ANDREW WĘŻYK (Wanszik, Wanszyk, Waszyk, Wązik, Marzik, Magister Serpens)—philosopher, theologian, b. around 1377, d. in 1430.

In accessible sources we do not find much biographical information about Andrew Wężyk. We do know that he probably came from Giebułtów near Kraków. He studied in the department of arts in Prague where he obtained the degree of bachelor in 1394. He promoted to master of arts in the Kraków Academy in 1403. Some time before 1408 he entered the Dominican order in Kraków. In 1408 and 1409 he lectured in the department of philosophy at the University of Prague. In 1413 he had the function of preacher at the side of King Jagiello among the people of Samogitia in Lithuania. In 1414 he lectured theology in the chair of the Holy Trinity in Kraków and this is the last documented information we have concerning him. He died sometime after April 21st, 1430.

The only work of which there is no doubt as to Andrew Wężyk’s authorship is the Tabulation libri beati Augustini de Lapsu mundi per fratrem Andream Wanszyk ordinis Praedicatorum (BOssol 818f. 139–149). The work is an alphabetically arranged compilation of extracts from St. Augustine’s De lapsu mundi.

Another work associated with Andrew Wężyk (preserved in the collections BJ in the codex BJ 688 f. 2–83) is known under different titles: Disputationes Physicorum, Exercitium librorum Physicorum, Quaestiones disputatae super octo libros Physicorum, Quaestiones super libros Physicae. This work is a commentary on Aristotle’s Physics and is the work of an anonymous author, although there have been attemps to ascribe it to Andrew Wężyk. The Disputationes Physicorum was written in Prague in the late fourteenth century. It was composed of eight books and 120 questions and Andrew Wężyk used the book for academic exercises. His contemporaries did not regard Andrew as the author of the Disputationes Physicorum, but in the twentieth century K. Michalski ascribed the work to Andrew Wężyk. Researchers who follow Michalski in ascribing the Disputationes Physicorum to Andrew Wężyk cite the title that appears on the first page of the work: Exercitium librorum “Physicorum” magistri serpentis editionis per titulos ab per conclusiones iuxta cursum Almae Universitatis Studii Cracoviensis. The title, however, is an interpolation: it was written later and in another hand than that by which the text of the commentary was written. Furthermore, the information the added title provides about what kind of work it is differs from what we have in the explicit of the work. In the added title, we find the terms exercitium and magister Serpens, but in the explicit the work is not called exercitium but disputationes and no name is given for the author.

Adam Wężyk’s selection of the Disputationes Physicorum as the basis for his academic exercises shows that he agreed with its positions. Three authorities appear most often: Aristotle (also called Philosophus) whose Physics is the object of the commentary; John Buridan (from his commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, the author of the Disputationes Physicorum borrows the general plan and the formulation of the titles of the questions); and Averroes (called Commentator).

With respect to its content and philosophical orientation the Disputationes Physicorum is typical of the late fourteenth-century thought. It recognizes Aristotle’s authority in the domain of physics. It recognizes Averroes as the chief and most trustworthy commentator on Aristotle’s works. It is sensitive to matters of methodology (the author of the Disputationes Physicorum very explicitly distinguishes levels of discussion when resolving a problem). We also see that physics is to some extent emancipated from its connection with metaphysics and theology. In the contents of the Disputationes Physicorum the conclusiones are sometimes missing, and a question may begin with the formulation—contra conclusionem as if the author expected the reader to have at hand the text of the appropriate conclusion from Buridan’s commentary. This suggests that the questions were edited to serve as a text for academic exercises on Aristotle’s Physics in which Buridan’s commentary was used as a starting point for further considerations.

J. Fijałek, Studia do dziejów Uniwersytetu Krakowskiego i jego wydziału teologicznego w XV w. [Studies on the history of Kraków University and its theological department in the fifteenth century], Kr 1899; K. Michalski, Prądy filozoficzne-teologiczne na Uniwersytecie Jagiellońskim w pierwszej dobie jego istnienia [Philosophical-theological tendencies at Jagiellonian University in the first period of its existence], Nasza Myśl Teologiczna [Our theological thouoght], 2 (1935), 30–47 (Pamiętnik Drugiego Zjazdu Naukowego w Warszawie [Record of the Second Scientific Conference in Warsaw], August 1933); T. Kaeppeli, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevi, R 1970, I 73; M. Markowski, FPS 12; idem, Burydanizm w Polsce w okresie przedkopernikańskim [Buridanism in Poland in the pre-Copernican period], SCop 2, Wr 1971, 120–121, 153–156, 447; J. Domański Swoistość i uniwersalizm polskiej my&#sli średniowiecznej [Specific character and universalism of Polish medieval thought], 700 lat myśli polskiej [700 years of Polish thought], Wwa 1978, I 105–107; J. Třiška, Životopisny Slovnik Předhusitke Pražské University 1348–1409, Praha 1980, 30; T. Grzesik, Uwagi na temat miejsca powstania oraz autorstwa “Quaestiones disputatae super octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis” zawartych w rkp. BJ 688 [Remarks on the topic of the place of origin and authorship of the “Quaestiones disputatae super octo libros Physicorum Aristotelis contained in manuscripts BJ 688], RF 37–38 (1989–1990) n. 1, 145–152; R. Dudak, K. Wójcik, “Codex 688” in: Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum medii aevii latinorum qui in Bibliotheca Jagellonica Cracoviae asservantur, Wr 1993, V 57–60; T. Grzesik, Andraj Wanszyk O.P. (Andrzej Wężyk) alias Magister Serpens and Works Attributed to his Authorship, Vivarium 33 (1995), 235–241; idem, Edycja kwestii “Utrum locus sit immobilis” z “Disputationes Physicorum”, jej rola w skorygowaniu ustaleń dotyczących pochodzenia “Disputationes Physicorum” [Edition of the question “Utrum locus sit immobilis” from the Disputationes Physicorum, its role in correcting findings concerning the origin of the “Disputationes Physicorum”], in: Considerationes Philosophicales, Lb 1999, 77–84.

Tadeusz Grzesik

<--Go back