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“God is an infinite sphere…”

Posted on by BPH

“God is an infinite sphere…”

Alanus de Insulis, De maximis theologiae. [Basel, Jakob Wollf, before 1492]

This incunable (i.e. a book printed before 1500) is the first edition of the most important work by Alain de Lille, as he is also called in English after his place of birth. Alanus was a philosopher and theologian who lived in the 12th century. This work is his attempt to summarize the basic rules of theology in 134 maxims. It also includes the first occurrence of a much-quoted definition of God which was later attributed to Hermes Trismegistus: “God is an infinite sphere the centre of which is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”.

Alanus himself attributed this sentence to… Cicero!

Alanus de Insulis, De maximis theologiae. [Basel, Jakob Wollf, before 1492]

Alanus de Insulis, De maximis theologiae. [Basel, Jakob Wollf, before 1492]

www.ritmanlibrary.com

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