Hugh of Saint Victor

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hugh of Saint Victor

Hugh of Saint Victor, 1096–1141, French or German philosopher and theologian, a canon regular of the monastery of St. Victor, Paris, from c.1115. In 1133 he was made head of the monastery school, which became under him one of the principal centers of learning in medieval France. Hugh made St. Victor the chief competitor of Abelard's school (see Abelard). Hugh's Eruditionis didascaliae libri VII expounds his new contribution to the division of knowledge. De sacramentis Christianae fidei (On the Sacraments of the Christian Faith; tr. by R. J. Defarrari, 1957), Hugh's chief work, is a general thesis on dogmatic theology, giving him his high place in medieval philosophy. Hugh also wrote many mystical works (e.g., Arca Noë moralis, Arca Noë mystica, De amore sponsi ad sponsam) and he was long best known for them. His mystical teaching was very influential in the history of his school, but he was not so extreme as his successors, notably Richard of Saint Victor. He was responsible for the celebrated division of the mystical ascent into three stages: thought (with which we see God in nature), meditation (with which we see God within ourselves), and contemplation (with which we see God as if face to face).

See The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor (with notes and tr. by J. Taylor, 1961, rpt. 1991).

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