John of la Rochelle (de Rupella)

views updated


Franciscan philosopher and theologian; b. La Rochelle, France, c. 11901200; d. Paris (?), Feb. 8, 1245. The first clear reference is a listing of him as a friar and master of theology (1238). It is probable that he was already a master or at least licensed in theology when he entered the order. Before coming into intimate association with alexander of hales, John seems to have planned and partly written a Summa theologicae disciplinae, as may be concluded from the introduction to his Summa on the Articles of Faith. Much of the material in this Summa was later incorporated into the so-called "Summa of Alexander of Hales." To this period likewise belongs the Tract on the Soul and the Virtues, and perhaps several of the commentaries on Scripture [confer F. Stegmüller, Repertorium biblicum medii aevi, 7 v. (Madrid 194961) 3:48884915].

Under the guidance and inspiration of Alexander, John achieved maturity as a theologian. After 1236 he was the faithful companion and helper of this "monarch of theologians." Together they were the principal counselors of the ministers provincial in the deposition of elias of cortona in 1239 [Analecta Franciscana 1:18; Archivum Franciscanum historicum, 33 (1940) 221225]. In 124142 they wrote an explanation of the Franciscan Rule in collaboration with two other masters [Expositio quatuor magistrorum super regulam fratrum minorum, ed. L. Oliger (Rome 1950)]. Their Disputed Questions are so intermingled that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish those of Alexander from those of John. On his part, John made considerable use of Alexander's Gloss on the Sentences, with material also from philip the chancellor, to produce a Summa de anima, justly regarded as the first scholastic text of psychology [ed. T. Domenichelli (Prato 1882)].

This close collaboration bore fruit in the Summa of Theology that bears the name of Alexander; book 1, on God, and book 3, on the Incarnation and Passion, law, grace, and faith, were almost beyond doubt written by John of La Rochelle. At the same time, as a preacher he attained independent fame [confer Eleven Marian Sermons, ed. K. Lynch (St. Bonaventure, N.Y. 1961)]. His last known sermon was before the Roman Curia at Lyons on Dec. 4, 1244. John, like Alexander, died the following year.

Bibliography: v. doucet, "Prolegomena" to Alexander of Hales, Summa theologica, book 3 in v.4 (Quaracchi-Florence 1948); "Prolegomena" to Alexander of Hales, Glossa in quatuor libros Sententiarum Petri Lombardi (Bibliotheca Franciscana Scholastica Medii Aevi 1215; Quaracchi-Florence 195157). p. michaud-quantin, "Une Division 'augustinienne' des puissances de l'âme au Moyen-âge," Revue des études augustiniennes, 3 (1957) 235248. e. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy, 683685.

[i. c. brady]