| Bishop of Regensburg |
Doctor of the Church
|Born||c. 1200 |
Lauingen, Duchy of Bavaria
|Died||15 November 1280|
Cologne, Holy Roman Empire
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Beatified||1622, Rome, Papal States by Pope Gregory XV|
|Canonized||16 December 1931, Vatican City by Pope Pius XI|
|Major shrine||St. Andrew's Church, Cologne|
|Attributes||Dominican habit, mitre, book, and quill|
|Patronage||Those who cultivate the natural sciences, medical technicians, philosophers, and scientists|
|Other names||Albertus Teutonicus, Albertus Coloniensis, Albert the Great, Albert of Cologne|
|Known for||Systematic study of minerals |
Discovery of the element arsenic
|Alma mater||University of Padua|
|Institutions||University of Paris|
|Notable students||Thomas Aquinas|
|Bishop of Regensburg|
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Albertus Magnus(c. 1200 – 15 November 1280), also known as Saint Albert the Great or Albert of Cologne, was a German Catholic Dominican friar, philosopher, scientist, and bishop. Later canonised as a Catholic saint, he was known during his lifetime as Doctor universalis and Doctor expertus and, late in his life, the sobriquet Magnus was appended to his name. Scholars such as James A. Weisheipl and Joachim R. Söder have referred to him as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. The Catholic Church distinguishes him as one of the 36 Doctors of the Church.
It seems likely that Albert was born sometime before 1200, given well-attested evidence that he was aged over 80 on his death in 1280. Two later sources say that Albert was about 87 on his death, which has led 1193 to be commonly given as the date of Albert's birth, but this information has not enough evidence. [ failed verification ]Albert was probably born in Lauingen (now in Bavaria), since he called himself 'Albert of Lauingen', but this might simply be a family name. Most probably his family was of ministerial class; his familiar connection with (being son of the count) the Bollstädt noble family is almost certainly mere conjecture by 15th century hagiographers.
Albert was probably educated principally at the University of Padua, where he received instruction in Aristotle's writings. A late account by Rudolph de Novamagia refers to Albertus' encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who convinced him to enter Holy Orders. In 1223 (or 1229)he became a member of the Dominican Order, and studied theology at Bologna and elsewhere. Selected to fill the position of lecturer at Cologne, Germany, where the Dominicans had a house, he taught for several years there, as well as in Regensburg, Freiburg, Strasbourg, and Hildesheim. During his first tenure as lecturer at Cologne, Albert wrote his Summa de bono after discussion with Philip the Chancellor concerning the transcendental properties of being. In 1245, Albert became master of theology under Gueric of Saint-Quentin, the first German Dominican to achieve this distinction. Following this turn of events, Albert was able to teach theology at the University of Paris as a full-time professor, holding the seat of the Chair of Theology at the College of St. James. During this time Thomas Aquinas began to study under Albertus.
Albert was the first to comment on virtually all of the writings of Aristotle, thus making them accessible to wider academic debate. The study of Aristotle brought him to study and comment on the teachings of Muslim academics, notably Avicenna and Averroes, and this would bring him into the heart of academic debate.
In 1254 Albert was made provincial of the Dominican Order,and fulfilled the duties of the office with great care and efficiency. During his tenure he publicly defended the Dominicans against attacks by the secular and regular faculty of the University of Paris, commented on John the Evangelist, and answered what he perceived as errors of the Islamic philosopher Averroes.
In 1259 Albert took part in the General Chapter of the Dominicans at Valenciennes together with Thomas Aquinas, masters Bonushomo Britto,Florentius, and Peter (later Pope Innocent V) establishing a ratio studiorum or program of studies for the Dominicans that featured the study of philosophy as an innovation for those not sufficiently trained to study theology. This innovation initiated the tradition of Dominican scholastic philosophy put into practice, for example, in 1265 at the Order's studium provinciale at the convent of Santa Sabina in Rome, out of which would develop the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the "Angelicum".
In 1260 Pope Alexander IV made him bishop of Regensburg, an office from which he resigned after three years. During the exercise of his duties he enhanced his reputation for humility by refusing to ride a horse, in accord with the dictates of the Order, instead traversing his huge diocese on foot. This earned him the affectionate sobriquet "boots the bishop" from his parishioners. In 1263 Pope Urban IV relieved him of the duties of bishop and asked him to preach the eighth Crusade in German-speaking countries.After this, he was especially known for acting as a mediator between conflicting parties. In Cologne he is known not only for being the founder of Germany's oldest university there, but also for "the big verdict" (der Große Schied) of 1258, which brought an end to the conflict between the citizens of Cologne and the archbishop. Among the last of his labors was the defense of the orthodoxy of his former pupil, Thomas Aquinas, whose death in 1274 grieved Albert (the story that he travelled to Paris in person to defend the teachings of Aquinas can not be confirmed).
