Jacques Maritain Center : A History of Western Philosophy Vol. II / by Ralph McInerny

Part III: The Twelfth Century

Chapter IV

The School of Chartres

A. From Fulbert to Bernard

The fame and influence of the cathedral school of Chartres during the twelfth century is beyond dispute. The writings of the men whom we shall consider in this chapter would he sufficient argument for the importance of the school, but we have as well the unstinted praise of John of Salisbury, himself a notable figure, who records the merits of the men under whom he studied at Chartres. There is, moreover, the opposition to Gilbert of Poitiers and William of Conches by St. Bernard of Clairvaux and William of St. Thierry, an opposition whose vigor witnesses to the importance of the target. Furthermore, there is the rivalry between Chartres and St. Victor at Paris to indicate that in the twelfth century the school of Chartres was widely recognized as a force to be reckoned with. Before speaking of the character of the twelfth century, something must be said of the first real fame of the school during a period straddling the millennium.

Fulbert (c.960-1028), who was bishop of Chartres from 1006 until his death, is generally recognized as the man who put Chartres on the map of medieval education. He was not, of course, the founder of the school. Fulbert studied under Gerbert at Rheims, came to Chartres about 990, and for about ten years was an assistant in the cathedral school. It is unlikely that Fulbert continued to teach after becoming bishop, but under his patronage the school achieved great fame. Its purpose was to prepare young men for the clerical life, and there was no ideal of a general secular culture. The course of studies was based on the liberal arts, and Fulbert himself seems to have known some medicine. The quality and scope of instruction at Chartres under Fulbert have probably been greatly exaggerated, as have the accomplishments of Fulbert himself. Chartres was not the only center of learning during the time of Fulbert, and the schools at Liège and Cologne were undoubtedly more advanced in mathematics than was Chartres. Qualifications in the usual estimate must be made accordingly, but when adjustments are made for the excessive praise of his contemporaries at Chartres, the fact still remains that Fulbert presided over a definite strengthening of the cathedral school. It should be noted that Berengar of Tours, who was to provoke a lively theological controversy, studied at Chartres under Fulbert, although it is doubtful that Fulbert himself was then in the classroom.

A new flowering of the school took place under Bernard of Chartres (died before 1130), of whose teaching we know through John of Salisbury, although John himself had studied, not under Bernard, but rather under two of his pupils, William of Conches and Bernard Bishop. John gives us a description of Bernard's method of teaching grammar. There are, he writes, four things which are of chief importance in the pursuit of philosophy and the exercise of virtue. They are reading, doctrine, meditation, and good works. The first three lead to knowledge, and from knowledge good works flow; by the same token, the cultivation of virtue naturally precedes the quest for knowledge. Grammar is the foundation for and presupposition of all else and must therefore be learned first. Thus, reading (lectio) is the first step in the study of philosophy. In what does this reading consist? John suggests a distinction between prereading and reading, the former being the task of the teacher in the classroom, the latter solitary reading. Now what the grammaticus does in the prereading is this: he breaks the text into parts of speech, explains the metrics when it is verse, points out barbarisms and other breaches of the rules of language, explains tropes and figures of speech. A grammaticus like Bernard apparently employed the prereading as an occasion to discourse about all the arts.{1} John tells us that he would assess the arguments of the text (logic), comment on its eloquence and persuasiveness (rhetoric), and, when the text permitted it, expatiate on the quadrivium of mathematics and on physics and ethics. John assures us that this is the desirable way of prereading the auctores, the authors who came to function as authorities.

When he mentions the doctrine of the Timaeus of Plato, according to which the coming to be of the things of this world involves Ideas and matter, John of Salisbury calls Bernard the best Platonist of his time. He quotes some verse of Bernard in which a distinction is made between what is not and what truly is. What truly is comprises God, the Ideas, and matter.{2} Of these three, God alone is unqualifiedly eternal, since Bernard is reluctant to speak of matter and Ideas as coeternal with him. John quotes a few lines from Bernard's exposition of Porphyry which cast some light on this. "There are two kinds of effect of the divine mind, one which he creates from a subject matter or which is created along with it, another which he makes of himself and contains in himself, requiring no outside aid. The heavens indeed he made in his intellect from the beginning, and to form them there he needed neither matter nor extrinsic form." (Metal., IV, 35) The Ideas appear to be the patterns of external divine creativity, but as Ideas they are described as velut quidam effectus: as certain effects. John returns to the Platonism of Bernard in another text. "He posited Ideas, emulating Plato and imitating Bernard of Chartres, and said that apart from them there is no genus or species. An Idea, in the definition of Seneca, is an eternal exemplar of those things which come to be by nature. And since universals are not subject to corruption nor alterable by movements . . . they are truly called universals." (Metal., II, 17) A common noun, then, names an unchanging reality, an Idea contained in God, though an effect of God and not quite coeternal with him; as for the sensible things around us, John agrees with Plato that they "await no naming due to their instability."{3}

The Platonism John of Salisbury attributes to Bernard is a common characteristic of the school in the twelfth century, and its source is, aside from the information that could be gleaned from the Fathers (principally Augustine) and Boethius, the Timaeus as translated and commented on by Chalcidius. Another source of Chartrian Platonism was Macrobius' commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio. Moreover, there is evidence that the so-called Hermetic writings exercised an influence on the school. The Plato of the Timaeus is of course a philosopher seeking to explain the cosmos. During this time Plato, as natural philosopher, is often contrasted with Aristotle, the dialectician. When the Chartrian thinkers employ Plato, it is to aid in understanding the content of their faith: the Timaeus is considered to be an explication of Genesis. In short, we must not expect to find in the twelfth-century school of Chartres anything like a clear distinction between philosophy and theology. The problem here, as with Anselm of Canterhury, is rather one of applying reason to faith in order to occupy a middle ground between the simple acceptance of what God has revealed and the full knowledge of truth. Full knowledge is not something that can be attained in this life. The pertinent dyad, then, is faith and reason. As a school, the men of Chartres are convinced that they have an obligation not only to believe but to understand, to the degree that this is possible, the contents of their belief. This approximation to an understanding is gained by appeal to such works as the Timaeus. In this effort they quite often offended the sensibilities of others who felt they were compromising the clear intent of revelation and ridiculing the faith of the simple. Bernard of Clairvaux and William of St. Thierry are as shocked by some Chartrians as they are by Abelard himself -- and often with good reason. Bernard and William feel that the way to explicate Scripture is to have recourse to the Fathers, not to pagan philosophers.

We will see some particular points of dispute later in this chapter and in the next; from a distance of centuries, and with the intermediary of much development in theology, the modern reader finds himself drawn sometimes to the side of the antidialecticians, sometimes to that of the dialecticians. There were excesses on both sides, to be sure; perhaps the greatest temptation to the historian is to look with lofty condescension on the whole dispute. That attitude is not a serious possibility for one who senses the utter seriousness of what is at issue in the clash of the dialecticians and antidialecticians. Perhaps the best attitude here is suggested in a remark attributed to Bernard of Chartres by John of Salisbury. "We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants; we see more things and more distant things than did they, not because our sight is keener nor because we are taller than they, but because they lift us up and add their giant stature to our height." (Metal., III, 4) T. S. Eliot put the same thought more succinctly in replying to those who say we ought not read the old authors because we know so much more than they did: "Yes," Eliot said, "And they are what we know."

By stressing the efforts at cosmology at Chartres we do not mean to suggest that the schema of the seven liberal arts no longer provided the basic pattern of education. It did. But what differentiates the twelfth century from earlier ones, and what justifies calling it a renaissance, is the fact that the various arts were no longer considered to be summed up in encyclopedias or collections of statements by ancient authors. Each of the arts now achieves new vigor thanks to the introduction of fundamental works dealing with each of them. Pagan authors hitherto unavailable were read avidly, and with the increase of such material for the study of each of the arts there was a natural tendency toward specialization. The ideal of a cycle of education, a panoramic view of things to be gained by moving through each of the arts and arriving finally at a reading of Scripture, became jeopardized. From quite different viewpoints both William of Conches at Chartres and Hugh of St. Victor in Paris would speak out against the tendency to specialize, against the demand for a "quickie" course. When we realize that John of Salisbury devoted twelve years to study, moving from master to master, from school to school, we get a picture of what was thought to be necessary for an adequate education. (Of course, there were not as yet set courses of study in the manner of the universities to come at the end of this century.) Thus, the dialecticians had enemies other than the antidialecticians; these others are the adversary John of Salisbury dubs with the name of an opponent of Virgil, Cornificius. The Cornificians wanted to be propelled through their studies in three, perhaps even two years; they wanted the emphasis put on the practical and useful, on what it takes for a man to get ahead in the world. The controversy was not merely one of educational theory. William of Conches actually had to give up teaching under the onslaught of Cornifician demands.

The men we shall now discuss are of great, if unequal, importance in the effort, which intensifies in the twelfth century, to conjoin faith and reason, in the phrase of Boethius. The old structure of the seven liberal arts as a preparation for biblical studies is retained, but it begins to be altered somewhat insofar as the Stoic division of philosophy into dialectics, physics, and ethics, and the Aristotelian division according to theoretical and practical sciences, takes on a growing meaning with the advent of more substantive ancient philosophical works. But no ultimate clarity with respect to a division between philosophy and theology is reached by the masters of Chartres.

