Adam of Buckfield

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Aristotelian philosopher of Oxford; b. Bockenfield, Northumberland, c. 1220; d. between 1279 and 1294. He was a student at Oxford in 1238, and by 1243 he became a master in arts. In 1249, then a subdeacon, he was recommended by adam marsh to robert grosseteste for the rectory of Iver, Buckinghamshire, and was praised highly for his piety and learning. In 1264 he held a canonry and prebend at Lincoln, probably having abandoned the schools of Oxford. There is no contemporary evidence that he was a master in theology.

All his extant writings relate to his teaching career in the faculty of arts at Oxford. The precise determination of his writings is a delicate matter. Some are ascribed to Adam Buckfield, some to Adam Bouchermefort, others vaguely to Magister Adam Anglicus; and six works survive in two versions. M. grabmann, the first to consider the problem seriously, assumed that Buckfield and Bouchermefort were distinct individuals and assigned one set of writings to each on the basis of the manuscript tradition. Later, Grabmann himself acknowledged that Buckfield and Bouchermefort are the same person. A diversity of names for a single individual is not unusual, since medieval scribes were frequently unfamiliar with the place name being copied; Emden has noted 22 different forms for Adam of Buckfield.

His works, commonly called notulae, glosae, or sententiae, cover all the libri naturales of Aristotle and the Metaphysica nova, the version from the Arabic. His method of exposition was one used early in the schools and later popularized by Averroës. It consists in a literal exposition and analysis of each section of the text that had been divided and subdivided. Buckfield's exposition is remarkable for its clarity, conciseness, and accuracy. He used the Latin version of Aristotle known as the corpus vetustius, although he sometimes referred to other versions. Occasionally he inserted short questions to clarify difficult points. A notable one, the only fully developed quaestio, occurs at the end of De anima, Bk. 1. Although he utilized Avicenna, algazel, and others, his principal source was Averroës, often to the point of simply paraphrasing him. However, unlike Averroës, Buckfield maintained a plurality of forms in material substance (see forms, unicity and plurality of).

Besides commenting on Aristotle he also wrote glosses on the pseudo-Aristotelian De plantis and De differentia spiritus et animae, and a Quaestio de augmento. The authenticity of In metaph. vetus and De causis, sometimes ascribed to him, is doubtful. The De anima in the Berlin manuscript is a compilation drawn from Buckfield and albert the great.

The 45 surviving manuscripts, widely scattered, indicate that his works were considerably popular in the Middle Ages. The importance of Buckfield lies in the range of his commentaries, the perfection of his technique, and the indication of the curriculum of arts at Oxford in the middle of the 13th century.

Bibliography: adam of buckfield, "Super secundum Metaphysicae," ed. a. a. maurer in Nine Medieval Thinkers, ed. j. r. o'donnell (Toronto 1955) 99144. d. a. callus, Revue néoscolastique de philosophie 42 (1939) 41324, 43338; "Introduction of Aristotelian Learning to Oxford," Proceedings of the British Academy 29 (1943) 25556. m. grabmann, Mittelalterliches Geistesleben, 3 v. (Munich 192556) 13882, 61416. f. pelster, Scholastik 11 (1936) 196224. s. h. thomson, Medievalia et humanistica 2 (1944) 5587; 3 (1945) 13233; 12 (1948) 2332. l. bataillon, ibid. 13 (1960) 3539. a. b. emden, A Biographical Register of the University of Oxford to a.d. 1500 1:297.

[d. a. callus]