Scholastic theologian; b. Rodez, France, c. 1380; d. Rodez, April 6, 1444. Little is known of this most celebrated Thomist of the Middle Ages. He entered the Dominican Order at Rodez for the province of Toulouse, and in 1407 was assigned by the Dominican general chapter at Poitiers to lecture on the Sentences of Peter Lombard at the University of Paris. In 1408 and 1409 he composed the first part of his Libri defensionum theologiae divi Thomae de Aquino, familiarly called the Defensiones. He took his degree at the University of Paris (1411 and 1415) in theology. He was made regent of studies at Toulouse, but by 1426 was back at Rodez, where he spent the rest of his life.
Capreolus completed parts two, three, and four of the Defensiones, his only known work, in 1426, 1428, and 1433, respectively. Although it is cast in the form of a commentary on the Sentences, the content is a penetrating exposition and defense of Thomistic teaching. Isidore de Isolanis (d. 1528), who summarized the work, honored Capreolus no less than Aquinas, and he was then and later known as "the soul of St. Thomas" and the "prince of Thomists." With clarity and erudition he systematically defended the Thomistic doctrine against duns scotus, henry of ghent, john of ripa, Ockham (see ockhamism), and lesser theologians.
After his death his work was published at Venice in four folio volumes (1483, 1514, 1519, 1589); the first volume was edited by Thomas de St. Germain, a colleague of Capreolus. Isidore de Isolanis, Paul Soncinas (d. 1494), and Sylvester Prierias (d. 1523) published abridgments, and a modern edition in seven quarto volumes was published in Tours (1900–07), edited by Ceslaus Paban and Thomas Pègues.
Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum (Paris 1719–23) 1:795–796. f. c. copleston, History of Philosophy (Westminster, Md. 1946–1963) v.3. t. m. pÈgues, "Capréolus 'Thomistarum Princeps' à propos de la nouvelle édition de ses oeuvres," Revue thomiste 7 (1899) 63–81; "La Biographie de Jean Capréolus," ibid. 317–334; "Pouvons nous sur cette terre arriver à connaître Dieu," ibid. 8 (1900) 50–76; "Théologie Thomiste d'après Capréolus: De la voie rationelle que nous conduit à Dieu," ibid. 288–309; "L'idée de Dieu en nous," ibid. 505–530. m. grabmann, "Johannes Capreolus O. P. der 'Princeps Thomistarum' († 1444), und seine Stellung in der Geschichte der Thomistenschule," Mittelalterliches Geistesleben, v.3 (Munich 1956) 370–410. g. bedouelle, r. cessario, and k. white, eds. Jean Capreolus et son temps (Paris 1997). j. capreolus, On the Virtues, tr. and ed. r. cessario and k. white (Washington, D.C. 2001).
[j. a. weisheipl]