The reception of Plato's so-called "Unwritten Doctrines" in Medieval Philosophy

Since the 1950s, scholars of ancient philosophy have devoted their attention to Plato's so-called "Unwritten Doctrines". Surprisingly enough, the same did not happen among the specialists of medieval philosophy. This is even more curious if we consider the fact that the main sources testifying the contents of those doctrines were some of the Aristotelian works that became well known in the XIIIth century. The present research project aims at exploring the reception of such doctrines among some of the most significant medieval philosophers and theologians such as Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, Thierry of Freiburg, starting from the medieval commentaries on Aristotle’s Metaphysics. It is worth noting that the interest of such a study is not exclusively historical, but also theoretical, as it involves at least one philosophical question which is central in contemporary analytic philosophy, namely the question whether it is at all possible to conceive of a being which is at the same time common to many but also individual.

The national and international research network includes E. Berti (Università di Padova) and R. Imbach (University of Fribourg).


Results already acheived:

  • David Anzalone, The reception of Metaphysics I,6in some Medieval Commentaries on the Metaphysics, M.A. Thesis, Università della Svizzera italiana, 2019

  • Giovanni Ventimiglia, Tommaso d'Aquino e le dottrine non scritte di Platone, Talk at the international conference "Il Platone non scritto nella tradizione antica e medievale, "Sapienza" University of Rome, 12.02.2019

  • David Anzalone, La ricezione medievale di Metafisica A,6 nei primi commenti alla Metafisica, Talk at  at the international conference "Il Platone non scritto nella tradizione antica e medievale, "Sapienza" University of Rome, 12.02.2019.


  • U.R. Jeck, Kennt die mittelalterliche Philosophie die Differenz zwischen exoterischer und esoterischer Philosophie? Platons ungeschiebene Lehre vom Topos bei Averroes, Albertus Magnus, Ulrich von Straßburg und Thomas von Aquino, inJ. Aertsen & A. Speer(eds.), Was ist Philosophie im Mittelalter? Akten des X. Internationalen Kongresses für mittelalterliche Philosophie der Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale 25. Bis 30. August 1997 in Erfurt, De Gruyter, Berlin-New York 1998(Miscellanea Mediaevalia 26), 298-303
  • E. Berti, Aristotélisme et néoplatonisme dans le commentaire de Saint Thomas sur la Métaphysique, inC. Chiesa & L. Freuler (eds.), Métaphysiques médiévales. Études en l’honneur d’André de Muralt, Cahiers de la Revue de Théologie et de Philosophie, Genève-Lausanne-Neuchâtel 1999, 69-82
  • G. Ventimiglia, Die Transzendentale Vielheit des Thomas von Aquin in ihrem theologischen Kontext, in „Rivista teologica di Lugano“, 17 (2012), 1, 103-118
  • Id., Tommaso d’Aquino e le dottrine non scritte di Platone, in “Medioevo”, 38 (2013), 111-178