295. The Most Christian Doctor: Jean Gerson

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Jean Gerson’s role in the political disputes of his day, the spread of lay devotion and affective mysticism, and the debate over the Romance of the Rose initiated by Christine de Pizan.



Further Reading

• D.F. Hult (trans.), Debate of the Romance of the Rose (Chicago: 2010).

• B.P. McGuire (trans.), Jean Gerson: Early Works (New York: 1998).


• J.L. Baird and J.R. Kane, “La Querelle de la Rose: in Defense of the Opponents,” French Review 48 (1974), 298-307.

• D.C. Brown, Pastor and Laity in the Theology of Jean Gerson (Cambridge: 1987).

• M.S. Burrows, Jean Gerson and De Consolatione Theologiae (Tübingen: 1991).

• A. Combes, La théologie mystique de Gerson: Profil de son évolution (Paris: 1963-64).

• D. Hobbins, “The Schoolman as Public Intellectual: Jean Gerson and the Late Medieval Tract,” American Historical Review 108 (2003), 1308-37.

• B.P. McGuire, Jean Gerson and the last Medieval Reformation (University Park, PA: 2005).

• B.P. McGuire (ed.), A Companion to Jean Gerson (Leiden: 2006).

• L.E. Pascoe, Jean Gerson: Principles of Church Reform (Leiden: 1973).

• G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes, Jean Gerson: Apostle of Unity (Leiden: 1999).


pietro on 11 February 2018

I believe 'Gerson' is to be

I believe 'Gerson' is to be pronounced à la française with a voiced palato-alveolar fricative. As an attentive listener, your way did not bother me one second.

This morning, however, I was careless and I unplugged my headphones as my sister entered the room. As you know, our philosopher's name is a reference to his birthplace and my sister happens to be the vice-president of the biggest medieval toponymy club of the area. Of course, she told my entire family and now everyone thinks i'm a lax person incapable of recognising the sanctity of both names and places.


In reply to by pietro

Peter Adamson on 12 February 2018


Ha! I think I actually pronounced it more than one way in this or at least the last few episodes - I read French but my pronunciation is terrible. (I wince inwardly everytime I have to attempt to say "Descartes" out loud.)

Xaratustrah on 12 February 2018

Gerson's mystic

Hi Peter,

Gerson's mystical theologian who is like a polished glass removing everything from herself from being the perfect image of God, sounds much like Rumi. Any chance of coincidence?


In reply to by Xaratustrah

Peter Adamson on 12 February 2018

Polished glass

Well, this is a pretty pervasive metaphor - like, it is even found in the resolutely unmystical al-Kindi when he says that we should try to polish our soul like a mirror, getting rid of connections to the body. It goes way back to Plato, if not earlier, since he also applies the mirror imagery to the soul (albeit in a rather different sense). Anyway we can certainly assume that Rumi did not influence Gerson!

Brook Schaaf on 13 February 2018

One Thing Learned

I have listened to, I believe, all 295 episodes. As I reflect back on what has been retained in my brain about the history of philosophy, one thing comes to mind... the name "Peter Adamson".

What sort of trickery is this??

In reply to by Brook Schaaf

Peter Adamson on 13 February 2018

Bwa ha hah

[Monty Burns voice:]

EXCELLENT... my plan for world domination is proceeding exactly as I had foreseen.

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