Albert was a scientist, philosopher, astrologer, theologian, spiritual writer, ecumenist, and diplomat. Under the auspices of Humbert of Romans, Albert molded the curriculum of studies for all Dominican students, introduced Aristotle to the classroom and probed the work of Neoplatonists, such as Plotinus. Indeed, it was the thirty years of work done by Aquinas and himself that allowed for the inclusion of Aristotelian study in the curriculum of Dominican schools.
After suffering a collapse of health in 1278, he died on 15 November 1280 in the Dominican convent in Cologne, Germany. Since 15 November 1954 his relics are in a Roman sarcophagus in the crypt of the Dominican St. Andreas Church in Cologne.Although his body was discovered to be incorrupt at the first exhumation three years after his death, at the exhumation in 1483 only a skeleton remained.
Albert was beatified in 1622. He was canonized and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church on 16 December 1931 by Pope Pius XIand the patron saint of natural scientists in 1941. St. Albert's feast day is November 15.
Albert's writings collected in 1899 went to thirty-eight volumes. These displayed his prolific habits and encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic, theology, botany, geography, astronomy, astrology, mineralogy, alchemy, zoology, physiology, phrenology, justice, law, friendship, and love. He digested, interpreted, and systematized the whole of Aristotle's works, gleaned from the Latin translations and notes of the Arabian commentators, in accordance with Church doctrine. Most modern knowledge of Aristotle was preserved and presented by Albert.
His principal theological works are a commentary in three volumes on the Books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard (Magister Sententiarum), and the Summa Theologiae in two volumes. The latter is in substance a more didactic repetition of the former.
Albert's activity, however, was more philosophical than theological (see Scholasticism). The philosophical works, occupying the first six and the last of the 21 volumes, are generally divided according to the Aristotelian scheme of the sciences, and consist of interpretations and condensations of Aristotle's relative works, with supplementary discussions upon contemporary topics, and occasional divergences from the opinions of the master. Albert believed that Aristotle's approach to natural philosophy did not pose any obstacle to the development of a Christian philosophical view of the natural order.
Albert's knowledge of natural science was considerable and for the age remarkably accurate. His industry in every department was great: not only did he produce commentaries and paraphrases of the entire Aristotelian corpus, including his scientific works, but Albert also added to and improved upon them. His books on topics like botany, zoology, and minerals included information from ancient sources, but also results of his own empirical investigations. These investigations pushed several of the special sciences forward, beyond the reliance on classical texts. In the case of embryology, for example, it has been claimed that little of value was written between Aristotle and Albert, who managed to identify organs within eggs.Furthermore, Albert also effectively invented entire special sciences, where Aristotle has not covered a topic. For example, prior to Albert, there was no systematic study of minerals. For the breadth of these achievements, he was bestowed the name Doctor Universalis.
Much of Albert's empirical contributions to the natural sciences have been superseded, but his general approach to science may be surprisingly modern. For example, in De Mineralibus (Book II, Tractate ii, Ch. 1) Albert claims, "For it is [the task] of natural science not simply to accept what we are told but to inquire into the causes of natural things."
In the centuries since his death, many stories arose about Albert as an alchemist and magician. "Much of the modern confusion results from the fact that later works, particularly the alchemical work known as the Secreta Alberti or the Experimenta Alberti, were falsely attributed to Albertus by their authors to increase the prestige of the text through association."On the subject of alchemy and chemistry, many treatises relating to alchemy have been attributed to him, though in his authentic writings he had little to say on the subject, and then mostly through commentary on Aristotle. For example, in his commentary, De mineralibus, he refers to the power of stones, but does not elaborate on what these powers might be. A wide range of Pseudo-Albertine works dealing with alchemy exist, though, showing the belief developed in the generations following Albert's death that he had mastered alchemy, one of the fundamental sciences of the Middle Ages. These include Metals and Materials; the Secrets of Chemistry; the Origin of Metals; the Origins of Compounds, and a Concordance which is a collection of Observations on the philosopher's stone ; and other alchemy-chemistry topics, collected under the name of Theatrum Chemicum. He is credited with the discovery of the element arsenic and experimented with photosensitive chemicals, including silver nitrate. He did believe that stones had occult properties, as he related in his work De mineralibus. However, there is scant evidence that he personally performed alchemical experiments.
