Ratramnus

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Ratramnus (died circa 868) was a Frankish theological controversialist of the second half of the ninth century.

He was a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Corbie near Amiens; beyond this fact very little is known about him. He is best known for his treatise on the Eucharist (De corpore et sanguine Domini liber), in which he contradicted the doctrine of transubstantiation, taught in a similar work by his contemporary from the same monastery Radbertus Paschasius. Ratramnus sought to reconcile science and religion, whereas Radbertus emphasized the miraculous. However the two agreed that Christ was present in the eucharist, Radbertus by miracle and reality and Ratramnus by faith and symbolism. Ratramnus's views failed to find acceptance; their author was soon forgotten, and, when the book was condemned as heresy at the synod of Vercelli in 1050, it was described as having been written by Johannes Scotus Erigena at the command of Charlemagne. During the Reformation, there was a revival of interest in the book; it was published in 1532 and immediately translated. It was especially influential in England, where Thomas Cranmer claimed to have been finally convinced against transubstantion by Ratramnus.

In the controversy about election, when appealed to by Charles the Bald, Ratramnus had written two books: De praedestinatione Dei, in which he maintained the doctrine of a twofold predestination; nor did the fate of Gottschalk deter him from supporting his view against Hincmar as to the orthodoxy of the expression trina Deitas. Ratramnus was famous in his own day for his Contra Graecorum opposita, in four books (868), a valued contribution to the controversy between the Eastern and Western Churches which had been raised by the publication of the encyclical letter of Photius in 867. An edition of De corpore et sanguine Domini was published at Oxford in 1859. He is also the author of a letter, the Epistola de Cynocephalis, on whether the Cynocephali (dog-headed people) should be considered human (Patrilogia Latina 121: 1153-56).

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