Peter Lombard

Peter Lombard (also Peter the Lombard,[2][3] Pierre Lombard or Petrus Lombardus;[4] c. 1096, Novara[3][5][6] – 21/22 July 1160, Paris),[3][5][6] was a scholastic theologian, Bishop of Paris, and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he earned the accolade Magister Sententiarum.

Peter Lombard at work[1]


Early years

Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno[7] (then a rural commune, now a quartiere of Novara, Piedmont), in northwestern Italy, to a poor family.[8] His date of birth was likely between 1095 and 1100.

His education most likely began in Italy at the cathedral schools of Novara and Lucca. The patronage of Odo, bishop of Lucca, who recommended him to Bernard of Clairvaux, allowed him to leave Italy and further his studies at Reims and Paris. Petrus Lombardus studied first in the cathedral school at Reims, where Magister Alberich and Lutolph of Novara were teaching, and arrived in Paris about 1134,[9] where Bernard recommended him[10] to the canons of the church of St. Victor.


In Paris, where he spent the next decade teaching at the cathedral school of Notre Dame, he came into contact with Peter Abelard and Hugh of St. Victor, who were among the leading theologians of the time. There are no proven facts relating to his whereabouts in Paris until 1142 when he became recognized as writer and teacher. Around 1145, Peter became a "magister", or professor, at the cathedral school of Notre Dame in Paris. Peter's means of earning a living before he began to derive income as a teacher and from his canon's prebend is shrouded in uncertainty.

Lombard's style of teaching gained quick acknowledgment. It can be surmised that this attention is what prompted the canons of Notre Dame to ask him to join their ranks. He was considered a celebrated theologian by 1144. The Parisian school of canons had not included among their number a theologian of high regard for some years. The canons of Notre Dame, to a man, were members of the Capetian dynasty, relatives of families closely aligned to the Capetians by blood or marriage, scions of the Île-de-France or eastern Loire Valley nobility, or relatives of royal officials. In contrast, Peter had no relatives, ecclesiastical connections, and no political patrons in France. It seems that he must have been invited by the canons of Notre Dame solely for his academic merit.

Priesthood and Bishop of Paris

He became a subdeacon in 1147. Possibly he was present at the consistory of Paris in 1147, and certainly he attended the Council of Reims in 1148, where Pope Eugenius III was present at the synod, which examined Gilbert de la Porrée and Éon de l'Étoile. Peter was among the signers of the act condemning Gilbert's teachings.[11] At some time after 1150 he became a deacon, then an archdeacon, maybe as early as 1152. He was ordained priest some time before 1156. On 28 July 1159, at the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, he was consecrated as bishop of Paris. Walter of St Victor accused Peter of obtaining the office by simony.[12] The more usual story is that Philip, younger brother of Louis VII. and archdeacon of Notre-Dame, was elected by the canons but declined in favor of Peter, his teacher.

His reign as bishop was brief.[13] He died on either 21 or 22 July 1160. Little can be ascertained about Lombard's administrative style or objectives because he left behind so few episcopal acta. He was succeeded by Maurice de Sully, the builder of the Cathedral of Notre Dame.[14] His tomb in the church of Saint-Marcel in Paris was destroyed during the French Revolution, but a transcription of his epitaph survives.


Bologna, pietro lombardo, sententiae, 1280 ca., pluteo 25 dex 1
Sententiae, 1280 circa, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence

Peter Lombard wrote commentaries on the Psalms and the Pauline epistles; however, his most famous work by far was Libri Quatuor Sententiarum, or the Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology at the medieval universities.[15] From the 1220s until the 16th century, no work of Christian literature, except for the Bible itself, was commented upon more frequently. All the major medieval thinkers, from Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas to William of Ockham and Gabriel Biel, were influenced by it. Even the young Martin Luther still wrote glosses on the Sentences, and John Calvin quoted from it over 100 times in his Institutes.

