Auctor - Auctoritas

Entertainment / Literature / Auctor - Auctoritas: The Latin word auctor is the source for the modern English word author, but the medieval word carries a special resonance and seriousness the modern word lacks. The terms differ in intellectual connotation. Thus, when Chaucer writes of 'mine auctor,' he suggests his source is especially authoritative because that writer incorporates non-original (but valuable) ideas into his own work. The power of an auctor comes not from his novelty or originality, instead, the author takes conventional, authoritative ideas, and uses these concepts to supplement his own thinking in an original manner. The auctor, thus, uses established, valuable material to supplement his original ideas without slavishly regurgitating them. We see the distinction spelled out most clearly by Saint Bonaventure.

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