Bibliographical Note

On the school of Chartres the following are fundamental: A. Clerval, Les écoles de Chartres au moyen qge du Ve siècle au XVIe siècle (Paris, 1895); R. L. Poole, "The Masters of the School of Chartres in John of Salisbury's Time," English Historical Review, 35 (1920), pp. 321-342; C. Paré, A. Brunet, P. Tremblay, La renaissance du XIIe siècle: Les écoles et l'enseignement (Ottawa, 1933); F. M. Powicke and A. B. Emden, Rashdall's Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages (Oxford, 1936), vol. 1, chap. 2; J. M. Parent, La doctrine de la création dans l'école de Chartres (Ottawa, 1938); Tullio Gregory, Anima mundi: La filosofia di Guglielmo di Conches e la scuola di Chartres (Florence, 1955); C. H. Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (New York: Meridian Books, reprint, 1957); M. D. Chenu, "Les Platonismes du XIIe siècle," in La théologie au douzième siècle, Études de Philosophie Medievale, XLV (Paris, 1957); William Harris Stahl, Macrobius' Commentary on the Dream of Scipio (New York, 1952); Raymond Klibansky, The Continuity of the Platonic Tradition During the Middle Ages (London, 1939). On Fulbert see Loren C. MacKinney, Bishop Fulbert and Education at the School of Chartres (Notre Dame, 1957).

B. Gilbert of Poitiers (1076-1154)

Gilbert, a native of Poitiers, studied first at Chartres and then at Laon under Anselm. He started his teaching career in his native city hut returned to Chartres as a teacher, becoming chancellor of the school in 1126. He held this post until 1138, and seems to have taught at Paris as well (John of Salisbury is our authority for that). In 1142 he was named bishop of Poitiers. In 1147 and 1148 his views on the Trinity were called into question, and he publicly retracted some of his statements.{4} These difficulties did not affect his reputation in his own day or his influence on men of the thirteenth century. Gilbert is often cited by the French and Latin versions of his name, which are, respectively, Gilbert de la Porée and Gilbertus Porretanus (or Gilbertus Pictaviensis). The works of Gilbert which are of unquestioned authenticity are his commentaries on the theological tractates of Boethius. The Liber de sex principiis was attributed to Gilbert, but most scholars express deep doubt that it is his.

Because Gilbert commented on the De trinitate of Boethius, we need only turn to his remarks on the three types of speculative science mentioned in chapter two of that work to find Gilbert's views on the scope and divisions of philosophy. He begins by observing that speculative sciences are opposed to practical science. In a speculative science we ask whether something is, what it is, what its properties are, and what its causes are (intuemur an sint, et quid sint, et qualia sint, et cur sint singula creata). (PL, 64, 1265C; Häring, p. 46) An active or practical science is ordered to operation, says Gilbert, who cites medicine and magic as examples. Having given these definitions, Gilbert sets aside practical sciences and says he will be interested only in the speculative. The first division of speculative science which he introduces is the familiar tripartite division into physics, ethics, and logic, and it is clear that for Gilbert moral science and logic are speculative sciences. He puts these two to one side now and, retaining only physics, says that what Boethius is doing in the text is giving us a subdivision of physics, or natural science. Physics is thus a generic name. one of whose species is also called physics, or natural science; the other two species of course are mathematics and theology. Scotus Erigena, at this point in his commentary, had linked the quadrivium with mathematics, but Gilbert makes no effort to connect the divisions of philosophy with the liberal arts. What is the principle of division whereby we arrive at physics, mathematics, and theology? "He describes these through motion, separation, and their contraries, placing a twofold difference in the definition of each." (1265C) Gilbert indicates that the threefold division of speculative science given by Boethius is not a reference to three kinds of existing things. "It is not only as they are, but indeed sometimes otherwise than as they exist, that some things are often truly conceived. That is why the mind's speculation is divided and denominated either on the basis of the things inspected or on the manner of inspection." (1267A) When Gilbert turns to Boethius' remark that natural science is concerned with things in motion which are inabstract or inseparable, he proceeds to explicate this with reference to matter, because natural science considers forms together with their matter, and goes on to give a list of meanings of the term "matter." Moreover, he follows this up with a discussion of several meanings of the term "form."

In the first place, "matter" means that origin of all things that Plato calls necessity, receptacle, womb, mother, and the locus of all generation; his students call it hyle, that is, building material (silva), while Plato himself called it prime matter. Second, the four elements -- fire, air, earth, and water -- are called matter. Third, specifically different bodies -- like bronze, wax, and stone -- are called matter. Fourth, general and special subsistencies may be called matter. Now, this fourth type would seem to be peculiar to Gilbert, at least with respect to the term he uses; what he is referring to here are the common predicates which are genera and species and out of which, as out of something materiat particular things may be thought to be constituted. Particular things exist owing to these subsistencies, but the subsistencies may be said to be owing to the existence of that which is constituted out of them. We will have to return to this.

"Form," too, has many meanings. First of all, it means the essence of God, the artificer due to whom whatever is something and whatever is a being is. "Nam essentia Dei, quo opifice est quidquid est aliquid, et quidquid est esse, unde illud aliquid est, et omne quod sic inest ei quod est aliquid, ut ei quod est esse adsit, prima forma dicitur." (1266B) Second, it refers to the forms of the four elements, which are as Ideas or exemplars to those unions of concrete form and prime matter which result in the four elements as they are named matter. Such forms Gilbert calls substantiae sincerae. Third, that whereby subsistent things are something, namely, subsistencies, is called form. For example, corporeality is the subsistency thanks to which body is body. Finally, the fourth species of quality, namely, the shape or figure of bodies, is called form.

Of those things called matter there is one kind which is unformed and simple, namely, prime matter; there is another kind which is complex, for example, body. Only the first two meanings of "form," God and the Ideas, or exemplars of the four elements, signify substantiae sincerae. In order to understand how Gilbert can speak of the four elements as true or pure (sincerae) substances, we must distinguish between the four elements and those imitations of them perceived by the senses. The pure forms, or Ideas, dwell in a region apart. (1266D) What we perceive possesses, not such a pure form, but rather an engendered form, a forma nativa. The forma sincera is naturally separate from matter, and it is only its image, the form of this composite, which is in sensible objects. The forma nativa is a participation in the pure form and therefore has its origin from it. The forma nativa which gives being to sensible body is not truly a form.

Before looking into what this means for the status of universals -- and we will find Gilbert drawing the consequences for us -- we must first see how he employs all this to explicate what Boethius had said of the distinction between the three speculative sciences.

Matter taken simply is not formed; pure forms are not in matter. Where matter and form are conjoined in sensible things, there is motion. It is formed matter which we first know, since it falls under the senses, but in knowing composites reason can abstract the forms from their matter, constructing in the process a concept of matter and a concept of form. The form thus abstracted is freed from motion and thus imitates things which can exist separately from motion and from matter. Primary matter and the primary form which is the substance, or ousia, of the creator, and the Ideas of sensible things, require neither forms nor matter in order to be and thus lack motion. (1266D) The form that is abstract thanks to an operation of our minds is not the forma sincera. It is because forms thus abstracted are considered otherwise than as they exist (aliter quam sint) that concern with them belongs not to physics but to mathematics. Gilbert is quite explicit that mathematics is concerned with native forms, but he considers them in a manner other than that in which they exist. He suggests a dependence of physics on mathematics in that the latter deals with corporeality and width, knowledge of which is presupposed by a physical concern with body and wide things. Having accounted for two speculative sciences by saying that physics deals with native forms along with their proper matter, while mathematics deals with native forms abstractly, Gilbert goes on to speak of theology. Theology goes beyond native forms to deal with true and pure forms (formae sincerae). By intellectual intuition the mind, in theology, looks to God, to the exemplar Ideas and to simple or primary matter. In theology, in other words, the mind attains to what is simple, without matter, immobile, and eternal.

We have already seen Gilbert make reference to abstraction. The forma nativa, he holds, cannot exist apart from its proper matter; however, it can be considered apart by our mind (ratione). What is thus abstracted by the mind must, it would seem, be distinguished both from individual substances and from the Ideas. We have already alluded to the curious terminology Gilbert employs when he distinguishes particular existents and universals. Individual things are subsistents and substances, for they "stand under" accidents; for example, this body is the "support" of this color. Besides substances there are subsistencies.{5} That this distinction is important for determining the status of universal is clear from the fact that Gilbert calls universal subsistencies. "Therefore genera and species, that is, general and special subsistencies, only subsist and are not truly substances [non substant vere], for accidents inhere neither in genera nor in species. That which is requires accidents in order to be, but genera and species have no need of accidents in order to be. It is individual things which truly subsist, for individuals no more than genera and species require accidents in order to be. That this is true of individuals supposes that they are already informed by the proper and specific differences whereby they subsist. However, they do not only subsist; individuals are substances as well since they confer being on accidents; while they are subject to these accidents, they are, in the reasonable order of creation, their causes and principles." (1375C)

Does this mean that genera and species exist apart from individuals? To say that they are not substances is simply to deny of genera that they are supports of accidents. There seems to be every reason to say that Gilbert bad no intention of giving separate existence to genera and species. He speaks of universals as what our mind collects (colligit) from particulars.{6} Universality is something which seems to be the sense of John of Salisbury's remark: "He attributes universality to native forms. . . . A native form is an example of an original form and it is not something in the divine mind but inheres in created things. This is what the Greeks called "eidos" (form) and is to the Idea as example to exemplar. It is sensible in the sensible thing but insensible as conceived by the mind; singular in singular things but common to all." (Metal., II, 17) Thus, it is amply clear that Gilbert does not identify universals and the divine Ideas, but it is seemingly by appeal to those Ideas that he justifies the applicability to individuals of the universal which has been collected from them, for the individuals are similar owing to imitation of the same Idea.

