Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus

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Albertus Magnus, O.P.
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 (1193/1206 – November 15, 1280), also known as Albert the Great and Albert of Cologne, is a Catholic saint. He was a German Dominican friar and a bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, who achieved fame for his comprehensive knowledge of and advocacy for the peaceful coexistence of science and religion
Relationship between religion and science
The relationship between religion and science has been a focus of the demarcation problem. Somewhat related is the claim that science and religion may pursue knowledge using different methodologies. Whereas the scientific method basically relies on reason and empiricism, religion also seeks to...

. Those such as James A. Weisheipl and Joachim R. Söder have referred to him as the greatest German philosopher and theologian of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, an opinion supported by contemporaries such as Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. , also known as Doctor Mirabilis , was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods...

. The Catholic Church honours him as a Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.-Catholic Church:In the Catholic Church, this name is given to a saint from whose...

, one of only 34 persons with that honor.

Biography


He was born sometime between 1193 and 1206, to the Count of Bollstädt in Lauingen
Lauingen
Lauingen is a town in the district of Dillingen in Bavaria, Germany. It is located on the left bank of the Danube, 5 km west of Dillingen, and 37 km northeast of Ulm.St. Albert the Great was born in Lauingen, c. 1200....

 in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

. Contemporaries such as Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon
Roger Bacon, O.F.M. , also known as Doctor Mirabilis , was an English philosopher and Franciscan friar who placed considerable emphasis on the study of nature through empirical methods...

 applied the term "Magnus" to Albertus during his own lifetime, referring to his immense reputation as a scholar and philosopher.

Albertus was educated principally at Padua
University of Padua
The University of Padua is a premier Italian university located in the city of Padua, Italy. The University of Padua was founded in 1222 as a school of law and was one of the most prominent universities in early modern Europe. It is among the earliest universities of the world and the second...

, where he received instruction in Aristotle's writings. A late account by Rudolph de Novamagia refers to Albertus' encounter with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who convinced him to enter Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

. In 1223 (or 1221) he became a member of the Dominican Order, against the wishes of his family, and studied 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...

 at Bologna
Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

 and elsewhere. Selected to fill the position of lecturer at Cologne, Germany, where the Dominicans had a house, he taught for several years there, at Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

, Freiburg
Freiburg
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. In the extreme south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg. Historically, the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain...

, Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

 and Hildesheim
Hildesheim
Hildesheim is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located in the district of Hildesheim, about 30 km southeast of Hanover on the banks of the Innerste river, which is a small tributary of the Leine river...

. In 1245 he went to 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...

, received his doctorate and taught for some time as a master of theology with great success. During this time 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...

 began to study under Albertus.
In 1254 Albertus was made provincial
Provincial superior
A Provincial Superior is a major superior of a religious order acting under the order's Superior General and exercising a general supervision over all the members of that order in a territorial division of the order called a province--similar to but not to be confused with an ecclesiastical...

 of the Dominican Order, and fulfilled the arduous duties of the office with great care and efficiency. During his tenure he publicly defended the Dominicans against attacks by the secular and regular faculty of 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...

, commented on St John
John the Evangelist
Saint John the Evangelist is the conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John...

, and answered what he perceived as errors of the Arabian philosopher
Early Islamic philosophy
Early Islamic philosophy or classical Islamic philosophy is a period of intense philosophical development beginning in the 2nd century AH of the Islamic calendar and lasting until the 6th century AH...

 Averroes
Averroes
' , better known just as Ibn Rushd , and in European literature as Averroes , was a Muslim polymath; a master of Aristotelian philosophy, Islamic philosophy, Islamic theology, Maliki law and jurisprudence, logic, psychology, politics, Arabic music theory, and the sciences of medicine, astronomy,...

.

In 1260 Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV
Pope Alexander IV was Pope from 1254 until his death.Born as Rinaldo di Jenne, in Jenne , he was, on his mother's side, a member of the de' Conti di Segni family, the counts of Segni, like Pope Innocent III and Pope Gregory IX...

 made him Bishop of Regensburg, an office from which he resigned after three years. During the exercise of his duties he enhanced his reputation for humility by refusing to ride a horse—in accord with the dictates of the Dominican order—instead walking back and forth across his huge diocese. This earned him the affectionate sobriquet, "boots the bishop," from his parishioners. After his stint as bishop, he spent the remainder of his life partly in retirement in the various houses of his order, yet often preaching throughout southern Germany. In 1270 he preached the eighth Crusade
Eighth Crusade
The Eighth Crusade was a crusade launched by Louis IX, King of France, in 1270. The Eighth Crusade is sometimes counted as the Seventh, if the Fifth and Sixth Crusades of Frederick II are counted as a single crusade...

 in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Among the last of his labors was the defense of the orthodoxy of his former pupil, 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...

