Who is Adelhard of Bath?

Who is Adelhard of Bath?

December 14, 2020 Off By Felso

English thinker and theologian.

It is affiliated with Chartres School. He tried to reconcile Aristotle and Plato in solving the problem of self-form. Born in Bath, died in Bristol.

After seeing his primary education at his birthplace, he went to France and completed his higher education. Then he taught for a while at the school founded by Anselmus in Laon. He went on a long trip to Italy, Spain, Anatolia and different Arab countries.

After seven years of travel, he returned to England to promote the knowledge he gained from Arabs. He translated “Eukleides’s Stoikheiai” (Principles), which he learned from the Arabs, and various works of Arab scholars on mathematics and astronomy. He wrote his works titled “Quaestiones Naturales” (Problems of Nature), “De Eodem et Diverso” (On Identity and Diversity) based on the knowledge he gained during this trip and the studies he carried on.

Adelhard entered philosophy by studying the work of Arab thinkers and learning their views. Interpreting the writings of Aristotle and Plato known at that time, Arab scholars adopted a method based on principles of reason and generally stemming from Aristotelian logic. Adopting this method applied to the interpretation of problems of philosophy and theology, Adelhard opposed traditional English theology.

He argued that theological problems should be solved by a rational method. He argued that the problems of philosophy and theology focused on a certain concept of “cause”. According to him, there is a general valid reason for the formation of all types of beings and known objects. God’s creative power is also linked to this “cause”. It is not a deficiency that the divine power is based on a certain “cause”. God, who created all objects gathered under the concept of existence, cannot help but rely on a certain “cause”. Universal concepts pre-exist in a divine power of understanding. The act of creation is according to these concepts and is after them.

Individual understanding power can grasp the existence and priority of these concepts by thinking. Perception cannot cross the limits of these divine concepts. The main factor in gaining knowledge is to comprehend the basic principles. Understanding these basic principles can be achieved by acting according to mathematical rules. The deductive method applied by mathematics enables the recognition and knowledge of matter and the universe of matter. It is necessary to apply the mathematical method based on reason principles in providing information. God is the first motive force. There is no movement other than the will of God. From the momentum, there is the possibility to grasp the first motive, the divine power, that is, God. Man is a reasoning being, he is mortal; but the soul is not mortal.

Death is the separation of the soul and the body, the soul moving away from the body, there are features in humans that are not related to matter. Just as there is no sensation in an animal, there is no soul that constitutes the essence of human existence. This feature stems from the fact that the animal is a “species” in the universe. There is a distinction between “type” and “kind” in objects that can be perceived only with the senses. For instance, there is “species” for an animal, “variety” and “individual” for humans. Adelhard followed in the footsteps of Aristotle and the medieval theologians who originated from it in the subject of “species” and “individual.” He tried to reconcile Plato and Aristotle’s views on the structure and order of the universe, and did not bring a new view. Its importance in the history of thought is that it relies on the works of Arab thinkers, translates them and introduces them to European intellectuals.

In the European Middle Age, Adelhard led to the recognition of the Greek-Roman First Age and especially the philosophy and the studies of learning from Greek and Latin, the languages ​​in which the products of the First Age were written, and thus the beginning of a new era. In later periods, due to the studies aimed at recognizing the Greek-Latin First Age from their own sources, an East-West convergence began in scientific terms. Meanwhile, again with Adelhard’s translations, Arabic philosophy aroused interest in the west and opened a new field of study.

WORKS: On Identity and Diversity, On Astrolabe, Problems of Nature.


1) Encyclopedia of Philosophers (Cemil Sena)
2) Encyclopedia of Turkish and World Famous People (Anadolu Yayıncılık)