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


234. Conflicts between Regulars and Seculars. -- Immediately on establishing themselves at Paris (1217 and 1219-20), the Dominicans and Franciscans sought to occupy chairs of theology in the University: they succeeded too, but not without some difficulty. After a general strike of the masters, resulting from a disagreement between the Bishop of Paris and the chancellor of Notre Dame, the Dominicans obtained a chair of theology (1229).{1} They secured a second chair in 1231, and about this date also the Franciscans were offered a chair in the faculty. The first Dominican master was Roland of Cremona, the first Franciscan master, Alexander of Hales. Between 1233 and 1238 the Franciscans appear to have filled a second chair: the one given to John de la Rochelle, who was proclaimed magister regens simultaneously with Alexander of Hales.{2} The rights of the mendicant orders were based on sound titles. But the seculars, who were unsuccessful in opposing their incorporation in the first instance, were consistently hostile to them and showed their animosity in various ways. From 1252 to 1259 there were entanglements arising from the presence of regulars in the Faculty of Theology. The seculars, led by NICHOLAS OF LISIEUX, GERARD OF ABBEVILLE, and especially by the turbulent WILLIAM OF ST. AMOUR (fl. 1272), wanted to carry a rule to the effect that each religious order should be limited to one chair in the University. The quarrel was settled by the intervention of Alexander IV.: the Dominicans held their two chairs, the Franciscans one; and the pope condemned William of St. Amour and the other ringleaders and ordered them to leave France.

The hostilities also assumed the form of interminable controversies on the nature and excellence of the religious state: these commenced in 1255 with the publication of William of St. Amour's De Periculis Novissimorum Temporum, and they ramified into almost all the theological controversies of the thirteenth century.{3} Still more embittered opposition was aroused by the Bull of Martin V., Ad Uberes Fructus, wherein the pope granted important privileges to the regulars in regard to faculties for hearing the confessions of the faithful. Whatever side the regulars might take in the philosophical questions that usually divided them among themselves, they always stood shoulder to shoulder against the seculars in defence of their common canonical privileges.{4}

{1} MANDONNET, De l'incorporation des Dominicains dans l'ancienne Université de Paris (R. Thomiste, 1896, p. 133).

{2} This new conjecture is well defended by H. FELDER, O.C., Geschichte d. wissenschaftl. Studien im Franziscanerorden bis in die Mitte d. 13 Jahrh., 1904, pp. 216-35. He rightly remarks that in the thirteenth century wherever there are two magistri regentes there are two distinct, parallel schools. The number of chairs in theology grew imperceptibly. Not before the middle of the thirteenth century was the number definitely limited. So, too, during the early years of the century the term of mastership was not definitely fixed either with Dominicans or Franciscans.

{3} There was quite a storm of controversial pamphlets. MANDONNET (Siger de Brabent, etc., pp. cvi-cviii) gives an outline of the history of these struggles. St. Thomas made his contribution to them in 1257 by his treatise Contra Impugnantes Cultum Dei.

{4} In 1387 a new quarrel broke out between the Dominicans and the University, this time about some advanced theological theses propounded by the Dominican, John of Montesono. It led to a temporary expulsion of the Dominicans from the Faculty of Theology.

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