2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The instructor of Thomas Aquinas---some have said his forerunner, Albertus Magnus was called Doctor universalis, the universal teacher, because of the breadth of his knowledge. The eldest son of a wealthy Swabian of the minor nobility, he was born c. 1200 near Ulm and became a Dominican, against his family's wishes, while a student at Padua. He continued his studies at Bologna and in Germany, where he taught at several convents, including Hildesheim. At some time before 1245, Albert went to the University of Paris, where, late in that year, Aquinas came to study. Three years later, Albert was sent to Cologne to establish a house of studies, of which he was the head for the next six years. He was appointed Provincial of Teutonia in 1254 and served until 1257, when Alexander IV called him to Paris to assist Aquinas and Bonaventure in their defense of mendicants as teachers against the opposition of William of St. Armour. The pope condemned William in the same year and appointed Albert bishop of Regensburg (Ratisbon) in 1259. Albert resigned the see after the pope's death (1261 to return to teaching and studying. With Aquinas and Peter of Tarentaise, he drew up a new rule of study for the Dominican order. In 1277, three years before his death, Albert travelled to Paris to defend the doctrines of his former pupil. Albert served as a legate under Urban IV and preached a crusade in Germany. Albert attended the 1274 Council of Lyons, which had hoped to reunite the Eastern and Western churches. Albert died in Cologne, where he had settled in 1270.
The complete works of Albertus Magnus fill 38 quarto volumes and cover many topics. He wrote the first known Latin commentary on the writings of Dionysios and commented extensively on all translated works of Aristotle, as well as on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. He was familiar with the works of AverroŽs and disagreed with the Western Averroists about the unity of the intellect. To Aristotle's science, Albert added his own observations, descriptions, and classifications. One of his scientific treatises proves that the world is round, and he was so learned in science that he was suspected of socery. He and Aquinas hoped to address philosophical problems as philosophical problems and helped to establish systematic theology. Aquinas' grasp of systems is held to have been greater than that of his teacher's.
Karen Rae Keck
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