Gerard of Abbeville

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GERARD OF ABBEVILLE

Secular master in theology at Paris; b. Abbeville, near Amiens, c. 1220; d. Nov. 8, 1272. Mentioned as a master of the university and papal subdeacon in 1254 (Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis 1:374), he was regent master in theology and archdeacon of Ponthieu in 1262 (ibid. 1:436). His entire career was devoted to the academic life at Paris. An intimate friend of william of saint-amour, he became one of the leaders of the movement to expel mendicants from the university and to suppress their privileges. After the exile of William of Saint-Amour in 1257, Gerard preserved contact by correspondence and became the recognized leader of the opposition to the mendicant orders, particularly in the second stage of the conflict. In 1256 he had already written Contra adversarium perfectionis Christianae, but it was not circulated until late summer of 1269. This was answered by both bonaventure and thomas aquinas. In January 1269 Gerard inaugurated renewed opposition in a sermon affirming that use of material goods for the sake of the Church does not place secular clerics in a less perfect state than that of religious. In his Lenten quodlibet (March 1269), he attacked the Franciscan concept of absolute poverty. In this he received strong support from his colleague Nicholas of Lisieux. Early in 1270 he addressed two critical questions to john peckham that were answered both in Peckham's Tractatus pauperis and in Aquinas's Quodl. 3.1112. Later Gerard published a list of 110 false, dangerous, and heretical propositions from the Franciscan pamphlet Manus quae contra omnipotentem attributed to thomas of york or Bertrand of Bayonne. Gerard in turn became the object of constant attack from the mendicants, particularly the Franciscans; he replied twice in 1270 to anonymous Franciscan attacks. His last defense, Liber apologeticus, appeared about the middle of July 1270. After his death the controversy relaxed somewhat. Literature directed against Gerard and his supporters has come to be known as contra Geraldinos.

Bibliography: p. glorieux, Répertoire de mâitres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle 1:356360. p. glorieux, "Les Polémiques contra Geraldinos, " Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiéval 6 (1934) 541. g. bonafede, Enciclopedia filosofica 2:664665. s. clasen, "Die Duplez quaestio de Gerhard von Abbeville über den Ordenseintritt Jugendlicher," Antonianum 22 (1947) 177200; "Tractatus Gerardi de Abbatisvilla Contra adversarium perfectionis Christianae," Archivum Franciscanum historicum 31 (1938) 276329; 32 (1939) 89200. y. m. j. congar, "Aspects ecclésiologiques de la querelle entre mendiants et séculiers dans la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle et le début du XIVe," Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen-âge (1961) 35151.

[a. j. heiman]

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