Roland J. Teske, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto, is a seasoned scholar who has dedicated his career to the study of Augustine and medieval theology. He is a respected translator and interpreter of Augustine and William of Auvergne. In this volume, thirteen of Teskeís previously published articles on William of Auvergne are collated into a single volume. William of Auvergne served as bishop of Paris from 1228 to 1249. Williamís thought is probably not known and appreciated to the degree that it should be. He addressed issues primarily in metaphysics and epistemology. His thought is interesting particularly because of its impact in his own day, and because of his integration of Greek thought (Aristotle) and Islamic thought (Avicenna) into Christian theology. William did not accept the views of Aristotle and Avicenna uncritically (cf. p. 219), but he was unafraid to apply these teachings when they were consistent with Christian thought.
The articles begin with a helpful overview of Williamís life and interests. The rest of the essays address particular aspects of Williamís thought. These essays afford significant and thoughtful insights into the intellectual contribution of William of Auvergne, appropriately placing his thought within the social setting and the contemporary status of the history of ideas at the time of his writing. These essays are somewhat technical in nature, appropriate for a scholarly rather than a general audience. Teske includes a significant number of Latin texts, and on occasion the reader must have facility in four to five languages (Latin, Greek, French, German, Italian, and English) in order to read the text (cf. pp. 161-162, 171, 180). The volume is enhanced by a helpful and thorough bibliography on William of Auvergne, and useful indexes of names and subjects.
One might quibble not about the unquestionable quality of scholarship offered in this volume, but the manner of its presentation. The republished articles are not offered according to the chronology of Williamís life, but to Teskeís publication of them (p. 13). Inevitably, some of the same major points and references are repeated in several of the articles rather than receiving a single comprehensive treatment. The documentation of referenced works is started anew in each essay, rather than continuing throughout the book as a whole. At points, references to essays published within this book are referenced not to the chapter within the current volume but to their earlier place of publication (cf. p. 196). Obviously, it would have been more convenient for the reader to reference the article in the same volume rather than searching for it in another publication. Perhaps a more fruitful presentation of these essays would have been to order the articles according to some pattern in Williamís thought or life, with an introductory essay before each essay identifying the place of this aspect of Williamís thought within his overall work.
However, these quibbles about presentation do not lessen the value of the content of this publication. Teskeís excellent scholarship as reflected in these essays provides a careful and thoughtful investigation of Williamís thought. With the rise of Islam in our contemporary pluralistic setting, William may serve as a valuable model for interfaith conversation seeking common ground among Christians, Muslims, and those of other faiths while maintaining faithfulness oneís own core beliefs. Williamís positions regarding metaphysics and epistemology also deserve thoughtful consideration. Recommended for scholarly readers.