The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought

By M. S. Kempshall | Go to book overview

5
The Life of Virtue: Giles of Rome's

De Regimine Principum

During Aquinas' second spell as regent master ( 1269-72), the university of Paris was stung by a series of disputes over the teaching of Aristotle in the faculty of arts. These controversies culminated in March 1277 when a list of some 219 propositions was condemned by Stephen Tempier, the bishop of Paris.1 One immediate casualty was a bachelor in theology from the Augustinian Order, Giles of Rome, who was denied the licentia docendi after his commentary on the first book of the Sentences was deemed to contain 51 censurable propositions. Giles's refusal to recant, and in particular his refusal to withdraw his opposition to the condemnation of the unicity of substantial form in material creatures, forced him to leave the university for Bayeux. In the event, Giles's departure was to prove only a temporary setback to his academic career. By June 1285, he had been rehabilitated, returning to Paris to become the first Augustinian master in theology. Thereafter, he proved a prolific writer and an influential disputant whose writings were swiftly made the official teaching of the Augustinian Order.2

The condemnations of 1277 were designed to counter 'errors' in philosophy and theology, and the direct consequences for specifically political ideas were limited. The indirect consequences, however, were considerable, for it was Giles of Rome's

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1
CUP no. 473 (i. pp. 543-55); ed. P. Mandonnet, Siger de Brabant et l'averroïme latin au XIIIe siècle ( Louvain, 1908), pp. 175-91; trans. E. L. Fortin and P. D. O'Neill, in ed. R. Lerner and M. Mahdi, Medieval Political Philosophy: A Sourcebook ( Toronto, 1963), 337-54. For the extent to which these propositions reflect the actual teaching of 'radical Aristotelians' such as Siger of Brabant, and for the effects of their condemnation on the faculty of theology, see J. F. Wippel, "'The Condemnations of 1270 and 1277 at Paris'", Journal of medieval and Renaissance Studies, 7 ( 1977), 169-201; R. Hissette, Enquête sur les 219 articles condamnés à Paris le 7 mars 1277 (Louvain-Paris, 1977); id., 'Etienne Tempier et ses condemnations', RTAM 47( 1980), 231-70; F. van Steenberghen, La Philosophie au XIIIe siècle, 2nd edn. ( Louvain, 1991); id., Maître Siger de Brabant (Louvain-Paris, 1977).
2
CUP nos. 522 (i. 633), 542 (ii. 12). A critical edition is in progress under the direction of F. Del Punta and G. Fioravanti ( Aegidii Romani Opera Omnia, Unione Accademica Nazionale, Corpus Philosophorum Medii Aevi, Florence 1985- ). For Giles's career, see P. Mandonnet, "'La Carrière scolaire de Gilles de Rome, 1276-1291'", Revue des Sciences Philosophiques et Théologiques, 4 ( 1910), 480-99; P. W. Nash, 'Giles of Rome' , in New Catholic Encyclopaedia, vi. 484-5; F. Del Punta, S. Donati, and C. Luna, 'Egidio Romano', in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, xlii. 319-41; D. Gutierrez, The Augustinians in the Middle Ages 1256-1356 (History of the Order of St. Augustine, i; Villanova, 1984), ch. 6; E. Hocedez ", 'La Condamnation de Gilles de Rome'", RTAM 4 ( 1932), 34-58; Giles of Rome, Apologia, ed. R. Wielockz ( Aegidii Romani Opera Omnia, III. 1; Florence, 1985). For a recent survey of many aspects of his thought see Medioevo, 14 ( 1988).

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