The verb and derivative noun "colligere" and "collectio" that Gilbert uses when he talks about universals are rather difficult to interpret. Does he mean that the mind gathers together the similarities to be found in the individuals and ends by forming an abstract concept common to all the individuals? Or is he identifying the universal with the collection or class of all similar individuals? De Wulf seems to adopt the second alternative. "The genus and species are the sum total of the beings in which those similar realities (subsistencies) are found, belonging in proper to each of them." His basis for this interpretation is the text quoted earlier. It is probable, I think, that this is what Gilbert intends; if it be what he intends, if Gilbert holds that the species is a class, then "man," for example, would stand for the class of all men. On this interpretation, to say "Socrates is a man" would have to be unpacked in the following manner: Socrates belongs to the class of those objects called "man." Of course, this is not to say that "man" signifies "to be a member of the human class."

Gilbert himself approaches it as follows. Wishing to contrast the way in which "God" is predicated of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to the way in which "man" is predicated of three individuals, say Plato, Cicero, and Aristotle, he says that in the case of the Persons of the Trinity, although what is predicated is predicated of numerically diverse Persons, there is a repetition not merely of the predicate but of the res signified by the predicate. This is not the case when Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero have "man" predicated of them. The word is repeated, of course; rem tamen predicatum non repetunt (the same res or reality is not repeated): sed quamvis conformes, tamen diversas: imo quia conformes, ergo numero diversas a se invicem natures de numero a se diversis affirmant, et haec trium de tribus praedicatorum necessaria differentia non patitur hanc adunationem, ut dicatur, Plato et Cicero et Aristoteles, sunt unus singulariter homo (but though similar, yet diverse; indeed, because similar, therefore natures numerically diverse from one another, and this necessary difference between the predicates of the three prevents the unity which would lead to saying Plato, Cicero, and Aristotle are one single man). (1262B) Gilbert seems to want to read these affirmative propositions thus: Plato is this man, Cicero is this (other) man, and Aristotle is this (yet other) man. Thus, the res signified by the apparently common predicate, "man," is different in the three affirmations. Oddly enough, this makes Gilbert sound like a nominalist, and yet he is traditionally classified as a realist. Like most of us, he seems to have been a bit of both.

Perhaps his extremely nuanced views can be summarized as follows. Consider the statement "Socrates is a man. The predicate of that sentence can be regarded in at least three ways by Gilbert: (1) it refers to this singular instance of human nature which is Socrates, (2) it refers to the divine creative Idea which is more real and out-there than Socrates himself, (3) it involves an intellectus, or concept, that the mind has formed against the background of experiencing that Socrates is like Cicero, Aristotle, and so on. Now, if we ask if this third thing, this concept, answers just as such to something out-there, independent, real, but neither the divine Idea nor this singular human being or that, we are led inexorably to Gilbert's notion of subsistency. Do subsistencies exist? Does human nature exist elsewhere than in individuals, where it is associated with collections of accidents which are signs of, if not causes of, that nature's individuation? There is no simple answer to this question in Gilbert of Poitiers. Subsistencies exist in individuals that are also substances. Gilbert seems to say that that is the only way subsistencies can exist. He wants to avoid saying that my concept of such a subsistency as human nature commits me to the view that there is some numerically one res existing in, say, Socrates, Cicero, and Plato. Many men are specifically but not numerically one. They are specifically one because they are conformes. Is not the concept the expression and recognition of that conformity, and are not the objective bases and guarantees of the concept singular men and the divine Ideas? If this suggests only that the utmost caution must be exercised in applying labels like "realist" or "nominalist" to Gilbert of Poitiers, my purpose will have been attained.

Bibliographical Note

Gilbert's commentaries on Boethius can be found in PL, 64, accompanying Migne's presentation of the Boethian texts. More recent edition: Nikolaus Haring, "The Commentaries of Gilbert, Bishop of Poitiers, on the Two Boethian Opuscula sacra on the Holy Trinity," in Studies and Texts, Nine Medieval Thinkers, ed. J. Reginald O'Donnell, C.S.B. (Toronto, 1955), pp. 23-98. The De sex principiis is found in PL, 188, 1257-1270. Secondary literature: A. Forest, "Le réalisme de Gilbert de la Porée dans le commentaire du De hebdomadibus," Revue Néoscolastique de Louvain, 36 (1934), pp. 101 -- 110; N. Haring, "The Case of Gilbert de la Porée, Bishop of Poitiers," Medieval Studies, 13 (1951), pp. 1-40. For the influence of Gilbert see J. DeGhellinek, Le mouvement théologique du XIIe siècle (Paris, 1948), pp. 175-180.

C. William of Conches (c.1080 - c.ll84)

William, a native of Conches in Normandy, studied under Bernard of Chartres and stayed on at the cathedral school as a teacher of grammar. He speaks of having taught for twenty years and more, and his teaching was at last interrupted by the Cornifician controversy. Did he resume his teaching career? Tullio Gregory conjectures that he did not. The Cornificians were routed we know, but William had been charged with heresy by William of St. Thierry, and it is not impossible that, soured by this, he retired to his native Normandy, where he wrote his Dragmaticon under the protection of Geoffrey the Fair, Count of Anjou and a Plantagenet. An early work of William's, which he calls simply Philosophia, is printed as De philosophia mundi among the works of Venerable Bede, and it is to be found as well among those of Honorius of Autun. The Dragmaticon, a more mature work, takes into account the objections that had been made to the earlier systematic work; indeed, William formally retracts a number of positions he had held as a younger man. We have as well some glosses on Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy as well as on the Timaeus of Plato. The Moralium dogma philosophorum (Teachings of the Moral Philosophers) has been attributed to William, but it is quite doubtful that this anthology is actually his. In the glosses on Boethius William announces his intention to comment on Macrobius and Martianus Capella, but these glosses have not been found, if indeed he wrote them. For what comfort we may want to derive from it, books which are announced as forthcoming only to appear tardily or not at all are not a twentieth-century achievement.

Division of Philosophy. In his glosses on Boethius, William provides us with a schema of the sciences which tells us a good deal about his own predilections. There are two kinds of science, he begins, wisdom and eloquence. Wisdom is true and certain knowledge of things; eloquence is the science of expressing in ornate words and sentences what is known. William likes to quote Cicero on the relative value of these two. In the De inventione Cicero warns that eloquence without wisdom is dangerous, whereas wisdom without eloquence, while it can accomplish something, can accomplish much more with it. Consequently, both eloquence and wisdom are important, but wisdom is preeminent. Philosophy and wisdom are identical (sapientia vero et philosophia idem sunt). Eloquence, therefore, is an aid to and a requirement for philosophy, but not actually a part of it. The term "eloquence" is here taken to cover the arts of the trivium, but wisdom is not equated with the arts of the quadrivium. When he turns to wisdom, William introduces the Aristotelian distinction between theoretical and practical sciences; the former are pursued in contemplation by the leisured (otiosi), while the latter are the concern of the busy (negotiosi). The practical sciences are economics, politics, and ethics; the theoretical sciences are physics, mathematics, and theology. The arts of the quadrivium show up as subdivisions of mathematics. William takes a certain pedagogical pleasure in translating the divisions mentioned to diagram form.

A further division of music is given in the text of the glosses on Boethius.

Given now that philosophy comprises all these various sciences, can one begin just anywhere? "This is the order of learning," William writes at the end of Philosophia. "Because all teaching employs eloquence, we should first be instructed in eloquence. But there are three parts of it: to write correctly and correctly to pronounce what has been written; to prove what needs proving, which is taught in dialectics; to adorn words and sentences, and this rhetoric teaches. Therefore, we should be initiated in grammar, then be taught dialectics, and afterward rhetoric. Armed with these, we should proceed to the study of philosophy. The order to be followed here is such that we should first be instructed in the quadrivium, and, in it, first in arithmetic, secondly in music, thirdly in geometry, finally in astronomy, and thence in Holy Writ so that we might, from knowledge of creatures, come to knowledge of the creator." In the glosses on Boethius the order of learning is expressed somewhat differently by William. Speaking of the sciences which fall under wisdom, he says that one should first study the practical sciences and after that turn to contemplation. First, we contemplate corporeal things in our study of mathematics and physics, and then we move on to the incorporeal in theology.

