Gregory of Rimini
GREGORY OF RIMINI
Augustinian philosopher and theologian; b. Rimini, Italy, toward the end of the 13th century; d. Vienna, November 1358. Gregory entered the Hermits of St. Augustine and studied in Italy; in Paris, where he received the degree of bachelor of theology (c. 1323); and in England. He taught at Paris, and at Bologna, Padua, and Perugia in Italy. He then returned to Paris, where he was given the title of Magister cathedraticus (Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis 2:557, n. 1097) in 1345.
Gregory returned to Italy. In 1351, he was appointed regent of the Augustinian house of studies at Rimini and prior of the monastery. After the death of the prior general, thomas of strassburg, in 1356, Gregory served as vicar general. A year later, he was unanimously elected prior general. Gregory was considered by his contemporaries to be one of the most subtle philosophers and theologians. Posterity has awarded him the honorary titles of Doctor authenticus and Doctor acutus.
Gregory was influenced by william of ockham, although he was less prone to skepticism. Gregory admitted the validity of the proofs for the existence of God and held that it is possible to demonstrate philosophically the spirituality of the soul. He opposed Ockham on the question of the plurality of forms. He assigned a great deal of importance to experience, claiming that the intellect knows the singular before the universal, and that intuitive knowledge precedes abstractive knowledge. For him, the universal has no foundation outside the mind; hence, it is only a fictitious concept, formed by the intellect—a sign, arbitrarily instituted (ad placitum institutum ). The immediate object of knowledge and science is not the object that exists outside the soul but rather the total, overall meaning (complexe significabile ) of the propositions of a syllogism. His followers not only identified Gregory with nominalism but considered him one of its foremost proponents.
Gregory defended what he believed to be the doctrines of St. augustine, including some spurious teachings. He suspected Pelagianism everywhere and fought against it. He overemphasized the corrupt state of human nature, the incapacity of free will, and the need for a special grace in order to perform a morally good act. For him, predestination was entirely gratuitous and independent of the prevision of the good use of free will. He held that children who die unbaptized will never see God and will suffer the punishment of eternal fire, thus earning for himself the nickname of "infant torturer" (tortor infantium ).
Gregory's most important work is his Lectura in primum et secundum librum sententiarum. In addition, he is the author of the following: Epistolarum divi Augustini tabula; Tractatus de imprestantiis Venetorum et de usura (ed. Reggio Emilia 1522 and 1622); Tractatus de conceptione B. Mariae Virginis; In omnes divi Pauli epistolas; In divi Iacobi epistolas; De quatuor virtutibus cardinalibus; Tractatus de intensione et remissione formarum corporalium; and the Registrum epistolarum sui generalatus.
Bibliography: É. h. gilson History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955). d. trapp, "Augustinian Theology of the Fourteenth Century," Augustiniana 6 (1956) 146–274. w. kÖlmel, "Von Ockham zu Gabriel Biel. Zur Naturrechtslehre des 14. und 15. Jahrhunderts," Franziskanische Studien 37 (1955) 218–259. Analecta Augustiniana 4–5 (1911–14), 18–23 (1940–54) passim. g. leff, Gregory of Rimini (New York 1961). j. biard, "La science divine entre signification et vision chez Gregoire de Rimini," Vestigia, Imagines, Verba (Turnhout 1997) 393–408. e. meijering, Klassieke gestalten van christelijk geloven en denken. Van Irenaeus tot Barth (Amsterdam 1995) 137–154. k. smith, "Ockham's Influence on Gregory of Rimini's Natural Philosophy," Dialexeis 1996–1997 (Leukosia, Cyprus 1999) 107–144.