Richard Rufus of Cornwall
RICHARD RUFUS OF CORNWALL
Franciscan theologian and philosopher; b. England; d. Oxford, c. 1260. Richard entered the order in Paris in 1238, already a master of arts, and was ordained in England the next year. He commented on the Sententiae of Peter Lombard, first at Oxford (1250–53) and later at Paris. For his Oxford commentary, which covers the first three books, Richard had at hand the respective commentaries of alexander of hales, hugh of saint-cher, and richard fishacre. The Paris commentary is a critical condensation of St. Bonaventure's commentary. It is likely that Richard wrote also a voluminous commentary on Aristotle's Metaphysics (Cod. Vat. Lat. 4538). In 1256 he left Paris for Oxford to serve as magister regens of the Franciscan studium there.
Richard possessed an acute and critical mind and an excellent knowledge of Aristotle. On more than one point he anticipates John duns scotus. The universal has for him a double aspect: species abstracta, which exists in the mind, and natura communis, which exists extra-mentally in individuals. All of creation demonstrates the existence of the Creator. Richard denies the validity of the ontological argument, but admits (as Duns Scotus did later) that from the possibility of ens a se one can conclude to its existence. He professes a pronounced voluntarism. He introduces among the powers of the soul a distinction that is considered to be the first indication of Scotus's formal distinction. Theses common to the Augustinian-Franciscan school, such as divine illumination and the hylomorphic composition of spiritual creatures, are also found in his writings.
Bibliography: t. noone, "Roger Bacon and Richard Rufus on Aristotle's Metaphysics," Vivarium 35 (1997) 251–65. r. wood, "Angelic Individuation according to Richard Rufus, St. Bonaventure, and St. Thomas Aquinas," in Individuum and Individualitat im Mittelalter (Berlin 1996) 209–29. p. raedts, Richard Rufus of Cornwall and the Tradition of Oxford Theology (Oxford 1987). g. gÁl, "Opiniones Richardi Rufi Cornubiensisa a censore reprobatae," in Franciscan Studies Annual 8, 1975 (St. Bonventure, N.Y. 1976) 136–93.