William of Auxerre
WILLIAM OF AUXERRE
Scholastic theologian; b. Auxerre (Lat. Altissiodorensis ), c. 1150; d. Rome, Nov. 3, 1231. By 1189 he was renowned in Paris as a master in theology. Some believe that he was a disciple of richard of saint–victor. During the pontificate of honorius iii (1216–27), he was archdeacon of Beauvais and proctor of the University of Paris at the Roman Curia (see paris, university of). In February 1230 Blanche of Castile sent him as royal envoy to Pope gregory ix, who retained him as advisor concerning a serious dissension between the University of Paris and the citizens. On April 23, 1231, Gregory appointed him to a committee of three to correct the works of aristotle, and on May 6 he urged the king of France to restore William to his teaching position at the university so that he and Godfrey of Poitiers might reorganize the studies. William fell ill and died before he could leave Rome to collaborate in the correction of Aristotle's works.
His fame rests largely on the Summa aurea, written between 1215 and 1220 and published many times (Paris, n.d.; 1500; 1518; Venice 1591). Inspired by the Sentences of peter lombard, it discusses many problems neglected by the Lombard and passes over others. It is divided into four books: the One and Triune God (bk. 1); creation, angels, and man (bk. 2); Christ and the virtues (bk. 3); Sacraments and the four last things (bk. 4). The Summa aurea had extraordinary influence on contemporary authors, such as alexander of hales and hugh of saint–cher, and on later scholastics, such as St. albert the great, St. thomas aquinas, and St. bonaventure. He wrote also a Summa de officiis ecclesiasticis, dealing with the Divine Office, Mass, temporal and sanctoral cycle, and liturgical vestments, that influenced the Rationale divinorum officiorum of William duranti the elder.
Preceding as he did the Aristotelian revival, William was largely influenced by St. augustine, St. anselm of canterbury, Richard and hugh of saint–victor, and avicenna. He is considered the first medieval theologian to develop a systematic treatise on free will, the virtues, and the natural law.
Bibliography: j. ribaillier, ed., Magistri Guillelmi Altissiodorensis Summa aurea, 7 vols. (Paris 1980–1987). É. h. gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in the Middle Ages (New York 1955) 656–657. p. glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle (Paris 1933–34); v. 17–18 of Bibliothèque Thomiste (Le Saulchoir 1921–) 1:293–294. c. ottaviano, Guglielmo d'Auxerre …: La vita, le opere, il pensiero (Rome 1929). r. m. martineau, "Le Plan de la Summa aurea de Guillaume d'Auxerre," Études et recherches d'Ottawa 1 (1937) 79–114. j. vanwijnsberghe, "De biechtleer van Willem van Auxerre in het licht der vroegscholastiek," Studia catholica 27 (1952) 289–308. g. bonafede, Enciclopedia filosofica, 4 v. (Venice–Rome 1957) 2:934–935.