Our Knowledge of God. In the preface to his Philosophia William says that he will begin with the first creation of things and continue the discussion until he reaches man, of whom he will have much to say. Philosophy is concerned with two sorts of thing, the invisible and incorporeal, on the one hand, and, on the other, the visible and corporeal. We begin with the first, and our discussion will bear on the creator, the world soul, angels, and human souls. The first concern of all will be God. Immediately we encounter difficulties. When we seek knowledge, William observes, there are eleven questions we can ask. Of the object at issue we must first ask if it exists; if this is answered in the affirmative, there remain ten further questions based on the Aristotelian categories: What is it? Of what kind? and so forth. But none of these questions seems to be pertinent when we are seeking knowledge of God. We must conclude that whatever knowledge we have of him will be both imperfect and indirect, and William suggests that there are two kinds of argument that can be devised to provide knowledge of God, one based on the creation of the world, the other on its daily course. The argument from creation is as follows. The world is made up of contrary elements -- hot, cold, wet, and dry -- and their compounding is due either to the operation of nature, or to chance, or to some artificer. But nature avoids the contrary and seeks the similar, so the conjunction of contrary elements cannot be ascribed to nature. Nor can chance be the cause, since, in the first place, if chance could cause the world, it is surprising it does not produce simpler effects like houses. William's more serious opposition to chance as the cause of the world is based on the explanation of chance which Boethius gives in the Consolation of Philosophy. According to that view of it, chance is an unlooked-for result of the crossing of two lines of causality; thus, if chance is the cause of the world, there are causes prior to the first cause of everything. But only the creator antedates the world, William says, so chance is out and the cause of the world must be some artificer. Could it be man or an angel? No, for man appears in a world already made, and angels are made simultaneously with the world. Consequently, God alone created the world.

When he is commenting on the Timaeus, William has no difficulty in interpreting the demiurge there described as God the creator; nor does he have any difficulty with the rather clear implication of the text that the demiurge finds a material chaos ready at hand, which he then fashions after the patterns of the Ideas into sensible things. For William, as for his contemporaries, the Timaeus is a creation story and, as the product of a pagan philosopher, a remarkable corroboration of what is revealed in Genesis. Whatever comes to be requires a cause; the world has come to be and its cause is the creator. But there are four kinds of cause: formal, efficient, final, and material. William proposes that we divide the causes into two classes. On the one side we have as efficient cause the divine essence, as formal cause the divine essence, as final cause the divine goodness. On the other side we have the four elements as material cause. The efficient, formal, and final causes are one with God, and there is no principle of his existence; we can say of these three causes of the world that they are eternal and uncaused, where by eternal we mean, not unending survival through time, but being free from time's tenses utterly. The eternal has no past and no future, and we can speak of it as always in the now or present. The material cause of the world, like everything fashioned from the elements, has a principle of its being. Matter, then, is a caused cause. This approach to creation through the Timaeus ends with the dyad creator and created. God depends on nothing outside himself in his act of creative causality.{7} The Ideas to which the demiurge looked as to entities independent of himself are now equated with the divine wisdom. The archetypal patterns of created things are explained by appeal to Augustine's interpretation of Plato's Ideas. Whoever sets out to make something works up in his mind beforehand what he would effect. The archetypal patterns of creatures, the Ideas, are one with the wisdom of God. So too, matter, or chaos, is not something which awaits the divine causality as if it could exist apart from that causality. Everything other than God is an effect of God. Others in interpreting Plato here had spoken of chaos as the first effect of God out of which order gradually emerged. William of Conches emphatically rejects that view; he feels it is heretical and prejudicial to the divine goodness. Men like Hugh of St. Victor thought that God's gradual imposition of order would reveal the divine goodness rather than call it into question. The opposing views bear on Genesis as much as on the Timaeus, of course; the scriptural account speaks of God laboring for six days in creating the world. William thinks we ought not to think of six literal days here, whereas Hugh resists the view that the hexameron has merely figurative import. (See J. Taylor, p. 227, n.3.)

Given that the world has been created by God and that nothing other than God (save evil) escapes the divine causality, are we to say that the world has always been or that it had a beginning in time? If time measures the alterations of material things, time and material things come into being together, and we can say that there was no time when the world was not. This does not amount to the assertion that the world is eternal, however, if eternity is the prerogative of a being fully in possession of its perfection and thus beyond time. The second proof of God's existence that William offers is drawn from the daily disposition of the world. Beginning with the observation that the things of this world are wisely disposed -- that is what "world" means -- he points out that this presupposes a wisdom responsible for it. There are three possible candidates: human, angelic, or divine wisdom. It can hardly be human wisdom; nor can it be the wisdom of some angel, since angels too are wisely ordered and what wisdom would be responsible for that? There remains only the divine wisdom. "This is the formal cause of the world, because according to it he forms the world by creation. Just as an artisan when he wishes to make something first conjures it up in his mind and then, having found the right material, works in accord with his conception, so the creator, before he creates anything, has it in his mind and then accomplishes it in an effect. It is this that Plato calls the archetypal world because it contains whatever is in the world; 'archetype,' that is, originative form, for 'archos' is first, and 'typos' form or figure." (In Tim., cited by Parent, p. 50)

The World Soul. The demiurge in Plato's Timaeus is said to make but one world because he fashions the world after the model or Idea of living creature. The Idea of living creature contains within itself the Ideas of the many and various things found in the world. If the model for the world is the Idea of living creature, then the world as a totality can be spoken of as a living thing, a cosmic animal, and there will be a world soul.

What does William of Conches make of this notion of the world soul? There are, he notes, various possible interpretations. "According to some, the world soul is the Holy Ghost, for, as we have said, it is owing to the divine will and goodness, which the Holy Ghost is, that all the living things of this world live. Others say that the world soul is the natural force (vigor) which God has put in things whereby some only live, some both live and sense, some live, sense, and understand (discernunt). For there is nothing which lives or senses or understands in which such a natural force is not found. Yet others say the world soul is some incorporeal substance which exists as a whole in every body, although, because of the dullness (tarditatem) of some bodies, it does not effect the same thing in all. . . . Thus in man there would be both his own soul and the world soul, from which one might conelude that man has two souls. We think this conclusion is false, however; the world soul is not a soul anymore than the head of the world is a head. Plato speaks of it as being excogitated from the indivisible divine substance, composed of the same and the different: if one wants to know what that means, let him consult other works of ours." (Philosophia, I)

Now, William of Conches' own interpretation is (not without qualification) the first one given in his list, but the problem of the world soul leads us inevitably to his statements on the Persons of the Trinity, statements which called forth objections from such critics as William of St. Thierry. Speaking generally, we must say that what attracted William in Plato's talk of the world soul, what perhaps has an inevitable attraction for the Christian if we can gauge this by the many responses to it before and after William, is that it seems to express God's presence in the world. St. Paul is reported in Acts of the Apostles (17:23-30) to have likened God to the deus ignotus worshipped by the pagans. He goes on to say that God is he in whom we live and move and have our being, and he quotes a pagan poet: "Ipsius enim et genus sumus." Knox translates this, "For indeed we are his children." God's children, his kind -- this sense of man's kinship with God, of the world's kinship with its creator, of God's presence in his effects may be thought of as the essence of religion; it is surely a salient note of the Christian attitude. Just as St. Paul found in pagan thought suggestions of the true faith, so such interpreters of Plato as William of Conches will look for secular approximations of the Christian mysteries. It is in this light that we must approach his remarks about the world soul. The sestet of Gerard Manley Hopkins' "God's Grandeur" expresses the same sense.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs --
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

In his glosses on Boethius, William suggests an interpretation of the world soul which blends two of the items on his list of possible interpretations. "The world soul is the natural force whereby some things have it in them to be moved, some to grow, some to sense, some to understand. But it is asked what force is. It seems to me that that natural force is the Holy Ghost, that is, the divine and benign harmony, which is that whereby all things have being, movement, growth, sense, life, and intelligence." This soul, which is the divine love, the diffusiveness of the divine goodness, grants existence to both corporeal and spiritual things. In explicating Plato's statement that the world soul is composed of the same and the different, William says that it is one and undivided in itself, but can be thought of as multiple in its effects. (In Tim., ed. Parent, p. 170) Thus, the world soul is a philosopher's way of expressing the creative causality of God, and William does not feel that it in any way jeopardizes the distinction between creator and created, that what Plato said of the composition of the world soul in any way prejudices the divine simplicity and divisihility. The phrase is interpreted, not as symbolic in intent, but as naming the ultimate cause of the physical world. It can also draw our attention to the imitation of God by his effects, so that the natures of things, vigor insita rebus, in all their diversity, point toward the one simple cause of them all.

