Linked bibliography for the SEP article "Sophismata" by Fabienne Pironet and Joke Spruyt

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The medieval sophismata-literature is a vast and complex area of research. Many questions are still unsolved, especially about its historical origins and development. It is of central interest for people interested in medieval logic, grammar and physics, but also for those interested in the history of universities.

The study of “sophismatic works” began around 1940 with Grabmann's Die Sophismatalitteratur des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts, and much research has been done in the last two decades. In 2010 The Catalogue of 13th Century ‘sophismata’ (Ebbesen and Goubier) became available, which contains a host of information about recent scholarship in the field of sophismata (Ebbesen and Goubier 2010, Vol. I, pp. 7-9). It also lists all the editions of sophismata literature available up to that date, as well as all the manuscripts the compilers had managed to investigate. It is an invaluable source of information for those wishing to continue the research of sophismata. There are still many texts to read, edit and analyze.

The bibliography for this entry, which is far from exhaustive, is organized as follows:

Primary Literature

Most of the logical and grammatical texts on sophismata have been edited by S. Ebbesen and his collaborators in the review Cahiers de l'Institut du Moyen Age Grec et Latin, University of Copenhagen. We will here mention only books.

  • De Libera, A. César et le Phénix. Distinctiones et sophismata parisiens du XIIIe siècle. Centro di cultura medievale, 4; Pisa: Scuola Normale Superiore, 1991.
  • De Rijk, L. M. Some Earlier Parisian Tracts on Distinctiones sophismatum. Nijmegen: Ingenium Publishers, 1988.
  • Scott, T. K. Johannes Buridanus. ‘Sophismata’. Critical Edition with an Introduction. Grammatica Speculativa, 1; Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog, 1977. (Scholar)
  • Pironet, Fabienne. Iohanni Buridani Summularum Tractatus nonus: De practica sophismatum (Sophismata). Critical Edition and Introduction. Turnhout, Brépols, 2004, li + 193 p.
  • Kretzmann, N., and Kretzmann, B. E. The ‘Sophismata’ of Richard Kilvington. Oxford: University Press for The British Academy, 1990. (Critical edition.) (Scholar)
  • Spruyt, Joke. Matthew of Orléans. Sophistaria sive summa communium distinctionum circa sophismata accidentium Leiden, Brill, 2001.
  • Pinborg, J. Sigerus de Cortraco, ‘Summa modorum significandi sophismata’; New Edition, on the Basis of G. Wallerand's editio prima, with Additions, Critical Notes, an Index of Terms and an Introduction. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins, 1977. (Scholar)
  • Longeway, J. William Heytesbury: On Maxima and Minima. Chapter 5 of ‘Rules for Solving Sophismata’, with an Anonymous Fourteenth Century Discussion, a Translation with an Introduction and Study. Synthese Historical Library, 26; Dordrecht: Reidel, 1984. (Scholar)
  • Pironet, Fabienne, Guillaume Heytesbury, Sophismata asinina. Une introduction aux disputes médiévales. Présentation, édition critique et analyse. Collection Sic et Non; Paris: Vrin, 1994. (With texts from the Libelli sophistarum ad usum Oxoniensis.) (Scholar)


  • Scott, T. K. Sophisms on Meaning and Truth. New York: Appleton Century Crofts, 1966. (Translation of John Buridan's Sophismata.) (Scholar)
  • Biard, J. Jean Buridan, Sophismes. Collection Sic et Non; Paris: Vrin, 1993.
  • Hughes, G. E. John Buridan on Self-Reference. Chapter Eight of Buridan's ‘Sophismata’. An Edition and a Translation with an Introduction and a Philosophical Commentary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982. (The paperbound edition omits the Latin text.) (Scholar)
  • Kretzmann, N., and Kretzmann, B.E. The ‘Sophismata’ of Richard Kilvington. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990. (English translation, historical introduction and philosophical commentary.) (Scholar)

Secondary Literature

Many important studies are to be found in the following collective work: S. Read (ed.), Sophisms in Medieval Logic and Grammar (Acts of the Ninth European Symposium for Medieval Logic and Semantics, St. Andrews, June 1990), Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993.

