John Marenbon is a Fellow of Trinity College, and Lecturer there in the History of Philosophy. He studied at Trinity where, as an undergraduate, he took an unusual course, centred around his interests in medieval literature and thought. He went on to do a PhD (1979) under Peter Dronke on logic, philosophy and theology in the eighth and ninth centuries. He became a research fellow at Trinity in 1978 and was given a job there in 1979 as Lecturer and Director of Studies in (rather inappropriately) English. He held this position until 1997 (except for the years 1991-93, when he was a British Academy Research Reader), when Trinity re-described his post in a way more appropriate to his research and teaching.
His research and academic writing is concerned with medieval philosophy. He began by working on the ninth-century philosopher, John Scottus Eriugena. Unlike most of those who have studied Eriugena, he became interested mainly, not in the writer's Neoplatonic metaphysics, but in his use of Aristotelian logic [see (publications) 1]. Research into the Aristotelian logical tradition in the Middle Ages up to c.1150 has been, since then, one of the main themes of his writing. He has been especially keen to show the importance of Aristotelianism in a period which many consider to have been dominated by Platonism [see 7]. Over the last 15 years, he has concentrated especially on Peter Abelard (1079-1142), writing about his logic, metaphysics, philosophy of religion and ethics [see 5]. He has also, as author and editor, provided general surveys of medieval philosophy [see 2,3 and 6] and considered methodological issues about the history of philosophy. He has argued for a method of 'historical analysis', which combines characteristically analytical insistence on clarity and intelligibility to modern readers with a concern for wider cultural context often missing from historical work done by those trained in philosophy [see 'What is Medieval Philosophy?' in 7]. At the moment, besides continuing work on Abelard and other twelfth-century writers, he is writing a books on Boethius (c.480-c.525) and on medieval ideas about good pagans (especially philosophers!).
He runs an informal History of Philosophy Seminar (all interested please contact him), and hosts the Medieval Science and Philosophy Reading Group (again, please contact him if you are interested).
- From the circle of Alcuin to the school of Auxerre. Logic, theology and philosophy in the early Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1981) (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought, 2nd series)
- Early medieval philosophy (480-1150): an introduction (London, 1983) [revised edition with a new introduction, extra notes and bibliography, and one section rewritten: 1988; Japanese translation: 1992]
- Later medieval philosophy (1150-1350): an introduction (London) [Japanese translation: 1989; second edition, with additional notes and bibliography: 1992]
- Aristotle in Britain during the Middle Ages (Turnhout, 1996) [editor]
- The Philosophy of Peter Abelard (Cambridge, 1997) [paperback edition, with corrections and Bibliographical note, 1999]
- The Routledge History of Philosophy, vol. III (The Middle Ages) (London, 1998) [editor]
- Aristotelian Logic, Platonism, and the Context of Early Medieval Philosophy in the West (Variorum Collected Studies) (Aldershot, 2000 [October/November])
Most of the longer articles are reprinted in . Two recent ones (connected with Abelard) which are not there are: -
- 'Authenticity Revisited', in B. Wheeler, Listening to Heloise. The Voice of a Twelfth-Century Woman (New York, 2000), , pp. 19-33
- Abélard, le verbe 'être' et la prédication' in Langage, Sciences, Philosophie au XIIe siècle, ed. J. Biard (Paris, 1999), pp. 199-215
Trinity College, Cambridge, CB2 1TQ, UK