Faith and Reason. The effort of William of Conches to bring reason to bear on faith (conjunge rationem et fidem) was, if we can judge by the defenses of what he is doing which stud his Philosophia and other early works, an object of constant criticism. He asks, somewhat plaintively, how what he says can be construed to be contrary to Scripture if he is attempting to explain the manner in which that was done which Scripture tells us was done. More sharply, he writes of his critics, "Because they do not know the forces of nature, desiring that all men should be companions of their ignorance, they will not permit others to engage in research and want us to believe like countryfolk, asking no reason; thus would the prophecy be fulfilled: the priest shall be as the people. We say a reason must be sought in all matters, and then if failure ensues, we must entrust the matter to the Holy Ghost and to faith, as Divine Writ says." (Philosophia, PL, 172, 1002E) William does not feel intimidated by the reminder that God regards the wisdom of this world as foolishness. "The wisdom of the world is foolishness with God: not that God thinks the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but because it is foolishness in comparison with his wisdom; it does not follow on that account that it is foolishness." (Philosophia, I, 19)

There is a discernible difference in William of Conches after the attack on him by William of St. Thierry. The latter wrote a letter to St. Bernard of Clairvaux which has come down to us under the title De erroribus Gullielmi de Conchis (On the Errors of William of Conches). (PL, 180, 333ff.) In his letter William of St. Thierry objects to William of Conches' statements on the Trinity, and he takes violent exception to the master of Chartres' theory that the body of the first man need not be thought of as directly created by God (as the soul is): it can be thought of as immediately the effect of the stars and spirits, which are, of course, the effects of God. A further charge has to do with William of Conches' view that the biblical description of the creation of Eve from a rib of Adam should not be understood literally.

This attack had a great impact on William of Conches. He had written what he had written in all sincerity; he had no desire to be or to be considered a heretic. One is a heretic, not simply by writing error, he observes, but by defending it when it is pointed out. The Dragmaticon emerges as an attempt to go over the same ground as the Philosophia in such a way that he would not unduly offend the sensibilities of his fellow believers. "There is another book of ours on the same subject," he writes there, "one entitled Philosophy, composed in our youth, and it is, being the product of one imperfect, itself imperfect. In it truths were mixed with falsehoods, and many necessary things were not touched on. Our plan is to set down what was true in it, to condemn what was false, to add what had been overlooked." He goes on to list specific errors of the earlier work and to retract them; the list follows closely the accusations of William of St. Thierry. Moreover, he adds, any errors he does not now mention and retract but which may later be found ought to be brought to his attention and he will be prompt to root them out.

It would be easy to see here an obsequious and spineless capitulation to antidialecticians whose views William of Conches did not actually share. But there is something more, I think, and something quite edifying. Scholars have pointed out that the Dragmaticon continues to exhibit William's search for an understanding of what he believes. He has not dropped that ideal, nor is he simply masking it in a shrewd way. Rather it seems that he came to see the underlying justification of the charges that had been made against him, namely, that his earlier interpretations were too freewheeling, that what he had said could indeed endanger the faith more than it explicated it. William of Conches had no desire to do that. The Dragmaticon differs from Philosophia, not in substance, not in method, but in style; the youthful zip and vigor, the taunting tone, the suggestion that every invitation to caution indicates obscurantism -- these are absent from the later work. In the Dragmaticon we find a remark that, perhaps as much as any other, gathers together the elements of this controversy and focuses on the essential. "I am a Christian," William writes, "not a Platonist."

Bibliographical Note

As was mentioned in the text, William's Philosophia is found in two places in Migue, each time attributed to a different author: PL, 90, 1127-1178, and as well as at PL, 172, 39-102. The Dragmaticon philosophiae, edited by Grataroli (Aregentorati, 1567); J. Holmberg, Moralium dogma philosophorum (Upsala, 1929). Glosses on the Timaeus and on the Consolation of Philosophy in J. M. Parent, La doctrine de la création (Ottawa, 1938). Of the secondary literature we may mention P. Duhem, Le Systèm du monde, t. 3, pp. 90-112; H. Flatten, Die Philosophie des Wilhelm von Conches; Tullio Gregory, Anima mundi: La filosofia di Guglielmo di Conches e la scuola di Chartres; Eugenio Garin, Studi sul Platonismo medievale (Florence, 1958). The last two are particularly important.

D. Thierry of Chartres (died before 1155)

Thierry, or Theodoric, was the brother of Bernard of Chartres and, like him, served as chancellor of the cathedral school of Chartres. Thierry is a mysterious figure on several counts: we know next to nothing about his life, and it is a matter of some difficulty to identify his writings. As for hard biographical data, apart from certainty that he taught at Chartres, we know that he was present both at Abelard's trial at Soissons in 1121 and at Gilbert of Poitier's trial at Rheims in 1148 and that sometime between those two dates he taught briefly in Paris. He is said to have retired to a Cistercian monastery and to have died a monk.

Because he was not in the habit of signing his works, perhaps motivated by humility, a great deal of scholarly detective work has gone into identifying Thierry's writings. We know that he wrote an Heptateuchon, a work on the seven liberal arts; this has not yet been edited for the modern reader. He wrote a work on creation, the work of the six days recounted in Genesis, a critical edition of which is now available to us. Thierry's commentaries on Boethius have most recently become available owing to the labors of Nikolaus Haring; if Haring's arguments hold, we actually have three different commentaries by Thierry on the De trinitate of Boethius. John of Salisbury has nice things to say of Thierry, who seems to have enjoyed the reputation of heing a good teacher, particularly of logic.

Account of Creation. In his commentary on the biblical account of creation Thierry proceeds in a manner similar to that of William of Conches. There is a preliminary reference to the opening sentence of Genesis, but, rather than continuing with an exposition of the text, Thierry turns immediately to a physical account of the origination of things in which he employs whatever science was available to him. Only after doing this does he turn to the text itself, and the impression is given that the scriptural account can be seen as verifying the earlier physical doctrine.

There are four causes of the world. God is the efficient cause; the divine wisdom is the formal cause; the divine benignity is the final cause. The material cause of the world is the four elements. The things of this world, being changeable and perishable, must have an efficient cause; their order and arrangement show that they are effects of wisdom; and since creatures cannot be thought of as filling any deficiency in the creator, his motive in creating must be an overflow of his own goodness, the desire to let others participate in his fullness. Thierry attaches this interpretation to the opening sentence of Genesis by saying that there we are told of God as efficient cause and of the material cause. Wherever we read that "God said" we can take it that reference is made to God as formal cause; the remarks that God found what he had made good tell us of God as final cause.

First, God created matter. Heaven, being extremely light, did not proceed in its movement in a straight line but began to revolve, and one of its revolutions can be taken to represent one day. In the rotation which constituted the first day, fire assumes the highest location and illuminates air, which is just below it; this activity has the further effect of warming water and earth. Thus, matter and light are first created, and the heating of the water causes a vapor to be drawn up into the air; this is the origin of the clouds and, by way of consequence, of rain and snow. The drawing-up of water causes islands to emerge and then greater areas of earth. In subsequent rotations living things and stars are quite naturally brought into being by the natural activities of the elements. Thierry holds that the stars are formed from the water rising from below because of the heating effect of fire through the mediation of air. The visibility of the stars must be accounted for by their ability to refract light. Only water and earth have the necessary density to refract light; only water can be thought of as achieving the necessary elevation, and this came about by the process already mentioned.

Thierry's physical account of the coming into being of the world is thus an appeal to the natural activities of the elements created by God. A rotation begins immediately, thanks to the nature of the elements, and six such rotations are sufficient to account for the furniture of the cosmos. Every possible natural mode of becoming is employed during those six rotations; that is the meaning of the scriptural statement that after six days God rested. He employs no new method of generation after the first six rotations of the universe, for during this time seminal causes (causae seminales) are so embedded in the elements that all subsequent natural history is, in a sense, present from the beginning in natural causes.

Within the world, fire has a special role to play and may be thought of as the efficient cause and artificer of all other things. Earth is the material on which it works. Thus, fire is the active element, and earth the passive element.

The foregoing speculation, although it involves references to Genesis, is obviously presented as natural, physical knowledge of the origin of things. The doctrine involved is not presented as a discovery of Thierry so much as a summation of what philosophers have been able to learn on the subject. Having stated the findings of physical or natural philosophy, Thierry then turns to an explication of the text of Genesis itself. What he does, in effect, is to attempt to show both that the biblical narrative bears out what physical philosophy teaches and that the text can be illuminated by the philosophical doctrine. Thus, when he reads that the Spirit of the Lord moved over the water, Thierry observes that this has been taken to be a reference to the element, air, which can be likened to the divine Spirit because of its spiritual qualities. His own view is that it is the world soul which is being referred to, since Plato's world soul is precisely what Christians call the Holy Ghost. Thierry identifies the Holy Ghost with the power of God, something for which both Abelard and William of Conches were severely criticized.

Having turned to the text of Genesis, Thierry must say something of God, since it is God to whom all this creative activity must be referred. It is the quadrivium, the mathematical arts, which leads to knowledge of the creator. Thierry's conviction that mathematics is the key to knowledge of God is clear in his employment of otherness or duality (alteritas) and unity (unitas). All multiplicity or otherness takes its rise from the number two, and one naturally precedes two. Thus, prior to all multiplicity and otherness is the one; moreover, we can say that the number one precedes all change, since change is consequent on otherness or multiplicity. To be changeable is to be capable of turning one way or the other, consequently to be multiple. Now if every creature is subject to change and if being in its totality comprises both the eternal and the created, the eternal must escape multiplicity and otherness. The eternal, which is the One, must precede all creatures. The upshot is that we can identify the One, the divine, and the eternal. The One is the cause of being in all creatures, their forma essendi, since for them to be is to derive their being from the divine or eternal. It is this pervasiveness of the divine causality which is meant when it is said that God is everywhere; it is the dependence of all else on the eternal and divine One which is meant when it is said that every being that exists exists because it is one.

