The Missing Link 2: Why Statute 1231?


The Missing Links: An Analysis on The Statutes of Gregory IX for the University of Paris 1231

The Statutes are well written and structured. They have been kept repetitive on important issues, re-iterating the importance of the contents in discussion.

They start with complementing the achievements of teachers and masters, flattering their ego and greeting them as brethrens in ‘apostolic benediction’. The purpose is to create a tone of brotherhood and maintain the superiority of piety over scholastic learning. With due diligence exercised for the benefit of the teachers and students, the Statutes acknowledges honestly Gregory IX’s apparent inability to prevent this random occurrence of 1229, Gregory IX goes on attributing that event to ‘the instigation of the devil’. However, Gregory IX maintains his fatherly-image with his exercise of authority in an enlightened spirit by pointing to his choice for ‘precautionary measures’ rather than ‘judicial sentence’ in handling the aftermath.

With a view to uphold the orthodox teaching of Church and to include the decision of both the bishop and teachers to select the colleagues, as well as to maintain its appointment of the services within the vicinity of these trusted men, the power of the secular Chancellor is much curtailed. The Statutes also define the right to teach. Two things namely, knowledge and appointment, are defined rigidly for the purpose. The ‘Knowledge’ is to be proved by examination, the appointment which previously came from the secular examiner, the "chancellor”, has to be appointed by the bishop at Paris, which will be ratified by two teachers, i.e., the Masters. [14]

Gregory points also to the requirement for the teacher, in the appointment of fellow teachers of the Nation too.[15] Gregory IX in so doing is handling international politics as well as some them are the offspring of the royalties or people of influence from other states who come together for common culture.[16]

The licence to teach had to be granted gratuitously. Without it no one could teach; on the other hand, it could not be refused when the applicant deserved it. The teachers’ recommendation will, under no circumstances, not to be reviewed to the other people by the Chancellor, thereby keeping the authority of appointment within the handpicked circle.[17]

The guarantees of the liberties of the students are self –explanatory,[18] which obviously are good enough for the teachers and students. Gregory IX can thus allow himself the chance of remedying the situation so that similar events such as that of the 1229 event will not happen again. And Gregory IX isstrengthening ecclesiastical jurisdiction[19] by limiting the jurisdiction of teachers and the students of The University of Paris within the Church. Through The Statutes, Gregory IX, then, is also handles the practicalities of the teachers and students in areas of accommodation and in extending he control beyond Theology and Canon Laws and to go to areas like Medicine and Arts,[20] and he extending his control over the delivery and substance of the secular knowledge’s.

Gregory IX dictates the students shall read Priscian ‘grammar’ and ‘one book after the other in regular course’. He, once again, minimizes the chance of the growing tendency of subjecting theology to philosophy by making the truth of the mysteries of faith dependent on philosophical proofs. He encourages professionalism in the knowledge the teachers are good and to ‘exercise themselves laudable in the branch which they profess’. The teaching of Theology and Canon Law is still in the hands of the Church and his servants, as the Masters ‘shall not show themselves philosophers’[21]but strive to become ‘God’s learned’. These teachers are to dispute the questions that they can teach what the theological books say, and no more.

All those explain why he takes great pains to revive the teaching of the University of Paris, and takes the matter in hand addressing through The Statutes to the masters and scholars of Paris after the failure of his commissioning of Bishops of Le Mans and Senlis and the Archdeacon of Châlons to negotiate with the French Court for the restoration of the university. [22]

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