By Maarten J.F.M. Hoenen
Philippe Büttgen (Hrsg.): Vera Doctrina : zur Begriffsgeschichte der Lehre von Augustinus bis Descartes. (Wiesbaden : Harrassowitz, 2009)
Introduction: Browsing through late-medieval sources, such as commentaries on Peter Lombard or Aristotle, collections of disputations or university statutes, the reader frequently comes across the terms ‘doctrina’ and ‘via’. At first glance the meaning of these words seems perfectly clear. ‘Doctrina’ denotes the teaching or doctrine of a master or school of thought, whereas ‘via’ refers to the method used in solving problems when commenting on texts. In both cases, it is not so much the context itself which is referred to, but rather its connection to education and methodologies employed in the classroom.
The connections of both terms with teaching is beautifully exemplified by John Versor, who in commenting on the Summulae logicales, remarks that Peter of Spain, against the natural order employed in logic (‘ordo naturae’), deals first with propositions and only subsequently with terms because he respected the ‘via doctrinae’, or method of teaching, which begins with the whole and then moves on to the different parts, the former being better known to young students than the latter.