Version: v1, Published online: 1998
Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/richard-rufus-of-cornwall-d-after-1259/v-1
A thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian, Rufus was among the first Western medieval authors to study Aristotelian metaphysics, physics and epistemology; his lectures on Aristotle’s Physics are the earliest known surviving Western medieval commentary. In 1238, after writing treatises against Averroes and lecturing on Aristotle – at greatest length on the Metaphysics – he joined the Franciscan Order, left Paris and became a theologian.
Rufus’ lectures on Peter Lombard’s Sentences were the first presented by an Oxford bachelor of theology. Greatly influenced by Robert Grosseteste, Rufus’ Oxford lectures were devoted in part to a refutation of Richard Fishacre, the Dominican master who first lectured on the Sentences at Oxford. Though much more sophisticated philosophically than Fishacre, Rufus defended the more exclusively biblical theology recommended by Grosseteste against Fishacre’s more modern scholasticism.
Rufus’ Oxford lectures were employed as a source by Bonaventure, whose lectures on the Sentences were vastly influential. Returning to Paris shortly after Bonaventure lectured there, Rufus took Bonaventure’s lectures as a model for his own Parisian Sentences commentary. Rufus’ Paris lectures made him famous. According to his enemy Roger Bacon, when he returned to Oxford after 1256 as the Franciscan regent master, his influence increased steadily. It was at its height forty years later in the 1290s, when John Duns Scotus was a bachelor of theology. Early versions of many important positions developed by Duns Scotus can be found in Rufus’ works.
Wood, Rega. Richard Rufus of Cornwall (d. after 1259), 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-B100-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis, https://www.rep.routledge.com/articles/biographical/richard-rufus-of-cornwall-d-after-1259/v-1.
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