Though the Four Books of Sentences formed the framework upon which four centuries of scholastic interpretation of Christian dogma was based, rather than a dialectical work itself, the Four Books of Sentences is a compilation of biblical texts, together with relevant passages from the Church Fathers and many medieval thinkers, on virtually the entire field of Christian theology as it was understood at the time. Peter Lombard's magnum opus stands squarely within the pre-scholastic exegesis of biblical passages, in the tradition of Anselm of Laon, who taught through quotations from authorities.[16] It stands out as the first major effort to bring together commentaries on the full range of theological issues, arrange the material in a systematic order, and attempt to reconcile them where they appeared to defend different viewpoints. The Sentences starts with the Trinity in Book I, moves on to creation in Book II, treats Christ, the saviour of the fallen creation, in Book III, and deals with the sacraments, which mediate Christ's grace, in Book IV.


Peter Lombard's most famous and most controversial doctrine in the Sentences was his identification of charity with the Holy Spirit in Book I, distinction 17. According to this doctrine, when the Christian loves God and his neighbour, this love literally is God; he becomes divine and is taken up into the life of the Trinity. This idea, in its inchoate form, can be extrapolated from certain remarks of St. Augustine of Hippo (cf. De Trinitate xiii.7.11). Although this was never declared unorthodox, few theologians have been prepared to follow Peter Lombard in this aspect of his teaching. Compare Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Deus caritas est, 2006.

Also in the Sentences was the doctrine that marriage was consensual and need not be consummated to be considered perfect, unlike Gratian's analysis (see sponsalia de futuro). Lombard's interpretation was later endorsed by Pope Alexander III, and had a significant impact on Church interpretation of marriage.


  • Magna glossatura
  • The Sentences. Book 1: The Mystery of the Trinity. Translated by Giulio Silano. Toronto, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS), 2007. LVIIII, 278 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-292-5
  • The Sentences. Book 2: On Creation. Translated by Giulio Silano. Toronto, PIMS, 2008. XLVI, 236 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-293-2
  • The Sentences. Book 3: On the Incarnation of the Word. Translated by Giulio Silano. Toronto, PIMS, 2008. XLVIII, 190 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-295-6
  • The Sentences. Book 4: The Doctrine of Signs. Translated by Giulio Silano. Toronto, PIMS, 2010. 336 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-296-3


  1. ^ Prof. Harold Tarrant & Prof. Godfrey Tanner (2001). The Cultural Collections Unit: 2nd Edition. University of Newcastle, Australia.
  2. ^ Milman, Henry Hart (1857). History of Latin Christianity: Vol.VI. London.
  3. ^ a b c W. and R. Chambers (1864). Chambers's encyclopædia: Vol.VI. London.
  4. ^ Baur, Ferdinand Christian (1858). Lehrbuch der christlichen Dogmengeschichte. Tübingen.
  5. ^ a b Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich (1836). Werke: Vol.XV. Berlin.
  6. ^ a b Ginsburg, Christian David (1861). Coheleth; commonly called The Book of Ecclesiastes. London.
  7. ^ Hödl, in Biografisch-Bibliografisches Kirchenlexikon.
  8. ^ The few known facts of Peter's life are presented in Philippe Delhaye, Pierre Lombard: sa vie, ses œuvres, sa morale (Paris/Montreal) 1961.
  9. ^ Hödl
  10. ^ In a surviving letter, Ep. 410, Opera omnia viii.391, noted by Hödl
  11. ^ Hödl.
  12. ^ In his polemic Contra quatuor labyrinthos Franciae II.4.
  13. ^ His successor, Maurice de Sully, was bishop by the end of 1160.
  14. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Peter Lombard" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  15. ^ Joseph Rickaby (1908). Scholasticism. A. Constable. p. 23.
  16. ^ This is a central point of Delhaye 1961, who sees Abelard, rather than Peter, as the founder of scholasticism.

