BERNARD OF TOURS, Bernhardus Silvestris—philosopher and poet, twelfth century, associated with the school of Chartres (II).

His chief work was written around 1150: De mundi universitate sive megacosmos et microcosmos (ed. C. S. Barach, J. Wróbel, In 1876, NY 1962; German translation: Über die allumfassende Einheit der Welt, St 1972), dedicated to Theodore (Thierry) of Chartres. He weaves prose and poetry (prosimetrum) and personifies fundamental metaphysical concepts. The first part contains a description of how the world arose; God’s thought (νους [nous]), which is identical with God, brings order into the chaos of matter (‘υλη [hyle]) and shapes the world according to the mode of God’s ideas (formae exemplares); the world is moved and animated by a finite soul of the world (εντεχεια [entelecheia]) which is different from God but emanates from God. The spirit of the world joins with matter and causes the coming-into-being of the entire hierarchy of beings. Bernard said nothing of the creation of prime matter. In the second part he provided a description of the creation of man in which he referred to the Book of Genesis.

Bernard of Tours was also the author of an allegorical poem Commentum super sex libros “Eneidos” (ed. W. Riedel, Greifswald 1924), a poem about astrology called Mathematicus (B. Hauréau, P 1895) and a treatise about soothsaying called Experimentarius (M. Brini Savorelli, Un manuale di geomanzia presentato da B. Silvestre da Tours, RSF 14 (1959), 283–342), which was translated into Arabic. The sources of Bernard’s philosophical thought were the writings of Chalcidius, Macrobius, Beothius, Augustine, and Hermetic writings. His work was a disconnected collection of the views of ancient philosophers with doctrine drawn from the Bible; it is rather an literary poetic image that refers to the cosmological speculations characteristic especially of the Chartres school.

Zofia Włodek

É. Gilson, La cosmogonie de B. Silvestris, AHDLMA 3 (1928), 5–24; M. McCrimmon, The Classical Philosophical Sources of B. Silvestris, I–II, NH 1952–1953; C. S. F. Burnett, What is the Experimentarius of Bernardus Silvestris? A Preliminary Survey of the Material, AHDLMA 44 (1977), 79–125; Teodorico di Chartres, Guglielmo di Conches, Bernardo Silvestre, Il divino e il megacosmo. Texti filosofici e scientifici della Scuola di Chartres, Mi 1980; E. Berola, La visione del macrocosmo e del microcosmo di Bernardo Silvestre e di Josef ibn Saddiq, AF 52 (1984), 535–590; The Commentary of Marianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii Attributed to Bernardo Silvestris, Tor 1986; J. Jolivet, Les principes féminins dans la Cosmographia de Bernard Silvestre, in: L’homme et son univers au moyen âge, Lv 1986, I 296–305; J. W. Legowicz, L’homme, oeuvre de la nature et de la raison chez Benrard de Tours, in: ibid 114–118; P. F. Knapp, Integumentum und Aventure. Nochmals zur Literaturtheorie bei Bernardus (Silvestris?) und Thomasin von Zerklaere, Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch im Auftrage der Görres-Gesellschaft (1987), 299–307; L. Lomperis, From God’s Book to the Play of the Text in the Cosmographia (Bernardus Silvestris), Medievalia et humanistica 16 (1988), 51–71; P. Godman, Ambiguity in the Mathematicus of Bernardus Silvestris, Studi medievali 31 (1990) n. 2, 583–648; M. T. Donati, Metafisica, fisica e astrologia nel XII secolo. Bernardo Silvestre e l’introducione Qui celum dell’Experimentarius, ibid 649–703; M. Evans, The Ysagoge in Theologiam and the Commentaries Attributed to Bernard Silvestris, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 54 (1991), 1–42; Tauste Alcocer, Opus naturae. La influencia de la tradición del Timeo en la Cosmographia de Bernardo Silvestre, Ba 1995.

Zofia Włodek, Jan Warmiński

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