|Friar, Bishop, Doctor of the Church|
Bagnoregio, Province of Viterbo, Latium, Papal States
|Died||15 July 1274 52–53) (aged|
Lyon, Lyonnais, Kingdom of Arles
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
|Canonized||14 April 1482, Rome by Pope Sixtus IV|
2nd Sunday in July (1482–1568)
14 July (1568–1969)
|Attributes|| Cardinal's hat on a bush; ciborium; Holy Communion; cardinal in Franciscan robes, usually reading or writing |
|Other names||Giovanni di Fidanza ("John of Fidanza"), Doctor Seraphicus ("Seraphic Doctor")|
|Alma mater||University of Paris|
|School|| Scholasticism |
Medieval realism (moderate realism)
|Institutions||University of Paris|
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Saint Bonaventure ( /, -/ BON-ə-ven-chər, -VEN-; Italian : Bonaventura [ˌbɔnavenˈtuːra] ; 1221 – 15 July 1274), born Giovanni di Fidanza, was an Italian medieval Franciscan, scholastic theologian and philosopher. The seventh Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, he was also Cardinal Bishop of Albano. He was canonised on 14 April 1482 by Pope Sixtus IV and declared a Doctor of the Church in the year 1588 by Pope Sixtus V. He is known as the "Seraphic Doctor" (Latin : Doctor Seraphicus). Many writings believed in the Middle Ages to be his are now collected under the name Pseudo-Bonaventure.
He was born at Bagnoregio in Umbria, not far from Viterbo, then part of the Papal States. Almost nothing is known of his childhood, other than the names of his parents, Giovanni di Fidanza and Maria di Ritella.
He entered the Franciscan Order in 1243 and studied at the University of Paris, possibly under Alexander of Hales, and certainly under Alexander's successor, John of Rochelle.In 1253 he held the Franciscan chair at Paris. A dispute between seculars and mendicants delayed his reception as Master until 1257, where his degree was taken in company with Thomas Aquinas. Three years earlier his fame had earned him the position of lecturer on The Four Books of Sentences —a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the twelfth century—and in 1255 he received the degree of master, the medieval equivalent of doctor.
After having successfully defended his order against the reproaches of the anti-mendicant party, he was elected Minister General of the Franciscan Order. On 24 November 1265, he was selected for the post of Archbishop of York; however, he was never consecrated and resigned the appointment in October 1266.
During his tenure, the General Chapter of Narbonne, held in 1260, promulgated a decree prohibiting the publication of any work out of the order without permission from the higher superiors. This prohibition has induced modern writers to pass severe judgment upon Roger Bacon's superiors being envious of Bacon's abilities. However, the prohibition enjoined on Bacon was a general one, which extended to the whole order. Its promulgation was not directed against him, but rather against Gerard of Borgo San Donnino. Gerard had published in 1254 without permission a heretical work, Introductorius in Evangelium æternum (An Introduction to the Eternal Gospel). Thereupon the General Chapter of Narbonne promulgated the above-mentioned decree, identical with the "constitutio gravis in contrarium" Bacon speaks of. The above-mentioned prohibition was rescinded in Roger's favour unexpectedly in 1266.
Bonaventure was instrumental in procuring the election of Pope Gregory X, who rewarded him with the title of Cardinal Bishop of Albano, and insisted on his presence at the great Second Council of Lyon in 1274.There, after his significant contributions led to a union of the Greek and Latin churches, Bonaventure died suddenly and in suspicious circumstances. The 1913 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia has citations that suggest he was poisoned, but no mention is made of this in the 2003 second edition of the New Catholic Encyclopedia. The only extant relic of the saint is the arm and hand with which he wrote his Commentary on the Sentences, which is now conserved at Bagnoregio, in the parish church of St. Nicholas.
He steered the Franciscans on a moderate and intellectual course that made them the most prominent order in the Catholic Church until the coming of the Jesuits. His theology was marked by an attempt completely to integrate faith and reason. He thought of Christ as the "one true master" who offers humans knowledge that begins in faith, is developed through rational understanding, and is perfected by mystical union with God.
