Geoffrey of Clairvaux

views updated


Or Geoffrey of Auxerre, Cistercian abbot, author; b. Auxerre, France, c. 1120; d. Hautecombe Abbey, after 1188. A student of abelard in Paris, he became a cistercian monk at clairvaux in 1140 after hearing bernard of clairvaux preach his famous De conversione ad clericos. As St. Bernard's secretary, Geoffrey accompanied him on many journeys (114548) and was present at the Council of Reims presided over by Pope eugene iii (1148), which centered on the gregorian reform. Certain scholars hold that he succeeded Bl. guerric as abbot of Igny in 1155; it is certain, however, that he was elected abbot of Clairvaux (1161 or 1162) but had to resign this office in 1163 because of the hostility of certain monks. He retired to cÎteaux, was sent on various missions, and later became abbot of Fossanova, near Rome (1170), and then of hautecombe (1176). Geoffrey's main work was his collection of Bernard's letters and the completion of Bernard's biography begun earlier by william of saint-thierry and arnold of bonneval (Patrologia latina 185:301368, 523530). Geoffrey tells of Bernard's work in Languedoc among the albigenses (Patrologia latina 185:410416) and of his preaching the Second Crusade in Germany in 1146 (Patrologia latina 185:395410). From Bernard's sermons he extracted the Declamationes de colloquio Simonis cum Iesu (Patrologia latina 184: 435476). One of Geoffrey's sermons on an anniversary of the death of Bernard is extant (Patrologia latina 185:573588).

Geoffrey also wrote a refutation of gilbert de la porrÉe, the Libellus contra capitula Gilberti Pictaviensis (Patrologia latina 185:595618), and two letters to Cardinal Henry of Albano, one in 1188 about Gilbert's condemnation at the Council of Reims (Patrologia latina 185:587595), and the other Super transsubstantiatione aquae mixtae vino in sanguinem Christi (Baronius, Annales, year 1188, n.28). Also extant are a commentary on the Our Father (Patrologia latina 184:617620), the Tractatus de contemptu mundi (formerly attributed to Bernard), sermons for the feast of John the Baptist and Martin of Tours (F. Combefis, Bibliotheca concionatoria 7:1470; 8:480; Tissier, Bibliotheca patrum Cisterciensium 4:261), and a vita of peter of tarentaise (Acta Sanctorum May 2:322345). The library of Troyes, France, has several of his unpublished MSS: a Liber contra Abaelardum, 17 sermons, a Commentaria in Canticum Canticorum, and sermons on the Apocalypse (Catalogue général des MSS des bibliothèques des départements v.2).

Bibliography: Patrologia latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v. (Paris 187890) 185.1:221224. Histoire Littéraire de la France, 14:430451. b. heurtebize, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, 6.1:122728. DTC Tables Générales 16:179596. f. stegmÜller, Repertorium commentariorum in Sententias Petri Lombardi, 1:111. f. stegmÜller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, 2:332334. j. leclercq, "Les Écrits de G. d'Auxerre," Revue Benedictine, 62 (1952) 274291; "Le Témoignage de G. d'A. sur la vie cistercienne," Analecta monastica ser. 2 (Studia anselmiana 31; Rome 1953) 174201. m. s. lenssen, "LAbdication du Bx. G. d'A. Clairvaux," Collectanea Ordinis Cisterciensium Reformatorum, 17 (1955) 98110. m. a. dimier, Catholicisme 4:1849.

[j. daoust]