The Sacramental World in the Sentences of Peter Lombard

By Finn, Thomas M. | Theological Studies, September 2008 | Go to article overview

The Sacramental World in the Sentences of Peter Lombard


Finn, Thomas M., Theological Studies


TWELFTH-CENTURY PARIS

"THE ITALIANS HAVE THE papacy, the Germans have the empire, and the French have learning," so the ancient saying goes. Equally ancient is the fact that Paris, in the words of R. W. Southern, was "the Scholastic metropolis of northern Europe," (1) a fact signaled by the rise of the University of Paris in the last decades of the twelfth century. Indeed, prior to the university stood the cathedral schools of Chartres, Laon, Rheims, Orleans, and Notre Dame-de-Paris. And they, in turn, stood in the midst of a rising urban society and the revival of speculative thinking among the masters of the schools, a revival founded on the confidence that reason, coupled with logic and semantics, could shed light on the many subjects not only in liberal arts, but especially in advanced studies: law, philosophy, and theology. (2)

The masters were the early Scholastics--in theology, masters like Anselm of Laon (d. 1117), Abelard (d. 1142/1143), Gilbert of Poitiers (d. 1154), Hugh of St. Victor (d. 1142), and Peter Lombard (d. 1160)--who sought to bring this revival of systematic thought to their disciplines, to create general syllabi that included everything their students ought to know, and to train full-time scholars in disciplinary content, mastery of past authorities, and methodology, including their willingness, and readiness, to criticize, even to set aside, ideas from those traditions deemed to have outlived their usefulness. (3) In the process, these early Scholastic theologians invented a new, systematic way of doing theology that would dominate the centuries to come.

Peter Lombard

The exemplar is Peter, known as "the Lombard," because he came from Lombardy, born at Novara between 1095 and 1100. (4) Although the first 31 years of his life bask in legends spun from the cloth of his later prominence as Celebrer Theologus and Episcopus Parisiensis, they remain a complete blank. The first documented reference to him is a letter from Bernard of Clairvaux to Prior Gilduin of the recently founded abbey of St. Victor in Paris, recommending Peter, who had proved himself in theology at the cathedral school of Rheims, where the tradition of France's well-known early twelfth-century theologian, Anselm of Laon, flourished.

Peter arrived in Paris in 1136 and studied with Master Hugh of St. Victor. By 1142, however, he was already a celebrated writer and teacher, and hardly two years later ranked with other famous Parisian masters, among them Ivo of Chartres (d. 1115), Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153), and Peter Abelard (d. 1142/3), masters, in the poetic words of Walter Map, "whose mouths breathe balsam and nard." (5) As a result of Peter's celebrity, the canons of Notre Dame, in search of a theologian of distinction for their school, elected him a canon of the cathedral in 1144, bringing high profile to the school, which, within several decades, provided the theology faculty of the University of Paris. His career also involved ordination to the diaconate and presbyterate, and eventually to his consecration as archbishop of Paris on July 28, 1159. He died the next year. The epitaph on his tomb was simple, direct, and telling: "Here lies Master Peter the Lombard, bishop of Paris, who composed the Book of Sentences, Glosses of the Psalms and of the Epistles, the day of whose death is the thirteenth of the calends of August." (6)

Peter's rapid advance was all the more remarkable in that he was a complete outsider in the rigidly structured world of regalian France: a Lombard, without feudal status, royal or ecclesiastical network, and no financial standing: possessed only of his status as master and scholar. Clearly it was his status as theologian, teacher, and author that brought him to the canons of the cathedral and to the archbishopric of Paris.

Peter's Published Works

The Scholastic theologians of the early twelfth century lectured principally on Scripture, favoring the Psalms and the Pauline epistles for their hermeneutical and doctrinal studies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Sacramental World in the Sentences of Peter Lombard
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.