To say that God is the forma essendi of creatures, to say that God is the One at the root of the duality or otherness any creature is, is to run the risk of being severely misunderstood, and Thierry knew it. He asked not to be understood to mean that God is some kind of intrinsic form of the creature; what he is insisting upon is that apart from the divine causality there is nothing. Creatures, he says, exist neither in God nor apart from him. In short, Thierry attempts to forestall the pantheistic interpretation of his remarks. The vocabulary of his doctrine of participation has one expected and one unexpected result. Apart from the One, which is eternal and divine, there are also created units: things which are and are called ones. They are one and deserve the appellation owing to their participation in the One; a sign of the difference between created and eternal unity is that in the former case we can speak of a plurality of ones. But just as what partakes in the divine unity can be called a one, so too can it be called divine or a god. This is somewhat surprising, and it does not require a limber imagination to guess that misunderstandings of it will be plentiful. But these observations permit Thierry to stress the utter unity of God and to state the inappropriateness of speaking of any plurality or number in God. What consequences will that assertion have for the Trinity?

Thierry speaks first of square and oblong numbers; the former are obtained by the multiplication of a number by itself, for example, two times two, three times three, which generates tetragons, cubes, circles, and so on. The multiplication of a number by a different number generates oblong numbers. But what result is obtained when one is multiplied by itself? Obviously the result is simply one. The one considered as begetter and the one considered as begotten, then, are one and the same nature. This kind of multiplication (the generation of the Son by the Father) fittingly precedes all subsequent kinds of multiplication which refer to creatures. In speaking of the Trinity, then, Thierry arrives, in the manner sketched, at the One and the Equal One; these are spoken of as Persons because nothing can generate its own self. Since the generation of the Son precedes that of creatures, the Son is equally the cause of the existence of creatures; furthermore, as generated from the One, the Equal One is the image and splendor of the One. In the Equal One, then, are the patterns of all other things that can imperfectly reflect the One, and the Equal One is therefore called the divine wisdom. The little treatise we are relying on here promises to explain the third Person of the Trinity as the link (connexio) between the One and the Equal One, but at this point the manuscript ends.

Thierry's procedure in speaking of the physical origins of things prior to considering revelation is somewhat more risky when it is employed in speaking of the Trinity. The hope that, quite apart from revelation, men can arrive at knowledge of the natural origin of things may be easy enough to accept, even when we notice the crudity of the science Thierry uses; but it is quite another matter to agree that the kind of analysis he performs on unity and otherness secures us, just as such, anywhere near knowledge of divinity and of the divine Persons. It has been observed that Thierry concentrates on what Augustine would call a trinity of things, in this case, of numbers. This is opposed

to the more traditional and Augustinian manner of approaching the mystery of the Trinity via an analysis of intellection. Thierry seems to be proceeding in the direction of a mathematical proof of the Trinity.

Häring's conjecture that Thierry could not go on with his analysis because he had denied relations in God is interesting but not conclusive. Thierry, in his effort to distinguish the One from all multiples or creatures, had denied of God all consequences of otherness in things: among these consequences are form, weight, measure, place, time, and relation. To exclude relation from God, Haring thinks, cuts Thierry off from the traditional approach and dooms his own. But surely we can expect that Thierry could have overcome this, particularly since he has already employed the relation of equality between the Father and Son. Moreover, the exclusion of forma does not prevent talk of God as forma essendi. Häring's essential point, however, namely, that Thierry is off on a different and risky direction and is shoring up difficulties for himself, is beyond contest. Finally, Thierry's procedure in his trinitarian doctrine has been the cause of speculation about the possibility that a Latin translation of Plato's Parmenides was available to him; it is certain that indirectly, by way of references something of that dialogue as well as of the doctrines of Pythagoras was known. However he would have handled it, Thierry's difficulty is not unlike that facing the Pythagorean doctrine: how to derive from a consideration of mathematical entities nonmathematical properties.

For whatever significance it may have, it may be pointed out that Thierry does not pursue this mathematical interpretation of the Trinity in the three works of his which deal with Boethius' De trinitate. Indeed, in his lectures on that Boethian opusculum, which their editor, N. Haring, calls the Quae sit version, the only allusion we have to a mathematical treatment comes in reply to a question. There are three ways of speaking of the Trinity, we read: theologically, mathematically, and ethically. Augustine is cited as one who speaks mathematically, and we are reminded that he maintained that unity is in the Father, equality in the Son, and the connection of unity and equality in the Holy Ghost. What follows is reminiscent of the One and the Equal One. As for the Holy Ghost, Thierry says that unity desires equality and equality unity, and that this desire or love is their connection.

Man and Philosophy. In commenting on Boethius, Thierry must face the division of speculative science set down in chapter two of the De trinitate. His remarks on the passage tend to be a description of man as much as anything.

Thierry's attempt to locate the De trinitate itself has interesting overtones. Boethius' opusculum belongs to speculative philosophy, Thierry says, and to precisely that part of speculative philosophy which is called theology. There are, he continues, three parts of philosophy: the ethical, the speculative, and the rational. The speculative is subdivided into theological, mathematical, and physical. Now Thierry speaks of this division as of a declension. Theology takes its start from a consideration of the most high God and the Trinity and then descends to angelic spirits and souls, concerning itself with incorporeal things which are outside bodies (de incorporeis quae sunt extra corpora). The start of mathematics is a concern with numbers, whence it descends to proportions and magnitudes and is generally, concerned with incorporeal things which are in bodies (circa corpora). Physics is concerned with bodies themselves and takes its start from the four elements.

Answering this declension of the objects of a science, and the hierarchy among the speculative sciences consequent upon their range of objects, is an ascension described by man because of the multiplicity of his powers of knowing. Thierry says that we must know the powers of the soul and their modes in order that all things may be compared with them, that we might know how things can be grasped and by what knowing powers of our soul they are grasped. He mentions five powers of the soul: sense, imagination, reason, intelligence, and intelligibility. Sense is that power of the soul which is comprehensive of bodies, as when we see colors, touch, taste, and so on. Imagination is comprehensive of forms and of images, which are corrupted by their involvement in matter, though they are imagined without matter. Reason is a power of the soul which in its agility moves itself and abstracts from many things of the same general or special nature that very thing they partake in, a form which is immattered and subject to mutability, for example, when I abstract from all men the nature in which they agree (conveniunt), I consider it as participated by them, somewhat separated from mutability by mind. Intelligence (intelligentia, properly called disciplina) is a power of the soul which considers the single qualities and properties of forms, or the forms themselves as they truly are, in such a way, however, that the single terms (terminos) are not removed from them, for example, when I attend to "humanity" or "circle" in its true being. Thus, I see that neither is varied by the flux of matter, and I find the nature it cannot have in a subject matter: as that all the lines from the center to the circumference of the circle are equal or, in humanity, that every monstrosity is repelled by its nature. Intelligibility (intelligibilitas) is the power of soul which removes from forms all limits whereby they were distinct from one another, contemplating only esse atque entiam, rejecting all plurality and seeing only the union of all things, for exampIe, if we iguore the limits of circle and humanity, their difference, only being remains. This is what all things have: being is the simple simplicity of all things.

The very definitions of these powers of the soul indicates the order Thierry sees among them. Sense leads to imagination and that to reason, which bears on the universal; a higher truth beckons to intelligence, and then when the soul extends itself to the simple unity of all things, it becomes intelligibility, which is of God alone and had by few men.

The soul is made for the totality of things, and the totality of things is such that it exists in four manners. God is all things without being any of them singly; if he were any one of them, he would not be the totality, Thierry says. All things are made by God, and He Who Is is prior to them all and in some way the totality of them, for they were first in him and whatever is in God is God and is eternal. God's being, being being, is independent of all dependence: God is He Who Is. God is Absolute Necessity, the form of forms, eternity, unity. God is not, of course, an immattered form; things other than God are form and more. Possibility, that is, is included in all things, Absolute Possibility. Absolute Possibility is descriptive of primordial matter and, Thierry insists, is created by God. Thierry now has set up two poles, God and matter, Absolute Necessity and Absolute Possibility, and these are modes of the totality of things. Between these two poles he will locate two other modes of the totality of things, what he calls Determined Necessity and Determined Possibility. The former describes the realm of Ideas, the world soul; the latter, Determined Possibility, is the result of the fusion of Idea and matter, that is, the things of this world. Thierry can now speak of the three speculative sciences in terms of these modes of the totality of things. Physics, he says, considers both kinds of possibility; mathematics considers determinate necessity; theology considers Absolute Necessity.

Much more could be said of the ideas Thierry has brought into play here; there is much to be gained by comparing the treatments of these ideas in the different commentaries Thierry wrote on the De trinitate of Boethius. Perhaps enough has been said to indicate in an introductory fashion the flavor of Thierry's thought.

