This file documents my talk at the Munich 2015-02-13/2015-02-13 conference Philosophy, Science and Religion in the Renaissance: Sources and Aftermath (see

) , and parts of the discussion after this talk.




Heinrich C. Kuhn: Niphus and Melanchthon to Students on the best Philosophy without Truth


LLGG, dear colleagues,


Once upon a time[1] I thought I had understood the two texts that are in the main focus of my talk today. But I found out that I was wrong. I believe to have been wrong back then, not because today I'd know better than back then, how to read these texts. I believe to have been wrong back then because today, now, I think there are crucial aspects of these texts which I do not understand - and misunderstood back then.


And I wonder if there are unknown sources of the solutions both texts seem to provide for a certain problem, and I have some doubts as to why the immediate and the less immediate aftermath seem to be different.



The title of my talk is "Niphus and Melanchthon to Students on the best Philosophy without Truth."


I'll first talk about what this talk is - probably - not about.


Then I'll talk about a 1519 text by Niphus and a somewhat similar 1536 text by Melanchthon.


And then I'll talk about two late 2014 animals.







To avoid misunderstandings concerning what my talk is about, and what it is not about I'll bore you with some clarifications, before I talk about the two main texts.


I'll talk about Augustinus Niphus and Philipp Melanchthon addressing their students, about Augustinus Niphus and Philipp Melanchthon making statements about the "best philosophy" - in both cases without arguing that the choice of that best philosophy is a choice of a (let alone the one) best philosophy.


In my understanding what my talk today is about, is at the best very very loosely connected with Kant's statements that students of philosophy should not learn thoughts, but should learn to think[2], - although back in 1994 I was of a different opinion on that.[3]

The same goes for Kant's statements that philosophy is no learnable science or discipline (i.e.: philosophy is not like history - including natural history, languages and law : which is a learnable science - and it is not like mathematics, which is a learnable science too); philosophy is no learnable science as there is no book which provides us reliably with philosophy the way Polybius provides us with history and Euclid provides us with geometry. And Kant continues that each book claiming to provide us with such a learnable philosophy, will be accepted in one place only, and even at that one place only by some of the people there, not by all of them.[4]


Also: In my understanding what my talk today is about, is not connected with any effort similar to Husserl's to argue that if Kant should be right, if indeed we can't teach philosophy tout court, if doing philosophy is all we can teach in that field, that then philosophy is no science, no field of knowledge at all, and that we should strive to transform philosophy into a proper science, a proper field of knowledge, into something that can be taught and learned.[5]




Let me state a few truisms and some well known facts and phenomena - which IMO also are not very pertinent to what my talk is about, so that you won't have to keep them distractingly in your minds.

Here we go:


Unhappiness about at least a part of what is taught as philosophy at universities is probably as old as teaching philosophy at universities is.[6] This is not what my talk is about.


That parts of Aristotle's texts and positions were not exactly paradigmatic manifestations of Catholic or Lutheran orthodoxy: that was well known at Niphus' and Melanchthon's time,[7] and once again, IMO that knowledge back then,  does not help me to solve the problems I didn't have in 1994 and didn't have in early 2014, but which I have now.


What is taught is taught sometimes because of its didactic suitability and not because of its congruence with the personal views of the teacher. This is nothing new: In Paulus Venetus' Logica parva[8] we get:[9]

It is to be noted that whenever I have spoken here or in other treatises I did not speak according to a proper intention; but in || part also according to the intention of other instructors so that young beginners may be introduced [to logic][10] more easily.

But I don't think this is what the two texts I want to talk about mainly are about.


And IMO they certainly are not about "according to Aristotle"/"according to philosophy" vs. "according to revelation and truth".[11]


And I am well aware, that combining Corpus aristotelicum material and non-Corpus aristotelicum material is not uncommon - at least since the 12th century.[12] But this does not solve my problems.


The appearance of philosophical textbooks cannot be seen as a reaction to the problems I see with the texts by Niphus and Melanchthon: the chronology just doesn't match: Petrus Hispanus' Summulae, Paulus Venetus' Summa rerum naturalium, Gregor Reisch's Margarita philosophica and a number of others predate the texts by Niphus and Melanchthon.

