- John of Paris
John of Paris was born in
Paris, Franceat an unknown date. Having obtained the degree of Master of Arts with distinction, he joined the Dominican Order, when about twenty years of age, at the Convent of St. Jamesin his native city. There he taught philosophy and theology, and obtained the degree of Master of Theology. He was endowed with great ability, possessed great literary and linguistic attainments, and was considered one of the best theologians of the university and one of the most subtle dialectician of the age.
After John wrote a treatise contradicting the normal Church doctrine on
transubstantiation, the faculty of the university reported his ideas to William of Baufet, Bishop of Paris, who forbade John under penalty of excommunication to defend such a doctrine, and deprived him of the offices of lecturing, preaching, and hearing confessions. John appealed to the Holy See, but died soon after in Bordeaux, and the case was dropped.
Some ten of his works on theology, physics, and metaphysics still exist in manuscript; two others, "
De Antichristo" and " De modo existendi corporis Christi in sacramento altaris", appeared in print centuries after his death. A treatise, " Contra corruptorem Sancti Thomae", published in 1516 under the name of Aegidius Romanusor Giles of Rome, is commonly attributed to John of Paris; it was certainly not written by Aegidius. All these show vast erudition. In his work on temporal and spiritual power, " De potestate regia et papali", written during the controversy between Boniface VIIIand Philip IV of France, he favored the king, holding that the pope might, for grave crimes (such as heresy), properly be deposed.
More troublesome in the eyes of the Church was John's treatise on the
Blessed Sacrament, in which he maintains that the Body of Christis, or might be, present by assumption (i.e. by the body of Christ assuming the bread and wine), and that the doctrine of transubstantiation is not of faith. It must be said, however, that he advances these propositions tentatively; in the beginning of the treatise he writes that he believes in the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and that if it is shown that transubstantiation is of faith, or should it be so defined, he will willingly retract.
20th Century References
John's name appeared in an unexpected light in the early 20th century, when
Distributistwriters such as the Catholics Hilaire Bellocand G. K. Chestertonattributed to him the earliest statement of the capitalist philosophy in " De potestate regia et papali".
* [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08475b.htm Catholic Encyclopedia article]
* [http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/medieval-political/#JohPar "Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy" section]
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