Bacon, Roger (c.1214-c.1292)
Franciscan and philosopher.
Born in either Somerset or in Gloucestershire, he may have begun his studies in
Oxford, but certainly spent some time in Paris. His published works include a
series of questions on Aristotles metaphysical and physical treatises
(c.1240-1246). He also invested heavily, whilst in his thirties, in the study of
languages, mathematics and experimental science and was particularly influenced
by Robert Grossteste. In 1257 he entered the
Franciscan order in a bid to pursue his chosen studies further still. His place
in the history of science and religion is hard to assess, as recent scholarship
has shown that his work is not as original as once claimed. His knowledge of
Arabic and Greek texts and their translation was vast, though it never
progressed into any unified or systematic scheme of thought. The real
achievement of the man has been lost beneath the veneer of a reputation for
magical powers and mechanical invention. The twentieth century has seen attempts
to represent him as a martyr of science and freedom of thought, but these have been
to no avail.
by: Richard P Whaite
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