Born: c. 1214/1220 Ilchester, Somerset
Died: 1294/1292 Oxford
Other names: Doctor Mirabilis
Occupation: Friar, scholar
Organization: Order of Friars Minor
Religion: Roman Catholic
I. History of Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. (c. 1214–1294) (scholastic accolade Doctor Mirabilis, meaning "wonderful teacher"), was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods. He is sometimes credited, mainly starting in the 19th century, as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle and later Arabic scholars, such as those of Muslim scientist Alhazen. However, more recent reevaluations emphasize that he was essentially a medieval thinker, with much of his "experimental" knowledge obtained from books, in the scholastic tradition. A survey of the reception of Bacon's work over centuries found it often reflects the concerns and controversies central to the receivers.
Roger Bacon was born in Ilchester in Somerset, England, possibly in 1213 or 1214 at theIlchester Friary. The only source for his birth date is his statement in the Opus Tertium, written in 1267, that "forty years have passed since I first learned the alphabet". The 1214 birth date assumes he meant 40 years had passed since he matriculated at Oxford at age 13. If he had been literal, his birth date was more likely around 1220 to 1222. In the same passage he said that for all but two of the forty years he had been engaged in study. His family appears to have been well-off, but during the stormy reign of Henry III of England their property was seized and several family members driven into exile.
Bacon studied at Oxford and may have been a disciple of Grosseteste. He became a master at Oxford, lecturing on Aristotle. There is no evidence he was ever awarded a doctorate — the title Doctor Mirabilis was posthumous and figurative. Sometime between 1237...