Food and the Body

Some Peculiar Questions in High Medieval Theology


Whether or not food passes into the truth of human nature" was among the questions that scholastic theologians routinely disputed. Many twelfth-century theologians, including Peter Lombard, argued that the "truth" of every human body came entirely from Adam, and that food stimulated its growth but was not incorporated into it. Parisian masters in the thirteenth-century rejected Lombard's position; some Oxford masters defended it, appealing to theories of light and prime matter.
The first part of the book traces the origins of such questions in theology, medicine and natural philosophy. The second part analyzes their treatment and development in thirteenth-century theology.
The study illumines theologians' opinions about reproduction, fetal development, growth, nutrition, digestion, aging, corporeal identity, matter, physical quantity, the resurrection, and the relationship between theology and the natural sciences.


EUR €228.00USD $284.00

Biographical Note

Philip Lyndon Reynolds, Ph.D. (1986) in Religious Studies, Toronto, is Aquinas Associate Professor of Catholic Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, where he is on the faculty of the Candler School of Theology. He is the author of Marriage in the Western Church ( Brill, 1994). His teaching and research focus on Thomas Aquinas and Bonaventure.

Review Quotes

' ...a masterly account...bringing a historical perspicacity and intellectual care that have been sadly lacking in some recent offerings that will reach wider audiences...No serious library of Aquinas or medieval theology should be without this book.' Laurence Paul Hemming, The Heythrop Journal, 2002. ' ...a seminal discussion of a debate that certainly excited medieval minds…' Norman Tanner, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 2002.

Table of contents

Preface Abbreviations Introduction Part One Background 1. "In Whom All Sinned" 2. The Truth of Human Nature 3. Aristotle on Growth and Nutrition 4. Radical Moisture 5. Theologica, Physica, Medicina Part Two Foreground 6. Development of the Parisian Consensus 7. In Defense of Peter Lombard 8. Albertus Magnus (I): Nutrition 9. Albertus Magnus (II): Sexual Reproduction and the Formative Power 10. Albertus MAgnus (III): Differentiation and Regeneration 11. Albertus Magnus (IV): The Truth of Human Nature 12. Bonaventure 13. Thomas Aquinas (I): Food and the Body 14. Thomas Aquinas (II): Identity and Reiteration in the Resurrection Epilogue Bibliography Index


All those interested in medieval theology, philosophy, medicine and intellectual history.