The Medieval Review 16.05.04

Maloney, Thomas S., ed. Logica, or Summa Lamberti . Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2015. pp. xlix, 442. $64.00 (paperback) $64.00 (ebook). ISBN: 978-0-268-03535-8 (paperback) 978-0-268-08699-2 (ebook).

Reviewed by:

Sara Uckelman
Durham University

With this publication of the mid-13th-century introduction to logic by one French Dominican monk Lambert, the last of the four most important textbooks of that period are now available in complete English translation. (The other three being William of Sherwood's Introduction to Logic; Roger Bacon's The Art and Science of Logic; and Peter of Spain's Summaries of Logic. [1]). Of the four books, Lambert's treatise is in my opinion the best introduction to logic and semantic theory of the 13th century for the modern reader: It is not nearly as tedious as Peter's, contains more detail than Sherwood's, and lacks some of the seemingly irrelevant digressions of Bacon's. But it is not only for that reason that I would recommend this book: It is also on the basis of the careful and detailed notes that accompany the translation. Because this text is the final one of the four to be published, Maloney is able to provide detailed cross-references, not only to the Aristotelian and Boethian roots of Lambert's doctrine, or to the anonymous 12th and 13th-century treatises edited in L.M. de Rijk's Logica Modernorum, [2] but also to where similar topics are considered by the other three authors, allowing the student who does not read Latin to still have access to a relatively systematic comparative study of the four authors' differing views.

These detailed endnotes are in lieu of any comprehensive introduction to Lambert's doctrine. Instead, much of Maloney's introduction (25 pages) is devoted to the question of who, exactly, Lambert was. Two primary candidates for Lambert's identification and life story have been advanced, the first by Franco Alessio in his edition of Lambert's Logica (the edition which Maloney used) and the second by Alain de Libera in his critical edition of the section of the Logica on appellation. Maloney summarises the views of both, bringing in supplemental data and arguments from L.M. de Rijk, Simon Tugwell, Marian Michèle Mulchahey. What all views agree on is his name: a number of the manuscripts explicitly name the author as Lambertus, and one even gives a locative byname: "Expliciunt summule magistri Lamberti de Liniaco castro," that is, Lambert of Ligny-le-Châtel. They also agree that Lambert was influenced by work at the University of Paris, that he was a teacher of Theobald before he became king of Navarre and count of Champagne, and that the Logica underwent two phases of composition before being circulated in Paris (xxii). They differ in the remainder of the details. Alessio argues that Lambert was a Dominican canon at the cathedral in Auxerre by the 1240s, and that it was then that the Logica was first composed; de Libera believes that Lambert did not join the Dominicans until late in life, and that the Logica was composed in the 1250s, probably to educate Theobald. In the end, Maloney sides with Alessio in identifying the author of the text as one of the first Dominican canons at the newly established chapter in Auxerre; in this, he goes against his 2009 conclusion that "there is insufficient reliable historical data to identify the author of the Summa Lamberti was a Dominican of Auxerre in the 1240s" (xxxviii). Instead, on the basis of new material concerning the history of the Dominicans in Auxerre, Maloney now says that it is "quite plausible that a certain master of arts, Lambert of Ligny-le-Châtel, possibly a former canon of the cathedral of Auxerre, now friar of the Dominican convent there, would have been called upon to teach logic in service to the curriculum in the schola of his convent" (xxxix). So the matter will stand until further evidence or argument is put forward.