Bibliographical Note

The edited writings of Thierry are the following: B. Hauréau published an edition of De sex dierum operibus in Notices et extraits de quelques manuscrits latins de la Bibliotheque Nationale, vol. 22, pp. 170-186. Thanks to the efforts of Nikolaus Häring our knowledge of Thierry has taken a quantum jump in recent years: "The Creation and Creator of the World According to Thierry of Chartres and Clarenbaldus of Arras," AHDL (1955), pp. 137-216; "A Commentary on Boethius' De trinitate by Thierry of Chartres (Anonymus Berolinensis)," AHDL (1956), pp. 257-325; "The Lectures of Thierry of Chartres on Boethius' De trinitate," AHDL (1958), pp. 113-226; "Two Commentaries on Boethius (De trinitate and De hebdomadibus) by Thierry of Chartres," AHDL (1960), pp. 65-136. The Eptateuchon, still unedited, discussed by A. Clerval, Les écoles de Chartres (Paris, 1895); its prologue has been edited by E. Jeaneau in Medieval Studies, 16 (1954), pp. 174 if. Of the secondary literature, mention may be made of P. Duhem, Le système du monde, vol. 3, pp. 184-193; J. M. Parent, La doctrine de la création dan l'école de Chartes (Ottawa, 1938); Pare, Brunet, Tremblay, La renaissance du XIIe siècle (Ottawa, 1933) and, of course, Häring's introductions to the editions mentioned above.

E. Clarenbald of Arras (died c.1160)

The connection of Clarenbald with the school of Chartres lies both in that he studied there under Thierry of Chartres and in that he was a critic of Gilbert of Poitiers. He was an opponent of Abelard as well and a friend of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Besides having been a student of Thierry, Clarenbald studied under Hugh of St. Victor. Clarenbald is known to us through his commentaries on the De trinitate and De hebdomadibus of Boethius as well as through a work appended to one of Thierry's and called Liber de codem secundum (Another Book on the Same Subject). This last work was just recently identified as Clarenbald's by Nikolaus Häring and published under the title Clarenbaldi tractatulus.

Account of Creation. Clarenbald refers to the teachers under whom he studied with a deference whose sincerity cannot be questioned; in the Tractatulus, which he appends to Thierry's account of creation, he promises no more than to collate the thoughts of others and to show that their doctrines are actually corroborated by Scripture. A modest task, we might expect, and certainly not likely to lead to an original book. Indeed, when we leaf through it, our eye is struck by passages reminiscent of William of Conches, of Thierry of course, and of others. Were we to be satisfied with this superficial estimate, we would be doing both Clarenbald and ourselves an injustice. Even what he takes from others has a way of altering in his hand and often of taking on a precision and clarity it did not have in its source.

Clarenbald's Tractatulus begins with a reference to Genesis, goes on to relate it to the other books of the Pentateuch, speaks of the various senses of Scripture, and promises to proceed in terms of the literal sense. But it is not really a commentary on Scripture. The comparison of the books of the Pentateuch to Roman law is apparently original with Clarenbald, although of course the notion of senses of Scripture is not. When these preliminary matters have been treated, Clarenbald turns to the opening line of Genesis and observes that the book can only gain in intelligibility if we discuss the creation of things. For created things speak to us of their creator. Clarenbald then gives a faithful version of William of Conches' first argument for the existence of God. Ignorance of creation can lead to heretical views concerning the nature of God, Clarenbald continues, and he makes reference to the heresies discussed in Boethius' De duabus naturis.

Clarenbald speaks of three inchoative principles: primordial matter, seminal reasons (rationes seminales), and the beginning of time. These three inchoative principles have the Son of God as their creator. Relying on Augustine, Clarenbald speaks of God as forming all things in his Word and then as forming them in an unformed way in matter and seminally in seminal reasons. In the succession of time God operates actually and reparatively. In these four ways, he adds, the totality of things exists. We are reminded of Thierry. Indeed, Clarenbald employs the same quartet: Absolute Necessity, the Necessity of Concatenation (Determinate Necessity), Absolute Possibility, and Determined Possibility. The influence of Thierry is also evident in Clarenbald's use of what he calls the Pythagorean doctrine, but with the addendum of the number ten as the perfect number, since ten is the sum of the first four numbers. Clarenbald identifies Absolute Necessity as One; Absolute Possibility as Two, since matter is the source of otherness and otherness is reducible to duality; The Necessity of Concatenation with Three, since three is the first number to be connected by a middle term; Determinate Possibility with Four, since matter is first actualized by the forms of the elements -- fire, air, earth, and water. Clarenbald's discussion of the meaning of the word "day" presents a variation on Thierry's account and a rejection of Augustine's speculation that it may refer to angelic knowledge.

For Parent the Tractatulus, not yet established as the work of Clarenbald, serves as yet another illustration of the spirit of the school of Chartres. Häring, who made the identification, agrees with Parent's estimate and puts the point stylistically: what the Tractatulus shares with the typical product of the Chartres of the day, and what sets it off from contemporary writings emanating from elsewhere, is the niggardly appeal to the Fathers and the prominence of quotations from the doctrines of the philosophers. This has as a general effect the seeming attempt to make Scripture agree with philosophy rather than the reverse; therein lay the so-called rationalism of Chartres, a tendency which, if Clarenbald himself displays it in his Tractatulus, he is suspicious and critical of in others. By his ties to his friends and his professors he was on both sides of the dialectician/antidialectician controversy of his day; in a sense, by his very existence he provides hope that the opposite tendencies of these factions would ultimately be reconciled.

Being and Goodness. In his commentary on the De trinitate of Boethius, Clarenbald again exhibits the influence of his mentors, and once more it is Thierry who is perhaps most prominent, although he may be thought to share this honor with Gilbert of Poitiers. Given Clarenbald's opposition to the latter, the second influence is interesting; it is the opposition that seems to come to the fore, however, thereby obscuring Gilbert's positive influence on Clarenbald. Gilbert's teaching on the Trinity involved, as we have seen, the question of individuation. In a difficult doctrine Gilbert had sought to maintain that not only can we speak of a universal humanity but we must also speak of a humanity proper to Socrates, another proper to Plato, and so forth. Clarenbald finds this nonsense. What individuates is not part of the shared nature itself but is derived from accidents; therefore, there is one and the same humanity whereby individual men are men. Here as elsewhere we must be careful in employing the term "realism" to describe what Clarenbald is doing. He does not seem to be clear on the locus of that identical nature, and this very lack of clarity prevents unqualified ascriptions of an apriori definition of realism to him.

While the commentary on the De trinitate deserves and repays an attentive reading, we shall turn immediately to Clarenbald's commentary on the De hebdomadibus, one of his works which has not hitherto received much attention. This opusculum of Boethius asks, we remember, whether everything that is is good. The point of the question is this: How can things be good just insofar as they are unless they are substantially good, that is, good in their very substance? Posing the question in this way seems to force a denial, since only God is good in his very substance. But the reply that creatures are good only accidentally is not without its difficulties. Boethius will suggest as a satisfactory answer, which avoids the apparent options, that creatures are good by participation, by a participation which differs from that whereby they partake of accidents. In the opusculum Boethius says he is striving for mathematical rigor and, first, lays down axioms from which he hopes to deduce the desired result. Let us see what Clarenbald makes of this Boethian effort.

Clarenbald sees Boethius employing at the outset an accessus, or approach which, by stressing the obscurity of the question, renders the reader attentive. Furthermore, he renders the reader docile and benevolent in the appropriate rhetorical fashion. Now, what in the question is referred to by "the things that are"? Things may be said to be in three ways: in the divine mind, in matter, in existence. Only in the final way can they be said to exist absolutely, and it is on things thus existing that the question bears. Clarenbald then goes on to distinguish between things as existent and as understood; the passage is obscure, but it appears to be an effort to distinguish the logical or conceptual order from the real order rather than, as Häring suggests, an effort to distinguish substance from accidents. If our interpretation is correct, our earlier caveat about speaking of Clarenbald's realism is strengthened. Clarenbald interprets the hebdoniads of the title to refer to common mental conceptions, that is, axioms. How does Clarenbald now explicate the question Boethius sets out to answer?

The good of substances does not seem to be substantial goodness because good is not predicated of them as genus, species, difference, or definition. In this, "good" is like "being"; when we have a substantial predicate we know in virtue of it, at least in part, what the thing of which it is predicated is, but "being" does not give us this kind of knowledge of that of which it is predicated. If, further, we understand by substantial goodness that whose essence is goodness, the phrase can apply to God alone. How then can created substances be and be called good?

"Diversum est esse et id quod est" (being and that which is are diverse). Clarenbald takes this Boethian dictum to refer to the distinction between God and creatures. God is being, the forma essendi; creatures have being by partaking in the being God is. What is meant hy partaking or participating? It is used here to signify the difference between God and creature; God does not partake of anything, whether prior to himself (there is nothing prior to God) or posterior (for this would indicate dependence on something which, being posterior to God, depends on him). "Ipsum esse nondum est" (being itself is not yet). This enigmatic remark of Boethius means that God who is being is not that which has being; he does not partake of being. The mark of the creature is found in participation or partaking. "Quod est, partici pare aliquo potest." That which is, that is, created substance, can partake of something which is not constitutive of its nature, of accidents, that is. Boethius' doctrine of participation enabled him to distinguish between what is and what is such and such, with the former referring to substantial and the latter to accidental being. Clarenbald prefers to interpret to be such and such (esse aliquid) as covering both substantial and accidental determinations; prior to both modes of being there is participation in the forma essendi, thanks to which the thing is or exists. In short, Clarenbald argues that existential participation is prior to any essential or accidental participation. Thus, he can interpret Boethius' statement that in every composite its being is one thing and what it is is another as referring respectively to participation in the farina essendi and to participation in a determinate form.