Further reading

  • Doyle, Matthew. Peter Lombard and His Students (Studies and Texts, 201; Mediaeval Law and Theology, 8), Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2016, ISBN 978-0-88844-201-7
  • Colish, Marcia L. Peter Lombard. 2 Vols. New York: E.J. Brill, 1994.
  • Delhaye, Philippe. Pierre Lombard: sa vie, ses œuvres, sa morale. Paris/Montreal: 1961.
  • Herlihy, David. Medieval Households. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1985.
  • Rosemann, Philipp W. Peter Lombard. New York: Oxford UP, 2004.
  • Rosemann, Philipp W. The Story of a Great Medieval Book: Peter Lombard's "Sentences". Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2007.

External links

Alexander of Hales

Alexander of Hales (also Halensis, Alensis, Halesius, Alesius ; c. 1185 – 21 August 1245), also called Doctor Irrefragibilis (by Pope Alexander IV in the Bull De Fontibus Paradisi) and Theologorum Monarcha, was a theologian and philosopher important in the development of Scholasticism and of the Franciscan School.

Catherine O'Neill, Countess of Tyrone

Catherine O'Neill, Countess of Tyrone was an Irish aristocrat. Born Catherine Mageniss she was the final (different estimates say the fourth or fifth) wife of Hugh O'Neill, Earl of Tyrone, one of the leading Gaelic lords in Ireland during the late Elizabethan and early Stuart eras. Catherine was part of the Magennis dynasty, a powerful family in County Down The marriage, like Tyrone's earlier relationships, was a political one.

In 1607 she accompanied her husband during the Flight of the Earls, which took them into exile in Italy. It was later suggested that once in Rome she had an affair with Robert Lombard, the nephew of Peter Lombard, the Catholic Archbishop of Armagh who was noted supporter of the Earl. Robert Lombard was a spy for the Crown, and may have attempted to get information from the Countess about her husband which he relayed on to London and Dublin.Amongst her sons were John O'Neill and Conn O'Neill. John succeeded his father as Earl, following Hugh's death in 1616.

Catholic moral theology

Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act", in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe".

Guam at the 2016 Summer Olympics

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John Lutterell

John Lutterell (died 1335) was an English medieval philosopher, theologian, and university chancellor.Lutterell was a Dominican and a Canon of Salisbury Cathedral. He was Chancellor of Oxford University from 1317–22. However, he was so disliked by the regent masters at Oxford that he was expelled as Chancellor there.

John Lutterell went to Avignon in 1323 where he hoped to advance his career at the papal court. He carried with him a booklet of 56 errors taken from a commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard by William of Ockham. Lutterell presented this to Pope John XXII. Lutterell may have been given the task of compiling a report on Ockham's views. Even though he was a Doctor of Theology, he demonstrated a poor understanding of Ockham's ideas. As a result, the papal commission appointed to examine Ockham was forced to revise the list of 56 errors prior to beginning its own inquiry.Lutterell believed that a reality (God's essence) can have rational differences (ideas). Opposing Ockham, he argued that these ideas cannot be created things. Instead these ideas are eternal and immutable, but creatures are not.

Ockham was questioned by Lutterell and five other theologians. They found difficulties with the young friar's ideas. He was not condemned formally but was forced to remain in Avignon under a type of house arrest.

List of Catholic philosophers and theologians

This is a list of Catholic philosophers and theologians whose Catholicism is important to their works. The names are ordered by date of birth in order to give a rough sense of influence between thinkers.

Loci Theologici

Loci Theologici was a term applied by Melanchthon to Protestant systems of dogmatics and retained by many as late as the seventeenth century.

The word was borrowed, as he himself says, from the usage of the classic rhetoricians, in whose works topoi or loci, denote the places or sources from which proofs are deduced. Various systematized indexes of these loci were made from the days of Aristotle, and mere formal categories, such as "person," "nature," or "fortune," were also reckoned under this head. It was the particular task of the rhetorician, however, to trace the concrete case, or "hypothesis," to the general, or "thesis." Thus were evolved loci communes, or arguments which could be applied to many specific cases. The

humanistic rhetoricians frequently confused loci communes with simple loci, or general basal concepts. This was especially true of Melanchthon, as is clear from his De rhetorica libri tres (Cologne, 1519), in which he sought to train students for disputation.

He accordingly advised them to prepare lists of all possible loci communes, and to enter under the proper rubrics

(capita) any examples gathered in the course of their reading. Among theological loci communes he lists "faith," "destruction of the body," "Church," "word of God," "patience," "sin," "law," "grace," "love," and "ceremony." Elsewhere he defines loci communes as "certain general rules of living, of which men are persuaded by nature, and which I might not unjustly call the laws of nature." These two definitions, however, are not clearly distinguished and the discussion of the loci communes is consequently somewhat vague.

This criticism applies also to the loci theologici of his famous Loci communes rerum theologicarum (1521), which are primarily basal concepts appearing in the science of theology, to which all in it must be referred. He accordingly begins with his favorite list "God," "one," "triple," and "creation," and closes with "condemnation " and "beatitude." Although this list was derived from Peter Lombard, Melanchthon's treatment is not only more clear than that of his predecessor, but he draws his examples from the Bible instead of from the Church Fathers, and under Pauline influence deduces, in addition to loci communes, certain loci communissimi, such as "sin," "grace," and "law." In view of the long and powerful influence of this book, the result of his failure to give a methodical proof of his series of loci was that Lutheran dogmatics was slow in reaching inherent unity. The term loci theologici gradually came to denote the content, and thus the chief passages of the Bible as included in the individual loci.

For Lutheran theology, Melanchthon's book had the same importance which the work of Peter Lombard possessed for scholasticism. His loci were the subject of commentary as late as Leonhard Hutter, and the term loci communes came to connote any work dealing with the sum of Christian doctrine. Among the Reformed the phrase loci communes was accepted by Wolfgang Musculus (Basel, 1560), Peter Martyr (London, 1576), Johannes Maccovius (Franeker, 1639), and Daniel Chamier (Geneva, 1653). After the middle of the seventeenth century, however, with the rise of a more systematic treatment of dogmatics the term fell into disuse.

Magna glossatura

The Collectanea, or Magna glossatura as it came to be known, is a collection of commentaries on the Psalms and the Pauline Epistles written by Peter the Lombard between 1139 and 1141.

Minuscule 714

Minuscule 714 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), ε1392 (von Soden), is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on parchment. Palaeographically it has been assigned to the 13th century. The manuscript is lacunose. Scrivener labelled it as 563e.The manuscript contains also a fragment of Sentences of Peter Lombard.

Peter Lombard (archbishop of Armagh)

Peter Lombard (Waterford, Ireland, c. 1555 – Rome, 1625) was a prelate of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland. He was Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland during the Counter Reformation.

Peter Lombard II

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Pietro Lombardo

Pietro Lombardo is also the Italian version of the name of the theologian Peter Lombard.Pietro Lombardo (1435–1515) was an Italian Renaissance sculptor and architect; born in Carona (Ticino), he was the father of Tullio Lombardo and Antonio Lombardo.

In the late 15th century, Pietro Lombardo sculpted many Venetian tombs with the help of his sons. These tombs included those of Dante Alighieri, Doge Pasquale Malipiero and Pietro Mocenigo. He was the architect and chief sculptor for the Church of Santa Maria dei Miracoli, Venice (1481–1489) and of San Giobbe in Venice. He also depicted saints and the Virgin Mary on the walls of several Catholic churches.

Pietro Lombardo is mentioned in line 27 of Canto XLV by Ezra Pound as the first in a list of Italian renaissance artists who Pound admired.


In scholastic philosophy, "quiddity" (; Latin: quidditas) was another term for the essence of an object, literally its "whatness" or "what it is".

Richard Fishacre

Richard Fishacre (or Fitzacre) (c. 1200 – 1248) was an English Dominican theologian, the first to hold the Dominican chair at the University of Oxford. He taught at Oxford and authored the first commentary on the Four Books of Sentences of Peter Lombard to be issued from the Oxford schools. Fishacre wrote his commentary between 1241 - 1245.