But on the other hand: The rise  of the philosophical textbook seen by Charles B. Schmitt[13] may indeed be at least partially a reaction to these problems - although Schmitt did discuss neither these problems nor this connection.



And: that - thanks to the new availability of ancient non-aristotelian texts - that doing philosophy at universities without necessarily using Aristotle as a basis, that this was indeed at least potentially an option, this, IMO, should be considered as part of the background of Niphus's and Melanchthon's texts.



Both of these texts were - at least originally - oral items, tested in the classroom as spoken texts.

This is not the only property they have in common. One of the others is, that I have talked and published about both texts sometime in the past.[14] So this time here I'll try to keep my summaries short - as I didn't change my opinion on what is in these texts, but on how to interpret the absence of some topics there.





I'll take Niphus first.

His texts begins hissing like a snake - or a pressure cooker: [15]

Omissis ventosis exordiis, fricatisque verbis …

An onomatopoetic start that is a decent indicator that this bit of text once was meant for oral presentation. It is the start of Niphus's Commentary on Aristotle's De anima, or, well, it is the start of one of his commentaries on De anima, the one first published - authorized by Niphus in Venice in 1522. Secondary literature says[16] - and the dedicatory letter is concordant with this -, that the text originates from 1519/1520, from Niphus Pisa professorship.

            So, with some probability sometime in 1519 or 1520, at the start of the first session  of his lectures or Aristotle's De anima Niphus presented this to the ears of his students:

Omissis ventosis exordiis, fricatisque verbis / que in librorum interpretandorum principiis fieri solent, Id primo in numerorum[17] Commentariorum principio disputandum esse arbitratus sum, cur apud omnes gentes, et quidem pluribus seculis, observandum est, ut in scholiis philosophorum Aristotelis libros legerentur.

Omitting the bloated introductions and airy verbiage usually happening at the start of interpretations of books, I have decided, that at the outset of the commentation it is to be discussed, why among all nations, and since several centuries, it is to be observed that in places of training in philosophy the books by Aristotle are read.

This is a question, which according to Niphus never before has been asked, and a fact, which according to him has never before been called into doubt.[18] And it's a fruitful question, Niphus states.

Why does academic training have the content academic training has? And whence the homogeneity, the monotony?

Niphus continues: The way to knowledge and science is that difficult that you need the best possible guide.

But is Aristotle such a guide? Apparently not. Niphus says: • there were logicians more skilled than Aristotle, • there were better orators and poets. • And there were more eminent philosophers of nature • and there were better moral philosophers. • And when seeking information and guidance concerning the rules of human behaviour, laws and other legal literature are consulted, not the Ethics by Aristotle. •  And we don't read Aristotle's mathematical works, but works by mathematicians. •  And recent studies have shown that Aristotle was ignorant when it comes to metaphysics. •  And Plato was nearer to christian theology than Aristotle was. •  And in many a case Aristotle's behaviour was not guided by virtue.


So: put an end to that peripatetic monoculture in academic philosophy?


Niphus says: He, Niphus, is not in a position to judge the relative greatness of ancient philosophers, as that would presuppose that he, Niphus was wiser than all of them. But: that doesn't matter, Niphus says, as the question is not about who has the best doctrine, but why everywhere the books by Aristotle are read.[19]

I.e.: There is no necessity that the best philosophers and/or the best philosophical texts are those used for training in philosophy or doing philosophy.


            Niphus has some arguments in favour of Aristotle: • the excellent division of the material and the order of the parts presented. • the excellent order of presentation, from what is better known to us to that which is less known to us, i.e. Aristotle's didactic excellence, •the rigor of his investigations, •  his providing just the right amount of information,[20] • his terminological precision, • the consistency of his texts..

Even if, Niphus says, even if somebody should have been greater than Aristotle when it comes to philosophical content, to doctrine : in the art to teach nobody was better than Aristotle.[21]


I won't bore you with Niphus's attempts to solve (or at least to reduce in force) the aforementioned arguments against Aristotle's excellence.[22] At one place there may be an echo of Averroes's Introduction to his Great Commentary on Aristotle's Physics, and such echoes IMO probably are also present in the next text I'll talk about, but there are other, even more striking, and IMO rather more important similarities between Niphus's text and the next one.