Now to the question itself. What do we mean when we say that whatever is is good? Whatever is tends toward the good, but such a tendency is toward what is similar to that which has the tendency; therefore, whatever is, is good. Is that which is good good substantially or by way of participation? We can of course guess that the answer will he that they are good by way of participation, but before he gives that answer, Clarenbald carefully distinguishes between participation in the various substantial predicates which constitute the Porphyrian tree and participation in accidents which are not constitutive of substance. The expected answer, moreover, is a nuanced one. That which is is by participation in being; that which is is good by participation in goodness. But it is by participation in being that created substances are substances, and we can say that these substances are good. The doctrine of participation, therefore, leads to the conclusion that created substances are substantially good, but this assertion cannot be understood as it would be in the case of God.

These few remarks may suggest something of the doctrine of Clarenbald. His reading of Boethius' De hebdomodibus makes it abundantly clear that, as Häring's introductory remarks imply, the view that prior to Aquinas no one had undertaken to speak of the existence of things is simply without historical foundation.

Bibliographical Note

The writings of Clarenbald of Arras can be found in the following editions: W. Jansen, Der Kommentar des Clarenbaldus von Arras zu Boethius De Trinitate (Breslau, 1929); Nikolaus M. Häring, "A Commentary on Boethius' De hebdomodibus by Clarenbaldus of Arras," in Nine Medieval Thinkers, edited by J. Reginald O'Donnell, C.S.B. (Toronto, 1955), pp. 1-21; N. Häring, "The Creation and Creator of the World According to Thierry of Chartres and Clarenbaldus of Arras," AHDL (1955), pp. 137-216; edition of Tractatulus, pp. 200-216. The secondary literature is not extensive, but mention can be made of the following: M. de Wulf, "Clarembaud d'Arras," in Melanges Louis Arnould (Poitiers, 1934), pp. 22-27; R. L. Poole, Illustrations of the History of Medieval Thought and Learning (London, 1920), pp. 320-322; J. M. Parent, La doctrine de la création (Ottawa, 1938); N. Häring, "A Hitherto Unknown Commentary on Boethius' De hebdomodibus Written by Clarenbaldus of Arras," Medieval Studies, 15 (1953), pp. 212-221. Finally, mention must be made of Häring's most recent contribution, Life and Works of Clarembald of Arras (Toronto, 1965).

F. John of Salisbury (1110-1180)

The connection of John of Salisbury with the school of Chartres is a multiple one: he studied there as a young man, he provides us with a sketch of the teachings of its masters, and he ended his life as bishop of Chartres. He also studied under teachers elsewhere, for example, Abelard; indeed, he seems to have been acquainted with most of the prominent thinkers of the time. But John was no mere academic. After his studies he returned to England, where he lived in Canterbury and was associated with, among others, Thomas à Becket. When he fell out of favor with Henry II, John returned to the Continent and eventually was elected bishop of Chartres. His importance for medieval history in general is undeniable; here we are interested in what further light he can throw on the school of Chartres in the twelfth century.

In chapter seventeen of book two of his Metalogicon John gives a sketch of current views on the status of universals. His tone is one of gentle irony, his manner offhand; the general impression given is of tolerant condescension. The endless dispute is, John opines, largely verbal, the oppositions being not as clear-cut as proponents of the various positions believe. John suggests that with a little application of common sense the disputants could be shown to be in basic agreement. He chides the masters of the day for putting an impossible burden on beginners in philosophy by their tendency to launch immediately into the vexed and sophisticated questions connected with the problem of universals. When he himself decides to enter the dispute, John notes that he will thereby be liable to the same kind of picayune criticism that other contributors have invited when they commit their thoughts to writing. But enter it he does, and with the clear conviction that he can settle the matter definitively by pressing what he bills as the Aristotelian solution as against the Platonism he finds rampant with few exceptions among the current views on the status of universals.

In chapter twenty of the second book of the Metalogicon John of Salisbury argues that Aristotle's teaching on the status of genera and species is supported by reason, the facts, and much that has been written on the subject. The fact is, John writes, that genera and species do not exist, as Aristotle had said. How melancholy then to contemplate the array of opinions which have multiplied on the mode of existence proper to genera and species. Genera and species lack substance and, therefore, cannot be identified with voces, sermones, sensible things, ideas, native forms, or collections. Such identifications go contrary to the simple statement of Aristotle that universals do not exist, and, according to John, all those who made these identifications profess to be followers of Aristotle. However, although those genera and species do not enjoy any substantial existence, we need not fear that in attending to them our mind is empty. Recalling Aristotle's distinction between what can be called simple apprehension, the simple attending to what is thought, and affirmations and denials which follow on composing or dividing what has been simply understood, John of Salisbury says that in both kinds of mental acts we sometimes consider things as they are and sometimes otherwise than as they are. We can consider line or surface without considering the body to which it attaches, and when we do this, we need not be taken to affirm that line or surface exists apart from any such body. The mind just con siders the form without considering the matter. In much the same way, John suggests, the mind can consider man as this form does not exist, because no individual man is being considered in the process. There is simply no point in asking what in nature corresponds as such to man considered as a species, since for man to be considered as a species follows on the abstractive character of our thinking whereby we draw away, as it were, from the natural world. What happens in the formation of a species is that reason, considering the mutual substantial resemblances of a given range of individual things, formulates the resemblance in a general concept. Thus, species are mental representations of actual things in the natural world.

There is a good deal more to John of Salisbury's exposition, but this may suffice to indicate that his calm, common-sense approach to the matter does introduce some much-needed light. One may contest whether the Aristotelian position emerges in all its clarity, but surely the elements of a realist solution are present in John's lengthy chapter twenty. Furthermore, one sees the basis for his claim that his contemporaries are really not as far apart as they think. By the same token, it must be said, however, that many of the positions John criticizes are more alive to real difficulties in the problem than is John himself. One comes away from reading this section of the Metalogicon impressed by what John has to say concerning universals, of course, but rather more impressed by the mood he conveys that the problem of universals has been discussed beyond the point of fruitfulness. In a word, John seems to suggest a weariness with the dispute and the hope that dispute will pass to other and more rewarding and certainly less picked-over topics.

Bibliographical Note

We are indebted to C. Webb for editions of the two most important works of John of Salisbury: Polycraticus, 2 volumes (Oxford, 1909) and Metalogicon (Oxford, 1929). The latter has been translated into English by D. McCarry, The Metalogicon (Berkeley, 1955). See as well Hans Liebeschuetz, Mediaeval Humanism in the Life and Writings of John of Salisbury (London, 1950).

{1} "Sequebatur hunc morem Bernardus Carnotensis, exundantissimus modernis temporibus fons litterarum in Gallia, et in auctorum lectione quid simplex esset et ad imaginem regule positum ostendebat; figuras gramatice, colores rhetoricos, cavillationes sophismatum, et qua parte sui proposite lectionis articulus respiciebat ad alias disciplinas, proponebat in medio; ita tamen ut non in singulis universa doceret, sed pro capacitate audientium dispensaret eis in tempore doctrine mensuram." (Ioannis Saresberiensis Episcopi Carnotensis Metalogicon, ed. Webb [Oxford, 1929], p. 55.)

{2} The verses of Bernard which John quoted are

Non dico esse quod est, gemina quod parte coactum
  Materiae formam continet implicitam:
Sed dico esse quod est, una quod constat earum:
  Hoc vocat Idem illud Acheus et hylen.
(Metal., IV; PL, 199, 938)

{3} "Sed appellatione verbi substantivi non satis digna sunt, (quae cum tempore transeunt, ut nunquam in eodem statu permaneant, sed, ut fumus, evanescunt: 'fugiunt enim,' ut idem ait in Timaeo, 'nec exspectant appellationem.'" (Metal.. IV, 35)

{4} See Ganfredus' letter (PL, 185, 587-596) and Libellus eiusdem contra Gilliberti Porretani Pictaviensis episcopi (PL, 185, 596-617). This author was St. Bernard's secretary and later hecame abbot of Clairvaux.

{5} "Subsistit enim illud, et quadam ratione est per se, quad non indiget accidentibus ut esse possit; imo accidentia, eo quod hac ratione subsistere et per se esse dicitur, adeo indigent, quod nisi illa adsint, nulli inesse possunt." (In de duab, Nat.; PL, 64, 1375)

{6} "Genus vera nihil aliud putandum est, nisi subsistentiarum secundum totam earum proprietatem ex rebus secundum species suas differentibus similitudine comparata collectio (In de trin., )

{7} ". . . haec tria scilicet existens id est archetipum mundum, locum id est primordialem materiam, generationem id est sensilem materiam, ante exornationem sensilis mundi, non dixit ante creationem quia etsi ante creationem fuit archetipus mundus, non tamen materia nec generatio potuit ante esse, sed dicit ante exornationem . . . ." (In de trin., ed. Parent, p. 174, 28-31)

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