Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Peter Damian

  • Toivo J. HolopainenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_378-2


Peter Damian (c. 1007–1072), an Italian cardinal and religious leader, has a modest place in the history of philosophy because of his little treatise De divina omnipotentia (On Divine Omnipotence). Damian is often depicted as a thinker who, in his attempt to defend divine omnipotence, denied the universal validity of the principle of contradiction and affirmed that God can change the past. Such a view is based on a misinterpretation of Damian’s statements. He actually held that the past cannot be changed, but he did not see this as a limitation of divine omnipotence but as an expression of God’s power. Damian’s treatise reflects an early phase in the scholastic deliberation on philosophical theology.

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Primary Sources

  1. Damiani, P. (1983–1993). Die Briefe des Petrus Damiani (4 vols.; ed. Reindel, K.). Monumenta Germaniae Historica. Die Briefe der deutschen Kaiserzeit 4.1–4. München. (De divina omnipotentia, i.e., Letter 119, is in Vol. 3, pp. 341–384, 1989.)Google Scholar
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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of TheologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland