Talk:Albertus Magnus

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Text to integrate: Magnus studied at the University of Padua, a major scientific center at the time, and joined the Dominicans in 1223. After completing his studies he taught theology; about 1240, he went to Paris, and achieved the degree of master in sacred theology in 1245 or 1246. For the next thirty years he worked as teacher and administrator, as provincial of his order in Germany, and as bishop of Ratisbon, tramping across Europe. At Cologne and Paris he had Thomas Aquinas as his student.

He worked on logic, philosophy, theology and exegesis, studying nature in detail. He wrote down his unbiased views of his environment in a huge encyclopedia. He was also experienced in botany, chemistry, physics, and mechanics, which made some people think of him as a magician. Magnus also tried to introduce the thinkings of Aristoteles into the Catholic Church, a task that was later completed by his scholar Aquinas.

From 1270 on he stayed in Cologne; today, the University of Cologne carries his name. He was canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church in 1931. He is the patron saint of natural science.

More text to integrate: The Dominican's house in Cologne is the St. Andreas Kloster. The house and church is still there and contains the shrine of Albertus Magnus.

He might be too old for you, but I don't doubt that his intellectual interests would have been significantly stimulating on a number of levels. Antandrus 19:32, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
You might at least dispose of the 1229 date for his entry into the Dominicans, as he was already installed and sufficiently recognised for Boniface of Lausanne to stop and work with him in Cologne at the start of the academic diasporah when the University of Paris was closed following the Carnival Riots of that year. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Roger Bacon[edit]

In the introduction it is suggested that Roger Bacon considered him "the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages", yet in the Roger Bacon article we see ... "Albert was received at Paris as an authority equal to Aristotle, Avicenna, and Averroes,[27] leading Bacon to proclaim that "never in the world [had] such monstrosity occurred before."

Not sure which is accurate, but the picture painted by the first fails to match the picture painted by the second. Can someone fix this? (talk) 14:34, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Roger Bacon did not name the master at Paris attacked in both in his Opus Minus and Opus Tertius. Bacon was happy to criticise Alexander of Hales openly, since the man was dead by the time of writing. However, the other target of his accusations is described only indirectly, as somebody still alive, a doctor at Paris, greatly (and unjustly) revered. Some historians think the details provided make Albertus the only candidate, but this is not a universally accepted view. Itsbruce (talk) 05:01, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Bacon criticized Albert by name in his later Compendium studii philosophae; someone should provide a source to support the claim that Bacon praised Albert. I'll mark it "citation needed". SteveMcCluskey (talk) 16:41, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I just traced back the evolution of this claim in Wikipedia. It originated with this edit as saying: "The term "Magnus" was applied to him during his own lifetime, due to his immense reputation as a scholar and philosopher, attested by such contemporaries as Roger Bacon." Shortly thereafter, it was changed from the neutral statement that Bacon attested to that name to the stronger claim that "Bacon, applied the term "Magnus" to Albertus during his own lifetime, due to his immense reputation as a scholar and philosopher." For the moment, I will revert the statement to the original, more cautious form, leaving the citation needed template in place. SteveMcCluskey (talk) 22:25, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Occult Authors?[edit]

Why is Albert categorized as an "occult author"? I'm not even exactly sure what the category means. Does it merely mean he wrote about spiritual subjects? Or is it more specific? Mlouns 06:01, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

The category of Occult authors refers to those whose work deals with magic, spell-craft, and religio-magical traditions. It includes such forms of writing as grimoires, wonder books, and spell books. It includes topics such as the kaballah, tarot, alchemy, astrology, and folk magic. In the case of Albertus Magnus we are presented with a complex situation: there are a number of wonder books and collections of folk magical spells and other grimoire-like material that are attributed to him -- but they were almost certainly not written by him. Among these, the most famous is Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus. I would be perfectly content to see those responsible for the page on Albertus Magnus create a page on "Pseudo Albertus Magnus" -- but until that is done and the links are properly reformatted, there is no other place to link the author of the books attribued to Albertus Magnus except to the Albertus Magnus page. I am working in the occult and folk magic sections, not the Catholic cleric sections, and i would be glad to collaborate on a compromise that would leave everyone happy. What say you? Catherineyronwode 06:21, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that a good compromise would be to have an alternate entry for the works attributed to him that he did not actually do. But like you, I'm not sure how to work that in wikipedia. Perhaps you could add a few words in the main Albert entry explaining the situation, since right now, the categorization kind of comes from nowhere. Maybe later it would be expanded into a separate article. Mlouns 14:38, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
All right, i will attempt to create a short subsection on this topic for the Albertus Magnus page. I also agree that a new pge called Albertus Magnus (Spurious) be created. (The scholarly name for the unknown author(s) who wrote the occult books is "the Spurious Albertus Magnus" -- but if the word "Spurious" comes first in the Wiki name, rather than in a trailing parenthesis, the new page will fall out of alphabetical order in Wiki's auto-generated category pages, which would not be good, since occultists generally refer to the author(s) of these works as Albertus Magnus for short, even through we know they were not written by Albertus Magnus.) I do not have time to do the full writing this morning, as i have other tasks at hand, but i will try to get to this before the week is over. Please be patient with me, or, if you are so inclined and can get to it more quickly than i can, please take it on yourself. The plan is to (1) produce a short sub-head within the AM article, and then (2) create an AM(S) page. At that point there will be (3) a disambiguation link at the top of the AM page and (4) a disambiguation link on the AM(S) page, (5) retention of the short subhead on the AM page itself that describes the issue, with (6) a link in the AM subhead leading to the new AM(S) page. Does this accord with what you proposed? Catherineyronwode 18:39, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
It sounds like you know what you're doing -- I will leave it in your capable hands. Mlouns 02:12, 2 May 2006 (UTC)
There is a reference to him in Robert Heinlein's novel "Glory Road", though it is most certainly a reference to "the Spurious Albertus Magnus". Near the end of the 6th chapter we find this -- "It was an interesting book, written by Albertus Magnus and apparently stolen from the British Museum. Albert offered a long list of recipes for doing unlikely things: how to pacify storms and fly over clouds, how to overcome enemies, how to make a woman be true to you--". While I think this should be included in the cultural references section, I am not familiar enough with Albertus Magnus or any of those other cultural references to be sure. --JAM Junior (talk) 04:06, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
Be careful about having firm grounds for excluding texts on the simple grounds that they are occult to modern eyes. If you do proceed, the conventional classification is to term the apocryphal works either that or the work of a collective of pseudo-Albertine writers. The period was one of perplexity as the academic world came to grips with the Arabic versions of classical Greek texts, newly translated into Latin by order of Alfonso the Wise, King of Castile. The texts had undergone two sets of bowdlerisation, firstly into a version compatible with Muslim creed, and then into a text compatible with pre-Aquinian Catholicism, which was somewhat troubled with finding a balance between the authority of Platonism and early neo-Platonism, the Church Fathers and the later Muslim authorities quoted in the text. I am a member of the Esoteric and Occult Studies Reading Group at London's Warburg Institute, one of the most advanced schools in the world in the study of the development of this knowledge. I doubt whether Robert Heinlein, entertaining though he may be, ranked as a serious commentator. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:37, 17 March 2014 (UTC)


I changed the date of birth from 1193 to 1206 and added his status as "first son" (this was important in his day) as this is the information as it appears in the Catholic Encyclopedia and is properly referenced. If someone wishes to include a birth reference to 1193, or a range of dates, then please do so, otherwise the simpler 1206 should stand. Also, his status as first son is referenced and cannot be removed based on original research, i.e. because "there is no record of opposition to his entry into the Dominican order" - this should also be referenced before inclusion (an inferrance doesnt trump a reference, and we frown on original research). If there is no commentary I will restore both points. István 17:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

This information in abovementioned Catholic Encyclopedia is not the best. 1206 as Albertus's birthyear was calculated from honestly erroneous grounds. Sources mentioned in article that say he was 87 when he died are not contemporary. Nearest and best source to his time only gives that he was eighty and more in 1280, dieing, so best is to remain with 'before 1200'. There is reference to fr. Weisheipl; I think he mentioned this year-problem in his article; if not, then there is reference to fr. Tugwell, he is the best, and reference is given in next paragraph; I'm not sure how to copy it, so that it covers beginning of article as well. Tugwell, Albert&Thomas, 1988, p.97 is the source. It would be too much for article, so for your information: nearest to his time to write about Albertus's death and age was Bernard Guy (good historian; even though unflatteringly pictured in Eco's Name of Rose), in year 1313 he wrote: "Fr. Albertus Teutonicus, Coloniensis, de quo habitum est supra. Hic obiit in conventu Coloniensi anno domini MCCLXXX, octogenarius et amplius." Then, in 1414 Ludovicus de Valleoleti (who was not so good historian; too much fantasy) wrote that Albertus was circiter 87 when he died, and then Petrus de Prussia later omitted 'circiter' and so got birthyear 1193. What might be true, but might not; anyway, no good reason to say it is so. I took it all from Tugwell's book, it is sound reference.BirgittaMTh (talk) 21:36, 31 August 2014 (UTC)
About Albertus entering the Dominican Order. Well, if there is no record of opposition to his entry, then, this passus about family's opposition is original research, or, I dare say, is just made up, isn't it? Even if this made up thing has been incorporated into catholic encyclopedia. I advise to remove this questionable information about family's opposition; no harm if this is not mentioned. And it's not original research in wikipedia, if I am quoting solid academic book; they who wrote that book might be not allowed to write to wikipedia, but I am, is it correct? BirgittaMTh (talk) 22:00, 31 August 2014 (UTC)

"Errors of the Arabian philosopher Averroes"[edit]

In the biography section, Albertus Magnus is said to have "answered the errors of the Arabian philosopher Averroes." What are these alleged errors? As written, the text sounds rather POVish. —Tyrrell McAllister


Didn't he isolate Arsenic? This was the first element discovered outside of the known pre-historical elements. Is this not a significant enough accomplishment to add in? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Phrenology in the 13th century?[edit]

According to the article, "Albertus' writings collected in 1899 went to thirty-eight volumes. These displayed his prolific habits and literally encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy/astrology, mineralogy, chemistry, zoology, physiology, phrenology and others; all of which were the result of logic and observation." But phrenology was invented only around 1800 (see the Wikipedia article)! Top.Squark (talk) 17:08, 6 May 2008 (UTC)

I noticed this discrepancy as well and I agree. Do his "phrenological" studies amount to something similar, or is it a misnomer entirely?

POV on Astrology[edit]

However, it is true that Albertus was deeply interested in astrology, as has been articulated by scholars such as Paola Zambelli.[5] While today we would view this as evidence of superstition... This sounds pretty opinionated. Would it not suffice to say "Albertus was interested in astrology..."? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:09, 11 August 2009 (UTC)

I'd say that it's relevant to mention, as superstition would undoubtly have been persecuted by the church. (talk) 18:13, 9 January 2010 (UTC)

He did not such thing: "Albertus made this [astrologycal predictions] a central component of his philosophical system, arguing that an understanding of the celestial influences affecting us could help us to live our lives more in accord with Christian precepts." Nearest to this was his own statement (I'm working on it to find exact source reference, now just for talk, from memory, wording might be other but his point was exactly that) "definitely it would be foolish to suppose that stars are affecting us, our behaviour, but if good Lord has seen fit to let it appear as there is some analogy between there above and here below" then it's ok; those movements have one common reason, not that one affects the other. (I did my BA thesis on his biography, and confusing points of same, so I know what I'm talking about... more or less.) BirgittaMTh (talk) 10:05, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Broken link[edit] is broken --Legolas558 (talk) 12:19, 9 March 2010 (UTC)

Two infoboxes[edit]

Someone added a philosopher infobox beneath the saint infobox. Do we want to keep both? Aristophanes68 (talk) 17:00, 17 March 2011 (UTC)


Removed the following here for the time being: "Much of the modern confusion results from the fact that later works, particularly the alchemical work known as the Secreta Alberti or the Experimenta Alberti, were falsely attributed to Albertus by their authors to increase the prestige of the text through association.[citation needed]"

This is from " An Illustrated History of Alchemy and Early Chemistry ©2008, 2004, 1978 BY David A. Katz. All rights reserved.Permission for classroom and educational use as long as original copyright is included ". Mannanan51 (talk) 05:21, 21 September 2012 (UTC)Mannanan51

I think you could put it back - copyright does allow quotations up to some length (page, or smth? may vary according to country); definitely it's ok to use one fraze with duly shown source and q.marks. It's good accurate statement from Mr. Katz. BirgittaMTh (talk) 10:15, 23 August 2014 (UTC)

Back to the future[edit]


He was ahead of his time in his attitude towards science. Two aspects of this attitude deserve to be mentioned: 1) he did not only study science from books, as other academics did in his day, but actually observed and experimented with nature (the rumours starting by those who did not understand this are probably at the source of Albert's supposed connections with alchemy and witchcraft), 2) he took from Aristotle the view that scientific method had to be appropriate to the objects of the scientific discipline at hand.

So, he was ahead of his time in looking back to Aristotle? Makes no sense William M. Connolley (talk) 19:51, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Does not compute[edit]

Look, this is just bollocks:

Albertus' writings collected in 1899 went to thirty-eight volumes. These displayed his prolific habits and literally encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, chemistry, zoology, physiology, phrenology and others; all of which were the result of logic and observation. He was perhaps the most well-read author of his time. He digested, interpreted and systematized the whole of Aristotle's works, gleaned from the Latin translations and notes of the Arabian commentators, in accordance with Church doctrine. Most modern knowledge of Aristotle was preserved and presented by Albertus.

So, all of his works were the result of obs+logic. Errm, except he also regurgitated a pile of other people stuff, by diligent copying William M. Connolley (talk) 19:53, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

This article is well revised. You presented plenty of information on Magnus, and arranged a decent amount of images throughout the article to where it didn't look cluttered. The only issues I could identify in the article is that there needs to be more citations in some areas (i.e.Music), and you will need to do a thorough look into the text to fix grammatical errors (i.e.Matter and Form). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aquilawalton10 (talkcontribs) 04:05, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Page edits[edit]

The edits and additions you have made so far are very good. I think it would be a very good idea to go back through and slowly read through your additions to look for grammatical errors and sentences that could be restructured. I noticed several minor edits that needed to be made throughout the paragraph you added to experimental sciences. Let me point out of a few and see if you agree with me:

Albert drew upon the information he had at his disposable for experimental science from the writings of Aristotle.

    –use disposal instead of disposable

In his work, De Miner, he says, "The aim of natural philosophy (science) is not to simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature.

    -the sentence could be restructured to sound better. How about this: In De Miner Albert claims "...

The Aristotelianism greatly influences this view

    -this too could be said better. how about: This type of thinking demonstrates the influence Aristotle had on him.

Jmsaint (talk) 01:43, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

De Vegetabilibus[edit]

It woudl be good to have a paragraph treating this subject. All the best: Rich Farmbrough19:46, 6 May 2014 (UTC).