TEMPIER, STEPHEN(D. 1279). Bishop of Paris, he is best known for his Condemnation of 1277, a list in which he pronounced 219 propositions in philosophy and theology to be heretical.
Very little is known of the life of Stephen (or Étienne) Tempier. He was born at Orléans; the date of his birth is unknown. He was a master of theology at the University of Paris for some time, serving as a chancellor of the university in 1263. He became bishop of Paris in 1268. He died on 3 September 1279.
Tempier is best known for his efforts to eradicate false teaching from the University of Paris. In 1270, he issued a statement condemning thirteen philosophical errors associated with Averroism. This proclamation, however, was overshadowed by his Condemnation of 1277, in which he condemned 219 propositions drawn from the writings of the University of Paris faculty. Those who taught or affirmed such propositions were to be excommunicated.
The Condemnation followed a request from Pope John XXI to inquire into possible heresy at the university; since the pope’s letter was written in January and the list was issued in March, Tempier was probably already working on the project when the pope made his request. Tempier did not compile the list alone but engaged several masters of theology, including *Henry of Ghent, to assist him by examining selected works and drawing up lists of errors. His compilation of the propositions appears haphazard; he did not edit out propositions selected by more than one master, nor did he group similar propositions under category headings. Thus, the list is repetitive and disorganized. Nevertheless, it is also comprehensive and, for the most part, consistent. All the condemned propositions reflect the application of Greek philosophical concepts, mostly Aristotelian, to questions of theology in such a way as to conflict with orthodox Christian doctrine. Among the propositions condemned were assertions regarding human beings such as the view that all human beings share a common intellect so that individuals are incapable of understanding or free will, as well as assertions