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John (Quidort) of Paris


Dominican theologian, polemicist, and defender of thomism; b. Paris, between 1240 and 1269; d. Bordeaux, Sept. 22, 1306. Although little documentation is available, it is probable that he received his arts education from the University of Paris before entering the Dominican Order at Saint-Jacques at an early age [J. Quétif and J. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum, 5 v. (Paris 171923) 1:500]. Prior to 1284 he strongly defended the doctrines of thomas aquinas in his Correctorium "Circa" [ed. J. P. Müller (Rome 1941)], replying to the Correctorium fratris Thomae by william de la mare (see correctoria). Between 1284 and 1286 he commented on the Sentences as a bachelor of theology. From this commentary sixteen propositions were extracted from his teaching on the Eucharist and reported to the master general of the order as erroneous. He defended himself successfully in his Apologia, c. 1287, but his studies at the university were postponed. He acquired fame as a preacher in Paris, where he was sometimes called Praedicator Monoculus. He continued to defend basic Thomistic teachings under attack in Tractatus de unitate formarum (ed. Venice 1513). In 1302 he wrote his celebrated De petestate regis et papali [ed. J. Leclercq, (Paris 1942)], which discusses the distinction and limitations of civil and papal authority. On June 26, 1303, he signed an appeal to the council against boniface viii [Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, ed. H. Denifle and E. Chatelain, 4 v. (Paris 198997) 2:634]. In 1304 he received his license to incept as a master of theology at the university. In that year he presented a Determinatio on the question of how the real Body of Christ exists in the Eucharist (ed. London 1686). While he admitted the traditional teaching that the substance of bread is converted into the substance of Christ's Body, namely, tran substantiation, he insisted that this doctrine was not defined by the Church, and therefore not necessarily the only explanation. He suggested as equally tenable a second possibility, whereby the substance of bread is assumed by the person of Christ (suppositum Verbi ) and remains together with the Body of Christ. This theory, which later came to be known as consubstantiation, or impanation, attracted much attention among the Reformers of the 16th and 17th century. John's view was examined and censured by a commission of four bishops, numerous theologians, and canonists. Perpetual silence was imposed on him under pain of excommunication, and he was suspended from teaching and preaching (Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, 2:656). He appealed his case to clement v, who was then at Bordeaux, but died before receiving a decision.

Substantially Thomistic on all controverted doctrines of Aquinas in his day, he was an original thinker who did not simply repeat the views of St. Thomas. His contribution to ecclesiology and political philosophy is significant in the development of Thomism. Among his metaphysical doctrines, the notion of esse has attracted most attention, but contemporary scholars are not unanimous in their evaluation of it. Nevertheless, he is one of the most significant representatives of the early Thomistic school in France.

Bibliography: p. glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIII e siècle (Paris 193334) 1:189193. a. j. heiman, "Essence and Esse according to Jean Quidort," Mediaeval Studies, 15 (1953) 137146; "Two Questions concerning the Esse of Creatures in the Doctrine of J. Q.," An Étienne Gilson Tribute, ed. c. j. o'neil (Milwaukee 1959) 5167. p. stella, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (VeniceRome 1957) 2:763. f. j. roensch, Early Thomistic School (Dubuque 1964). j. p. mÜller, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:1068. e. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy, passim.

[a. j. heiman]

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