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, Bonaventure
Saint, called the Seraphic Doctor. 1221--74, Italian Franciscan monk, mystic, theologian, and philosopher; author of a Life of St Francis and Journey of the Soul to God Feast day: July 14



(Bonaventura; Giovanni Fidanza). Born 1221, in Tuscany; died July 15, 1274, in Lyons. Italian philosopher and Catholic Church leader.

Bonaventure was one of the most important representatives of late Scholasticism. He became a cardinal in 1273. He was canonized in 1482 and was listed among the five greatest teachers of the Church in 1587. As general of the Franciscan Order (beginning in 1257), Bonaventure persecuted the supporters of the order’s radical wing. He studied at the University of Paris, where he later became a professor.

Bonaventure developed the ideas of Plato and Augustine; he maintained a lukewarm attitude toward Aristotelianism. He thought of universáis as the divine prototypes of things. Bonaventure believed that complete knowledge could be achieved neither through the senses nor by Scholastic speculation, but only through mystical contemplation and an understanding of the absolute through an ecstatic union with god. Bonaventure’s orthodox mysticism, influenced by Bernard of Clairvaux, was in opposition to the heretical mysticism of Joachim of Floris.


Opera omnia, vols. 1–10. [Quaracchi] 1882–1902.


Gilson, E. La Philosophie de S. Bonaventura, 2nd ed. Paris, 1943.