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Guitmond of Aversa


Theologian; b. Normandy, at the beginning of the 11th century; d. Aversa, between 1090 and 1095. Guitmond entered the Benedictine monastery of La Croix-Saint-Leufroy (Evreux). He then went to the Abbey of Bec to benefit from the teaching of Lanfranc (d. 1089), by whom he was strongly influenced. During Gregory VII's pontificate (107385), Guitmond was on the verge of being nominated a bishop in England by William the Conqueror. urban ii (d. 1099) named him bishop of Aversa (southern Italy) in 1088, but we know little of his activity as bishop.

Doctrine and Influence. Guitmond's theological importance comes from his work De corporis et sanguinis Domini veritate, a controversial and apologetical book that was written as a dialogue with the monk Roger and directed against berengarius of Tours. The latter was challenged especially by Durand of Troarn, Lanfranc, Guitmond, and Alger of Liège since, invoking certain texts of St. Augustine, he seemed to deny the reality of the Real Presence. Nevertheless, it must not be forgotten that, in the 11th century, sacramental terminology was still defective; the Berengarian controversies corrected it. This is not the place to study Berengarius's beliefs; rather, we will treat only the principal points of Guitmond's exposition. The latter refutes two categories of Berengarius's teaching: the doctrine of the umbratici (for whom the Eucharistic Body is only the shadow and the figure of the historical Body of Christ) and that of the impanatores (who believe in a hypostatic union of Christ and the bread). Guitmond's arguments are scriptural, patristic (especially St. Augustine and St. Ambrose), and rational; he also appeals to the magisterium. Christ is neither impanatus nor invinatus by the conversion of the bread and wine to His Body and Blood. After Consecration, the sensible appearanceswhich Guitmond was the first in the history of Western theology to call accidentia continue to exist, but are "converted"; the term "transubstantiation" is not used yet, but its meaning is implied. For Guitmond, the Eucharistic accidents by God's will remain after the conversion of their substances into the Body and Blood of Christ. Berengarius was also troubled by the paradox of the double presence historical and Eucharisticof Christ's Body. Guitmond explains to him that Christ's Eucharistic Body is not subject to the laws of material division and of corruption. It is wholly present in each part of the consecrated Host and is not broken when the Host is. However, Guitmond erred when he declared that the Real Presence remains after the corruption of the species, or their consumption by animals, etc. This doctrinal imperfection can be excused, for the theology of the Sacraments was just beginning to make progress. This treatise, which takes apart and refutes Berengarius's De sacra caena, seems to anticipate the scholastic dialectic. Although it borrows its arguments and patristic texts from its ancestors, it contributes to the development of the terminology and the dogma of the Eucharist. It was used later, especially by Alger of Liège and Gregory of Bergamo (d. 1146). Its influence is already noticeable in the canonical collections of the end of the 11th century; the scholastics also quote Guitmond. Thanks to him, we possess a precise exposition of the Eucharistic opinions of the 11th century. Thus, he is one of the principal sources of information about Berengarius of Tours.

Works. Of his Epistola ad Erfastum (Patrologia Latina 149:150108), G. Morin has published the unedited ending [Revue Bénédictine 28 (1911) 9697]. It is an answer to an inquiry from Erfast, Abbot of Lyre (Normandy), about the Trinity; in it, Guitmond lists his other writings: Confessio de sancta Trinitate, Christi humanitate corporisque ac sanguinis Domini nostri veritate (Patrologia Latina 149:14951502), and De corporis et sanguinis Domini veritate libri tres (Patrologia Latina 149:142794). J. Leclercq has found an authentic and unedited gloss on this treatise [Revue Bénédictine 57 (1947) 214]. It may have been written between 1075 and 1078; the original title is perhaps that of the manuscript Vat. Reg. lat. 237: De corporis et sanguinis Christi veritate in eucharistia. The Oratio ad Gulielmum I Anglorum regem, which was attributed to Guitmond (Patrologia Latina 149:150912), is very likely an apocrypha that was written by Odoric Vitalis.

Bibliography: g. morin, "La Finale inédite de la lettre de Guitmond d'Aversa à Erfast, sur la Trinité," Revue Bénédictine 28 (1911) 9599. j. leclercq, "Passage authentique inédit de Guitmond d'Aversa," ibid. 57 (1947) 213214. p. shaughnessy, The Eucharistic Doctrine of Guitmund of Aversa (Rome 1939). f. vernet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 6.2:198992. j. r. geiselmann, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 195765) 4:1272. p. delhaye, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet, 5:422423.

[r. grÉgoire]

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