            As far as I can see there are - at least up to now - no working ways to prove that the author of this second text, Melanchthon, did know the text by Niphus, or did at least know about the text by Niphus, or didn't know it at all. Similarities between the texts seem to make such direct or indirect knowledge plausible. But on the other hand, at the time Melanchthon authored his text, the version of Niphus's commentary on De anima containing his defence of Aristotle as the guide of philosophy at universities, had that little diffusion in German speaking territories north of the alps, that apparently only one copy survived.[23]



            The text I'll talk about now is Melanchthon's oration on philosophy: De philosophia,[24] an oration read by him in 1536 at a masters' graduation ceremony. [25]

            I'll concentrate on the bits most interesting for what I'm puzzled about today here.[26]

            After a remarkable captatio benevolentiae Melanchthon tells his audience that the church needs "liberal erudition" " (liberalis eruditio), i.a. philosophy. [27] An unlearned theology ("inerudita Theologia") will be will be a confuse doctrine, will be incoherent, it will create errors without end,[28] will lead to fights, and to dissent, and to ambiguous conscientiae, and it will make the minds profane and epicurean.[29]

            Thus the church needs "many great arts".[30] Not only grammar and dialectics, but also philosophy of nature and moral philosophy.[31] And method and ordered oration ("methodus et forma orationis").[32]

This is so because nobody can become a master ("artifex") of method, unless he is very familiar and familiar in the right way[33] with philosophy, and this in that one type of philosophy that is alien to Sophistics, <i.e. in the one type of philosophy> that seeks and presents truth in an orderly and right way..[34]


            Who is well trained in method will be in advantage in religious disputations ("in disputationibus religionis").[35] There is no cherry picking for theology: theology needs the whole of philosophy.[36]


            But: what type of philosophy?

I demand an erudite philosophy, not those sophistries which have no fundament in reality. Therefore I said that a certain type of philosophy must be chosen, the one with the minimum of sophistical qualities[37] and which retains the correct method: such a philosophy is Aristotle's doctrine.[38]

Melanchthon continues: Add some (probably comparatively modern) astronomy/astrology, avoid the stoics, and Epicurus, and the Platonists and sceptics[39] - all of them are wrong and dangerous.[40] Do take Aristotle as a guide and add some bits found in other authors. [41]


            No, Melanchthon does not say that we should choose Aristotle as our guide because Aristotle is right. Nor because Aristotle's teachings are consistent with christian theology (of whatever type). Melanchthon does not claim the one nor the other. Choose Aristotle because Aristotle is the least sophistical philosopher, and the one who is superior when it comes to method.


            According to Melanchthon: There are some other advantages: studying philosophy improves your behaviour.[42] (This is something that is also found in Averroes' prologue to his Great Commentary on Physics[43] - not mentioned by Melanchthon.)  


            Melanchthon then mentions divine rewards for christians,[44] and then we get something that is even more radical than Pomponazzi's statement[45] that god cares more about rulers than about subjects, more about masters than about slaves, more about scholars than about non-scholars:

By all means you should know, that it is because of us, not because of the tyrants, that this whole world is preserved by God, the sun rises, the seasons change, so that the fields are fertile. The Stoics were right on this, that everything belongs to God, the philosophers however are friends of God, because of which everything also belongs to the philosophers..[46]

Melanchthon then concludes that we should defend learned studies ("studia literarum"), and expect to be rewarded by god.[47]





Now about two animals which I first tried to show to our first year students back in late 2014.


            Both Melanchthon's 1536 oration and Niphus 1519/1520 introduction are addressed at least also to students of philosophy. Both texts defend the then status quo of academic training in philosophy. Both of them defend the use of Aristotle as the main basis for such training. And in both cases the main reason given is Aristotle's didactic superiority when it comes to academic training in philosophy.

            And certainly Niphus, and most probably Melanchthon[48] had the chance to add corrections, additions modifications to the version they read to their students before the texts went into print. And perhaps they even used that chance.





There is an Elephant in the room. An elephant which I did not quite perceive in 1994 and 1998, and for quite some time after this, and which I tried to interpret as some sort of smaller animal - not even as a dwarf elephant but as a hyrax.

            Niphus didn't talk about that elephant. Nor did Melanchthon. Nor, as far as I know, did any of their direct contemporaries.


