List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

Last updated

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works. The names are ordered by date of birth in order to give a rough sense of influence between thinkers.


Ancient (born before 500 A.D.)

Ignatius of Antioch Early Christian writer, Patriarch of Antioch and martyr saint

Ignatius of Antioch, also known as Ignatius Theophorus or Ignatius Nurono, was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers, of which he is considered one of the three chief ones together with Pope Clement I and Polycarp. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

Papias of Hierapolis Apostolic father

Papias was a Greek Apostolic Father, Bishop of Hierapolis, and author who lived c. 60–163 AD. It was Papias who wrote the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord in five books.

Justin Martyr 2nd century Christian apologist and martyr

Justin Martyr was an early Christian apologist, and is regarded as the foremost interpreter of the theory of the Logos in the 2nd century. He was martyred, alongside some of his students, and is considered a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.

Early Medieval (born between 600 A.D and 1100 A.D)

Detail of folio 102r from an 11th Century manuscript of St Augustine's Commentary on the Psalter, volume 2. Initial I inhabited by William of St. Calais, Bishop of Durham. At Williams feet is a self-portrait of Robert Benjamin, the scribe. DurhamCathedralLibBII13Fol102rInitialI.jpg
Detail of folio 102r from an 11th Century manuscript of St Augustine's Commentary on the Psalter , volume 2. Initial I inhabited by William of St. Calais, Bishop of Durham. At Williams feet is a self-portrait of Robert Benjamin, the scribe.
Pope Gregory I Medieval pope from 590 to 604

Pope Gregory I, commonly known as Saint Gregory the Great, was Pope from 3 September 590 to 12 March 604 AD. He is famous for instigating the first recorded large-scale mission from Rome, the Gregorian Mission, to convert the then-pagan Anglo-Saxons in England to Christianity. Gregory is also well known for his writings, which were more prolific than those of any of his predecessors as Pope. The epithet Saint Gregory the Dialogist has been attached to him in Eastern Christianity because of his Dialogues. English translations of Eastern texts sometimes list him as Gregory "Dialogos", or the Anglo-Latinate equivalent "Dialogus".

Maximus the Confessor Christian saint and theologian

Maximus the Confessor, also known as Maximus the Theologian and Maximus of Constantinople, was a Christian monk, theologian, and scholar.

Bede 7th and 8th-century Anglo-Saxon monk, writer, and saint

Bede, also known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable, was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles. Born on lands likely belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery in present-day Sunderland, Bede was sent there at the age of seven and later joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery, both of whom survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles, even visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria. He is well known as an author, teacher, and scholar, and his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title "The Father of English History". His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates. One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired with controversy. He also helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ, a practice which eventually became commonplace in medieval Europe. Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800.

High Medieval (born between 1100 A.D and 1450 A.D)

Robert Grosseteste 13th-century Bishop of Lincoln and philosopher

Robert Grosseteste was an English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian, scientist and Bishop of Lincoln. He was born of humble parents at Stradbroke in Suffolk. Upon his death, he was almost universally revered as a saint in England, but attempts to procure a formal canonisation failed. A. C. Crombie calls him "the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition".

Francis of Assisi Catholic saint and founder of the Franciscan Order

Saint Francis of Assisi, born Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone, informally named as Francesco, was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men's Order of Friars Minor, the women's Order of Saint Clare, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land. Francis is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.

Alexander of Hales English Franciscan theologian and philosopher

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.

Renaissance and Early Modern (born between 1450 A.D and 1789 A.D)

Sylvester Mazzolini Italian theologian

Sylvester Mazzolini, in Italian Silvestro Mazzolini da Prierio, in Latin Sylvester Prierias. was a theologian born at Priero, Piedmont; he died at Rome. Prierias perished when the imperial troops forced their way into the city, leading to the Sack of Rome.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola humanist and philosopher from Italy

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was an Italian Renaissance nobleman and philosopher. He is famed for the events of 1486, when, at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance", and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has been called the "Hermetic Reformation". He was the founder of the tradition of Christian Kabbalah, a key tenet of early modern Western esotericism. The 900 Theses was the first printed book to be universally banned by the Church.

John Major (philosopher) Scottish philosopher

John Major (1467–1550) was a Scottish philosopher, theologian, and historian who was much admired in his day and was an acknowledged influence on all the great thinkers of the time. A very renowned teacher, his works were much collected and frequently republished across Europe. His "sane conservatism" and his sceptical, logical approach to the study of texts such as Aristotle or the Bible were less prized in the subsequent age of humanism where a more committed and linguistic/literary, approach prevailed. His influence in logic, science, politics, Church, and international law can be traced across the centuries and appear decidedly modern, and it is only in the modern age that he is not routinely dismissed as a scholastic. His Latin style did not help – he thought that "it is of more moment to understand aright, and clearly to lay down the truth of any matter than to use eloquent language". Nevertheless, it is to his writings, including their dedications, that we owe much of our knowledge of the everyday facts of Major's life – for example his "shortness of stature". He was an extremely curious and very observant man, and used his experiences – of earthquakes in Paisley, thunder in Glasgow, storms at sea, eating oatcakes in northern England – to illustrate the more abstract parts of his logical writings.

Late Modern (born between 1750 A.D and 1900 A.D)

Patrick Benedict Zimmer was a Catholic philosopher and theologian.

Joseph de Maistre Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer, and diplomat

Joseph-Marie, comte de Maistre was a French-speaking Savoyard philosopher, writer, lawyer and diplomat who advocated social hierarchy and monarchy in the period immediately following the French Revolution. Despite his close personal and intellectual ties with France, Maistre was throughout his life a subject of the King of Piedmont-Sardinia, whom he served as member of the Savoy Senate (1787–1792), ambassador to Russia (1803–1817) and minister of state to the court in Turin (1817–1821).

Franz Xaver von Baader 18th and 19th-century German philosopher and theologian

Franz von Baader, born Benedikt Franz Xaver Baader, was a German Catholic philosopher, theologian, physician and mining engineer. Resisting the empiricism of his day, he denounced most Western philosophy since Descartes as trending into atheism and has been considered a revival of the Scholastic school. He was one of the most influential theologians of his age but his influence on subsequent philosophy has been less marked. Today he is thought to have re-introduced theological engagement with Meister Eckhart into academia and even Christianity and Theosophy more generally.

Twentieth- and Twenty-first Century

See also

Related Research Articles

Prix de Rome French scholarship for arts students

The Prix de Rome or Grand Prix de Rome was a French scholarship for arts students, initially for painters and sculptors, that was established in 1663 during the reign of Louis XIV of France. Winners were awarded a bursary that allowed them to stay in Rome for three to five years at the expense of the state. The prize was extended to architecture in 1720, music in 1803, and engraving in 1804. The prestigious award was abolished in 1968 by André Malraux, the Minister of Culture.