L'image d'Aristote et la construction des modèles intellectuels au XIIIe siècle
An anonymous Italian quodlibet (ca. 1310) discusses the posthumous fate of Aristotle, with arguments pro and contra. In spite of the apparently decisive denial of his having any hope of paradise, the questio leads us down some other avenues of the history of ideas and mentalities of the scholastic age. During the 13th century, the figure of Aristotle, more than his doctrines and his authentic writings, drew the attention, and stimulated the imagination, of a relatively educated public, much larger than just the university. By widening the the usual field of enquiry to other texts of more varied genre and provenance, I seek to demonstrate the methods used by intellectuals of the time in order to build up the model of a man of wisdom, and, by metonymy, of wisdom itself. A “measure of all truth” or a “quasi-Christian” for some, but “the worst of metaphysicians” or an arrogant unbeliever for others, Aristotle appears to be as ambiguous a model as any really major figure in a culture in transition, a model susceptible to divergent interpretations, in spite of imposed doctrines, censorship or entrenched intellectual habits.