  • Biard, J., 1989, “Les sophismes du savoir: Albert de Saxe entre Jean Buridan et Guillaume Heytesbury.” Vivarium, 27: 36-50. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1990, “Verbes cognitifs et appellation de la forme selon Albert de Saxe,” in S. Knuuttila, R. Työrinoja, and S. Ebbesen, ed. Knowledge and the Sciences in Medieval Philosophy. Proceedings of the Eighth International Congress of Medieval Philosophy (S.I.E.P.M.). Helsinki, 24-29 August 1987, Helsinki: Yliopistopaino, Vol. II, pp. 427-35. (Scholar)
  • Braakhuis, H.A.G., 1979, De 13de Eeuwse Tractaten over Syncategorematische Termen. Inleidende Studie en Uitgave van Nicolaas van Parijs' Syncategoremata, Nijmegen (diss.). (Scholar)
  • Ebbesen, S., 1979, “The Dead Man is Alive,” Synthese 40: 43-70. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1997, “Doing Theology with Sophismata,” in C. Marmo(ed.), Vestigia, imagines, verba: Semiotics and Logic in Medieval Theological Texts (XIIth-XIVth Century), Semiotic and Cognitive Studies 4, Turnhout: Brepols, 151-169. (Scholar)
  • Ebbesen, S, and Braakhuis, H.A.G., 1997, “Anonymi Erfordensis (= Roberti Kilwardby?) Sophisma TANTUM UNUM EST,” CIMAGL, 67: 105-125. (Scholar)
  • Ebbesen, S, and Goubier, F., 2010, A Catalogue of 13th-Century Sophismata, Part I: Introduction and Indices; Part II: Catalogue of Sophismata, Paris. (Scholar)
  • Grabmann, M., 1940, Die Sophismatenliteratur des 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts mit Textausgabe eines Sophisma des Boetius von Dacien, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie une Theologie des Mittelalters. Texte und Untersuchungen, Band 36, Heft 1, Münster i. W.: Aschendorff. (Scholar)
  • Knuuttila, S. and Lehtinen, A. I., 1979, “Plato in infinitum remisse incipit esse albus. New Texts on the Late Medieval Discussion on the Concept of Infinity in Sophismata Literature,” in E. Saarinen, R. Hilpinen, I. Niiniluoto, M. P. Hintikka (eds.), Essays in Honour of J. Hintikka (Synthese Library 124), Dordrecht: D. Reidel, 309-29. (Scholar)
  • Kretzmann, N., 1982, “Syncategoremata, exponibilia, sophismata,” in N. Kretzmann, et al. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy from the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism, 1100-1600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 211-45. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1982, “Continuity, Contrariety, Contradiction and Change,” in N. Kretzmann (ed.), Infinity and Continuity in Ancient and Medieval Thought (Papers Presented at a Conference held at Cornell University on April 20 and 21 1979, under the Title ‘Infinity, Continuity and Indivisibility in Antiquity and the Middle Ages’), Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 322-40. (Appendix: “Text of Walter Burleigh and the Sophisms 8 and 16 of Richard Kilvington.”) (Scholar)
  • –––, 1988, “Tu scis hoc esse omne quod est hoc: Richard Kilvington and the Logic of Knowledge,” in N. Kretzmann (ed.), Meaning and Inference in Medieval Philosophy. Studies in Memory of Jan Pinborg, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 225-45. (Scholar)
  • de Libera, A., 1986, “La littérature des Sophismata dans la tradition terministe parisienne de la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle,” in M. Asztalos (ed.) The Editing of Theological and Philosophical Texts from the Middle Ages (Acts of the Conference Arranged by the Department of Classical Languages, University of Stockholm, 29-31 August 1984), Acta universitatis Stockholmiensis, Studia Latina Stockholmiensia, 30, Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell International, 213-44. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1983, “La littérature des Abstractiones et la tradition logique d'Oxford,” in P. O. Lewry (ed.), The Rise of British Logic. Acts of the Sixth European Symposium on Medieval Logic and Semantics (Balliol College, Oxford, 19-24 June 1983), Papers in Mediaeval Studies, 7, Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 63-114. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1989, “La problématique de l' ’instant du changement’ au XIIIe siècle: contribution à l'histoire des sophismata physicalia,” in S. Carloti (ed.) Studies in Medieval Natural Philosophy, Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 43-93. (Scholar)
  • Murdoch, J. E., 1982, “Mathematics and Sophisms in Late Medieval Natural Philosophy,” in Les genres littéraires dans les sources théologiques et philosophiques médiévales (Actes du colloque international de Louvain-la-Neuve, 25-27 mai 1981), Université Catholique de Louvain, Publications de l'Institut Supérieur d'Etudes Médiévales. Deuxième Série: Textes, Etudes, Congrès, 5; Louvain-la-Neuve: Institut d'Etudes Médiévales de L'Université Catholique de Louvain, 85-100. (Scholar)
  • –––, 1982, “Infinity and Continuity,” in N. Kretzmann, et al. (eds.), The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy from the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Disintegration of Scholasticism, 1100-1600, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 564-91. (Scholar)
  • Rosier, I., 1991, “Les sophismes grammaticaux au XIIIe siècle,” Medioevo, 17: 175-230. (Scholar)
  • Rosier, I. and Roy, B., 1990, “Grammaire et liturgie dans les sophismes du XIIIe siècle,” Vivarium, 28: 118-35. (Scholar)
  • Sylla, E. D., 1981, “William Heytesbury on the Sophism infinita sunt finita,” in Sprache und Erkenntnis im Mittelalter (Akten des 6. Internationalen Kongresses für mittelalterliche Philosophie der Société Internationale pour l'étude de la philosophie médiévale, 29. August-3. September 1977 im Bonn), Miscellanea Mediaevalia, 13.1-2, Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1981, Vol.II, 628-36. (Scholar)

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