Roland of Cremona
ROLAND OF CREMONA
Philosopher and theologian; b. Cremona, toward the end of the 12th century; d. Bologna, 1259. In 1219, as professor of philosophy at the University of Bologna, he entered the Dominican Order. He founded the Dominican priory at Cremona in 1226. After receiving the doctorate in theology at the University of Paris in 1228, he remained there, and in 1229 was the first religious to occupy the chair of theology. He strenuously defended the rights of the Church against heretics, including the famous Ezzelino da Romano, even to the extent of placing his own life in jeopardy. His last years were devoted to teaching in the Dominican house of studies at Bologna.
His Summa theologica, which is the fruit of his teaching at Paris, is preserved as codex 795 in the Bibliothèque Mazarine of Paris. The third book of this Summa, once thought lost, is preserved in the Civic Library of Bergamo (Cod. Δ9, 13). A commentary on the Book of Job is also extant (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Cod. Lat. 405). These works have great importance both for a knowledge of the author's character and scientific attitude and for the history of medieval thought.
Roland marked the transition from the old to the new scholasticism, of which thomas aquinas was the chief exponent. Not only did Roland know aristotle, who was for him "the great philosopher," but he showed his genuine Aristotelianism in his love for scientific research, spirit of observation, and logical rigor of argumentation. In addition to his knowledge of Scripture, Roland manifested a vast and sure store of information in philosophy and physical science, and spoke with competence in medicine, geography, astronomy, meteorology, magic, and witchcraft. Anything knowable was of interest to him, because he considered every science to lead to truth, and every truth to serve theology. Grammar, rhetoric, mathematics, and, in general, all the liberal arts, were necessary, in his judgment, for a serious study of theology. He was drawn more to an empirical study of phenomena than to pure conceptual speculation. Roland possessed an encyclopedic mind very much like that of albert the great. He had a sharp critical sense, ready to condemn error and anyone fathering it—Augustine and his favorite philosopher not excluded.
Bibliography: g. de frachet, Vitae fratrum ordinis praedicatorum (Louvain 1896) 26, 38, 168, 275. j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores ordinis praedicatorum (New York 1959) 1.1:125–127. f. ehrle, "S. Domenico, le origini del primo studio generale del suo ordine a Parigi e la somma teologica del primo maestro Rolando da Cremona," Miscellanea dominicana, ed. i. taurisano (Rome 1923) 85–134. e. preto, "La posizione di Rolando da Cremona nel pensiero medioevale," Rivista de filosofia neoscolastica 23 (1931) 484–489; "Un testo inedito: la Summa theologica di Rolando da Cremona," ibid. 40 (1948) 45–72. e. filthaut, Roland von Cremona O.P. und die Anfänge der Scholastik im Predigerorden (Vechta 1936). o. lottin, "Roland de Crémone et Hughes de St-Cher," Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 12 (1940) 136–143. a. dondaine, "Un Commentaire scripturaire de Roland de Crémone: 'Le Livre de Job'," Archivum fratrum praedicatorum 11 (1941) 109–137. a. d'amato, "L'origine dello Studio domenicano e l'Università di Bologna," Sapienza 2 (1949) 245–268.