DB – Roger Bacon OFM, (Rogerius Baco, Somerset –Ilchester– vel Bilsey –Gloucester–, c. 1214/1220 – Oxford, post. 1292), doctor mirabilis.
This page is dedicated to the Franciscan philosopher and scientist Roger Bacon. The main objective is to build and offer a database (DB) to systematize information about his works, whether real or attributed, indicating the stage of publication and gathering news about the available editions and the existing manuscripts. From here, it will be possible to confirm and obtain data about his biography.
This objective is fundamental and preliminary to us to start the work with the critical edition of his works.
Most of the works considered authentic were published in 16 installments by Robert Steele and Ferdinand M. Delorme at Opera hactenus inedita Rogerii Baconis [OHI] between 1905 and 1941. Other few editions appeared afterwards and, at present, there are scientists devoted to their publication. It should also be recognized that the bibliography of Roger Bacon has become voluminous, including several cataloging exercises of his works.
Despite all, however, still we are not able to clearly confirm which one is the catalog of the works of Bacon and, therefore, which ones are editions or manuscripts which must be attended to. Descriptions of the manuscripts of the available catalogs differ in locating the works as authentic or attributed, and also discern whether they are part of works or monographies written independently of other major works. In addition, despite being precious editions of the OHI, they were generally made with only the choice of a manuscript (which affects only a few titles) and it is clear that it lacks a section on sources, really incidental in this case. Without such information, it is not possible to advance effectively in the knowledge of the culture of the author.
Indeed, there are editions of some works of Bacon (sometimes, attributed) of the humanistic period. However, the tradition of the studies about the work of Bacon revived precisely at the beginning of the twentieth century, including the edition of the Opus maius by John Henry Bridges in Oxford in 1897 (although this work had been first published in 1733). Despite the history, it could be said that the successful celebration in 1914 of the 700th anniversary of his birth also led to the birth of the systematic studies on Bacon, especially the commemorative volume of Andrew George Little (ed.) (1914), Roger Bacon essays contributed by various authors on the occasion of the commemoration of the seventh centenary of his birth, Oxford; comparable to the one made again by Jeremiah M.G. Hackett (ed.) (1997), Roger Bacon and the Sciences. Commemorative Essays, Leiden-New York-Cologne, also with commemorative intention.
The emptiness of dedication to the studies of Bacon until the specified dates may be related to what happened on 29 November 1268, at the death of Pope Clement IV, a friend of Bacon, after which we will see successive prohibitions and rulings against Latin Aristotelianism (such as the Condemnation of Paris in 1277), which profoundly affected the interest in the work of Bacon, which almost immediately was relegated to magic, astrology and alchemy, sciences which had been considered traditionally as an objectionable scientism.
Therefore, the lack of a longer and more solid tradition of studies on Roger Bacon has brought us to the present, when most of his works (authentic) can be read printed, but it remains still necessary to make an effort of editing, commentary, systematizing and analysis on the reading of them.
In short, the information we are preparing for this DB – Roger Bacon will be open to the public. This project has deserved the attention and support of several renowned scientists for their studies on Roger Bacon, among which I would like to mention Agostino Paravicini, Michela Pereira, Cecilia Panti and Nicola Polloni, as well as the bibliographical resources offered by SISMEL and Francesco Santi. I am sure this list will be expanded soon.
Óscar de la Cruz (April 2016) [English translation by Rosa Ferreres]