Robert Cowton

Robert Cowton (fl. 1300) was a Franciscan theologian active at the University of Oxford early in the fourteenth century. He was a follower of Henry of Ghent, and in the Augustinian tradition. He was familiar with the doctrines of Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas, and attempted a synthesis of them.He entered the Franciscan Order before age 13. He presented a commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard around 1310. Later, in an abbreviated form, this became a standard textbook of theology. The work was criticised by Thomas Sutton.


Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics ("scholastics", or "schoolmen") of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100 to 1700, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending dogma in an increasingly pluralistic context. It originated as an outgrowth of and a departure from Christian theology within the monastic schools at the earliest European universities. The rise of scholasticism was closely associated with the rise of the 12th and 13th century schools that developed into the earliest modern universities, including those in Italy, France, Spain and England.Scholasticism is not so much a philosophy or a theology as a method of learning, as it places a strong emphasis on dialectical reasoning to extend knowledge by inference and to resolve contradictions. This had been the way of Talmudic (Jewish, well after the Old-Testament period) Study all along, since the Pharisee movement started BC. Scholastic thought is also known for rigorous conceptual analysis and the careful drawing of distinctions. In the classroom and in writing, it often takes the form of explicit disputation; a topic drawn from the tradition is broached in the form of a question, opponents' responses are given, a counterproposal is argued and opponents' arguments rebutted. Because of its emphasis on rigorous dialectical method, scholasticism was eventually applied to many other fields of study.As a program, scholasticism began as an attempt at harmonization on the part of medieval Christian thinkers, to harmonize the various authorities of their own tradition, and to reconcile Christian theology with classical and late antiquity philosophy, especially that of Aristotle but also of Neoplatonism. (See also Christian apologetics.)

Some of the main figures of scholasticism include Anselm of Canterbury (the "father of scholasticism"), Peter Abelard, Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, Bonaventure, and Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas's masterwork Summa Theologica (1265–1274) is considered to be the pinnacle of scholastic, medieval, and Christian philosophy; it began while Aquinas was regent master at the studium provinciale of Santa Sabina in Rome, the forerunner of the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum. Important work in the scholastic tradition has been carried on well past Aquinas's time, for instance by Francisco Suárez and Luis de Molina, and also among Lutheran and Reformed thinkers. The historical legacy of scholasticism lay not in specific scientific discoveries, for these were not made, but laying the foundations for the development of natural science.


The Four Books of Sentences (Libri Quattuor Sententiarum) is a book of theology written by Peter Lombard in the 12th century. It is a systematic compilation of theology, written around 1150; it derives its name from the sententiae or authoritative statements on biblical passages that it gathered together.

William of Ware

William of Ware (called the Doctor Fundatus; flourished 1290–1305) was a Franciscan friar and theologian, born at Ware in Hertfordshire. He almost certainly studied at Oxford University and lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard there, but he is not listed among the Oxford masters. There is some evidence, but no certainty, that he also taught at the University of Paris, perhaps lecturing there too on the Sentences. He was known as the Doctor Fundatus (established doctor) and less commonly the Doctor Praeclarus (very clear doctor).

Only one work can reliably be attributed to him, a commentary on the Sentences which survives in many manuscripts: only small parts have been edited, by the Franciscans of Quaracchi (1904), and by A. Daniels (1909, 1913), P. Muscat (1927), J.-M. Bissen (1927), and L. Hödl (1990). William does not try to discuss every distinction, but concentrates on the topics he finds most important, devoting over 100 questions to book 1 and just 129 to the remaining three books. Among the theologians whose views William discusses are Henry of Ghent, Godfrey of Fontaines, Giles of Rome, and Richard of Middleton.

Traditionally William has been assumed to be the master of Duns Scotus. In a work on the immaculate conception (c. 1373) Thomas Rossy refers to William as the Magister Scoti, as does Bartolomeo da Pisa in his De conformitate vitae beati Francisci ad vitam domini Jesu of the late 1380s.

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