Albertus Magnus, Saint


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Albertus Magnus, Saint

(ălbûr`təs măg`nəs), or

Saint Albert the Great,

b. 1193 or 1206, d. 1280, scholastic philosopher, Doctor of the Church, called the Universal Doctor. A nobleman of Bollstädt in Swabia, he joined (1223) the Dominicans and taught at Hildesheim, Freiburg, Regensburg, Strasbourg, and Cologne before the Univ. of Paris made him doctor of theology in 1245. Later he taught again at Cologne, and he was also briefly (1260–62) bishop of Regensburg. He was a thorough student of AristotleAristotle
, 384–322 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite. Life

Aristotle's father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367–347 B.C.
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, and he not only followed Robert GrossetesteGrosseteste, Robert
, c.1175–1253, English prelate. Educated at Oxford and probably also at Paris, he became one of the most learned men of his time. He taught at Oxford and later, as rector, made the university an important center of learning.
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 in his approach to Aristotelian thought but also did much to introduce Aristotle's scientific treatises and scientific method to Europe. Like Roger BaconBacon, Roger,
c.1214–1294?, English scholastic philosopher and scientist, a Franciscan. He studied at Oxford as well as at the Univ. of Paris and became one of the most celebrated and zealous teachers at Oxford.
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, he had a scientific interest in nature. He made notable botanical observations (recorded in such works as De vegetabilibus), was the first to produce arsenic in a free form, and studied the combinations of metals. In philosophy he set out in his Summa theologiae to controvert AverroësAverroës
, Arabic Ibn Rushd, 1126–98, Spanish-Arab philosopher. He was far more important and influential in Jewish and Christian thought than in Islam. He was a lawyer and physician of Córdoba and lived for some time in Morocco in favor with the caliphs.
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 and others and to reconcile the apparent contradictions of Aristotelianism and Christian thought. He wrote many treatises, and many more have been ascribed to him; the problem of determining which are genuinely of his authorship is difficult. He was a strong influence on his favorite pupil, St. Thomas AquinasThomas Aquinas, Saint
[Lat.,=from Aquino], 1225–74, Italian philosopher and theologian, Doctor of the Church, known as the Angelic Doctor, b. Rocca Secca (near Naples).
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. Albertus was canonized in 1931. Feast: Nov. 15.

Bibliography

See D. H. Madden, A Chapter of Medieval History (1969); F. J. Kovach and R. W. Shahan, Albert the Great (1980).