Albert the Great, Saint Albertus Magnus (c.1200–1280)
Albert the Great, doctor universalis, was the foremost German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages. He was born in the village of Lauingen on the Danube and became a member of the Dominican Order while studying at Padua. He subsequently studied at Paris, and eventually taught there as well as in Dominican houses in Germany, primarily Cologne, where he became Regent Master of Studies and where he died. Albert served as Bishop of Regensburg, was German Provincial of his Order and Master of the Sacred Palace of the Pope, but repeatedly returned to Cologne to devote himself to study and teaching. He composed a comprehensive set of commentaries on the works of Aristotle and is considered the founder of Christian Aristotelianism. He was canonized and named a Doctor of the Church in 1931. Ten years later he was declared patron ‘of all who cultivate the natural sciences’, which indicates his main area of interest. In what is now called economics he is overshadowed by his famous student Thomas Aquinas, but in fact he made important contributions of his own. They are found in his comments on Scripture and on the theological Sentences of Peter Lombard as well as in some of his Aristotelian works. On the Nicomachean Ethics he composed a close textual commentary, and later a freer Ethica. His Politica is the first complete Latin commentary on Aristotle’s Politics.