« Alacoque, Marguerite Marie Alanus Alaric »

Alanus

ALANUS, ɑ-lɑ̄´nus: Name of at least three writers of the twelfth century.

1. Alanus of Auxerre: Cistercian, abbot of Larivour from 1152 or 1153 to about 1167, bishop of Auxerre, and then for about twenty years monk at Clairvaux. He wrote a life of St. Bernard (in MPL, clxxxv.).

2. Alanus: Abbot of Tewkesbury. He wrote a life of Thomas Becket (ed. J. A. Giles, in PEA, 1845; MPL, cxc.), letters (MPL, cxc.), and sermons.

3. Alanus ab Insulis (Alain of Lille; often called Magister Alanus and Magister universalis): A native of Lille who taught in Paris. He was a man of wide and varied learning and combining philosophical studies and interests with strong adherence to the Church, forms an important connecting link between the earlier and the later scholasticism. His writings include: (1) Regulæ cælstis juris (called also Regulæ de sacra theologia or maximæ theologia). Like other sciences which have their principles, the supercælestis scientia is not lacking in maxims. These are here laid down in a series of brief sentences, partly put in paradoxical form with minute elucidations. The work has a strong leaning toward Platonism, and contains some very peculiar thoughts. (2) Summa quadripartita adversus huius temporis hæreticos, which indicates by its title the ecclesiastical position of the author. The first book is directed against the Cathari, opposes their dualism and docetism, and defends the sacraments of the Church. The second book denies (chap. i.) the right (claimed by the Waldensians) to preach without ecclesiastical commission; insists upon the duty of obeying implicitly the ecclesiastical superiors, and of making confession to the priest (chaps. ii.-x.); justifies indulgences and prayers for the dead (chaps. xi.-xiii.); and denies that swearing in general is prohibited and that the killing of a person is under all circumstances sinful (chap. xviii.). (3) De arte prædicandi, a homiletic work which starts with the definition that “preaching is plain and public instruction in morals and faith, aiming to give men information, and emanating from the way of reason and fountain of authority.” It tells how to preach on certain subjects, as on mortal sins and the virtues, and how to address different classes. (4) Less certainly genuine are the five books De arte catholicæ fidei, whose style is somewhat different. The work makes the peculiar effort to demonstrate the ecclesiastical doctrine not only in a generally rational but by a strictly logical argumentation in modum artis. The fundamental thought is striking; but the execution is sometimes weak, and the definitions are so made that the inferences become what the author wishes to prove. (5) De planctu naturæ, in which Alanus gives, partly in prose, partly in rhyme, a picture of the darker side of the moral conditions of the time. (6) Anticlaudianus, a more comprehensive work, deriving its title from the fact that the author wished to show the effects of virtues as Claudian showed those of vices. It is a kind of philosophico-theological encyclopedia in tolerably correct hexameters which are not devoid of poetic feeling.

S. M. Deutsch.

Bibliography: (1) L. Janauschek, Origines Cistercienses, Vienna, 1877; (3) Opera, in MPL, ccx.; the oldest notices are in Otto of St. Blasien, Chronicon, under the year 1194, MGH, Script., xx. (1868) 326, Alberic of Trois-Fontaines, ib. xxiii. (1874) 881, Henry of Ghent, De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis ch. xxi.; cf. Oudin, Commentarius de scriptoribus ecclesiæ, ii. 1387 sqq., Leipsic. 1772; Histoire littéraire de la France, xvi. 396 sqq.; C. Bäumker, Handschriftliches zu den Werken des Alanus, 1894 (reprinted from the Philosophisches Jahrbuch of the Görres-Gesellschaft, vi and vii, Fulda, 1893-94); M. Baumgartner, Die Philosophie des Alanus ab Insulis Münster, 1896; J. E. Erdmann, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie, §170, 2 vols., Berlin, 1895-96.

« Alacoque, Marguerite Marie Alanus Alaric »
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