Astronomy and Compotus at Oxford University in the Early Thirteenth Century: The Works of Robert Grosseteste
Dowd, Matthew F.
PhD Philosophy Thesis, University of Notre Dame, June (2003)
This dissertation examines two works of Robert Grosseteste (c. 1169-1253), his astronomical textbook, the De spera, and his computistical work, the Compotus correctorius. Through the use of a technique labelled exposition, the texts are presented to the reader through a means that combines elements both of translation and of extended commentary, thereby introducing these works in detail in English for the first time. The texts are also analyzed in terms of their medieval context, specifically the goals Grosseteste wished to accomplish in constructing them and their place in higher education.
The first portion of the dissertation provides an intellectual and institutional context for Grosseteste’s work, outlining the translation movement and the rise of the universities, especially Oxford, as they pertain to the questions of this dissertation. Grosseteste’s biography is also considered, though certain facets of it are unsettled. By the end of the dissertation, it is suggested that Grosseteste’s time spent in Hereford was formative for his later work in astronomy and compotus, and that his work in these areas was important for the development of natural philosophy at Oxford.