Albertus Magnus

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Albertus Magnus, O.P. (1193/1206 – November 15, 1280), also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, was a Dominican friar and a bishop, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion. Those such as James A. Weisheipl and Joachim R. Söder have referred to him as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages, an opinion supported by contemporaries such as Roger Bacon.[1] The Catholic Church honours him as a Doctor of the Church, one of only 33 persons with that honor.

Contents

Biography

He was born sometime between 1193 and 1206, to the Count of Bollstädt in Lauingen in Bavaria.[2] Contemporaries such as Roger Bacon applied the term "Magnus" to Albertus during his own lifetime, referring to his immense reputation as a scholar and philosopher.

Albertus was educated principally at Padua, where he received instruction in Aristotle's writings. A late account by Rudolph de Novamagia refers to Albertus' encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who convinced him to enter Holy Orders. In 1223 (or 1221) he became a member of the Dominican Order, against the wishes of his family, and studied theology at Bologna and elsewhere. Selected to fill the position of lecturer at Cologne, Germany, where the Dominicans had a house, he taught for several years there, at Regensburg, Freiburg, Strasbourg and Hildesheim. In 1245 he went to Paris, received his doctorate and taught for some time as a master of theology with great success. During this time Thomas Aquinas began to study under Albertus.

In 1254 Albertus was made provincial of the Dominican Order, and fulfilled the arduous duties of the office with great care and efficiency. During his tenure he publicly defended the Dominicans against attacks by the secular and regular faculty of the University of Paris, commented on St John, and answered what he perceived as errors of the Arabian philosopher Averroes.

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