ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

236. Secular Colleges. The Sorbonne. -- It was probably the recognized necessity of counterbalancing the influence of the regulars that first led to the erection of great colleges open to secular students only, and organized after the model of the convent schools. The most famous of those thirteenth-century colleges was the Sorbonne, founded in 1253 by ROBERT OF SORBON (1201-1274), chaplain to Louis IX. It admitted a certain number of theological students for the purpose of training them for preaching and scholastic controversy. They were bound to live in common, under the direction of a provisor. The masters called themselves -- after the fashion of the mendicants -- pauperes magistri de Sorbona. Among the writings left by Robert of Sorbon, the most remarkable are the De Conscientia and the De Tribus Dietis. The former deals with the last judgment, which the author compares with the licentiate examination: preserving from oblivion in this way many curious and interesting facts and theories on matters pedagogical. The latter treatise has for subject the roads that lead to Paradise.

The courses at the Sorbonne were closely connected with the teaching in the Faculty of Theology, for the Sorbonne disputations were not private exercises confined to the intern students, but were public and open to all.{1}

{1} In the fourteenth century an act entitled "Sorbonic" was demanded from every master in theology. "The example of the 'Sorbonic,' " says Thurot, "shows how the colleges multiplied the public acts within the Faculty. . . . It is to the confusion of the regime of the colleges and convents with that of the Faculty that I attribute this change in the theological teaching; and this confusion was natural inasmuch as the Faculty had few if any students outside the colleges and convents" (THUROT, op. cit., p. 134).

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