Gerhoh of Reichersberg
GERHOH OF REICHERSBERG
Polemist, Gregorian reformer, statesman, theological writer; b. Polling, Bavaria, 1093–94; d. Reichersberg, June 27, 1169. He studied in Freising and Moosburg and in the school at Hildesheim. Bishop Herman of Augsburg appointed him master of the school in Augsburg and canon of the cathedral, though Gerhoh was only a deacon (1118–19). For years Gerhoh was deeply involved in the turbulent conflicts of the Church and the Holy Roman Empire (see gregorian reform), and while still at Augsburg he sided with Pope callistus ii against his simoniacal bishop who favored the imperial party. In 1122, however, Gerhoh was influential in reconciling the bishop to the Pope. After the First lateran council rejected his proposal for a reform of the clergy based on a communal life for all clergy, Gerhoh withdrew (1124) to the monastery of the canons regular of st. augustine in Rottenbuch. There he immediately became an enthusiastic reformer, making a special journey to Rome with several confreres to obtain a true and complete version of the Rule of St. augustine for the monastery. Two years later (1126) Gerhoh left this monastery and went to Regensburg at the request of Bishop Kuno, who ordained him priest. But Church-State conflict there compelled Gerhoh to flee the diocese (1128); at this time he began his literary career with the Liber de aedificio Dei, on reform of canons. After the death of Kuno, he was received into the Church of Salzburg by Archbishop Conrad I. In 1132 Gerhoh was appointed provost of the Austin monastery of Reichersberg, a position he held until his death. A frequent emissary to Rome, Gerhoh came to know bernard of clairvaux. During the schism of 1160, Gerhoh refused to support the imperial papal candidate, antipope Victor IV, and adhered instead to Pope alexander iii. For this he was banned in 1166 by Emperor frederick i and forced to flee his monastery.
Gerhoh's works (many of which are in Patrologia latina 194, 198) deal especially with the reform of the clergy and relations between church and state. They discuss the validity of Sacraments conferred by excommunicated priests. Gerhoh generally opposed such prescholastics as abelard, gilbert de la porrÉe, peter lombard, and Folmar; his polemical writings against Abelard and Gilbert caused him often to consider the human nature assumed by Christ (see incarnation). His numerous letters are a valuable source of knowledge concerning Church-State relations in his epoch. Gerhoh's lengthiest and most important work, Expositio in Psalmis [ed. D. van den Eynde and A. Rijmersdael (Rome 1955–56)], is a commentary divided into ten parts of unequal length, the fifth part of which is now lost. This work, begun in 1144 or early 1145, and finished in 1169, is full of digressions that often have little connection with the Biblical text but that amount to actual treatises on dogmatic and moral theology, Church discipline, Canon Law, liturgy, and monastic life. Gerhoh borrowed his views on these matters mostly from the writings of his contemporaries rupert of deutz, hugh of saint-victor, and Bernard. For the commentary itself he depended especially on Augustine, Gregory the Great in the collection of Paterius, and the glosses of Rupert, Gilbert, and anselm of laon.
Bibliography: Sources. gerhoh of reichersberg …, Libelli selecti, ed. e. sackur, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Libelli de lite 3:131–525. Magni presbyteri annales Reicherspergenses, ed. w. wattenbach, Monumenta Germaniae Historica: Scriptores 17:490–499. Vita, in Patrologia latina e. martÈne and u. durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum 193:481–488. e. martÈne and u. durand, Thesaurus novus anecdotorum 5:1457–60. Literature. Dictionnaire de théologie catholique Tables générales 1802. d. van den eynde, L'Oeuvre, littéraire de Géroch de Reichersberg (Rome 1957); Lexicon für Theologie und Kirche 2 4:725–726. e. meuthen, Kirche und Heilsgeschichte bei Gerhoh von R. (Leiden 1959).
[c. e. sheedy]