So much for the authorship: The remainder of Maloney's introduction covers Lambert's sources (xl-xli), in particular making a case for the influence of both Boethius's commentaries and John le Page on Lambert's views, and the independence of his views from those of Bacon, Sherwood, and Peter of Spain. (In the context of justifying the independence claims, the detailed footnotes again prove their worth.) Next, Maloney discusses the status of the Latin text he used as the basis of his translation. Alessio's edition is based on only one of the twelve manuscripts, and as a result requires emendation in many cases in order to obtain sense. These emendations, which are not based on reading the manuscripts, are both flagged where they occur as well as collected in appendix A. The text itself is often structured in a dialectical format, raising questions or objections and giving answers, and Maloney has usefully, and unobtrusively, highlighted this format by putting in bold cue phrases such as "But one objects," "One should reply," "One first asks," "The solution." This method of bolding helps make the dialogical structure explicit without detracting from the readability of the text: A method which I found immensely helpful and would love to see in future translations of similar material. Finally, Maloney discusses for whom the translation is intended. It is intended to meet the needs of three disparate groups of people: those with no Latin at their disposal; those with some facility but for whom reading the entire text in the original would be too difficult and time-consuming; and experts who nevertheless may find a translation of help in certain tricky points of interpretation. I fall into the middle of these three groups. Unfortunately, I do not have access to Alessio's edition so cannot comment on the accuracy of the translation, but Maloney's English prose reads pleasantly and when he deviates substantially from the Latin, such as in fallacies which depend on specifics of Latin grammar and vocabulary, these cases are amply footnoted. Only once did I spot a clear error in translation; in ¶157, what is presumably the same phrase in the Latin is translated once as "in stone" and once as "of stone," with the latter making more sense in English). For the most part, Maloney sticks to standard translations of common technical terms and phrases, though in a few cases he deviates. For example, in translating Lambert's discussion of the sophistical topic often called "figure of speech," Maloney calls it "figure of a word." Though there is a footnote, no mention is given of the more usual translation of the phrase: A minor oversight, but one that can, potentially, lead the unknowing reader astray.

Lambert's treatise itself covers the full range of standard topics in logic and semantics for the middle of the 13th century. In chapter 1, he gives an analysis of propositions, beginning with a study of sounds, words, names (nouns), verbs, expressions (phrases), and the finally all manner of propositions: categorical and hypothetical (compound) propositions and their conversion and equipollency (equivalence), and finally modal propositions. The next six chapters deal with the standard Aristotelian logical subjects: predicables chapter 2), Categories (chapter 3), Syllogism (chapter 5), Topics (chapter 6), and Sophistical Topics (chapter 7), with chapter 4 being an unusual interpolation "Remarks after the Categories." These remarks, concerning opposition, priority, concomittance, change, and possession, come after the chapter on the Categories because they serve to clarify "something that was said within the categories" [¶583]. Finally, chapter 8 provides the student with an introduction to the "new" logic of the period: A study of the properties of terms, including their signification, supposition, copulation, appellation, ampliation, distribution, and relation. The placement of this chapter causes some amount of problem: While on the one hand it makes sense to discuss the traditional Aristotelian material first before going on to the 'new' material, on the other hand, it is strange to discuss the properties of propositions before the properties of the terms which go into the properties are discussed, and there are certain cases in his discussion of fallacies where Lambert makes use of the tools of supposition before he has introduced them [¶1058].

While much of Lambert's discussion is relatively orthodox, especially of the Aristotelian topics, there are a few threads running through the text in which you can see his personal views and personality come through. One of these is the recurring theme of what the logician does vs. what the grammarian does--a theme in which the logician always comes out more favorably! For example, grammarians are craftsmen "attentive to the senses, i.e., sensitive, less cultivated than a logician" [¶379], and further, the grammarian cares about "congruity and incongruity of discourse" while the logician cares about "what is true and false with respect to discourse" [¶46]. Because of this "a logician, although not a grammarian, [...] can readily grasp different things in one expression under the same construction" [¶976].

After the translation comes appendix A, already noted, and appendix B, a list of the questions and objections raised in the text (314-322). The notes follow, and then a bibliography of primary and secondary sources cited in the introduction and notes. The bibliography is extensive (416-431), but tends to focus on scholarship from the previous century; few works from the last fifteen years are included. There are two indices, one of names and works (432-436), the other a general index (437-442). The book is impeccably proofread, with very few typos (in footnote 164, p. 338, 'Châtal' instead of 'Châtel'; in footnote 87, p. 368, 'Bacon' instead of 'Lambert'). In sum, this book provides scholars at all levels a valuable resource for 13th-century logic and semantic theory, including serving as an entry point to the topic for the newcomer. All the remains now is for someone to take up the content of the text and provide a systematic account of Lambert's views--a task which this translation makes immeasurably easier.



1. William of Sherwood, William of Sherwood’s Introduction to Logic, trans. Norman Kretzmann (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1966); Roger Bacon, The Art and Science of Logic, trans. Thomas S. Maloney (Toronoto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2009); Brian P. Copenhaver (ed.) with Calvin Normore and Terence Parsons, Peter of Spain: Summaries of Logic, Text, Translation, Introduction, and Notes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014).

2. L.M. de Rijk, Logica Modernorum, 2 Vols. (Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp., 1967).

Copyright (c) 2016 Sara Uckelman

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