of the human soul, and thus, the most intimate bond connecting the human being and his Creator. Notwithstanding the relevance of this point, Gundissalinus ascribed the creation of the human soul to the angels rather than God. He also stated that the angels create the souls from prime matter, and through a kind of causality which cannot be operated by God. What are the sources of this unusual and perilous doctrine? And what are the reasons which led Gundissalinus to hold such a problematic position? This article thoroughly examines the theoretical development and sources of Gundissalinus’s position, focusing on the correlations between this doctrine, the overall cosmological descriptions expounded by Gundissalinus in his original works, and the main sources upon which this unlikely doctrine is grounded: Avicenna and Ibn Gabirol.



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Gundissalinus and Avicenna: Some Remarks on an Intricate Philosophical Connection.Nicola Polloni - 2017 - Documenti E Studi Sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale 28:515-552.
Dominicus Gundissalinus De divisione philosophiae.Dominicus Gundissalinus & Ludwig Baur - 1903 - Münster: Aschendorff. Edited by Ludwig Baur.


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Nicola Polloni
Durham University
Nicola Polloni
Università degli Studi di Messina

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