William of Auvergne (of Paris)
WILLIAM OF AUVERGNE (OF PARIS)
Lat. Guilielmus Arvernus or Alvernus; b. Aurillac (Cantal), shortly before 1190; d. Paris, March 30, 1249. He became master of theology in 1223 and professor in 1225. In 1228 he was named bishop of Paris; Nicholas Cantor had already been named, but William objected so strongly against Nicholas that he was rejected and William named bishop in his place. Twice, in 1229 and 1237, Pope Gregory IX intervened to prevent William's undue meddling in affairs of the University of Paris. William began his monumental work, the Magisterium divinale, c. 1223; it is composed of seven main parts: (1) De Trinitate or De primo principio, (2) Cur Deus homo, (3) De sacramentis in specie et in genere, (4) De fide et legibus, (5) De meritis et retributionibus, (6) De universo, and (7) De anima. In addition to the Magisterium divinale, he wrote 20 other treatises, of which De Immortalitate animae, De rhetorica divina, and the De bono et malo are the most important. Many of these treatises are still unedited. Although William wrote many sermons, those found in the printed editions of the works of William of Auvergne belong rather to the Dominican William Perrauld.
The structure of William's thought is consistent. He begins in the De Trinitate to elaborate a doctrine of being that is the core of his system and has consequences for his teaching on truth, knowledge, and good. Only God is truly being and therefore only He is truly good and really true. The main sources of William's teachings are St. augustine, boethius, the School of Chartres, and avicenna. Although William mentions Plato and Aristotle often and uses Avicenna, he criticizes them sharply, especially when their teaching is opposed to Christian doctrine on such topics as the divine liberty, providence, and the soul. William's influence on later writers can be seen in Augustinian exemplarism and in a doctrine of being that St. thomas aquinas found it necessary to combat energetically.
See Also: augustinianism; scholasticism, 1.
Bibliography: Opera omnia, 2 v. (Paris 1674; repr. Frankfurta. M. 1963). j. r. o'donnell, "Tractatus magistri Guillelmi Alvernensis De bono et malo, " Mediaeval Studies (1946) 245–299; 16 (1954) 219–271. a. landgraf, "Der Traktat De errore Pelagii…, " Speculum 5 (1930) 168–180. g. bÜlow, "De immortalitate animae," Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 2.3 (1897), app. É. h. gilson History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 250–258, 658–660. a. forest, "Guillaume d'Auvergne, critique d'Aristote," Études médiévales offertes à m. le doyen A. Fliche (Montpellier 1954). p. anciaux, "Le Sacrement de Pénitence chez Guillaume d'Auvergne," Ephemerides theologicae Lovanienses 24 (1948) 98–118. p. glorieux, "Le Tractatus novus de poenitentia de Guillaume d'Auvergne," Miscellanea moralia A. Janssen (Louvain 1948) 551–565. k. zieschÉ, "Die Sakramentenlehre des Wilhelms von Auvergne," Weidenauer Studien 4 (1911) 149–226. j. lingenheim, L'Art de prier de Guillaume d'Auvergne (Lyon 1934). t. m. charland, Artes praedicandi (Ottawa 1936) 39–42.
[j. r. o'donnell]