I'll try to talk about that animal.

            The "truth" of Aristotle's doctrine is very much absent as an argument in favour of using Aristotle in the classroom both in Niphus's and Melanchthon's text. If academic philosophy is not about truth: how and where do we get philosophical truths?

            If Niphus and Melanchthon should hold the opinion that there is no such thing as philosophical truth/truths (singular or plurale tantum): why don't they say so? And if they should hold that opinion: what is the status of their texts?

            If teaching philosophy at universities is not about truth: what is teaching philosophy at universities about? (Once upon a time I tried to answer 'it "teaches the necessity of doing one's own thinking", it teaches how to think for yourself, it teaches to do philosophy.' But today I doubt that that's the right answer in this context, and I'm rather convinced that it is not a sufficient answer. Because: if this is the answer. Why don't these two texts mention how you learn to think for yourself, and how to actually do philosophy?

            Are there genuinely philosophical reasons to be interested in philosophy?, and if the answer should be affirmative: which reasons? • And if the answer should be negative: why doesn't Niphus mention any non-philosophical reasons (like usefulness of natural philosophy for medics), and why does Melanchthon not insist that after studying philosophy you must in any case study theology as thoroughly as possible to be good at religious disputations and preaching? And if there should be no genuinely philosophical reasons to study philosophy: how does that match with Melanchthon's statement that the world exists for the sake of the philosophers and that the whole world belongs to the philosophers?




There is an even stranger animal here: something like a mammoth: and it is mainly this animal which does irritate me:

            Why don't we have any sign or trace or whatever that Niphus's and/or Melanchthon's students pointed to that elephant? Asked questions like the ones I just asked? Requested answers to such questions?

            Why don't we have any sign or trace or whatever that Niphus's and/or Melanchthon's adversaries pointed to that elephant? Asked questions like the ones I just asked? Requested answers to such questions? Provided their own answers to such questions? (Back then. Many of these questions will be dealt with some decades later. [49] But apparently they were dealt with not back then. And I have no idea why. And I have no idea what did change, what did lead to their being asked and answered later.)


There is an other potential question: if the situation is like Niphus and Melanchthon claim it is concerning Aristotle: Why not replace or at least complement Aristotle's didactically suitable texts with even better texts by more recent authors (using Aristotle as their basis)? The answer is simple. It was done. Niphus did it.[50] And Melanchthon did. And many many others did.

            But I have not yet read one of these texts published during the period I'm talking about here today addressing the questions I asked during the last few minutes, talking about the big animals I mentioned.

            And this probably means that somehow I got my questions wrong, that somehow my questions don't fit in the contexts of the 1519-1536 texts I talked about, that those two animals did not exist there and then.

            But I don't know how I got my questions wrong, nor why.




            I remain puzzled, I thank you for your patience, I hope for your answers and solutions, and I'm ready for your questions.


Thanks again and thanks in advance!













[Special thanks to Davind Lines not only for his contributions to the discussion - at the conference and later -, but also for improving the bits of thexts that follow!]



From the discussion (and it's aftermath):


David Lines suggested that it might help to have a look at ca. 1519 to ca. 1536 definitions of "philosophy" to get a better understanding of one of the contexts of the texts discussed here. I agree completely.


In the discussion there was a question about Niphus' and Melanchthon's opinions on/attitudes to "truth". I answered that IMO Niphus does have "truth", and holds that you don't get it in Aristotle, but from other authors, texts and sources (see e.g. his De daemonibus [at least the way I read it]), whereas Melanchthon mainly seems  interested in winning.  There were no objections by members of the audience to this thesis.


The context of the reception of both of the texts my paper is about somewhat radically changed (at the latest) by 1577/1578, when Balduinus taught in Ingolstadt some combination of views derived from Durandus and from Plato, and when Francesco Patrizi was appointed to teach platonic philosophy at Ferrara university. At least by then (perhaps even earlier) it is evident that it is not only possible to teach non-aristotelian philosophy at universities; at least by then it is evident that teaching non-aristotelian philosophy at universities  is actually done.


David Lines suggested that at least one of the reasons of the change we see concerning the reception of the texts by Niphus and Melanchthon north of the alps might be due to the reception of the debates between Zabarella and Piccolomini.





