Chartres, School of

Chartres, School of


a medieval school of Scholastic philosophy in Chartres. In the first half of the 12th century the school, then at its zenith, was an international center of Platonic thought colored by natural philosophy. Outstanding among the school’s teachers were Bernard of Chartres, Gilbert of Porree, and Thierry (or Theodoric) of Chartres; followers of the school included William (or Guillaume) of Conches, John of Salisbury, Bernard Silvestris, and Alan of Lille.

The philosophy of the school of Chartres was an unusual phenomenon in the context of medieval Scholasticism. In their delight with nature as a creative force, the school’s adherents approached pantheism—a doctrine that was incompatible with Christian orthodoxy—and were impelled to resort to forms of literary exposition far removed from the dryness and strictness of Scholasticism. The school’s ideas are most vividly expressed in two extant examples of philosophical narrative poetry—De mundi universitate by Bernard Silvestris and Nature’s Plaint by Alan of Lille.


Clerval, A. Les Ecoles de Chartres au moyen âge. Paris, 1895.
Liebeschütz, H. “Kosmologische Motive in der Bildungswelt der Frühscholastik.” In Vorträge der Bibl, Warburg, 1923/24. Leipzig-Berlin, 1926. Pages 83–148.
Parent, J. M. La Doctrine de la création dans l’école de Chartres (au 12 siède). Paris-Ottawa, 1938.


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