73082 - History of Medieval Philosophy (2) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The course will lead to a thorough knowledge of the philosophical medieval reflections with special focus on the epistemological aspects and the interweaving of the sources into the vernacular, Latin, greek, Arab and Jewish. We want to draw the lines of an intellectual history, marked by  the real historical dimension; a dimension which also opens to concepts, issues and ideas.  In this way, students will learn to extricate themselves critically between notions, categories and classifications historiography, which, if he was recruited strictly, would lead to errors, ideological prejudices and to a historical determinism as to block any freedom of interpretation. The lessons will give particular relevance to the texts, the study of semantic variations of the theological and philosophical the lexicon and the rigorous scrutiny of the historiographic interpretations and history of concepts and ideas.


Course contents

The issue of the "salvation of the pagans" in Dante and in the Italian culture of the XIVth and XVth century.

The course will illustrate the theological debates that originated from the reading of the Divina Commedia about the "Limbo of illustrious men" in the canto IV of Inferno and about the salvation of the pagan Ripheus (one of Enea's companions) in the canto XX of Paradiso. Also other cases of saved pagans will be examined, such as Trajan. This debate continued in the XVth century, when it was contrasted by the theological strictness of Saint Antoninus, archbishop of Florence, and when it gained importance inside the Italian humanists' discussion on the salvation of pagans and then in Socinianism.


BRUNO NARDI, Dante e la cultura medievale, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1972.

UMBERTO COSMO, Vita di Dante, Firenze, La Nuova Italia, 1965.

Teaching methods

lectures; during class the teacher reads, translates and comments on relevant textual passages and thematic nodes.

Assessment methods

Oral examination: Students are recommended to bring the texts when examining.
Students who have attended lectures may agree on exams (whether written or oral) devoted to specific topics.

Assessment criteria and thresholds of evaluation:

30 cum laude - Excellent as to knowledge, philosophical lexicon and critical expression.

30 – Excellent: knowledge is complete, well argued and correctly expressed, with some slight faults.

27-29 – Good: thorough and satisfactory knowledge; essentially correct expression.

24-26 - Fairly good: knowledge broadly acquired, and not always correctely expressed.

21-23 – Sufficient: superficial and partial knowledge; exposure and articulation are incomplete and often not sufficiently appropriate

18-21 - Almost sufficient: superficial and decontextualized knowledge. The exposure of the contents shows important gaps.

Exam failed - Students are requested to show up at a subsequent exam session if basic skills and knowledge are not sufficiently acquired and not placed in the historical-philosophical context.

Teaching tools

texts; during the course the teacher will provide handouts and translations students.

Students who have not attended the course will find educational materials available at the secretariat of the students, via Zamboni 38, second floor.

Office hours

See the website of Franco Bacchelli