University of Leicester
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Quod Homo sit Minor Mundus. Robert Grosseteste and the Potentiality of the Material World: Microcosmism and Deification in the Development of a Didactic Weltanschauung.

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posted on 2023-05-12, 08:36 authored by Adam Foxon

Grossetestean scholarship routinely asserts the inventiveness of the Bishop of Lincoln (c.1170-1253), particularly in reference to the way he attempted to synthesise newly emergent peripatetic philosophy within a distinctly Augustinian theological framework. The result was a highly original, comprehensive epistemology influenced by Grosseteste’s natural philosophic work on optics. The conclusions of this natural philosophy are utterly pervasive upon Grosseteste’s noetic, and to fully appreciate the genius and comprehensiveness of his ‘system’ (if one can indeed call it as such), one must attempt to see the theological implications of combining his epistemology with his ontology; that is, how it fits with his novel cosmogony.

This thesis will seek to demonstrate that the theological implications of such a combination are vast. In explicating and combining under-explored constituent ideological parts of Grosseteste’s weltanschauung, such as his assent to the Pseudo-Dionsyian notion of ‘hierarchy’, this thesis will demonstrate that Grosseteste proffers a contemporaneously uncommon, positive anthropology that rests upon humankind’s ability to learn and the concomitant spiritual development such an educational journey entails. Crucially, this ‘journey’ is only possible because of the means by which we can ‘travel’ at all –creation’s divinely orchestrated microcosmistic constitution – and because of our destination – our reunification with God and our potential deification. Finally, in conclusion, this thesis will establish that these implications lead one to surmise that Grosseteste was panentheistic.



Jack Cunningham; Peter Neil; Phil Wood

Date of award


Author affiliation

Bishop Grosseteste University

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD