Philosophical Style

One notices a peculiar personal style of presentation in the post-1250 writings of Roger Bacon. Bacon's manner of presentation in the personal mode, although not unique to him (it is also found in other English authors such as Richard Rufus), does differ from the more impersonal form of many scholastic philosophers. And that includes Roger Bacon himself in his "scholastic" mode of presentation in the Parisian Commentaries of the 1240's. Was this more personal approach suggested by a reading of Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed?

Thus far, we have seen certain possible correspondences of common interest, but we have no firm proof of explicit textual borrowing. And without actual textual evidence, one might be inclined to dismiss this correspondence of interest as simply part of the common knowledge of the time. Thus, the following questions must be asked: Did Roger Bacon, for whatever reason, simply ignore a central source which was in common use among Dominican and Franciscan authors in the 1260's? How then is one to account for the absence of explicit references to the Dux neurorum in the published works of Roger Bacon? Or, could it be that the correspondence of common interest show that such interests can be backed up by some kind of indirect reference? Or could it be that Roger Bacon in the 1260's, a retired Professor and now Franciscan Friar had duties which prevented him from the writing of a Summa theologiae, and therefore had to rely on the original work of younger scholars?

I will argue in what follows that Bacon explicitly tells the reader that he did not have the time to write a Summa, and thus he did have to rely on auctoritates for his general references in philosophy and theology.6

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