Bonaventure's feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar immediately upon his canonisation in 1482. It was at first celebrated on the second Sunday in July, but was moved in 1568 to 14 July, since 15 July, the anniversary of his death, was at that time taken up with the feast of Saint Henry. It remained on that date, with the rank of "double", until 1960, when it was reclassified as a feast of the third class. In 1969 it was classified as an obligatory memorial and assigned to the date of his death, 15 July.
Bonaventure was formally canonised in 1484 by the Franciscan Pope Sixtus IV, and ranked along with Thomas Aquinas as the greatest of the Doctors of the Church by another Franciscan, Pope Sixtus V, in 1587. Bonaventure was regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the Middle Ages.
He is the patron saint of bowel disorders.
His works, as arranged in the most recent Critical Edition by the Quaracchi Fathers (Collegio S. Bonaventura), consist of a Commentary on the Sentences of Lombard, in four volumes, and eight other volumes, including a Commentary on the Gospel of St Luke and a number of smaller works; the most famous of which are The Mind's Road to God (Itinerarium mentis in Deum), an outline of his theology or Brief Reading (Breviloquium), Reduction of the Arts to Theology (De reductione artium ad theologiam), and Soliloquy on the Four Spiritual Exercises (Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exercitiis), The Tree of Life (Lignum vitae), and The Triple Way (De Triplici via), the latter three written for the spiritual direction of his fellow Franciscans.
The German philosopher Dieter Hattrup denies that Reduction of the Arts to Theology was written by Bonaventure, claiming that the style of thinking does not match Bonaventure's original style.His position is no longer tenable given recent research: the text remains "indubitably authentic". A work that for many years was falsely attributed to Bonaventure, De septem itineribus aeternitatis, was actually written by Rudolf von Biberach (c. 1270 – 1329).
For St. Isabelle of France, the sister of King St. Louis IX of France, and her monastery of Poor Clares at Longchamps, St. Bonaventure wrote the treatise, Concerning the Perfection of Life.
The Commentary on the Sentences, written at the command of his superiors when he was twenty-seven,is Bonaventure's major work and most of his other theological and philosophical writings are in some way dependent on it. However, some of Bonaventure's later works, such as the Lectures on the Six Days of Creation , show substantial developments beyond the Sentences.
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Bonaventure wrote on almost every subject treated by the Schoolmen, and his writings are very numerous. The greater number of them deal with philosophy and theology. No work of Bonaventure's is exclusively philosophical, a striking illustration of the mutual interpenetration of philosophy and theology that is a distinguishing mark of the Scholastic period.
Much of St. Bonaventure’s philosophical thought shows a considerable influence by Augustine of Hippo. So much so that De Wulf considers him the best medieval representative of Augustinianism. St. Bonaventure adds Aristotelian principles to the Augustinian doctrine, especially in connection with the illumination of the intellect and the composition of human beings and other living creatures in terms of matter and form.St. Augustine, who had introduced into the west many of the doctrines that would define scholastic philosophy, was an incredibly important source of Bonaventure's Platonism. The mystic Dionysius the Areopagite was another notable influence.
In philosophy Bonaventure presents a marked contrast to his contemporaries, Roger Bacon, Albert the Great, and Thomas Aquinas. While these may be taken as representing, respectively, physical science yet in its infancy, and Aristotelian scholasticism in its most perfect form, he presents the mystical and Platonizing mode of speculation that had already, to some extent, found expression in Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, Alexander of Hales, and in Bernard of Clairvaux. To him, the purely intellectual element, though never absent, is of inferior interest when compared with the living power of the affections or the heart.
Like Thomas Aquinas, with whom he shared numerous profound agreements in matters theological and philosophical, he combated the Aristotelian notion of the eternity of the world vigorously (though he disagreed with Aquinas about the abstract possibility of an eternal universe). Bonaventure accepts the neo-Platonic doctrine that "forms" do not exist as subsistent entities, but as ideals or archetypes in the mind of God, according to which actual things were formed; and this conception has no slight influence upon his philosophy.Due to this philosophy, physicist and philosopher Max Bernhard Weinstein contended that Bonaventure showed strong pandeistic inclinations.
