ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


230. Foundation and Organization of the University of Paris. -- The circulation of the new Aristotelian literature synchronized with the erection of the University of Paris. This originated in the closing years of the twelfth and the opening years of the thirteenth century, from the combination of all the masters and scholars attached to the schools of Notre Dame Cathedral and subject to the jurisdiction of its chancellor (universitas magistrorum et scholarium). Little by little identity of interests drew the masters into four groups or Faculties: the theologians; the artists or philosophers; the canonists; the physicians. In the course of the thirteenth century, scholars' unions made their appearance under the name of nations: Picards, Gauls, Normans, English.{1} Strictly speaking, these unions comprised only the masters and pupils of the Faculty of Arts, but as these were the most numerous, and as, moreover, after having completed the study of arts, both masters and pupils remained incorporated in their respective nations, these latter really represented the entire university. Very soon a struggle commenced between the rector, or head of the nations, and the chancellor of the cathedral. It lasted for a century and a half, during which time the authority of the chancellor was slowly but steadily supplanted by that of the rector, who was thenceforth recognized as the chief of the university.

The growth of the Paris University was remarkably rapid on account of the numerous privileges with which it was favoured by popes and kings. All the great theologians and philosophers passed through its schools. Its elaborate disciplinary organization was the work of its own time; it was taken as a model by all the other universities of the Middle Ages. We shall confine our attention to a few noteworthy points in connection with the teaching of philosophy and theology.

{1} The latter replaced by the Allemani after the hundred years' war.

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