Dominic Gundisalvi (Gundissalinus)

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Twelfth-century philosopher who worked in Spain and there translated numerous Arabic philosophical works into Latin. He is mentioned as an archdeacon residing in Toledo in the prefatory letter of the translation of Avicenna's De anima, dedicated to the Archbishop of Toledo, John (115166). He was associated with a learned Jew (israelita philosophus ) named Avendauth (Ibn Daud), who translated verbatim the Arabic text into Castilian, leaving Gundisalvi to translate the Romanic into Latin. The archdeacon Don Domingo Gonzalbo appears again in two Toledan charters dated 1178 and 1181 (C. A. González Palencia). He signed a charter in 1190 as a member of the chapter of Segovia (D. Mansilla). According to these documents, it seems that Gundisalvi's ecclesiastical and literary activities took place during the second half of the 12th century. Possibly he studied in France c. 1140; he was acquainted with the teachings of thierry of chartres, Master Helias, william of conches, and hugh of saint-victor; and two of his works (De anima and De immortalitate animae ) show close parallels with the treatise De essentiis, written in 1143 by Hermann of Carinthia, who was a disciple of Thierry.

According to the custom generally used for translations from the Arabic, Gundisalvi worked with an Arabicist and retranslated into Latin. From manuscript evidence the following translations can be positively ascribed to him: (1) Avicenna's De anima, translated with Avendauth; (2) Avicenna's Metaphysica; (3) Algazel's Summa theoricae philosophiae (including logic, metaphysics, and physics), translated with "Magister Johannes"; and (4) Avicebron's Fons vitae, translated with "Johannes." Possibly he translated Avicenna's Logica (the Isagoge only), the Physica, and the Pseudo-Avicennian De caelo. Probably he translated Avicenna's commentary on the Analytica posteriora 2.7, which is included in his own De divisione philosophiae. It is likely that he translated also the De ortu scientiarum attributed to alfarabi, and revised and adapted Gerard of Cremona's literal translation of De scientiis, since both of these treatises are used in De divisione philosophiae. He may have translated and revised other philosophical works, but precise data are lacking.

Gundisalvi was not an original thinker, but it would be unfair to qualify him as a mere compiler. He tried earnestly to adapt the teachings of Avicenna and Avicebron to the use of Latin Christians in the West. He showed strong Neoplatonic tendencies, and his favorite authority was boethius; he knew St. augustine too, and quoted Scripture with ease. He seems to have recognized the importance of Avicenna's psychology, and was the first to combine it with the traditional Augustinian doctrine of the divine illumination of the soul. His translations are not always easy to understand, but his vocabulary is more precise and adequate and his style more fluent than that of most of his predecessors and contemporaries.

See Also: scholasticism.

Bibliography: Works. De anima, complete ed. j. t. muckle in "The Treatise De anima of Dominicus Gundissalinus," Mediaeval Studies (1940) 23103; De unitate et uno, ed. p. correns in "Die dem Boethius fälschlich zugeschriebene Abhandlung des Dominicus Gundissalinus De unitate, " Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 1.1 (1891); De immortalitate animae, ed. g. bÜlow in "Des Dominicus Gundissalinus Schrift von der Unsterblichkeit der Seele," ibid. 2.3 (1897); De divisione philosophiae, ed. l. baur in "Dominicus Gundissalinus' De divisione philosophiae, " ibid. 4.23 (1903); De processione mundi, ed. g. bÜlow in "Des Dominicus Gundissalinus Schrift De processione mundi, " ibid. 24.3 (1925). m. menÉndez y pelayo, Historia de los heterodoxos españoles, ed. e. sÁnchez reyes (Edición nacional 3542; Santander 194648) 2:173186. dominic gundisalvi, De scientiis, ed. m. alonso (Madrid 1954). Studies. É. h. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 652653. m. t. d'alverny, "Notes sur les traductiones médiévales d'Avicenne," Archives d'histoire doctrinale et litéraire du moyen-âge 27 (1952) 337358; "Avendauth? (=Abraham ibn David)," Homenaje a Millás-Vallicrosa, 2 v. (Barcelona 195456) 1:1943. m. alonso, "Notas sobre los traductores toledanos Domingo Gundisalvo y Juan Hispano," Al-Andalus 8 (1943) 115188; "Traducciones del arcediano Domingo Gundisalvo," ibid. 12 (1947) 295338; "Gundisalvo y el Tractatus De anima," Pensamiento 4 (1948) 7177. É. h. gilson, "Les Sources grécoarabes de l'augustinisme avicennisant," Archives d'histoire doctrinale et litéraire du moyenâge 4 (192930) 5107 a. h. chroust, "The Definitions of Philosophy in De divisione philosophiae of Dominicus Gundissalinus," The New Scholasticism 25 (1951) 253281. r. w. hunt, "The Introduction to the 'Artes' in the Twelfth Century," Studia media-evalia in honorem R. J. Martin, OP (Bruges 1948). r. mckeon, "Rhetoric in the Middle Ages," Speculum 17 (1942) 132, also in Critics and Criticism: Ancient and Modern, ed. r. s. crane (Chicago 1952). d. mansilla, "La documentacion pontificia del Archivo de la Catedral de Burgos," Hispania sacra 1 (1948) 161. c. a. gonzÁlez palencia, Los Mozárabes de Toledo en los siglos XII y XIII, 4 v. (Madrid 192630) 2:141, 154.

[m. t. d'alverny]

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Dominic Gundisalvi (Gundissalinus)

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