The Missing LInk 1: Decoding Pope Gregory IX's Statute of 1231

June 19, 2006

 

 

I kept a copy of Dan Brown's book DA Vinci Code and did some reading recently. I thought since historians concerned about the Missing Links, and I would share with you some of the research that I had done before, which, for the particualr purpsoe here, concerned about the tradition of  the great Unviersity of Paris and its tradition.

 

 

 

Hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

"What had motivated Gregory IX's interest in the University of Paris?

 

The Statutes of Gregory IX[1] for the University of Paris 1231 [2] define the new rights and privileges of the teachers and students and help stopping the exodus of the teachers and students from the University, particularly for Oxford. It serves to ratify with immediacy as per a perceived denial[3] of justice, which had been sanctioned by Queen Blanche in 1229 and resulted in the teachers’ 2-yearsuspension of their teaching for the courses in retaliation.[4]

Well-versed in the political situation of Europe[5], Pope Gregory IX’s [6] worries seem well-founded an exodus of teachers and students from The University of Paris does happen before the enactment of The Statutes. The teacher-student exodus in Europe has always been a widespread phenomenon.[7]

Gregory XI’s bestow on students’ right and privileges may well be his being a past student of The University of Paris, but his strong stance in anti-hereticism might point to his intended control over the teachers and students[8] carries much water. While no ulterior motive could justly be implied to Gregory IX, as a nephew of the most powerful Pope Innocent III[9] in defending papal power, he may not have gotten the altitude his uncle has reached, but the premise that he has sincerely tried is verydefendable.

He consolidates the efforts in guarding against the growing tendency of subjecting theology to philosophy by making the truth of the mysteries of faith dependent on philosophical proofs.[10] As a man of learning however, he does make Aristotelianism the basis of scholastic philosophy, albeit only after prohibiting the Physics of Aristotle 1210 and Metaphysics in 1215. Not to be overshadowed byAristotelianism, Gregory IX also commissioned William of Auvergne and other learned men to purge the works of Aristotle of their errors’ before making them accessible to students.

The Statutes may also be enacted in line with Gregory IX’s anti-heretics policy.[11] Being very severe towards heretics, Gregory looks upon the heretics as traitors, who are to be punished. Therefore, we also see in the same year in 1231 a law stipulating that heretics condemned by an ecclesiastical court should be delivered to the secular power to receive their "due punishment" has also been enacted.

Gregory IX definitely does not want to see the decline of The University of Paris since thousands of young men have flocked to meet and learned from the great teachers[12] in Paris which is soon filled with a clamouring multitude of people. The premise that he would like to see the flourishing of The University of Paris to become a factory for the production of God’s servants is highly defendable.

 

Gregory IX’s concept of a University

 

It has been well told that ‘University’ starts with a loose conglomerate of students who come together for the teaching one scholar, amateur or professional, who has something wise enough to tell. The chance is that other scholars having different stance and whose teaching are as wise will come also to that student crowd to offer alternative views on the subjects.  [13]

The University of Paris of  Gregory IX’s time has been becoming very institutionalised in the sense that some three schools, namely of Notre-Dame, Ste-Geneviève, and St-Victor, regarded as the triple cradle of the Universitas scholarium, have already existed.  Small wonder that Gregory IX, in eulogizing the University of in The Statue in the beginning sentences, exclaims, "the University ofParis, mother of the sciences, is another Cariath-Sepher, city of letters". He compares it to a laboratory in which wisdom tested the metals which she found there, gold and silver to adorn the Spouse of Jesus Christ, iron to fashion the spiritual sword which should smite the inimical powers.

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