Albert the Great’s On the Causes of the Properties of the Elements investigates such diverse natural events as the formation of volcanoes, thermal springs, and mountains among the earth’s topographical features. It examines the moon’s influence on ocean tides and the astronomical events that cause both the Noah flood recounted in the Bible and the regular flooding of the Nile. Albert explores the basic building blocks of the physical world, i.e., the four elements of earth, air, fire and water—and their mixtures that form the mineral, plant, and animal kingdoms. He studies the position of the earth, which he proves to be round, at the center of a planetary system that extends beyond the seven planets known to medieval astronomers to reach the outermost place of the universe occupied by a Prime Mover.
Irven Resnick has translated from Latin works of Peter Damian, Odo of Tournai, and Petrus Alfonsi. In addition, with Kenneth F. Kitchell Jr. he has translated Albert the Great’s Questions Concerning Aristotle’s ‘On Animals’ (Washington DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2008); Albertus Magnus On Animals. A Medieval Summa Zoologica (2 vols.; Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999); and he has published Albert the Great: A Selectively Annotated Bibliography (1900-2000) (Tempe, AZ: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2004). For a more complete biography, see