Grosseteste’s Dicta

The working transcript of Grosseteste’s Dicta, prepared by Edwin J. Westermann and Joseph W. Goering, is available for study on Issuu (above), and for PDF download here. We are extremely grateful to Professor Goering for making this resources freely available. Goering’s introduction to this collection of texts is as follows:

This transcription of the Dicta of Robert Grosseteste from Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Bodley 798 (s.c. 2656), was begun by Edwin J. Westermann. He published a version of the first fifty Dicta in his Ph.D. dissertation, written under the direction of S. Harrison Thomson: “An edition, with introduction and notes, of Dicta I-L of Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, 1235-1253,” (University of Colorado, Boulder, 1942). Dr. Westermann continued to revise and extend his work on the Dicta during his very full and distinguished career as a professor of History at the University of Missouri – Kansas City (1946 – 1987). By the early 1990’s he had completed a revised typescript of Dicta 1-50, and made handwritten transcriptions of the remaining 97 Dicta (nos. 51-147). In the Summer of 1998, I visited Professor Westermann in his Kansas City apartment. He was anxious to see his work reach the light of day, and I agreed to “edit, tidy up, and clarify” his transcriptions, and to publish them for him, “in some suitable format.” The work presented here is the fulfillment of that promise. Professor Westermann died on May 19, 2003, just a few days short of his 90thbirthday, and only weeks before the completion of this working-edition of Grosseteste’s Dicta. May he rest in peace, and in perfect enjoyment of the imperfect text provided here.

            The Dicta of Robert Grosseteste survive in more than thirty manuscript copies. Ed Westermann’s choice of a single manuscript to serve as the basis of his working edition was a fortunate one; MS Bodley 798 offers a complete and rather reliable copy of the Dicta. In the transcription presented here, abbreviations in the manuscript have been silently expanded. The orthography of the fourteenth-century scribe has generally been respected, although inconsistent use of u/v and c/t has been regularized, as have such common forms as set/sed. Capitalization, punctuation, and paragraph divisions follow modern conventions. Biblical and other sources are noted within square brackets. An authorial colophon, and a list of titles of individual dicta, presumably all part of Grosseteste’s original composition, have been moved from the end of the treatise, where they are found in this manuscript, and inserted respectively at the beginning of the text and at the head of each Dictum.

Joseph Goering
Department of History, University of Toronto
1 June 2003

The English translations by Gordon Jackson will be added here as well, volumes I and II are currently available: Dicta I and Dicta II.