[1]           In 1994: cf. Heinrich C. Kuhn: Augustinus Niphus on Why to study Aristotle at Universities: The Præfatio in libros de anima, 2000-05-26, URL (seen 2015-01-28),
and in early 2014: cf. Heinrich C. Kuhn: Philosophie der Renaissance, Stuttgart : W. Kohlhammer 2014, pp. 129-133.
Some of the footnotes of this paper show traces of my testing a previous version of this text on our first year philosophy students in December 2014 - when, obiviously, I used German as my main language of communication (on that coccasion, that is).

[2]           Immanuel Kant: Nachricht von der Einrichtung seiner Vorlesungen in dem Winterhalbenjahre von 1765-1766 in: AA 2, p. 306 (I used the 2006-10-24 version at/via ): " Der den Schulunterweisungen entlassene Jüngling war gewohnt zu lernen. Nunmehr denkt er, er werde Philosophie lernen, welches aber unmöglich ist, denn er soll jetzt philosophiren lernen. Ich will mich deutlicher erklären. Alle Wissenschaften, die man im eigentlichen Verstande lernen kann, lassen sich auf zwei Gattungen bringen: die historische und mathematische. Zu den ersteren gehören außer der eigentlichen Geschichte auch die Naturbeschreibung, Sprachkunde, das positive Recht etc. etc. Da nun in allem, was historisch ist, eigene Erfahrung oder fremdes Zeugniß, || in dem aber, was mathematisch ist, die Augenscheinlichkeit der Begriffe und die Unfehlbarkeit der Demonstration etwas ausmachen, was in der That gegeben und mithin vorräthig und gleichsam nur aufzunehmen ist: so ist es in beiden möglich zu lernen, d. i. entweder in das Gedächtniß, oder den Verstand dasjenige einzudrücken, was als eine schon fertige Disciplin uns vorgelegt werden kann. Um also auch Philosophie zu lernen, müßte allererst eine wirklich vorhanden sein. Man müßte ein Buch vorzeigen und sagen können: sehet, hier ist Weisheit und zuverlässige Einsicht; lernet es verstehen und fassen, bauet künftighin darauf, so seid ihr Philosophen. Bis man mir nun ein solches Buch der Weltweisheit zeigen wird, worauf ich mich berufen kann, wie etwa auf den Polyb, um einen Umstand der Geschichte, oder auf den Euklides, um einen Satz der Größenlehre zu erläutern: so erlaube man mir zu sagen: daß man des Zutrauens des gemeinen Wesens mißbrauche, wenn man, anstatt die Verstandesfähigkeit der anvertrauten Jugend zu erweitern und sie zur künftig reifern eigenen Einsicht auszubilden, sie mit einer dem Vorgeben nach schon fertigen Weltweisheit hintergeht, die ihnen zu gute von andern ausgedacht wäre, woraus ein Blendwerk von Wissenschaft entspringt, das nur an einem gewissen Orte und unter gewissen Leuten für ächte Münze gilt, allerwärts sonst aber verrufen ist. ".

[3]           . Heinrich C. Kuhn: Augustinus Niphus on Why to study Aristotle at Universities: The Præfatio in libros de anima, 2000-05-26, URL (seen 2015-01-28) : "Augustinus Niphus, disengaged with truth, disinterested even in coherence of his own thought: · does the text investigated into here present us with a non-philospher's defence of the universitarian use of an incompetend philospher's texts? Personally I hold Niphus - whatever he might have been in whosesoever categories - to be a far to fascinating author to be concerned about his philosopherness, but, nevertheless: the text here discussed, Niphus' introduction to institutionalised philosophy, to the philosophy of the scholæ warns about the untruth of the doctrines of this philosophy; Niphus thus warns the pupils against giving credence to what their teachers will teach them; Niphus thus teaches to distrust the curricularian truths, and thus teaches the necessity of own thinking, and thus teaches: philosophy."

[4]           Immanuel Kant: Nachricht von der Einrichtung seiner Vorlesungen in dem Winterhalbenjahre von 1765-1766 in: AA 2, p. 306s (I used the 2006-10-24 version at/via ): "er soll nicht Gedanken, sondern denken lernen". Main text is in FN2!

