The Dominican order and the theological authority of Thomas Aquinas in the early fourteenth century: The controversies between Hervaeus Natalis and Durandus of St. Pourcain

Elizabeth Ann Lowe, Fordham University

Abstract

In the aftermath of the Condemnations of 1277, most ecclesiastical institutions embraced some form of Augustinianism: the Order of Preachers appropriated the teachings of Thomas Aquinas as the characterizing theme of their theology. This appropriation of Thomism by the Dominicans ran counter to every other intellectual currents within the Church—as well as against many of the trends within their own Order. Nor were the Friars Preachers unanimous in their support of Thomism. In fact, the Dominican magisterial community was bitterly divided into two ideological camps: that of Aquinas' early defenders and that of his harshest critics. The climax of this ideological schism occurred between 1307 and 1323, when Hervaeus Natalis [ca. 1250–1323], one of Aquinas' leading champions and eventual Master General of the Dominican Order, and Durandus of St. Pourçain [ca. 1275–13341, the last major Dominican scholastic to challenge Thomas' teachings, exchanged a series of polemics on topics drawn from throughout the theological spectrum. ^ This excavation into Natalis' and Durandus' polemics; in conjunction with parallel examinations of concurrent extant Dominican records, reveal that the controversies between these two antagonists propelled the Dominican hierarchy, step by step, to promulgate legislation imposing some of Aquinas' texts and teachings on the Dominican schools. Secondly, the disputes, interacting with other currents, also contributed to the ultimate formation of Aquinas' cult and the realization of his canonization. Moreover, they also strengthened Aquinas' auctoritas within Dominican moral theology which provided the intellectual foundation for the Order's pastorate. Most importantly of all, however, this study shows how the medieval Dominicans, through the process and end-results of the controversies between Hervaeus Natalis and Durandus of St. Pourçain, conceptualized themselves and their role within the Church. ^

Subject Area

Philosophy|Theology|History, Medieval

Recommended Citation

Elizabeth Ann Lowe, "The Dominican order and the theological authority of Thomas Aquinas in the early fourteenth century: The controversies between Hervaeus Natalis and Durandus of St. Pourcain" (January 1, 1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9926898.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI9926898

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