Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Saint Albertus Magnus, aka "Doctor Universalis", Albert the Great, Albertus Magnus and Albert of Cologne, "the teacher of everything there is to know"

German Catholic Saint, Philosopher, Prolific Writer, Dominican Friar and Bishop who advocated a peaceful coexistence of science and religion

"Work to simplify the heart, that being immovable and at peace from any invading vain phantasms, thou mayest always stand fast in the Lord within thee, to that degree as if thy soul had already entered the always present now of eternity."

"He took over anger to intimidate subordinates, and in time anger took over him."

"Evidence of this [transformation of animals into fossils] is that parts of aquatic animals and perhaps of naval gear are found in rock in hollows on mountains, which water no doubt deposited there enveloped in sticky mud, and which were prevented by coldness and dryness of the stone from petrifying completely. Very striking evidence of this kind is found in the stones of Paris, in which one very often meets round shells the shape of the moon."

"Natural science does not consist in ratifying what others have said, but in seeking the causes of phenomena."

"It seems wonderful to everyone that sometimes stones are found that have figures of animals inside and outside. For outside they have an outline, and when they are broken open, the shapes of the internal organs are found inside. And Avicenna says that the cause of this is that animals, just as they are, are sometimes changed into stones, and especially [salty] stones. For he says that just as the Earth and Water are material for stones, so animals, too, are material for stones. And in places where a petrifying force is exhaling, they change into their elements and are attacked by the properties of the qualities [hot, cold, moist, dry] which are present in those places, and in the elements in the bodies of such animals are changed into the dominant element, namely Earth mixed with Water; and then the mineralizing power converts [the mixture] into stone, and the parts of the body retain their shape, inside and outside, just as they were before. There are also stones of this sort that are [salty] and frequently not hard; for it must be a strong power which thus transmutes the bodies of animals, and it slightly burns the Earth in the moisture, so it produces a taste of salt."

"It is taught by the demons, It teaches about demons and it leads to demons."

"Now it must be asked if we can comprehend why comets signify the death of magnates and coming wars, for writers of philosophy say so. The reason is not apparent, since vapor no more rises in a land where a pauper lives than where a rich man resides, whether he be king or someone else. Furthermore, it is evident that a comet has a natural cause not dependent on anything else; so it seems that it has no relation to someone's death or to war. For if it be said that it does relate to war or someone's death, either it does so as a cause or effect or sign."

"To say that there is a soul in stones simply in order to account for their production is unsatisfactory: for their production is not like the reproduction of living plants, and of animals which have senses. For all these we see reproducing their own species from their own seeds; and a stone does not do this at all. We never see stones reproduced from stones; ... because a stone seems to have no reproductive power at all."

"The beaver is an animal which has feet like those of a goose for swimming and front teeth like a dog, since it frequently walks on land. It is called the castor from 'castration,' but not because it castrates itself as Isodore says, but because it is especially sought for castration purposes. As has been ascertained frequently in our regions, it is false that when it is bothered by a hunter, it castrates itself with its teeth and hurls its musk [castoreum] away and that if one has been castrated on another occasion by a hunter, it raises itself up and shows that it lacks its musk."

"Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature."

"I shall not conceal a science that was before me revealed by the grace of God; I shall not keep it to myself, for being afraid of attracting its curse. What worth is a concealed science; what worth is a hidden treasure? The science I have learned without fiction I transmit with no regret. Envy upsets everything; an envious man cannot be fair before God. Every science and knowledge proceeds from God. Saying it proceeds from the Holy Ghost is a simple way of expressing oneself. No one can thus say Our Lord Jesus Christ without implying Son of God our Father, by work and grace of the Holy Ghost. In the same manner this science cannot be separated from the One who has communicated it unto me."

"The second great wisdom ... is the science of the judgments of the stars, which provides a link between natural philosophy and metaphysics ... No human science attains this ordering of the universe as perfectly as the judgment of the stars does."

"This dumb ox will fill the world with his bellowing."

"Nature must be the foundation and model of science; thus Art works according to Nature in everything it can. Therefore, it is necessary that the Artist follows Nature and operates according to her."

"In studying nature we have not to inquire how God the Creator may, as He freely wills, use His creatures to work miracles and thereby show forth His power; we have rather to inquire what Nature with its immanent causes can naturally bring to pass."

"If the excrement of an elephant should be smeared on skin in which lice appear and left until it dries upon the skin, the lice will not remain on it but will depart immediately. If the fat of an elephant is smeared with it, it is said to cure the pain of one who suffers a headache; it is even said that if an ounce of elephant bone is drunk with ten ounces of wild mountain mint from something which a leper first touched, it does the most for a headache."

"The aim of natural science is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature."