Original Research

The Dominican Robert Kilwardby (ca. 1215–1279) as schoolman and ecclesiastical official

Johann Beukes
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2065 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2065 | © 2020 Johann Beukes | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 November 2019 | Published: 08 June 2020

About the author(s)

Johann Beukes, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


This article, by reworking the most recent specialist contributions, presents a fresh overview of the scholastic and ecclesiastical contributions of the Oxford Dominican Robert Kilwardby (ca. 1215–1279). After highlighting the current research problem of the ‘canon’ in Medieval philosophy, the article turns to Kilwardby as a positive example of a ‘non-canonised’ thinker from the high Middle Ages – one who is thus thoroughly researched in a specialised or niche compartment, but who remains mostly unacknowledged in mainstream or ‘canonised’ Medieval philosophy. The article thus reappraises Kilwardby intending to accentuate his scholastic and ecclesiastical contributions beyond the confines of a particular niche. Kilwardby’s often provocative combination of Aristotelian natural philosophy and Augustinianism as a schoolman, and his central yet problematic role in the Paris-Oxford condemnations of 1277 as an ecclesiastical official, are henceforth reappraised.

Intradisciplinary/interdisciplinary implications: As a millennium-long discourse, Medieval philosophy functions in a Venn diagrammatical relationship with Medieval history, Church history, patristics and philosophy of religion. Whenever ‘mainstream’ or ‘canonised’ Medieval philosophy is impacted from the niche research, it may well have implications that these closely related disciplines could take note of. Such is the case in this ‘hourglass’ reappraisal of life and work of Robert Kilwardby as a scholastic thinker and an ecclesiastical official.


Aristotelian natural philosophy; Augustinian influence; Brill Publishing, Leiden; A. Broadie; ‘hourglass research’; intentionalism; H. Lagerlund; A. Maierù; Paris–Oxford condemnations of 1277


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