[5]           Edmund Husserl (ed. Wilhelm Szilasi): Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann 1981, p.8 (= 1910/11 Logos print p. 290[s?]) "Kant liebte es zu sagen, man könne nicht Philosophie, nur Philosophieren lernen. Was ist das anderes als ein Eingeständniß der Unwissenschaftlichkeit der Philosophie. Soweit Wissenschaft, wirkliche Wissenschaft reicht, soweit kann man lehren und lernen, und überall im gleichen Sinne. <…> Ich sage nicht, Philosophie sei eine unvollkommene Wissenschaft, ich sage schlechthin, sie sei noich keine Wissenschaft, sie habe als Wissenschat noch keinen Anfang genommen, und ich nehme als Maßstab ein, wenn auch kleines Stück eines objektiv begründeten theoretischen Lehrinhalts."

[6]           No, I won't footnote this here with a pointer to Petrus Abaelardus, no, I won't.

[7]           There's definitely no lack of examples for that. Preferring - for once - newer literature to older literature: just leafing through Craig Martin: Subverting Aristotle : Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science, Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press 2014 should suffice to harvest quite a number of them. [.-)]

[8]           At the end of chapter 8 of the treatise on on insolubles.

[9]           The English translation is to be found in: Paulus Venetus (trans. & intr. Alan R. Perreiah): Logica Parva : Translation of the 1472 Edition with Introduction and Notes, München : Philosophia 1984, p. 255s.

As for the Latin: Paulus Venetus: Logica Pauli Veneti : Quam Vir Ille Sui Temporis Facile primus pari brevitate, ac perspicuitate conscripsit, Venetiis : Gryphius 1580 has: "Notandum, quod non, quæunque hic locutus sum, seu in cæteris tractatibus, ea dixi secun-||dum intentionem propriam, sed partim etiam secundum intentionem aliorum doctorum ut iuvenes incipientes facilius introducantur."

[10]          Perreiah's parenthesis./addition.

[11]          Once again: if you want to you can e.g. leaf through Craig Martin: Subverting Aristotle : Religion, History, and Philosophy in Early Modern Science, Baltimore : Johns Hopkins University Press 2014

[12]          A prime example might be Averroes Colliget on internal senses. We get it also in Paulus Venetus (see e.g. . Heinrich C. Kuhn: Philosophie der Renaissance, Stuttgart : W. Kohlhammer 2014, p. 48)

[13]          Charles B. Schmitt: The Rise of the philosophical Textbook, in: Charles B. Schmitt et al. (edd.): " The Cambridge History of Renaissance Philosophy", Cambridge : cambridge University Press 1988, pp. 792-804

[14]          i.a.: Heinrich C. Kuhn: Augustinus Niphus on Why to study Aristotle at Universities: The Præfatio in libros de anima, 2000-05-26, URL (seen 2015-01-28),
Heinrich C. Kuhn: Philosophie der Renaissance, Stuttgart : W. Kohlhammer 2014, pp. 129-133.


[15]          Augustinus Niphus: Suessa super libros de Anima : Collectanea ac Commentaria in libros de Anima, Venetiis : hęredes Octaviani Scoti 1522, f. + 2 [1] ra (I used mainly the digitised copy available via )


[16]          Margherita Palumbo: NIFO, Agostino, in: " Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani - Volume 78 (2013)", URL [gesehen 2014-12-03]


[17]          nostrorum?


[18]          Augustinus Niphus: Expostio Subtilissima Necnon Et Collectanea Commentariaque In Tres Libros Aristotelis De Anima ..., Venetiis : H. Scotus 1559, f. **3va "Quod [the 1559 edition has "quot", the 1544 and 1553 editions have "quod"] qua ratione factum sit nec quæsitum, nec addubitatum ab aliquo præcessore fuisse inveni unquam". The 1522 edition f. z r also has "Quod".

[19]          Niphus (1559) f. **4va: "Patet etiam non esse ad propositum disputare de comparatione cæterorum Philosophorum cum Aristotele. nam sive aliquis fuerit Aristotelis maior (quod non credit Alexander) sive nullus eo maior fuerit, hoc ad quæsitum nihil facit cum quæsitum nostrum non de excessu in doctrina sit, sed de eo quod quærebamus, cur apud ones gentes Aristotelis libris leguntur.1522 f. cit. v b: "sed cur apud omnes gentes institutum est ut Aristotelis libri legantur."

