John Case and Aristotelianism in Renaissance England

John Case and Aristotelianism in Renaissance England

Charles B. Schmitt
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 321
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    John Case and Aristotelianism in Renaissance England
    Book Description:

    Dr. Schmitt shows that Case was heir to both the traditions of scholastic interpretation of Aristotle and the new humanistic currents, that his Aristotelianism was strongly eclectic, and that he drew heavily upon Renaissance Neoplatonic and other intellectual traditions in compiling well-rounded philosophical manuals adapted to his age. Schmitt argues that, even though Case was the prime representative of peripatetic thought during Elizabeth's reign, he forged strong links with leading figures in such areas of English culture as drama, literature, art, and music, as well as with important ecclesiastical and political figures. He also contends that Aristotelian philosophy had a much more central position in England than has been previously admitted.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6400-8
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Plates
    (pp. xii-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    In the seventeenth century John Case was described as “the greatest philosopher that our English universities have brought forth in this time.”¹ Posterity, however, has not upheld this opinion, even in a severely diluted form. If Case is remembered at all today, it is more for his writing on music than for his vast philosophical treatises, more for the illustration adorning one of them than for the ideas the book contains, more for being a continuator of outmoded doctrine than for being a harbinger of novelty. Case’s first work appeared in 1584, and nothing from his pen was reprinted after...

  7. I Aristotelianism in England
    (pp. 13-76)

    During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Oxford was the equal of any other intellectual centre in Europe. Along with Paris it was one of the great northern European universities of masters, developing a very strong emphasis on arts and theology in contrast to the characteristic bias of Italian universities towards legal and medical studies. As the arts curriculum developed in the medieval universities, both in the medical context of Italy and in the theological context of northern Europe, the known writings of Aristotle became the core of the educational system. Even if late medieval developments took the frontiers of knowledge...

  8. II The Life and Works of John Case
    (pp. 77-105)

    John case was born in the town of Woodstock, about eight miles north of Oxford. The year of his birth is not precisely documented, and we have several conflicting later testimonies. These give his birth date as 1540,¹ about 1542,² and 1546.³ The last of these seems to be the most likely in view of his later career and in consideration of the normal age of entry to university for students at the time. The earlier dates cannot be ruled out, however. Though an age at entry of eighteen or nineteen was most common, there were some students in sixteenth-century...

  9. III John Case and His Intellectual Milieu
    (pp. 106-138)

    My brief sketch of John Case’s life has shown the centre of his activities to have been academic Oxford. From the time that he first gained a fellowship at St. John’s much of his energy was spent in teaching. Only after passing into middle age did he begin publishing, and the books he produced during the final fifteen years of his life were nearly all derived from his teaching activity as a philosopher. Indeed, when one considers the subject matter of his published work—with a single exception all based on Aristotelian philosophy—it is very easy to conclude in...

  10. IV Case’s Eclectic Aristotelianism and Its Historical Context
    (pp. 139-190)

    John case’s many links with major figures of the Elizabethan period ensure that he was very much in contact with some of the more progressive thinking in England at his time. There is no evidence that he travelled abroad—or even very widely in England outside of the Oxford-London area—yet he was well aware of much of the recent European work in the fields in which he took an interest. He was very much up-to-date particularly on the latest work devoted to explicating and commenting upon Aristotle, and in some instances he was able to incorporate new European materials...

  11. V John Case on Art and Nature
    (pp. 191-216)

    In the previous chapter I tried to give some general idea of Case’s approach to philosophy. While focusing upon certain specific issues in his writings and trying to illustrate how different tendencies functioned within his eclectic Aristotelian framework, I did not treat in detail any of the central themes found in his work. In fact, after reading through Case’s writings one is left with the impression that a number of themes could profitably be studied. Sarah Mutton’s recent analysis of Case’s views on time shows some of the possibilities,¹ though what Case has to say about the subject of time...

  12. VI Conclusion
    (pp. 217-224)

    In the title of this book I have used the term “Aristotelianism,” and it occurs frequently in the course of my argument. Up to now I have not tried to define the term. In a certain sense prescriptive definitions are impossible for broad concepts such as “science,” “Platonism,” or “humanism” that are employed throughout long historical periods. “Science” did not mean the same thing for Aristotle as it did for Thomas Aquinas, Francis Bacon, Claude Bernard, or Albert Einstein. Within certain limits one can define what science meant for one or another thinker, perhaps even within a particular school of...

  13. APPENDIX I Logic Books Printed in England before 1620
    (pp. 225-229)
  14. APPENDIX II John Case’s Will
    (pp. 230-236)
  15. APPENDIX III John Case’s Letters
    (pp. 237-245)
  16. APPENDIX IV The Apologia Academiarum
    (pp. 246-250)
  17. APPENDIX V Prefatory Letters and Liminary Verses to Case’s Works
    (pp. 251-252)
  18. APPENDIX VI The Title Page of the Lapis Philosophicus
    (pp. 253-254)
    (pp. 255-255)
  20. APPENDIX VIII The Authorship of The Praise of Musicke
    (pp. 256-258)
  21. Bibliography
    (pp. 259-294)
  22. Index
    (pp. 295-303)
  23. Back Matter
    (pp. 304-304)