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


253. Life and Works. -- St. Bonaventure (John of Fidanza) was born in 1221 at Bagnorea in Tuscany. About 1238 he entered the order of St. Francis and was sent to Paris in 1242. There he followed the lectures of Alexander of Hales, whom he calls pater et magister,{1} and in 1248 received the licentia publice legendi. Most of his theological works were commenced about this period. In 1255 he was mixed up in the disputes between the seculars and the regulars, and made a bold defence of his position in conjunction with St. Thomas, for whom he cherished a deep and close friendship. It was not until the 23rd October, 1257, that the University, in obedience to Papal injunctions, conferred the title of magister on himself and St. Thomas. That same year St. Bonaventure was made general of his Order. In 1260 he drew up the new Franciscan constitutions at the chapter of Narbonne. He was created cardinal in 1273 and assisted at the council of Lyons, but died the next year while the council was yet in progress. His successors gave him the title of Doctor Devotus; but since Gerson's time he has been better known under the title of Doctor Seraphicus.

The following, among his authentic theological works, are of most importance for the understanding of his philosophy:{2} (1) Commentarii in l. Sententiarum P. Lombardi, commenced about 1248, in which St. Bonaventure, while following his master, Alexander, rises far above the latter in the elevation and clearness of his teaching. The extracts from Alexander's Summa, believed to have been plagiarized by St. Bonaventure, are, on the contrary, interpolations introduced into the Summa after St. Bonaventure's time, in accordance with the latter's teaching. (2) Quaestiones Disputatae (especially De Paupertate); (3) Breviloquium (prior to 1257) the famous Itinerarium Mentis in Deum (1259); (4) De Reductione Artium ad Theologiam, a classification of the sciences. His chief works on mystical theology are De Triplici Via and the Soliloquium, modelled on the writings of Hugh of St. Victor.

{1} Ibid.

{2} According to the dissertations in t. x. of the Quaracchi edition of his works.

<< ======= >>