BONAVENTURA (Giovanni di Fidanza, called Doctor Seraphicus): Theologian; b. at Bagnorea (50 m. n.n.w. of Rome) 1221; d. at Lyons July 15, 1274. He entered the order of St. Francis probably in 1238; went to Paris, 1242 or 1243, and studied under Alexander of Hales; lectured there on the "Sentences" of Peter Lombard and on the Holy Scriptures till the university suspended lectures in 1255; was chosen general of his order, 1257; cardinal bishop of Albano, 1273. His last public act was an impressive speech delivered before the Council of Lyons in May, 1274, for the union of the Eastern and Western churches. He was canonized by Sixtus IV in 1482. In defense of his order, before he became its general, during the contest between the Sorbonne and the mendicant monks, he wrote his De paupertate Christi, in reply to William of St. Amour's De periculis novissimorum temporum (1256); by a somewhat forced and sophistical argumentation he represents voluntary poverty as an element of moral perfection. Of his general views on monastic life he has given an exposition in his Determinationes quœstionum circa regulam Francisci. In his administration he was mild yet firm. As a teacher and author he occupies one of the most prominent places in the history of medieval theology; not so much, however, on account of any strongly pronounced originality as on account of the comprehensiveness of his views, the ease and clearness of his reasoning, and a style in which still linger some traces of the great charm of his personality. His mystical and devotional writings–as, far instance, De septem itineribus œternitatis–are almost imitations of Hugo of St. Victor. His dialectical writings are more independent. His Breviloquium (ed. Da Vicenza, 2d ed., Freiburg, 1881) is one of the best expositions of Christian dogmatics produced during the Middle Ages.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Bonaventura's works have been published in many editions, of which the best are that by Peltier, 15 vols., Paris, 1863-71, and that prepared by the Franciscans, 10 vols., Clairac, 1882-93. Of his real or supposititious works accessible in English translation, the following may be mentioned: The Mirror of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Dublin, 1849; Psalter of the Blessed Virgin, London, 1852; The Life of Christ, ib. 1881; The Month of Jesus Christ, ib. 1882; The Life of St. Francis of Assisi, 4th ed., ib. 1898; St. Bonaventura'a Instructions for the Season of Lent; ib. 1884; The Soul's Progress in God (transl. of the Itinerarium mentis in deum) is in the Journal of Speculative Philosophy, vol. xxi (1887).
For his life consult: ASB, July 14, vol. iii, pp. 838-860; Histoire littéraire de la France, xix, 266-291; A. M. da Vicenza, Der heilige Bonaventura . . . in seinem Leben und Wirken, Germ. transl. from the Italian, Paderborn, 1874; Le Cardinal S. Bonaventure . . . sc vie, sa mort et son culte à Lyon, Lyons, 1875; L. C. Skey, Life of St. Bonaventure, London, 1889.
On his works consult: A. de Margerie, Essai sur la philosophie de S. Bonaventure, Paris, 1855; W. A. Hollenberg, Studien zu Bonaventura, Berlin, 1862; J. Richard, Étude sur le mysticisms spéculatif de S. Bonaventure, Paris, 1873; Fidelis a Fauna, Ratio nova collectionis operum omnium . . . Bonaventurœ, Paris, 1874; A. Maria a Vicetia et Johannes a Rubino, Lexicon Bonaventurianum philosophico–theologicum, Venice, 1880; J. Krause, Die Lehre des heiligen Bonaventura über die Natur der körperlichen und geistigen Wesen, Paderborn, 1888.
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