According to legend, Albert is said to have discovered the philosopher's stone and passed it on to his pupil Thomas Aquinas, shortly before his death. Albert does not confirm he discovered the stone in his writings, but he did record that he witnessed the creation of gold by "transmutation."Given that Thomas Aquinas died six years before Albert's death, this legend as stated is unlikely.
Albert was deeply interested in astronomy, as has been articulated by scholars such as Paola Zambelli –and well into the early modern period– astrology was widely accepted by scientists and intellectuals who held the view that life on earth is effectively a microcosm within the macrocosm (the latter being the cosmos itself). It was believed that correspondence therefore exists between the two and thus the celestial bodies follow patterns and cycles analogous to those on earth. With this worldview, it seemed reasonable to assert that astrology could be used to predict the probable future of a human being. Albert argued that an understanding of the celestial influences affecting us could help us to live our lives more in accord with Christian precepts. The most comprehensive statement of his astrological beliefs is to be found in a work he authored around 1260, now known as the Speculum astronomiae . However, details of these beliefs can be found in almost everything he wrote, from his early De natura boni to his last work, the Summa theologiae.and Scott Hendrix. Throughout the Middle Ages
Albert believed that all natural things were compositions of matter and form, he referred to it as quod est and quo est. Albert also believed that God alone is the absolute ruling entity. Albert's version of hylomorphism is very similar to the Aristotelian doctrine.
Albert is known for his commentary on the musical practice of his times. Most of his written musical observations are found in his commentary on Aristotle's Poetics. He rejected the idea of "music of the spheres" as ridiculous: movement of astronomical bodies, he supposed, is incapable of generating sound. He wrote extensively on proportions in music, and on the three different subjective levels on which plainchant could work on the human soul: purging of the impure; illumination leading to contemplation; and nourishing perfection through contemplation. Of particular interest to 20th-century music theorists is the attention he paid to silence as an integral part of music.
Both of his early treatises, De natura boni and De bono, start with a metaphysical investigation into the concepts of the good in general and the physical good. Albert refers to the physical good as bonum naturae. Albert does this before directly dealing with the moral concepts of metaphysics. In Albert's later works, he says in order to understand human or moral goodness, the individual must first recognize what it means to be good and do good deeds. This procedure reflects Albert's preoccupations with neo-Platonic theories of good as well as the doctrines of Pseudo-Dionysius.Albert's view was highly valued by the Catholic Church and his peers.
Albert devoted the last tractatus of De Bono to a theory of justice and natural law. Albert places God as the pinnacle of justice and natural law. God legislates and divine authority is supreme. Up until his time, it was the only work specifically devoted to natural law written by a theologian or philosopher.
Albert mentions friendship in his work, De bono, as well as presenting his ideals and morals of friendship in the very beginning of Tractatus II. Later in his life he published Super Ethica.With his development of friendship throughout his work it is evident that friendship ideals and morals took relevance as his life went on. Albert comments on Aristotle's view of friendship with a quote from Cicero, who writes, "friendship is nothing other than the harmony between things divine and human, with goodwill and love". Albert agrees with this commentary but he also adds in harmony or agreement. Albert calls this harmony, consensio, itself a certain kind of movement within the human spirit. Albert fully agrees with Aristotle in the sense that friendship is a virtue. Albert relates the inherent metaphysical contentedness between friendship and moral goodness. Albert describes several levels of goodness; the useful (utile), the pleasurable (delectabile) and the authentic or unqualified good (honestum). Then in turn there are three levels of friendship based on each of those levels, namely friendship based on usefulness (amicitia utilis), friendship based on pleasure (amicitia delectabilis), and friendship rooted in unqualified goodness (amicitia honesti; amicitia quae fundatur super honestum).
The iconography of the tympanum and archivolts of the late 13th-century portal of Strasbourg Cathedral was inspired by Albert's writings.Albert is frequently mentioned by Dante, who made his doctrine of free will the basis of his ethical system. In his Divine Comedy , Dante places Albertus with his pupil Thomas Aquinas among the great lovers of wisdom (Spiriti Sapienti) in the Heaven of the Sun. Albert is also mentioned, along with Agrippa and Paracelsus, in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , in which his writings influence a young Victor Frankenstein.
In The Concept of Anxiety , Søren Kierkegaard wrote that Albert, "arrogantly boasted of his speculation before the deity and suddenly became stupid." Kierkegaard cites Gotthard Oswald Marbach whom he quotes as saying "Albertus repente ex asino factus philosophus et ex philosopho asinus" [Albert was suddenly transformed from an ass into a philosopher and from a philosopher into an ass].