Like all the great scholastic doctors, Bonaventura starts with the discussion of the relations between reason and faith. All the sciences are but the handmaids of theology; reason can discover some of the moral truths that form the groundwork of the Christian system, but others it can only receive and apprehend through divine illumination. To obtain this illumination, the soul must employ the proper means, which are prayer, the exercise of the virtues, whereby it is rendered fit to accept the divine light, and meditation that may rise even to ecstatic union with God. The supreme end of life is such union, union in contemplation or intellect and in intense absorbing love; but it cannot be entirely reached in this life, and remains as a hope for the future.
Like Aquinas and other notable thirteenth-century philosophers and theologians, Bonaventure believed that it is possible to prove the existence of God and the immortality of the soul. He offers several arguments for the existence of God, including versions of St. Anselm's ontological argument and Augustine's argument from eternal truths. His main argument for the immortality of the soul appeals to humans' natural desire for perfect happiness, and is reminiscent of C. S. Lewis's argument from desire. Contrary to Aquinas, Bonaventure did not believe that philosophy was an autonomous discipline that could be pursued successfully independently of theology. Any philosopher is bound to fall into serious error, he believed, who lacks the light of faith.
A master of the memorable phrase, Bonaventure held that philosophy opens the mind to at least three different routes humans can take on their journey to God. Non-intellectual material creatures he conceived as shadows and vestiges (literally, footprints) of God, understood as the ultimate cause of a world philosophical reason can prove was created at a first moment in time. Intellectual creatures he conceived of as images and likenesses of God, the workings of the human mind and will leading us to God understood as illuminator of knowledge and donor of grace and virtue. The final route to God is the route of being, in which Bonaventure brought Anselm's argument together with Aristotelian and Neoplatonic metaphysics to view God as the absolutely perfect being whose essence entails its existence, an absolutely simple being that causes all other, composite beings to exist.
Bonaventure, however, is not only a meditative thinker, whose works may form good manuals of devotion; he is a dogmatic theologian of high rank, and on all the disputed questions of scholastic thought, such as universals, matter, seminal reasons, the principle of individuation, or the intellectus agens, he gives weighty and well-reasoned decisions. He agrees with Saint Albert the Great in regarding theology as a practical science; its truths, according to his view, are peculiarly adapted to influence the affections. He discusses very carefully the nature and meaning of the divine attributes; considers universals to be the ideal forms pre-existing in the divine mind according to which things were shaped; holds matter to be pure potentiality that receives individual being and determinateness from the formative power of God, acting according to the ideas; and finally maintains that the agent intellect has no separate existence. On these and on many other points of scholastic philosophy the "Seraphic Doctor" exhibits a combination of subtlety and moderation, which makes his works particularly valuable.
In form and intent the work of St. Bonaventure is always the work of a theologian; he writes as one for whom the only angle of vision and the proximate criterion of truth is the Christian faith. This fact influences his importance for the history of philosophy; when coupled with his style, it makes Bonaventure perhaps the least accessible of the major figures of the thirteenth century. This is true, not because he is a theologian, but because philosophy interests him largely as a praeparatio evangelica, as something to be interpreted as a foreshadow of or deviation from what God has revealed.
In a way that is not true of Aquinas or Albert or Scotus, Bonaventure does not survive well the transition from his time to ours. It is difficult to imagine a contemporary philosopher, Christian or not, citing a passage from Bonaventure to make a specifically philosophical point. One must know philosophers to read Bonaventure, but the study of Bonaventure is seldom helpful for understanding philosophers and their characteristic problems. Bonaventure as a theologian is something different again, as is Bonaventure the edifying author. It is in those areas, rather than in philosophy proper, that his continuing importance must be sought.
St. Bonaventure Catholic Church, elementary school, and cemetery, Columbus, Nebraska.
Bonaventura College is a Dutch Catholic Highschool situated in Leiden.
Albertus Magnus, also known as Saint Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, was a German Catholic Dominican friar 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.
Alexander of Hales, also called Doctor Irrefragibilis and Theologorum Monarcha, was a theologian and philosopher important in the development of Scholasticism and of the Franciscan School.
Theological virtues are virtues associated in Christian theology and philosophy with salvation resulting from the grace of God. Virtues are traits or qualities which dispose one to conduct oneself in a morally good manner. Traditionally they have been named Faith, Hope, and Charity, and can trace their importance in Christian theology to Paul the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13, who also pointed out that “the greatest of these is love.”
William of Ockham was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian, who is believed to have been born in Ockham, a small village in Surrey. He is considered to be one of the major figures of medieval thought and was at the centre of the major intellectual and political controversies of the 14th century. He is commonly known for Occam's razor, the methodological principle that bears his name, and also produced significant works on logic, physics, and theology. In the Church of England, his day of commemoration is 10 April.
Scholasticism was a medieval school of philosophy that employed a critical method of philosophical analysis presupposed upon a Latin Christian theistic paradigm 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 the rise of these 12th and 13th century schools that flourished in Italy, France, Spain and England.
Christian philosophy is a development in philosophy that is characterised by coming from a Christian tradition.
Étienne Henri Gilson was a French philosopher and historian of philosophy. A scholar of medieval philosophy, he originally specialised in the thought of Descartes, yet also philosophized in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas, although he did not consider himself a Neo-Thomist philosopher. In 1946 he attained the distinction of being elected an "Immortal" (member) of the Académie française. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Scotism is the name given to the philosophical and theological system or school named after Scot philosopher-theologian John Duns Scotus. The word comes from the name of its originator, whose Opus Oxoniense was one of the most important documents in medieval philosophy and Roman Catholic theology, defining what would later be declared the Dogma of the Immaculate conception by Pope Pius IX in his constitution Ineffabilis Deus on 8 December 1854.
Richard of Middleton (c.1249–c.1308) was a member of the Franciscan Order, a theologian, and scholastic philosopher.
Tommaso Maria Zigliara, OP was a Roman Catholic priest of the Dominican Order, a theologian, philosopher and a cardinal.
Bonaventure, a French and Italian name may refer to:
The history of Catholic dogmatic theology divides into three main periods: the patristic, the medieval, the modern.
Philotheus Boehner was a member of the Franciscan order known for medieval scholarship.
Daniel Patrick Horan is an American Franciscan friar, Roman Catholic priest, theologian, and author. He is currently assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. He is a columnist for National Catholic Reporter.
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.
The Collationes in Hexaemeron are an unfinished series of talks given by St. Bonaventure in Paris between Easter and Pentecost 1273. They exist only in listeners' transcripts (reportationes) handed down both in a shorter version and a longer, significantly different.
The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 such churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with his cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity through its direct leadership under the Holy See, founded by Peter and Paul, according to Catholic tradition.
John Duns, commonly called Duns Scotus, was a Scottish Catholic priest and Franciscan friar, university professor, philosopher, and theologian. He is one of the three most important philosopher-theologians of Western Europe in the High Middle Ages, together with Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham. Scotus has had considerable influence on both Catholic and secular thought. The doctrines for which he is best known are the "univocity of being", that existence is the most abstract concept we have, applicable to everything that exists; the formal distinction, a way of distinguishing between different aspects of the same thing; and the idea of haecceity, the property supposed to be in each individual thing that makes it an individual. Scotus also developed a complex argument for the existence of God, and argued for the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure or Pontifical Theological Faculty of Saint Bonaventure, commonly called the Seraphicum, is the international study center of the Friars Minor Conventual in Rome. As a Pontifical faculty, the Seraphicum is governed by the Holy See according to the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia christiana.
The Order of Friars Minor is a mendicant Catholic religious order, founded in 1209 by Francis of Assisi. The order adheres to the teachings and spiritual disciplines of the founder and of his main associates and followers, such as Clare of Assisi, Anthony of Padua, and Elizabeth of Hungary, among many others. The Order of Friars Minor is the largest of the contemporary First Orders within the Franciscan movement.
This treatise has always been recognized as indubitably authentic. A few years ago, Dieter Hattrup voiced his doubts: 'Bonaventura zwischen Mystik und Mystifikation. Wer ist der Autor von De reductione?' Theologie und Glaube 87 (1997): 541–562. However, the recent research of Joshua Benson indicates the text's authenticity: 'Identifying the Literary Genre of the De reductione artium ad theologiam: Bonaventure's Inaugural Lecture at Paris', Franciscan Studies 67 (2009): 149–178.
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|Catholic Church titles|
John of Parma
| Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor |
Jerome of Ascoli
| Archbishop of York |