Étienne Tempier

Étienne Tempier

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Étienne Tempier (also known as Stephanus of Orleans) (died 3 September 1279) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 bishop of Paris during the 13th century. He was Chancellor
Chancellor of the University of Paris
The Chancellor of the University of Paris was originally the chancellor of the chapter of Notre Dame de Paris. The University of Paris ceased to exist in 1970, though the related position, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris is currently held by Maurice Quénet.-13th century:*Praepositinus...

 of the Sorbonne
Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 from 1263 and bishop of Paris from 1268.

He is best remembered for promulgating a Condemnation
Condemnations (University of Paris)
The Condemnations at the medieval University of Paris were enacted to restrict certain teachings as being heretical. These included a number of medieval theological teachings, but most importantly the physical treatises of Aristotle. The investigations of these teachings were conducted by the...

 of 219 philosophical and theological propositions (or articles) that addressed ideas and concepts that were being discussed and disputed in the faculty of Arts at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

.

Life


Born in Orléans
Orléans
-Prehistory and Roman:Cenabum was a Gallic stronghold, one of the principal towns of the Carnutes tribe where the Druids held their annual assembly. It was conquered and destroyed by Julius Caesar in 52 BC, then rebuilt under the Roman Empire...

, Tempier studied in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, where he became master of theology and canon of Notre Dame. During a period of about five years (1263–ca. 1268), Tempier was the Chancellor
Chancellor (ecclesiastical)
Two quite distinct officials of some Christian churches have the title Chancellor.*In some churches, the Chancellor of a diocese is a lawyer who represents the church in legal matters....

 of the chapter of Notre Dame
Notre Dame de Paris
Notre Dame de Paris , also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Roman Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra of...

 at Paris, succeeding Erich von Veire. At that time, the Chancellor of the Chapter was also the Chancellor of the University of Paris
Chancellor of the University of Paris
The Chancellor of the University of Paris was originally the chancellor of the chapter of Notre Dame de Paris. The University of Paris ceased to exist in 1970, though the related position, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris is currently held by Maurice Quénet.-13th century:*Praepositinus...

.

He served as bishop of Paris from 7 October 1268 until his death on 3 September 1279. Temper had been a master in the faculty of theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

.

Condemnations


In 1270 Tempier, encouraged by Henry of Ghent
Henry of Ghent
Henry of Ghent , scholastic philosopher, known as Doctor Solemnis , also known as Henricus de Gandavo and Henricus Gandavensis, was born in the district of Mude, near Ghent, and died at Tournai...

 (d. 1293), had issued a formal condemnation of thirteen doctrines held by "radical Aristotelians." These included the unity of intellect, causal necessity, and the eternity of the world. The investigation into errors then prevalent at the Parisian university was prompted by the Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 cleric Juliani. He became Pope John XXI
Pope John XXI
Pope John XXI, , born Pedro Julião Pope John XXI, , born Pedro Julião Pope John XXI, , born Pedro Julião (Latin, Petrus Iulianus (c. 1215 – May 20, 1277), a Portuguese also called Pedro Hispano (Latin, Petrus Hispanus; English, Peter of Spain), was Pope from 1276 until his death about eight...

. A former professor of theology at the University of Paris, he wrote Tempier on January 28, 1277. The pope told Tempier that he had heard reports of heretical opinions in the Paris area, and requested to be informed of the situation. By this time Tempier was already investigating heretical opinions at the University of Paris.

On 7 March 1277, Tempier expanded the number of condemned doctrines to 219. The forty-ninth item on the list was the assertion that God is incapable of moving the universe because it implies the existence of a void.

He was assisted by a commission of theologians from the University. Henry of Ghent sat on Tempier's Episcopal commission (assessores episcopi) of sixteen masters, which produced the syllabus of 219 propositions comdemned by Tempier on 7 March 1277. The condemnations against Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism
Aristotelianism is a tradition of philosophy that takes its defining inspiration from the work of Aristotle. The works of Aristotle were initially defended by the members of the Peripatetic school, and, later on, by the Neoplatonists, who produced many commentaries on Aristotle's writings...

 in Paris involved Giles of Rome
Giles of Rome
Giles of Rome , was an archbishop of Bourges who was famed for his logician commentary on the Organon by Aristotle. Giles was styled Doctor Fundatissimus by Pope Benedict XIV...

, Siger of Brabant
Siger of Brabant
Siger of Brabant was a 13th century philosopher from the southern Low Countries who was an important proponent of Averroism...

, the arts faculty, and certain doctrines of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

. It is not clear what Tempier's intentions were in issuing this condemnation.

Nevertheless, scholars have written that "the Parisian Condemnation of 1277 is symbolic of an intellectual crisis in the University. It is indicative of fundamental shifts in speculative thought and cultural perception which occurred in the late 13th century, which portend aspects of modern thought."

Tempier also overturned Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 on one point: God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence) yet we know by revelation He made only one.

Tempier's stress on God's omnipotence also opened up all kinds of possibilities for the understanding of the cosmos. In his effort to defend the abilities and
unique rights of the Creator, Tempier's propositions led to the new approach taken to understand the workings of celestial and terrestrial bodies. By rejecting that astral bodies were animated, incorruptible and eternal; refuting that their motion was the result of something comparable to animal desires and by denying that stars had any influence over individuals showed that Christians were prepared to refute Aristotle's world view along with some basic assumptions held by
Greek learning.

Opposition to and repeal


Tempier's prohibitions did not curtail the free discussion of Thomist doctrines and did little to limit their influence at the University of Paris.
His decree was actively opposed and eventually overturned in 1325.

See also

  • Averroism
    Averroism
    Averroism is the term applied to either of two philosophical trends among scholastics in the late 13th century: the Arab philosopher Averroës or Ibn Rushd's interpretations of Aristotle and his reconciliation of Aristotelianism with Islamic faith; and the application of these ideas in the Latin...

  • Condemnations (University of Paris)
    Condemnations (University of Paris)
    The Condemnations at the medieval University of Paris were enacted to restrict certain teachings as being heretical. These included a number of medieval theological teachings, but most importantly the physical treatises of Aristotle. The investigations of these teachings were conducted by the...

  • Godfrey of Fontaines
    Godfrey of Fontaines
    Godfrey of Fontaines , whose name in Latin was Godefridus de Fontibus, was a scholastic philosopher and theologian, designated by the title Doctor Venerandus. He made contributions to a diverse range of subjects ranging from moral philosophy to epistemology...

  • Omnipotence paradox
    Omnipotence paradox
    The omnipotence paradox is a family of semantic paradoxes which address two issues: Is an omnipotent entity logically possible? and What do we mean by 'omnipotence'?. The paradox states that if a being can perform any action, then it should be able to create a task it is unable to perform, and...

  • Vacuum
    Vacuum
    In everyday usage, vacuum is a volume of space that is essentially empty of matter, such that its gaseous pressure is much less than atmospheric pressure. The word comes from the Latin term for "empty". A perfect vacuum would be one with no particles in it at all, which is impossible to achieve in...


Sources

Economist.com: "Millennium issue: The church and science" Philosophy Pages: Scholasticism's End