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Peter of Auvergne (Alvernia)


Secular master of Paris and later bishop of Clermont;b. Crocq, Auvergne, between 1240 and 1250; d. Clermont, Sept. 25, 1304. As a secular master of the arts, Peter taught philosophy at Paris for many years and wrote commentaries on all the Aristotelian books. He was still in the faculty of arts when Simon de Brie, the papal legate, appointed him rector of the university on March 7, 1275, in order to prevent an irreparable split between the followers of siger of brabant and those of Alberic of Reims. Although an admirer and close associate of thomas aquinas, he could not attend Aquinas's lectures in the theology faculty and can be called his disciple only in a limited sense.

After the death of Aquinas he completed Aquinas's commentaries on the Politics, 3.7end; Meteora, 2.1end; and De caelo et mundo; 3.9end. Before 1290 Peter enrolled in the faculty of theology and studied under henry of ghent and godfrey of fontaines. His commentary on the Sentences is no longer extant. Becoming master in theology in 1296, he taught as regent master until December 1301. His only theological writings extant, six Quodlibeta, stem from this period of regency.

Already a canon of Clermont before 1296, Peter obtained a canonry in Paris on June 18, 1296. On Jan. 21, 1302, he was named bishop of Clermont by boniface viii. After a visit to Rome that year, he returned to Paris, where he subscribed to the Parisian appeal to a council against Boniface VIII (June 1303).

Ptolemy of Lucca called Peter fidelissimus discipulus of Aquinas; and historians of thomism generally consider him an early representative of the Thomistic school in France. However, his fundamental orientation is Aristotelian and Averroist, with a certain dependence on Avicenna and Aquinas. This is particularly true of his Quaestiones in metaphysicam (10 qq., ed. A. Monahan). He interpreted Aristotle's concept of being as primarily a form, maintained that a being's esse differs only logically from its essence, and expounded the analogy of being solely in terms of attribution without reference to proper proportionality. For Peter, metaphysics is divided into general ontology and natural theology; ontology should be taught before all other sciences and theology should be taught last. His denial of a real distinction between essence and existence followed Henry of Ghent in literary structure, but his rejection of Henry's "intentional" distinction expressed the personal opinion of Godfrey of Fontaines. Similarly, Peter recognized only a logical distinction between the individual and its essence. In the Quaestiones in metaphysicam the principle of individuation is said to be a relation to a given efficient cause. In later writings, however, Peter followed Godfrey of Fontaines's view that form is the principle of individuation.

Bibliography: p. glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIII e siècle (Paris 193334) 1:412417. p. glorieux, La Littérature quodlibétique (Kain 1925) 1:257263. p. stella, Enciclopedia filosofica (Venice-Rome 1957) 3:1374. a. p. monahan, "Peter of Auvergne's 'Quaestiones in Metaphysicam,"' Nine Mediaeval Thinkers, ed. j. r. o'donnell (Toronto 1955) 145181; "The Subject of Metaphysics for P. of A.," Mediaeval Studies 16 (1954) 118130. É. h. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) passim. f. j. roensch, Early Thomistic School (Dubuque 1964).

[a. p. monahan]

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