William of Saint-Amour
WILLIAM OF SAINT-AMOUR
Secular theologian, opponent of the mendicant orders; b. Saint-Amour (Jura), France, c. 1200; d. there, Sept. 13, 1272. He was a master of arts of Paris by 1228, studied canon law, and received his doctorate before November 1238. In that year he was also canon of Beauvais and rector of the church of Guerville. In 1247, at the request of the bishop of Tarentaise and the Count of Savoy, he was given the care of souls in Granville, in the Diocese of Coutances, although he was only a subdeacon and student of theology at Paris. Upon becoming regent master in theology around 1250, he took a violent dislike to the new mendicant orders and led the opposition against their masters in the university, particularly St. bonaventure and St. thomas aquinas. At his instigation, the university declared the Dominican masters suspended and excommunicated on Feb. 4, 1254, for not having participated in the suspension of classes the previous year (see paris, university of). As head of a university delegation that year, he was at the Papal Curia in Anagni, seeking condemnation of the Joachite Introductorius in evangelium aeternum by the Franciscan, Gerard of Borgo San Donnino. His efforts at the Curia were successful. On July 4, 1254, Innocent IV issued the bull Quociens pro communi, officially recognizing the university statutes of 1252, limiting chairs one to an order, although the Dominicans already had two. By the bull Etsi animarum of Nov. 21, 1254, Innocent rescinded certain privileges of mendicants to preach, hear confessions, administer sacraments, and bury the faithful, but on December 7 he died. Alexander IV, more sympathetic to the mendicants, abrogated his predecessor's restrictions on December 22, and on April 4, 1255, ordered the masters of Paris to receive the Dominicans back into the university by the bull Quasi lignum vitae. William not only organized passive resistance to the pope's decrees, but continued to attack the legitimacy of mendicant orders in sermons, disputations, and treatises, notably, Liber de antichristo et eiusdem ministris, in which he attempted to show that the Dominicans were precursors of antichrist (E. Martène, Veterum scriptorum et monumentorum ecclesiasticorum et dogmaticorum amplissima collectio, 9 v. [Paris 1724–33] 9:1213–1446). Alexander requested the bishops of Auxerre and Orléans to examine William's case against the mendicants on Dec.10, 1255. In June of the following year, Alexander deprived William and his followers of all benefices and requested King Louis to expel them from France. Ordered to appear before the bishops of Sens and Reims on July 31, 1256, William promised to revoke or correct anything found in his teaching that might be contrary to the decrees of the church. Meanwhile, between March and September 1256, with the cooperation of other Parisian masters, he prepared a scathing denunciation of the mendicant orders, De periculis novissimorum temporum, a copy of which was sent to the Papal Curia by King Louis. This work was condemned by Alexander on Oct. 5, 1256 (Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, ed. H. Denifle and E. Chatelain, 4 v. [Paris 1889–97] 1:331–333). Arriving late at the Papal Curia toward the end of 1256 or the beginning of 1257, he presented his defense, Casus et articuli super quibus accusatus fuit magister Guillelmus de Sancto Amore (Faral, 340–361). Nevertheless, the condemnation of De periculis was repeated on Nov. 10, 1256, and on March 30, 1257. Forbidden to teach or preach, on Aug. 9, 1257, he was also exiled from France by order of the king. His friends at the university sent a delegation to the pope to seek a restoration of his position and privileges, but their request
was denied on Aug. 11, 1259; an appeal to the king to recall him from exile was refused also. While in exile, William wrote Collectiones catholicae et canonicae scripturae, which he sent to Pope Clement IV. In acknowledging its receipt on Oct. 18, 1266, the pope noted that its contents were substantially the same as those of De periculis (Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, 1:459). Allowed to return from exile, William chose to live in his native village. Although forbidden by the Holy See, he continued correspondence with his faithful disciples at Paris, gerard of abbeville and Nicholas of Lisieux, who revived the antimendicant polemic before their master's death.
Bibliography: Opera omnia (Constance 1632). É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables générales 1951–) 14.1:756–763. p. delhaye, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain (Paris 1947–) 5:406–407. p. glorieux, Répertoire des maâitres en théologie de Paris au XIIIe siècle (Paris 1933–34); v. 17–18 of Bibliothèque Thomiste (Le Saulchoir 1921–) 1:343–346. "Le Contra Impugnantes de S. Thomas," Mélanges Mandonnet, 2 v. (Bibliothèque Thomiste 13, 14; 1930) 1:51–81. e. faral, "Les Responsiones de Guillaume de Saint–Amour: Texte et commentaire," Archives d' doctrinale et littéraire du moyen–âge 18 (1950–51) 337–394. d. l. douie, The Conflict between the Seculars and the Mendicants at the University of Paris in the Thirteenth Century (London 1954).
[a. j. heiman]