Johann Eduard Erdmann considers Albert greater and more original than his pupil Aquinas.
In Open All Hours Arkwright invents St Albert's day so Grandville can check customers pockets.
A number of schools have been named after Albert, including Albertus Magnus High School in Bardonia, New York;Albertus Magnus Lyceum in River Forest, Illinois; and Albertus Magnus College in New Haven, Connecticut.
Albertus Magnus Science Hall at Thomas Aquinas College, in Santa Paula, California, is named in honor of Albert. The main science buildings at Providence College and Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are also named after him.
The central square at the campus of the University of Cologne features a statue of Albert and is named after him.
The Academy for Science and Design in New Hampshire honored Albert by naming one of its four houses Magnus House.
As a tribute to the scholar's contributions to the law, the University of Houston Law Center displays a statue of Albert. It is located on the campus of the University of Houston.
The Albertus-Magnus-Gymnasien is found in Rottweil, Germany.
In Managua, Nicaragua, the Albertus Magnus International Institute, a business and economic development research center, was founded in 2004.
In the Philippines, the Albertus Magnus Building at the University of Santo Tomas that houses the Conservatory of Music, College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, College of Education, and UST Education High School is named in his honor. The Saint Albert the Great Science Academy in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, which offers preschool, elementary and high school education, takes pride in having St. Albert as their patron saint. Its main building was named Albertus Magnus Hall in 2008. San Alberto Magno Academy in Tubao, La Union is also dedicated in his honor. This century-old Catholic high school continues to live on its vision-mission up to this day, offering Senior High school courses. Due to his contributions to natural philosophy, the plant species Alberta magna and the asteroid 20006 Albertus Magnus were named after him.
Numerous Catholic elementary and secondary schools are named for him, including schools in Toronto; Calgary; Cologne; and Dayton, Ohio.
The Albertus typeface is named after him.At the University of Notre Dame du Lac in South Bend, Indiana, USA, the Zahm House Chapel is dedicated to St. Albert the Great. Fr. John Zahm, C.S.C., after whom the men's residence hall is named, looked to St. Albert's example of using religion to illumine scientific discovery. Fr. Zahm's work with the Bible and evolution is sometimes seen as a continuation of St. Albert's legacy.
The second largest student's fraternity of the Netherlands, located in the city of Groningen, is named Albertus Magnus, in honor of the saint.
The Colegio Cientifico y Artistico de San Alberto, Hopelawn, New Jersey, USA with a sister school in Nueva Ecija, Philippines was founded in 1986 in honor of him who thought and taught that religion, the sciences and the arts may be advocated as subjects which should not contradict each other but should support one another to achieve wisdom and reason.
The Vosloorus catholic parish (located in Vosloorus Extension One, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, South Africa) is named after the saint.
The catholic parish in Leopoldshafen, near Karlsruhe in Germany is also named after him also considering the huge research center of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology nearby, as he is the patron saint of scientists.
Since the death of King Albert I, the King's Feast is celebrated in Belgium on Albert's feast day.
Edinburgh's Catholic Chaplaincy serving the city's universities is named after St Albert.
The Order of Preachers, whose members are known as Dominicans, is a mendicant order of the Catholic Church founded in Toulouse, France, by the Spanish priest Saint Dominic. It was approved by Pope Honorius III via the papal bull Religiosam vitam on 22 December 1216. Members of the order, who are referred to as Dominicans, generally carry the letters OP after their names, standing for Ordinis Praedicatorum, meaning of the Order of Preachers. Membership in the order includes friars, nuns, active sisters, and affiliated lay or secular Dominicans.
Scholasticism was a medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical method of philosophical analysis predicated upon a Latin Catholic theistic curriculum which dominated teaching in the medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700. It originated within the Christian monastic schools that were the basis of the earliest European universities. The rise of scholasticism was closely associated with these schools that flourished in Italy, France, Spain and England.
Aristotelianism is a philosophical tradition inspired by the work of Aristotle, usually characterized by deductive logic and an analytic inductive method in the study of nature and natural law. It answers why-questions by a scheme of four causes, including purpose or teleology, and emphasizes virtue ethics. Aristotle and his school wrote tractates on physics, biology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, theatre, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, and government. Any school of thought that takes one of Aristotle's distinctive positions as its starting point can be considered "Aristotelian" in the widest sense. This means that different Aristotelian theories may not have much in common as far as their actual content is concerned besides their shared reference to Aristotle.
William of Moerbeke, O.P., was a prolific medieval translator of philosophical, medical, and scientific texts from Greek language into Latin, enabled by the period of Latin rule of the Byzantine Empire. His translations were influential in his day, when few competing translations were available, and are still respected by modern scholars.
Henry of Ghent was a scholastic philosopher, known as Doctor Solemnis, and also as Henricus de Gandavo and Henricus Gandavensis.
Thomism is the philosophical school that arose as a legacy of the work and thought of Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), philosopher, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. In philosophy, Aquinas' disputed questions and commentaries on Aristotle are perhaps his best-known works.
The Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (PUST), also known as the Angelicum in honor of its patron the Doctor Angelicus Thomas Aquinas, is a pontifical university located in the historic center of Rome, Italy. The Angelicum is administered by the Dominican Order and is the order's central locus of Thomist theology and philosophy.
Summa and its diminutive summula was a medieval didactics literary genre written in Latin, born during the 12th century, and popularized in 13th century Europe. In its simplest sense, they might be considered texts that 'sum up' knowledge in a field, such as the compendiums of theology, philosophy and canon law. Their function during the Middle ages was largely as manuals or handbooks of necessary knowledge used by individuals who would not advance their studies any further.
The transcendentals are the properties of being, nowadays commonly considered to be truth, beauty, and goodness. The concept arose from medieval scholasticism. Viewed ontologically, the transcendentals are understood to be what is common to all beings. From a cognitive point of view, they are the "first" concepts, since they cannot be logically traced back to something preceding them.
Aeterni Patris was an encyclical issued by Pope Leo XIII in August 1879,. It was subtitled "On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy in Catholic Schools in the Spirit of the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas". The aim of the encyclical was to advance the revival of Scholastic philosophy.
Jordan of Saxony,, was one of the first leaders of the Dominican Order. His feast day is February 13.
Neo-scholasticism, is a revival and development of medieval scholasticism in Roman Catholic theology and philosophy which began in the second half of the 19th century.
The history of Catholic dogmatic theology divides into three main periods: the patristic, the medieval, the modern.
Thomas Aquinas was an Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential philosopher, theologian, and jurist in the tradition of scholasticism, he is also known within the latter as the Doctor Angelicus, the Doctor Communis, and the Doctor Universalis. The name Aquinas identifies his ancestral origins in the county of Aquino in present-day Lazio, Italy. Among other things, he was a prominent proponent of natural theology and the father of a school of thought known as Thomism. He argued that God is the source of both the light of natural reason and the light of faith. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy developed or opposed his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory.
Servais-Théodore Pinckaers O.P. was a noted moral theologian, Roman Catholic priest, and member of the Dominican Order. He has been especially influential in the renewal of a theological and Christological approach to Christian virtue ethics.
Benedict M. Ashley, O.P., was an American theologian and philosopher who had a major influence on 20th century Catholic theology and ethics in America through his writing, teaching, and consulting with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Author of 19 books, Ashley was a major exponent of the River Forest Thomism. Health Care Ethics, which he co-authored in 1975 and now in its fifth edition, continues to be a fundamental text in the field of Catholic Medical Ethics. Ashley taught at numerous institutions and was an active teacher, consultant, and author. He was a faculty member of the Institute for Advanced Physics, a physics research and educational organization reintegrating the foundational principles given directly through our senses into the heart of modern science, from 2003 till his death. He called the Institute for Advanced Physics "the first and only institution addressing this problem [the disintegration of secular and religious culture] at its core by integrating the proper philosophical depth into the heart of modern science."
In Scholastic philosophy, the aevum is the mode of existence experienced by angels and by the saints in heaven. In some ways, it is a state that logically lies between the eternity (timelessness) of God and the temporal experience of material beings. It is sometimes referred to as "improper eternity". The word aevum is Latin, originally signifying "age", "aeon", or "everlasting time"; the word aeviternity comes from the Medieval Latin neologism aeviternitas.
Medieval philosophy is the philosophy that existed through the Middle Ages, the period roughly extending from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the Renaissance in the 15th century. Medieval philosophy, understood as a project of independent philosophical inquiry, began in Baghdad, in the middle of the 8th century, and in France, in the itinerant court of Charlemagne, in the last quarter of the 8th century. It is defined partly by the process of rediscovering the ancient culture developed in Greece and Rome during the Classical period, and partly by the need to address theological problems and to integrate sacred doctrine with secular learning.
Bonaventura of Iseo was an Italian Friar Minor, diplomat, theologist and alchemist.
Saint Albert the Great Science Academy is a private Catholic pre-school, primary and secondary school, located in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, in the Philippines. The school as founded in 2004, under the patronage of St. Albert the Great and inspiration of Our Blessed Mother Mary.
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