Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

2011 Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Peter Damian

  • Toivo J. Holopainen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_378


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 Petrus (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, 1989, pp 341–384)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Toivo J. Holopainen
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of TheologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland