RATRAMNUS, ra"tram'nus (RATHRAMNUS):
Monk of Corbie and one of the most important theological authors of the ninth century; d. after 868. Of his life almost nothing is known, even his writings containing no biographical material; and the date of his birth, like that of his profession, can not be ascertained. He was deeply versed in Biblical and patristic learning, and theologically was a disciple of Augustine. He took part in all the theological controversies of his period, and his opinion was frequently sought by Charles the Bald, while his bishop delegates him to refute the attacks of the Patriarch Photius on the Roman Catholic Church. It is also evident that he was warmly admired by Gottschalk (MPL, exxi. 367-368).
The chief work of Ratramnus was the De corpore et sanguine Domini liber, written at the request of Charles the Bald, probably after Paschasius Radbertus (see RADBERTUS, PASCHASIUS) had sent him his treatise on the same theme. In this work Ratramnus maintained that the elements are not the actual body and blood of the Christ of history, but are mystic symbols of remembrance. He might, therefore, be regarded as a symbolist, seeing in the Eucharist a sacrificial meal, the efficacy of which depends on the intensity with which the recipient realizes the redeeming passion of Christ. This does not, however, completely express his position, for he maintained at the same time that " according to the invisible substance, i.e., the power of the divine Word, the body and blood of Christ are truly present " (cap. xlix.). This shows that Ratramnus was more than a symbolist, and that he believed in a real presence which was received by the faithful through the spirit of God. His eucharistic doctrine is elucidated by his teaching on baptism. Baptismal regeneration is not due to the water in itself, but to the Holy Ghost who enters it at the priestly consecration. Both in baptism and in the Eucharist, then, a mutable and transitory element perceptible to the senses coexists with an immutable and eternal element which faith alone can grasp. This distinction between external and internal runs, with slight inconsistencies, through the entire presentation of Ratramnus, the concomitance of the two constituting the divine mystery. The change of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ for those who receive in faith is defined by Ratramnus as due to the sanctification of the Holy Ghost invisibly contained in the sacraments, or as the spiritual power of the Word immanent in the material substances ("Word" here seeming to mean the words of institution as spoken by the priest at the consecration of the elements rather than the Scriptures in general or the Logos). It would furthermore appear that he held that the Eucharist is the visible vehicle of invisible grace, and that in the sacrament the power of God, under its material veil, secretly works the salvation to which the Eucharist testifies. The euchariatic teaching of Ratramnus thus approximated
The De corpore et sanguine Domini of Ratramnus has had a strange history. The synod of Vercelli, in 1050, condemned and burned it as a work composed by Johannes Scotus Erigena (see SCOTUS ERIGENA, JOHANNES) at the instance of Charles the Bald; and during the Middle Ages its very existence was well-nigh forgotten. In 1526, however, John Fisher, bishop of Rochester, appealed to it in his controversy with C;colampadius. Attentio was thus again drawn to it, and in 1532 it was edited at Cologne by Johannes Prael under the title of Bertrami presbyteri ad Carolum Magnum imperatorem. It was then repeatedly edited and translated, especially in French and English (e.g., London, 1548, 1581, 1624, 1686, 1838, 1880). The appeals of Protestants, especially of the Reformed wing, to it rendered it an object of suspicion to the Roman Catholic Church, and as a Protestant forgery it was placed on the Index by the censors of the Council of Trent in 1559. This unfavorable view was shared by the leading Roman Catholic scholars of the period, and though others maintained its authenticity and orthodoxy, it was not removed from the Index until 1900.
The other writings of Ratramnus may be dismissed more briefly. The earliest of his works seems to have been the De eo quod Christus ex Virgine natus est, on the contents and relation of which to Radbertus' De partu Virginis
see RADBERTUS, P
Ratramnus also wrote a curious Epistola de cynocephalia ad Rimbertum presbyterum, this Rimbert probably being the biographer and successor of Ansgar (q.v.). Here Ratramnus decides that, though most theologians are inclined to consider the cynocephali as animals rather than men, the human traits in their mode of life imply the possession of reason, so that there is no good reason to object to the view that they are descendants of Adam. In this same work he also denies complete authority to the " Book of St. Clement " (probably the "Recognitions"), on the ground that it is not in entire harmony with the doctrines of the Church. In his De aima Ratramnus polemized against the theory of a certain Maearius Scotus (who had misunderstood a passage in Augustine's De quantitate animæ) that all mankind have a single soul in common. The work, which has never been edited, is described, from a manuscript apparently now lost, by Jean Mabillon (ASM, iii. 140; ASB, IV., ii. 76). In another work, likewise unedited, Ratramnus refutes the theory that the soul is circumscribed, or restricted by limits of space (cf. L. Traube, in MGH, Poet. Lat. red. avi, iii. 2 , 715). All the works of Ratramnus thus far edited are collected in the reprint in MPL, cxxi. 1-346, 1153-56, while his letters are given in MGH, Epist., vi. 1 (1902), 149 sqq.
Like Radbertus and most other theologians of the Carolingian and succeeding centuries, Ratramnus was a traditionalist, drawing on and systematizing patristic literature primarily for polemic purposes and for establishing his intense Augustinianism. Through his controversial writings runs a noble strain, personal attack is avoided, and demonstration of the truth is the one and only end. He is likewise noteworthy because of the attention given his writings in the Reformed Church and during the period of the Enlightenment, even though he had been unrecognized by the "Magdeburg Centuries" and by early Lutheranism.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A. Naegle, Ratramnus and die heilige Eucharistie, Vienna, 1903; Hist. litéraire de la France, v. 332-351; J. Bach, Dogmengeschachte des Mittelalters, i. 193 sqq., Vienna, 1873; A. Ebert, Geschichte der Litteratur des Mittelalters, ii. 244, Leipsic, 1880; J. Schwane, Dogmengeschichte der mittleren Zeit, pp. 631 sqq., Freiburg, 1882; J. Schweizer, Berengar von Tours, pp. 150-174, Munich, 1890; J. Ernst, Die Lehre des . . . Pasckasius Radbertus von der Eucharistie, pp. 99 sqq., Freiburg, 1896; Harnack, Dogma, v. 297, 302, 310, 318 sqq., vi. 47-48; Neander, Christian Church, iii. 482, 497-501; Schaff, Christian Church, iv. 304, 532, 549 sqq., 746 sqq.; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, xii. 555-568, 594; KL, x. 802-807.
RATZ, rats, JAKOB: German Lutheran; b. at Saulheim (a village s. of Mainz) 1505; d. at Heilbronn (26 m. n. of Stuttgart) 1565. He was educated at the University of Mainz, and, though an admirer of Erasmus, seems to have entered a monastery. He later went to Wittenberg to hear Luther
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A sketch of the life and works of Ratz by G. Bossert is in Blätter Für würtembergische Kirchengeschhichte, 1893, pp. 33 sqq., 1907, pp. 1 sqq.
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