Steven J. Williams

Steven J. Williams

Steven J. Williams.

B.A. Philosophy (Rutgers College); Ph.D. Medieval History (Northwestern University).

When I put on my professional historian's hat, I work on the Middle Ages; my interests focus mostly on thirteenth-century intellectual and cultural history, including the history of science and the history of universities. (For a list of publications, please click here). As a teacher, I cover all of European history; I have also regularly offered undergraduate and graduate versions of both Historiography and Research Methods. It's these last two assignments that have proved to be the most surprising and the most rewarding. From them I have learned how to direct research projects on an amazingly wide variety of topics outside of my areas of expertise; I have also come to appreciate more and more the story of history as a discipline. What makes history so interesting for me is that it seems to encompass everything, thus providing always-new territory in which my curiosity can roam. Engaging with students on a daily basis spikes that curiosity and teaches me new things that I never knew before.


The Secret of Secrets.  The Scholarly Career of a Pseudo-Aristotelian Text in the Latin Middle Ages.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press, 2003.

                 Reviews:               The Medieval Review (online), 23 December 2003.

                                                      English Historical Review 119 (2004):  1385-1386.

                                                      Bulletin Codicologique 2004:  266*-267*.

                                                      Parergon 22 (2005):  262-264.

                                                      Studi Medievali47 (2006):  722-733.

                                                      Bulletin of the History of Medicine 80 (2006):  578-579.

                                                      Speculum 81 (2007):  494-495.

                                                      Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie 54 (2007):                                                               600-609.



“Tracking Two Textual Traditions:  The Pseudo-Aristotelian Secret of Secrets and the Alexander Legend.”   Le Secret des Secrets et sa diffusion européenne, eds. M. Bridges, C. Gaullier-Bougassas, J.-Y. Tilliette  (forthcoming, 2013).

“Like Father, Like Son:  The Life & Reign of Manfred, King of Sicily.”  Bartholomew of Messina and the Cultural Life at the Court of King Manfred of Sicily, eds. Pieter De Leemans and Baudouin Van den Abeele (forthcoming 2013).

“Aristotle in the Medieval Classroom:  Students, Teaching, and Educational Change in the Schools of Paris in the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries.”  The Classics in the Medieval and Renaissance Classroom: The Role of Ancient Texts in the Arts Curriculum as Revealed by Surviving Manuscripts and Early Printed Books, eds. Juanita Feros Ruys, et al., 223-243.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 2013.

“Roger Bacon in Context:  Empiricism in the High Middle Ages.”  ‘Expertus sum’:  l’expérience par les sens en philosophie naturelle médiévale, eds.  Thomas Bénatouïl and Isabelle Draelants, 123-144.  Florence:  SISMEL – Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2011.

“The Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum as a Didactic Text.”  What Nature Does Not Teach:  Didactic Literature in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods, ed. Juanita Ruys, 41-57.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 2008:  pp. 41-57.

“Public Stage and Private Space:  The Court as a Venue for the Discussion, Demonstration, and Display of Science and Technology During the Later Middle Ages.”  Micrologus.  Natura, scienze e società medievali 16 (2008), I saperi nelle corti (XII-XVI s.):  459-486.

“Quodlibetal Disputations,” “The Rise of the Universities,” “Robert Grosseteste,” “Roger Bacon,” “Translations of Aristotle,” “William of Auxerre,” in The New Westminster Dictionary of Church History:  the Early, Medieval, and Reformation Eras, ed. Robert Benedetto, et al.  Louisville-London:  Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.

“Esotericism, Marvels, and the Medieval Aristotle.”  Micrologus.  Natura, scienze e società medievali 14 (2006), Il Segreto:  171-191.

“Reflections on the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum as an Astrological Text.”  Micrologus.  Natura, scienze e società medievali 12 (2004), Il sole e la Luna:  407-434.

“Giving Advice and Taking It:  The Reception by Rulers of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum as a speculum principis.”  ConsiliumTeorie e pratiche del consigliare nella cultura medievale, ed. C. Casagrande, et al., 139-180.  Florence:  Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2004.

“The Vernacular Tradition of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secret of Secrets in the Middle Ages:  Translations, Manuscripts, Readers.”  Filosofia in volgare nel Medioevo, ed. Nadia Bray and Loris Sturlese, 451-482.  Louvain-la-Neuve:  Féderation Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, 2003.

“Philip of Tripoli’s Translation of the Secretum Secretorum Viewed Within the Context of Intellectual Activity in the Crusader Levant.”  In L’Occident et le Proche-Orient au temps des croisades:  traductions et contacts scientifiques entre 1000 et 1300, ed. Isabelle Draelants, et al., 79-94.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 2000.

“Roger Bacon and the Secret of Secrets.”  In Roger Bacon and the Sciences:  Commemorative Essays, ed. Jeremiah Hackett, 365-393.  Leiden:  E. J. Brill, 1998.

“Repenser l’intention et l’effet des décrets de 1231 du pape Grégoire IX sur l’étude des libri naturales d’Aristote à l’Université de Paris.”  In L’enseignement de la philosophie au XIIIe siècle.  Autour du << Guide de l’étudiant >> du ms. Ripoll 109, ed. Claude Lafleur, 139-163.  Turnhout:  Brepols, 1997.         

“Scholastic Awareness of Aristotelian Spuria in the High Middle Ages.”  Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 58 (1995):  29-51.                 

“Roger Bacon and his Edition of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum.” Speculum 69 (1994):  57-73.  [also reprinted in Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism, vol. 108 (Detroit:  Gale Research, 2009).        

“Vincent of Beauvais’ Handling of Spuria in the Speculum maius.”  Vincent of Beauvais Newsletter 19 (1994):  14-21.                

“The Early Circulation of the Pseudo-Aristotelian Secretum secretorum  in the West:  the Papal and Imperial Courts.”  Micrologus.  Natura, scienze e società medievali 2 (1994), Le scienze alla corte di Federico II:  127-144.  Also translated into Italian in Federico II e le scienze, 459-474.  Palermo:  Selerio, 1994.

“Addendum,” with Agostino Paravicini Bagliani, to “Ruggero Bacone, autore del De retardatione accidentium senectutis?”  Studi Medievali 28 (1987):  727-728.