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


247. Life and Works. -- The date and place of Alexander's birth are not accurately known. He studied at Paris before entering the Franciscan order. Roger Bacon informs us that when Alexander was master of arts the Physics and Metaphyics of Aristotle had not yet been translated.{1} This would point to a period prior to 1210. The year he entered the order, the theological chair of the Paris house was incorporated with the University, and Alexander was its first magister regens. It is likely that he held this position till his death, in 1245.

Numerous works have been erroneously attributed to Alexander. His great, and perhaps his only, work is the Summa Theologica. It was commenced not earlier than 1231,{2} and its author did not live to finish it. A document of Pope Alexander IV., dated 28th July, 1256, mentions him as author of the work and recommends William of Melito to complete it.{3} The latter did add to it, and others after him. Thus the Summa de Virtutibus, which fills a large break in the third part (qq. 2 7-69), is subsequent to St. Bonaventure, by whom it is manifestly inspired.{4}

{1} Opus Minus, Brewer's edit., p. 326.

{2} The Summa quotes from the commentary of Thomas Gallo, abbot of Vercelli, "super Hierarchiam" (Pseudo-Denis). But the latter work is not earlier than 1224-1226 (FELDER, op. cit., p. 195).

{3} Chartul., i., p. 328.

{4} St. Bonaventure, Opera, Quaracchi edit., t. x., Dissertatio, p. 3. It is well known that Roger Bacon denies to Alexander the authorship of the Summa in question: "Fratres adscripserunt illi magnam summam illam, quae est plusquam pondus unius equi, quam ipse non fecit sed alii. Et tamen propter reverentiam ascripta fuit, et vocatur Summa fratris Alexandri" (Opus Minus, p. 326).

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