Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Alexander of Hales

  • Christopher CullenEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_24-2

Abstract

Alexander of Hales (c. 1185–1245) is a thirteenth-century thinker who made major contributions to the development of Scholasticism, especially insofar as it became a rigorously systematic and philosophical method for doing theology. Alexander contributed to this development in two principal ways: he is among the earliest scholars to engage the thought of the newly translated works of Aristotle, and he is the first to use the Sentences of Peter Lombard as the basis for his lectures in theology. This momentous choice marks the shift of theology from focus on biblical commentary to systematic treatment of questions. Alexander also became the first Franciscan to be regent master of theology at Paris, when this “well-respected and rich man” entered the order in the academic year 1236–1237, while also retaining his chair of theology at the University of Paris. Alexander’s influence among early Franciscans came about in three important ways: through his leadership of the Franciscan studium generale at le grand couvent des Cordeliers at Paris; through his most famous pupil, Bonaventure (who reveres him as his mentor); and through a summa of theology that was compiled, to some extent, under his direction before his death. It was eventually attributed to him and was widely used within the order. Alexander provides evidence of maintaining a fundamental, doctrinal loyalty to Augustine, while also trying to incorporate various doctrines of Aristotle into his systematic thought. It is this intellectual trajectory that has led scholars to regard him as the founder of the early Franciscan school. Like other famous scholastics, he is known by an epithet – he is the “Irrefutable Doctor” (doctor irrefragibilis).

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Bibliography

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA