Skip to main content

Clarenbaud of Arras

CLARENBAUD OF ARRAS

French scholastic, representative of the school of Chartres; fl. 1130 to 1170. He studied at Paris under hugh of saint-victor and thierry of chartres probably in the late 1130s. From at least 1152 until 1156 he was provost of the church of Arras. "Summoned" to direct the schools by Walter II of Mortagne, Bishop of Laon from 1155 to 1174, he went to Laon, probably in 1160. He did not teach there for long, but returned to Arras, where he was made archdeacon by Andrew, bishop of Arras (116173). He is known to have been alive in the 1170s, for he possessed some relics of St. Thomas becket, who died in 1170.

Although Clarenbaud taught philosophy, he is best known for his theological writings. Many monks turned to him, complaining that they were unable to understand the commentary on Boethius's De Trinitate written by gilbert de la porrÉe. At their repeated and "sacred requests" he agreed to write a commentary of his own, relying mainly on the lectures of his two "venerable teachers." In his lucid and polished commentary on De Trinitate, he severely criticized abelard and Gilbert de la Porrée. He accused Abelard of sabellianism and claimed that he had read "many childish, ridiculous and damnable things" in Abelard's Theologia (De Trin. 1.38). More frequently he criticized Gilbert not only for errors and heresies, but also for a deliberately involved and obscure style. He strongly rejected Gilbert's assertion that the divine persons "differ by number," and admitted only a certain "otherness" among the persons (De Trin. 3.3536).

At a later date Clarenbaud wrote a commentary on the third of Boethius's tracts, De hebdomadibus, and a Tractatulus on the opening chapter of Genesis. In all his writings he relied heavily on Thierry of Chartres without simply plagiarizing him. In addition to a polished style and lucid presentation of doctrine, Clarenbaud's writings reveal a vast knowledge of Christian and non-Christian literature.

Since for Clarenbaud ignorance of creation leads to heresies, he carefully analyzed the notion of creation as a transition from nonbeing to being. The first movement of created being marks the beginning of time. Creatures are composed of primeval matter and seminal causes. Primeval matter is absolute potency (possibilitas absoluta ), itself formless, containing every nature in a possible state. A seminal cause is a hidden power implanted by God in the four elements. Only God, or "Absolute Necessity," can operate on primeval matter, giving it forms that determine the nature of "defined potency" (possibilitas definita ). From Absolute Necessity descends "the necessity of combination or concatenation" (necessitas concatenationis ). Thus all things existed in the divine wisdom in undeveloped simplicity. They unfold and descend from the eternally One in a predetermined order and are, as it were, produced in concatenated and interwoven steps. He points out that St. augustine and pythagoras present the same doctrine in different terms.

Bibliography: n. m. haring, Life and Works of Clarembald of Arras (Studies and Texts 10; Toronto 1965). w. jansen, Der Kommentar des Clarenbaldus von Arras zu Boethius 'De Trinitate' (Breslauer Studien zur historischen Theologie 8; Breslau 1926) 26105. É. h. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 149150, 623. a. tognolo, Enciclopedia filosofica (Venice-Rome 1957) 1:1074.

[n. m. haring]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Clarenbaud of Arras." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Clarenbaud of Arras." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clarenbaud-arras

"Clarenbaud of Arras." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/clarenbaud-arras

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.