Bonaventure, Saint

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Bonaventure, Saint

Saint Bonaventure (bŏn´əvĕn´chər, bō´nävāntōō´rä), 1221–74, Italian scholastic theologian, cardinal, Doctor of the Church, called the Seraphic Doctor, b. near Viterbo, Italy. His original name was Giovanni di Fidanza. He entered (1238 or 1243) the Franciscan order, studied at the Univ. of Paris under Alexander of Hales, and then taught there with St. Thomas Aquinas until 1255. He was made (1257) general of his order and (1273) cardinal bishop of Albano. He died while attending the Second Council of Lyons, at which he was a papal legate. Among his philosophic and theological works are commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard and the "three little works" —Breviloquium (tr. 1947), Itinerarium mentis in Deum (tr. The Mind's Road to God, 1953), and De reductione artium ad theologiam (tr. 1939). He succeeded in reconciling Aristotle's learning to orthodox Augustinianism, and he was a proponent of moderate realism (see realism, in philosophy, 1). His later mystical works bring the teachings of St. Bernard of Clairvaux and Hugh of Saint Victor to full flower. He emphasized the total dependence of all things upon God, and he wrote guides to mystic contemplation. He also wrote the official and much-translated life of St. Francis. Feast: July 14.

See J. G. Bougerol, Introduction to the Works of Bonaventure (Am. ed. 1964); E. Gilson, The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure (new ed. 1965).

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