HumanitiesWeb HumanitiesWeb
Sort By Author Sort By Title

Sort By Author
Sort By Title


Get Your Degree!

Find schools and get information on the program that’s right for you.

Powered by Campus Explorer

& etc

All Rights Reserved.

Site last updated
28 October, 2012
Real Time Analytics
History of Philosophy
The Pantheistic School
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)

[1] Cf. Jundt, Histoire du panthéisme au Moyen Age (Paris, 1875).
The pantheism which appeared in the schools towards the end of the twelfth century was the outcome of many influences, of which the most important were the realistic Platonism of the school of Chartres, the natural drift of mysticism towards pantheism, the growing influence of Arabian speculation, and the revival of the study of Erigena's De Divisione Naturae.

Bernard of Tours (Bernardus Silvestris), who lived during the second half of the twelfth century, composed a work De Mundi Universitate, [2] which he dedicated to Theodoric of Chartres, thus indicating the affiliation of the first form of pantheism which appeared in the twelfth century to the school of Chartres. The work is an attempt at deducing a cosmic system from a monad by means of the doctrine of emanation. In method and manner it recalls the treatises of the Neo-Pythagoreans of Alexandria.
[2] This work was published by Barach under the title Bernardi Silvestris De Mundi Universitate, sive Megacosmos et Microcosmos (Innsbruck, 1876), and was ascribed (wrongly, as Clerval has shown) to Bernard of Chartres.

Life. Amaury (or Amalric) of Bčne, or of Chartres, taught theology and dialectic at Paris during the second half of the twelfth century. After his condemnation in 1204, he was obliged to retire from Paris. His books were destroyed, and the date of his death is unknown. The birthplace of Amaury (which is near Chartres) suggests the early influence of the members of the school of Chartres, and it is now almost universally conceded that during the last decades of the twelfth century the works of Erigena were so widely known that it is natural to suppose that Amaury was acquainted with Erigena's doctrines. [3]
[3] Cf. Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, edd. Denilie et Chatelain (Paris, 1889 ff.), I, 107.
Sources. In the absence of primary sources, it is necessary to have recourse to secondary authorities. Chief among these is Gerson (1363-1429).


Stöckl, relying on Gerson's account, attributes to Amaury the following doctrines:

1. Identity of creature and Creator: "Cum in Ipso sint omnia, imo Ipse sit omnia . . . non facile posse negari Creatorem et creaturam idem esse." [4]
[4] Gerson, Opera (Hague, 1728), Vol. IV, p. 826.
2. Substantial unity of all things: "Omnia esse unum. Deum esse essentiam omnium creaturarum et esse unum." [5]
[5] Ibid.
3. Realism, based on identity of specific nature: "Alterius naturae non est Abraham et alterius Isaac, sed unius et ejusdem." [6]
[6] Ibid.
This account, given by Gerson, is confirmed by the testimony of the Council of Paris (1210) at which Amaury was condemned, and by the work Contra Amaurianos, written about 1208, against the followers of Amaury, who seem to have been numerous at that time.

Associated with Amaury is Joachim de Floris (died 1202), who is referred to by St. Thomas and Albertus Magnus as maintaining "Essentia genuit essentiam." [7] Consult Denifle, Archiv, I, 50 ff.
[7] St. Thomas, Sum. Theol., Ia, XXXIX, 5; Albertus Magnus, Sum. Theol., P. I, Tract. VII, Q. XXX, Memb. 3, Art. 1.

Life. David of Dinant seems to have evolved his doctrine of pantheism independently of the influence of Amaury and of the school of Chartres. He drew largely from Arabian sources. Denifle publishes [8] a text in which Albertus Magnus refers to a certain Alexander as the man from whom David derived his heresy. It is more probable that it was Dominicus Gundisalvi who made David conversant with the literature of Arabian pantheism. It is certain at all events that David studied the philosophy of Erigena. The twelfth century, however, was an age in which the genuine representatives of the Scholastic movement knew how to defend themselves. They were strong with the vigor of youth, and, believing in the justice of their cause, they successfully repelled every attack, so that out of the struggles which the twelfth century witnessed there came forth a victorious Scholasticism prepared for the great constructive task to be accomplished in the following century. The results achieved by Scholastism in the second period of its history include: (1) the success of the anti-realists; (2) the recognition of the Scholastic method as a legitimate method in philosophy and theology; (3) the establishment of a broader spirit of culture, of a "humanism" which admitted that the Neo-Latin civilization had much to learn from the civilizations of Greece and of the Orient. These results will appear in the writings of the first schoolmen of the third period.
[8] Chartul., I, 71.


Terms Defined

Referenced Works