Thomas Bradwardine (1290-1349, Mathematician, Archbishop of Canterbury 1349)

Thomas Bradwardine Demographics:
  • Name - Thomas Bradwardine (known as "the Profound Doctor")
  • Born - c. 1290
  • Birthplace - either at Hartfield (Sussex) or at Chichester.
  • Death - 26 August 1349
  • Place of death - Rochester
  • Buried - Canterbury.
  • Occupation - English scholar, mathematician, courtier, theologian & briefly Archbishop of Canterbury (1349).
  • Family social class - smaller gentry / burghers.
Childhood & Education:
  • Known as a precocious student.
  • Educated at Balliol College, Oxford.
  • Made a Fellow of Balliol College by 1321.
  • Recieved degree of doctor of divinity.
  • Reputation as an excellent scholar, mathematician & theologian.
  • Particularly gifted logician - with theories on the insolubles & the liar paradox.
  • Later moved to Merton College (Oxford) on a fellowship.
  • Eventually became chancellor of the University of Oxford & professor of divinity.
  • Was a contemporary of William of Ockham (of Occam's Razor fame).
Religious & Public Life:
  • Ordinary secular cleric.
  • Was chancellor of the diocese of London.
  • As Dean of St Paul's, he became chaplain and confessor to Edward III.
  • He preached at the victory mass following the successful Battle of Crécy.
  • Edward III repeatedly entrusted him with diplomatic missions.
  • Was elected Archbishop of Canterbury by the canons in 1349 (following death of Archbishop John Stratford) but Edward III would not give his consent.
  • Edward III's chancellor John de Ufford was instead made Archbishop of Canterbury, but soon died of the Black Death (bubonic plague).
  • Bradwardine was then made Archbishop of Canterbury, receiving confirmation from Pope Clement VI (then located in Avignon).
  • Unfortunately Archbishop Bradwardine also died (26 August 1349) of the Black Death (bubonic plague), in Rochester, after returning from Avignon.
Scientific Life:
  • Was as one of the Merton College 'Oxford Calculators', which also included William Heytesbury, Richard Swineshead, & John Dumbleton.
  • They were first to formulate the 'mean speed theorem'.
  • They also demonstrated "The Law of Falling Bodies"— long before Galileo Galilei.
  • Bradwardine spent time examining Aristotle's theories of dynamics.
  • As a mathematician he is best known for the work Tractatus de proportionibus velocitatum (1328).
  • Bradwardine was the first mathematician to study "star polygons", which would later be studied more extensively by Kepler.
  • Bradwardine was also a memory expert, using mnemonic techniques to improve his mental abilities, which he wrote about in De Memoria Artificiali (c. 1335).
Writen Works:
  • De causa Dei contra Pelagium et de virtute causarum (published London, 1618)
  • De Geometria speculativa (printed at Paris, 1530) [see thumbnail image]
  • De Arithmetica practica (printed at Paris, 1502)
  • De proportionibus velocitatum in motibus (1328) (printed at Paris, 1495; Venice, 1505)
  • De Quadratura Circuli (Paris, 1495)
  • Ars Memorative, Sloane manuscripts. No. 3974 in the British Museum—earning from the Pope the title of the Profound Doctor.
  • De Continuo (?)
  • Tractatus de proportionibus (1328)
  • De Memoria Artificiali (c. 1335)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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