Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Henrik Lagerlund

Richard Fitzralph

  • Stephen E. Lahey
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1151-5_438-2


Richard Fitzralph, d. 1360, Archbishop of Armagh, completed Sentence commentary at Oxford in 1328 and was active at Avignon until 1344. He compiled a critique of the Franciscan doctrine of usus pauper based on the theory of grace as foundation for just lordship. His De pauperie salvatoris would become very influential in late medieval antifraternalism and also influenced Wyclif’s political thought. He also was at the forefront of Avignon’s embassy to the Greek and Armenian churches, and his Summa de quaestionibus Armenorum gives a record of late medieval conceptions of the relation of Catholicism to the Orthodox traditions.

Richard Fitzralph (c. 1300–1360) called Armachanus, Archbishop of Armagh (1346–1360), studied at Oxford 1315–1328, was chancellor of the university 1332–1334, and became prominent at Avignon after refuting John XXIII’s controversial position on the beatific vision. Subsequently he served as papal representative in conferences held with the Greek and Armenian churches from 1337 to 1344, where he compiled a formulation of the differences separating the Roman from the Orthodox churches in the Summa de quaestionibus Armenorum. The Summa, for which there is no modern edition, served as an important theological document into the Counter-Reformation and provides a valuable window into fourteenth-century conceptions of the Eastern churches and their theologies. As Archbishop, Fitzralph was active in the reform of the Irish church and, in doing so, developed a careful and penetrating critique of the mendicant orders in his eight-volume De pauperie salvatoris. His critique of the mendicants was later associated with Wyclif’s thought, which detracted from his reputation in the fifteenth century, but he was counted among the most influential Oxford theologians by his contemporaries and immediate successors.

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Primary Sources

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Classics and Religious StudiesUniversity of NebraskaLincolnUSA