Book Series Studia Sententiarum, vol. 7

Principia on the Sentences of Peter Lombard

Exploring an Uncharted Scholastic Philosophical Genre Across Europe

Monica Brinzei, William O. Duba (eds)

  • Pages: approx. 1210 p.
  • Illustrations:25 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, French, Latin
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-61208-9
  • Hardback
  • Forthcoming (Jun/24)
Open Access

These volumes offer the first overview of a neglected philosophical-theological genre that flourished in late-medieval universities across Europe: the Principium.


Contributors to Volume I: Alexandra Anisie, Monica Brinzei, William J. Courtenay, William O. Duba, Christopher D. Schabel, Florian Wöller

Contributors to Volume II: Wokciech Baran, Pascal Bermon, Monica Brinzei, William O. Duba, Michael Dunne, Matteo Esu, Andrea Fiamma, Russel Friedman, Edit Anna Lukács, Christopher D. Schabe, Ueli Zahnd


Principia were an obligatory step on the medieval university path to becoming a master of theology. As inaugural lectures on the four books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard, they provided the first opportunity for a scholastic to defend a philosophical-theological worldview. These lectures were also a way for the theologian, now a sententiarius, to present himself and to make a name for himself, initially by delivering in a speech an introduction to the course and by debating with his fellows. The present book takes a collective approach to offer a survey of the evolution of the genre, mapping the dissemination of this exercise during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries across Europe.

As an academic exercise, principia bridge ideas, texts, authors, and institutions across time. Exploring the corpus of surviving principia illuminates the philosophical creativity cultivated in the faculties of theology. The papers in these volumes thus not only discuss the structural aspects of principia, but also treat the philosophical and theological ideas defended and attacked during the principial debates and the topics and imagery used in the speeches.

The various chapters delve into the surviving material in a common attempt, firstly, to assemble pieces of evidence from Paris and Oxford into an image portraying how, when, and by whom the principia were performed in the first European universities. The second part illustrates the spread of the genre to the new faculties of theology in Central Europe and Italy, with case studies from Bologna, Cracow, Florence, Heidelberg, Prague, and Vienna, highlighting the pan-European diffusion of the practice.


Volume I: Paris and Oxford

Monica Brinzei and William O. Duba, Introduction

Monica Brinzei, A Guide for Understanding Principia on the Sentences of Peter Lombard


William J. Courtenay, The Transformation of Sentential Principia in the Early Fourteenth Century

Florian Wöller, Inaugural Speeches by Bachelors of Theology Principial Collationes and their Transmission (1317–1319)

Chris Schabel, Francis of Marchia on Instrumental Causality: The Conclusion to Principium in IV in Question 2 on IV Sentences

Chris Schabel, The Genre Matures. Parisian Principia in the 1340s, from Gregory of Rimini to Pierre Ceffons

Chris Schabel, The Forgotten Principia of a Forgotten Theologian: Jean de Moyenneville, 1356-1357, and Parisian Theology in the Late 1350s

Alexandra Anisie, Mediated Knowledge and Beatific Vision in the First Principium of John of Brammart

William J. Courtenay, Principial Cohorts at Paris


Siegfried Wenzel, Introductory Lectures on the Sentences by “Frisby”

Michael Dunne, Between Old and New at Oxford: The Introitus Sententiarum of Richard FitzRalph and the First Collatio of Adam Wodeham

Pascale Bermon, À la recherche des Principia aux Questions sur les Sentences de Robert Holcot O.P. († 1349)

Chris Schabel, The Oxford Franciscan Robert Halifax’s Principial Debate over Grace and Merit with His Pelagian Socius and Other Colleagues in 1332-133

Volume II: Blogona, Cracow, Florence, Heidelberg, Prague, and Vienna


Chris Schabel, The Franciscan Guglielmo Centueri of Cremona’s Bologna Principium of 1368, with an Appendix on Whether God Can Make the Past Not to Have Been


Wojciech Baran, Survey on Medieval Principia on Peter Lombard’s Sentences of Theologians from the University of Cracow


William O. Duba and Russell L. Friedman, A(nother) Florentine Principium on the Sentences. The Mystery of the Two "Prologues" in Peter of Trabibus’ I Sentences


Andrea Fiamma, John Wenck’s Principia on the Sentences (1431)


Monica Brinzei, The Cistercian Matthew of Zbraslav (de Aula Regia / Königsaal), Socius of a Pre-Radical Jan Hus, and Their Prague Principial Debate


Edit Anna Lukács, Prêcher sur les Sentences: sermons sur l’œuvre du Lombard à la bibliothèque des Dominicains de Vienne

Ueli Zahnd, Disputing without Socii: The Principium on Book I of Conrad of Rothenburg, Vienna 1408/09

Matteo Esu, Peter of Pirkenwart’s Textual Workshop from his Principium IV (1417)

Matteo Esu and Ueli Zahnd, A joint Edition of Conrad of Rothenburg’s and Peter of Pirchenwart’s Principia on Book IV of the Sentences