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

387. Thomism in the Fourteenth Century. -- Thomism remained the better part of scholasticism in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. St. Thomas had been elevated to the altars of the Church, the prohibitions against certain points in his teaching had been withdrawn, and even William of Ockam had admitted that those prohibitions had been superfluous. The Cistercians and Carmelites gave numerous supporters to Thomism during this period. Among the latter, the prior general, GERARD OF BOLOGNA (fl. 1317), was an avowed opponent of the Scotistic formalism. We may also mention RALPH THE BRETON (first half of fourteenth century), and the Sorbonne master, JOHN DE POUILLI (first half of fourteenth century), as liberal-minded Aristotelians and supporters of moderate realism. But the great mass of militant Thomists belonged to the order of Friars-Preachers. The Dominicans of the early fourteenth century are better known than their immediate predecessors -- the men who were formed in the schools of the great masters themselves. Among the most vehement opponents of Duns Scotus were HERVÉ OF NÉDELLEC, JOHN OF NAPLES (fl. 1330) and PETER DE PALLUDE (fl. 1344). Hervé of Nédellec, who was general of the Dominican order in 1318 and died in 1323, deserves to be better known than he is. He wrote Commentaries on the Sentences, Quodlibeta and a number of controversial tracts against Henry of Ghent.{1} DURANDUS OF AURILLAC, also called DURAN-DELLUS, wrote a tract in which he refuted the opinions by which his namesake, Durandus of S. Pourçain, separated from the teaching of St. Thomas.{2}

Over and over again the general chapters of the Dominican order renewed the solemn mandates of 1278 and 1279. It was with legitimate pride they established in all their schools the doctrines of the great philosopher whom an episcopal decree of the year 1323 did not hesitate to describe as "ecclesiae lumen praefulgidum, gemma radians clericorum, flos doctorum, Universitatis Parisiensis speculum clarissimum et insigne, claritate vitae, famae et doctrinae velut stella splendida et matutina refulgens".{3} For the most part, those chapter statutes, commanding the whole order to conform to the doctrines of St. Thomas, were issued in order to bring back to Thomism some fractious monk or other whose secession was giving scandal. Thus, for instance, the statute of the general chapter of Bologna, in 1315, synchronizes with the censure inflicted by the provincial chapter of Aretium on brother UBERTUS GUIDI.{4} Similarly, the general chapter of Brives, in 1346, renews the order to follow St. Thomas, simply because a number of Dominicans, at Paris and elsewhere, had drifted into the anti-Thomist movement of Ockam's followers.{5}

{1} According to the catalogue published by DENIFLE, Quellen, etc., p. 228. The Quodlibeta include a treatise De Formis: in addition to which EHRLE indicates two other tracts of Hervé "de formis," Alemannus, etc., t. iii., 2, p. ix. Manuscripts containing a reportatio of various Quodlibeta of Godfrey of Fontaines attribute the treatise to Hervé of Nédellec or Henry the Teuton, of the Hermits of St. Augustine. DE WULF, Étude sur la vie, les oeuvres et i'influence de G. de Fontaines, pp. 65, 66. Hervé is probably not the author of a Totius Logicae Summa wrongly attributed to St. Thomas.

{2} In the catalogue of Dominican works published by Denifle there are also mentioned logical treatises by ALBERT OF ERFORT (before 1400) and by GRATIADEUS ESCULANUS (about 1341).

{3} Chartul., i., pp. 280 and 281.

{4} Ibid., ii., pp. 173 and 174.

{5} Ibid., pp. 591 and 592.

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