[20]          This is Niphus's reason #4; it seems appear again as his reason #7 (1522 ed., loc. cit.)

[21]          1522 loc cit. : "Siquis in doctrina ergo Aristotlis maior fuerit, quid Alexander negat, in arte docendi nemo Aristotele antecellit."

[22]          In december I bored my German students with them: " Was gegen Aristoteles vorgebracht wird disqualifiziert ihn und seine Werke nicht als Gegenstand universitärer Philosophie: andere mögen ihm in angewandten Wissenschaften überlegen gewesen sein, doch er ist theoretisch und didaktisch besser. ((Seine sind die besseren Lehrbücher.)) Juristen versuchen menschliches Verhalten durch Verbreitung von Schrecken zu leiten, Moralphilosophen durch Belehrung und Besserung der Menschen. ((Dies scheint ein Nachklang von oder eine Übernahme aus Averroes' Proömium zu seinem Großen Physikkommentar zu sein - einem Text der uns auch im Kontext des zweiten derjenigen Texte über die ich heute hier handeln möchte, begegnen wird.)) Aristoteles' mathematische Werke waren hervorragend, sind aber leider verloren. Und was die Metaphysik betrifft: Nun ja, neuere Forschungsliteratur hat nicht immer recht … . Was zu Theologie und Widersprüchen zu christlichen Lehren in bezug auf Aristoteles vorgetragen wird, das lässt sich, nicht zuletzt durch Verwendung von Thomas von Aquin, widerlegen oder zumindest mildern. Was über Aristoteles' untugendhaftes Verhalten berichtet wird ist entweder missverstanden oder aus unzuverlässigen Berichten entnommen. Dass Aristoteles ein unfrommer Heide war ist richtig, doch ist heidnischen Religionen nicht anzuhängen nicht falsch."

[23]          KVK: 0 hits for German libraries. The copy I used in digitised form seems to be the Vienna Hofbibliothek. In later times, after Menlanchthon wrote his De philosophia, quite a number of copies of later editions of Niphus commentary entered German libraries. But the 1522 edition (which probably is the one Melanchthon or his sources would have used) is extremely rare there.

[24]          The text can be accessed electronically more or less easily in a comparatively late edition::
Cornelius Martinus (ed.): Philipp Melanchthon: Oratio De Philosophia studioso Theologiae necessaria, seorsim edita, procurante Cornelio Martino, Helmstedt [Lucius] 1600, URL (gesehen 2012-02-29).

            However in this case I'll use the Corpus reformatorum edition, as for this oration the early tradition is rather simple, and thus there is no good reason in this context to use an other edition than the modern standard one. (See also the following footnote).

[25]          The Latin text used here is from Carolus Gottlieb Bretschneider's edition in the 11th volume of Corpus reformatorum (=Philippi Melanchtonis Opera quae supersunt omnia : Volumen XI): Philippi Melanchthonis Epistolae, Praefationes, Consilia, Iudiciae, Schedae Ac ademicae : Volumen XI. III. Declamationes Philippi Melanchthonis Usque Ad An. 1552,  Hallis Saxonum [apud C. A. Schwetschke et filium] 1831, cll. 278-284 (available in electronic form at/via
[seen 2012-03-01]), here quoted as CR11, plus the column cited (e.g. "CR 11, cl. 278"). ((Nertheless in future I'll probably switch over to the edition most probably [some indications don't match] given by Bretschneider as earliest edition and edition of reference.)) 
German translation by Günter Frank in: Michael Beyer, Stefan Rhein & Günther Wartenberg: Melanchthon deutsch ; Band 1 : Schule und Universität | Philosophie, Geschichte und Politik, Leipzig [Evangelische Verlagsanstalt] 1997, pp. 126-135 (= "DPdt", plus page).

[26]          As said: I have written about bthis text more profusedly in some other places.

[27]          DPdt, p. 127, CR11, cl. 279.

[28]          CR11, cl. 280: "non potest non gignere infinitos errores"

[29]          CR 11, cl. 280. The passage ending with "et fiunt mentes prophanae et Epicureae."

[30]          CR 11, cl. 280: "Ecclesiae opus esse multis magnis artibus".

