It is well known that the bread metaphor played a pivotal role in Dante’s Banquet. This article shows that this metaphor had already been applied to philosophy, as witnessed by William of Conches, and discusses its later circulation in Scholastic milieus, notably in the work of John of Jandun. Whereas Dante used the bread metaphor to invite almost all men — with the only notable exception of those impeded by physical impairments or moral unworthiness — to his 'table', Jandun warned not 'to eat in vain the bread of the philosophers', because he considered philosophy to be a form of wisdom culminating in the metaphysical contemplation of God’s quiddity. In this perspective, in his Quaestiones in Metaphysicam, Jandun refused the standard reading of the maxim ascribed to Cato (Disticha Catonis II, 2), inviting men to acknowledge that 'God’s secrets' surpass human understanding, but openly claimed that our intellect is allowed to investigate these secrets. In so doing, he gave a ‘secularized’ reading of the conviction, deeply rooted in the Medieval theological tradition and grounded on the exegetical tradition of some Scriptural passages (1 Corinthians 3.2 and Hebrews 5.14), that 'solid food' must be served exclusively to those who are prepared to grasp the arcana Dei.

Noli comedere panem philosophorum inutiliter : Dante Alighieri and John of Jandun on Philosophical ‘Bread’ / L.M. Bianchi. - In: TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR FILOSOFIE. - ISSN 1370-575X. - 75:2(2013), pp. 335-355.

Noli comedere panem philosophorum inutiliter : Dante Alighieri and John of Jandun on Philosophical ‘Bread’

L.M. Bianchi
2013

Abstract

It is well known that the bread metaphor played a pivotal role in Dante’s Banquet. This article shows that this metaphor had already been applied to philosophy, as witnessed by William of Conches, and discusses its later circulation in Scholastic milieus, notably in the work of John of Jandun. Whereas Dante used the bread metaphor to invite almost all men — with the only notable exception of those impeded by physical impairments or moral unworthiness — to his 'table', Jandun warned not 'to eat in vain the bread of the philosophers', because he considered philosophy to be a form of wisdom culminating in the metaphysical contemplation of God’s quiddity. In this perspective, in his Quaestiones in Metaphysicam, Jandun refused the standard reading of the maxim ascribed to Cato (Disticha Catonis II, 2), inviting men to acknowledge that 'God’s secrets' surpass human understanding, but openly claimed that our intellect is allowed to investigate these secrets. In so doing, he gave a ‘secularized’ reading of the conviction, deeply rooted in the Medieval theological tradition and grounded on the exegetical tradition of some Scriptural passages (1 Corinthians 3.2 and Hebrews 5.14), that 'solid food' must be served exclusively to those who are prepared to grasp the arcana Dei.
Bread metaphor; Dante alighieri; John of jandun; Knowledge of god; Metaphysics
Settore M-FIL/08 - Storia della Filosofia Medievale
TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR FILOSOFIE
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/436904
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