Richard Rufus’s De anima Commentary: The Earliest Known, Surviving, Western De anima Commentary
Wood, Rega (Stanford University)
Medieval Philosophy and Theology 10 (2001)
Richard Rufus of Cornwall was educated as a philosopher at Paris where he was a master of arts. In 1238, after lecturing on Aristotle’s libri naturales, Rufus became a Franciscan and moved to Oxford to study theology, becoming the Franciscan master of theology in about 1256 and probably dying not long after 1259. Rufus’s conversion to Franciscanism was marked by a desire to distance himself from Aristotle and other wordly philosophers. As a Franciscan, Rufus to some extent repudiated his own earlier views; occasionally he referred to them as the opinions of a “secular master.”
In his later career, Rufus used the technical terminology of philosophy sparingly—preferring not to use phrases like ‘agent intellect’ or ‘intellectus adeptus’. And even before Rufus became a Franciscan, he gave an increasingly sympathetic hearing to non-Aristotelian and Platonic views, as is plain from his Contra Averroem (CAv). As a Franciscan, Rufus twice lectured on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, first at Oxford in about 1250 where he was the first bachelor of theology to lecture there on Lombard, and then at Paris.