« Alfric Alger, of Liege Alger, William Rounseville »

Alger, of Liege

ALGER, ɑ̄l´´zhê´, OF LIÉGE (ALGER OF CLUNY, Algerus Scholasticus, and Algerus Magister): Theological writer of the twelfth century; d. at Cluny 1131 or 1132. He enjoyed the instruction of the best teachers in the cathedral school of Liége, which was then the great school of northwestern Germany, and a nursery of high-church notions. Alger, afterward scholasticus at the cathedral, does not seem to have been a champion of this tendency. After the death of Bishop Frederick, in 1121, he retired to the monastery of Cluny, where he lived on very friendly terms with Abbot Peter. He is described as a man of great intellect, a wise counselor, faithful in every respect, of wide learning, yet modest and unassuming. The most noteworthy of his writings are: (1) De sacramentis corporis et sanguinis domini libri iii., which occupies a prominent place among the rejoinders to Berengar’s doctrine of the Eucharist. The first book treats of the doctrine of the substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, aiming to prove it from Scripture and tradition; it then treats of the reception of the sacrament, especially of worthy participation. The second book treats of different controversies respecting the matter, form, and efficacy of the sacraments. The third opposes especially those who make the legality and efficacy of the sacrament dependent on the worthiness of the dispenser. The difficult questions are treated clearly and acutely. In the main Alger follows Guitmund of Aversa, but not without expansion of his doctrine in some points. He was the first to assert the two propositions that the human nature of Christ because of its exaltation above all creatures has the faculty of remaining where it pleases and existing at the same sime undivided in every other place and that the sensual qualities of the elements exist after the transubstantiation as accidentia per se, i.e., without subject. (2) In the Tractatus de misericordia et justitia, important for the history of canon law and Church discipline, Alger attempts to explain and harmonize the apparent contra dictions between the different laws of the Church. Each proposition is given in a brief thesis or title, followed by numerous quotations from Scripture, the Fathers, councils, and genuine and spurious papal decretals as proofs; the authorities which seem to oppose each other, are put in juxtaposition; and a reconciliation is attempted. Many patristic passages as well as many of the explanatory chapter headings are copied from this work in the Decretum Gratiani. Alger, however, was not the only predecessor and pattern of Gratian, as the whole development of ecclesiastical and canonical science was in that direction.

S. M. Deutsch.

Bibliography: Alger’s works are in MPL, clxxx. Consult the Histoire litteraire de la France, xi. 158 sqq.; A. L. Richter, Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Quellen des kanonischen Rechts, pp. 7-17, Leipsic, 1834; H. Hüffer, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Quellen des Kirchenrechts, pp. 1-66, Münster, 1862; Wattenbach, DGQ, ii. (1894) 145, 513.

« Alfric Alger, of Liege Alger, William Rounseville »
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