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Robert Grosseteste – a Medieval English Scholastic Philosopher

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Robert Grosseteste (1175 – 1253) was an English bishop and scholar who introduced into the world of European Christendom Latin translations of Greek and Arabic philosophical and scientific writings. His philosophical thinking – a somewhat eclectic blend of Aristotelian and Neoplatonic ideas – consistently searched for a rational scheme of things, both natural and divine.

Grosseteste was educated at the University of Oxford and then held a position with William de Vere, the bishop of Hereford. Grosseteste was chancellor of Oxford from about 1215 to 1221 and was given thereafter a number of ecclesiastical preferments and sinecures from which he resigned in 1232. From 1229 or 1230 to 1235 he was first lecturer in theology to the Franciscans, on whom his influence was profound. The works of this, his pre-episcopal career, include a commentary on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics and Physics, many independent treatises on scientific subjects, and several scriptural commentaries.

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In 1235, he was chosen Bishop of Lincoln, in zone the biggest bishopric in England. He speedily went to every one of the holy places in the bishopric and immediately evacuated huge numbers of the conspicuous ministry since they were neglecting their peaceful obligations. He overwhelmingly restricted the training by which the Pope selected Italians as truant ministry for English houses of worship. He demanded that his clerics invest their energy in the administration of their kin, in petition, and in think about. He went on a journey to Rome, where he stood up intensely against ministerial misuse. Back in England, he talked against unlawful usurpations of intensity by the ruler, and was one of those present at the marking of the Magna Carta.

Grossetestes’ academic compositions grasped numerous fields of learning. He converted into Latin the Ethics of Aristotle and the religious works of John of Damascus and of the fifth-century essayist known as Dionysius the Areopagite. He was gifted in verse, music, design, arithmetic, space science, optics, and material science (one of his students was Roger Bacon). His compositions on the primary section of Genesis incorporate an intriguing expectation of present day cosmological thoughts. (He read that the main thing made was light, and said that the universe started with unadulterated vitality detonating from a point source.) He knew Hebrew and Greek, and his Biblical examinations were a prominent commitment to the grant of the day.

Grosseteste was buried in Lincoln Cathedral, and his tomb and memorial slab are visible to the public. Several attempts were made after Grosseteste’s death to procur his sainthood, but they were not successful. There is a stained-glass window portrait in St. Paul’s Church in Morton by Gainsborough, near Lincoln, and a statue carved above a porch of Leicester Cathedral, where Grosseteste served before going to Lincoln. Grosseteste is the third from the left, between St. Hugh of Lincoln and John Wycliffe.

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