[31]          entsprechend CR11, cl. 280.

[32]          CR 11, cl. 280

[33]          "bene et rite assuefactus in Philosophia".

[34]          CR11, cl. 280s.

[35]          DPdt, p. 129, CR11, cl. 281.

[36]          CR 11, 281.

[37]          "quod quam minimum habeat Sophistices" : CR 11, 282.

[38]          DPdt, p. 131, CR11, cl. 282.

[39]          D.h.: Platon und seine Nachfolger und Anhänger. Im Unterschied zu Frank (DPdt, p. 135n20) lese ich's nicht nur auf Skeptiker. Was die Übersetzung von "licentiam immoderatam omnia evertendi" betrifft hingegen stimme ich Frank zu.

[40]          CR11, cl. 282, in calce.

[41]          DPdt, p. 132, CR11, cl. 282s.

[42]          "Et abeunt studia in mores"/"die Studien wirken sich auf den Lebenswandel aus": cf. Averroes: Aristotelis De Physico Auditu Libri Octo : Cum Averois Variis In Eodem Commentariis, Venetiis [Apud Iunctas] 1562 (Reprint: Frankfurt am Main [Minerva] 1962), f. 2rs.

[43]          E.g. in: Averroes: Aristotelis De Physico Auditu Libri Octo : Cum Averois Variis In Eodem Commentariis, Venetiis [Apud Iunctas] 1562 (Reprint: Frankfurt am Main [Minerva] 1962), f. 2rs.

[44]          DPdt, p. 134, CR11, cl. 284.

[45]          Pietro Pomponazzi: De naturalium effectuum causis sive de incantationibus, Hildesheim [Georg Olms] 1970 (Reprint aus: Pomponazzi, Pietro: Opera, Basel [Officina Henricpetrina] 1567) wird p. 119s vertreten: Gott kümmere sich mehr um Herrscher als Untertanen, mehr um Herren als Sklaven, mehr um Gelehrte als um Ungelehrte. Cf. &m. Averroes: Aristotelis De Physico Auditu Libri Octo : Cum Averois Variis In Eodem Commentariis, Venetiis [Apud Iunctas] 1562 (Reprint: Frankfurt am Main [Minerva] 1962), f. 1v.: dass die Bezeichnung "Mensch" in Bezug auf Philosophen und auf Nicht-Philosophen so äquivok verwendet wird, wie es in bezug auf einen lebenden Menschen und in bezug auf einen toten, und in Bezug auf einen rationalen Menschen und das steinerne Bildnis eines Menschen verwendet wird,  dass also Philosophen und Nicht-Philosophen nicht mehr gemein haben als lebende Menschen und Leichen, lebende Menschen und Skulpturen

[46]          DPdt, p. 134, CR11, cl. 284: "Imo scitote nostra causa, non Tyrannorum, non eorum qui pia studia oderunt, hanc totam rerum natura a Deo conservari, solem oriri, eddicere temporum vicisitudines, ut agri fiant foecundi. Recte hoc Stoici, Omnia esse Dei; Philosophos autem esse amicos Dei: wuare omnia sunt Philosophorum."

[47]          CR 11, cl. 284.

[48]          Tbe earliest print known to me is: Philipp Melanchthon: Selectarum Declamationum … Tomus Primus, Argentorati : Apupd Cratonem Mylium 1544, pp. 329-340 (the pagination given in CR11 for this edition differs from this). The print can be accessed in an eletronic version at URL [seen 2014-12-03].

[49]          Stefan Heßbrüggen did resaerch on this and has published on this: (the following list may be incomplete): Stefan Hessbrüggen-Walter: •  Die Begriffsbestimmung der Philosophie im spanischen Aristotelismus der frühen Neuzeit, in: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte. 2013. Vol. 54,   Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (III): a Teacher, a Student, and a Ramist (2013-05-24) :  •  Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (VI): Every Philosopher must be a 'Meta-Philosopher' (2013-11-04) : Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (VII): Piccolomini and Piccart on Not Defining Philosophy (2013-12-07) :    Defining Philosophy in Early Modern Germany (VIII): Keckermann and Crell against the Ancients (2014-08) : ).


[50]          Cf. his Dialectica ludicra. (1520)