, whose death in 1274 grieved Albertus. After suffering a collapse of health in 1278, he died on November 15, 1280, in Cologne, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. His tomb is in the crypt
Crypt
In architecture, a crypt is a stone chamber or vault beneath the floor of a burial vault possibly containing sarcophagi, coffins or relics....

 of the Dominican church of St. Andreas
Andreas
Andreas is a common male name in Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Flanders, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The name derives from the Greek noun ἀνήρ – with genitive ἀνδρός –, which means "man" . See article on Andrew for more information...

 in Cologne, and his relics at the Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and is a World Heritage Site...

.

Albertus is frequently mentioned by Dante
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

, who made his doctrine of free will
Free will
"To make my own decisions whether I am successful or not due to uncontrollable forces" -Troy MorrisonA pragmatic definition of free willFree will is the ability of agents to make choices free from certain kinds of constraints. The existence of free will and its exact nature and definition have long...

 the basis of his ethical system. In his Divine Comedy, Dante places Albertus with his pupil Thomas Aquinas among the great lovers of wisdom (Spiriti Sapienti) in the Heaven of the Sun. Albertus is also mentioned, along with Agrippa
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa
Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was a German magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, and alchemist.-Life:Agrippa was born in Cologne in 1486...

 and Paracelsus
Paracelsus
Paracelsus was a German-Swiss Renaissance physician, botanist, alchemist, astrologer, and general occultist....

, in Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus . She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley...

's Frankenstein
Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...

, where his writings serve as an influence to a young Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein
Victor Frankenstein was born in Napoli, is a Swiss fictional character and the protagonist of the 1818 novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, written by Mary Shelley...

.

Albertus was beatified in 1622. He was canonized and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church
Doctor of the Church is a title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.-Catholic Church:In the Catholic Church, this name is given to a saint from whose...

 in 1931 by Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI
Pope Pius XI , born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was Pope from 6 February 1922, and sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929 until his death on 10 February 1939...

. St Albert's feast day is celebrated on November 15.

Writings



Albertus' writings collected in 1899 went to thirty-eight volumes. These displayed his prolific habits and literally encyclopedic knowledge of topics such as logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, 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...

, botany
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

, geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

, astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

, astrology
Astrology
Astrology consists of a number of belief systems which hold that there is a relationship between astronomical phenomena and events in the human world...

, mineralogy
Mineralogy
Mineralogy is the study of chemistry, crystal structure, and physical properties of minerals. Specific studies within mineralogy include the processes of mineral origin and formation, classification of minerals, their geographical distribution, as well as their utilization.-History:Early writing...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, zoology
Zoology
Zoology |zoölogy]]), is the branch of biology that relates to the animal kingdom, including the structure, embryology, evolution, classification, habits, and distribution of all animals, both living and extinct...

, physiology
Physiology
Physiology is the science of the function of living systems. This includes how organisms, organ systems, organs, cells, and bio-molecules carry out the chemical or physical functions that exist in a living system. The highest honor awarded in physiology is the Nobel Prize in Physiology or...

, phrenology
Phrenology
Phrenology is a pseudoscience primarily focused on measurements of the human skull, based on the concept that the brain is the organ of the mind, and that certain brain areas have localized, specific functions or modules...

 and others; all of which were the result of logic and observation. He was perhaps the most well-read author of his time. He digested, interpreted and systematized the whole of Aristotle's works, gleaned from the Latin translations and notes of the Arabian commentators, in accordance with Church doctrine. Most modern knowledge of Aristotle was preserved and presented by Albertus.

Albertus' activity, however, was more philosophical than theological (see Scholasticism
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

). The philosophical works, occupying the first six and the last of the twenty-one volumes, are generally divided according to the Aristotelian
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...

 scheme of the sciences, and consist of interpretations and condensations of Aristotle's relative works, with supplementary discussions upon contemporary topics, and occasional divergences from the opinions of the master.

His principal theological works are a commentary in three volumes on the Books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard
Peter Lombard was a scholastic theologian and bishop and author of Four Books of Sentences, which became the standard textbook of theology, for which he is also known as Magister Sententiarum-Biography:Peter Lombard was born in Lumellogno , in...

 (Magister Sententiarum), and the Summa Theologiae in two volumes. The latter is in substance a more didactic repetition of the former.

Natural philosopher



Albertus's knowledge of physical science was considerable and for the age remarkably accurate. His industry in every department was great, and though we find in his system many gaps which are characteristic of scholastic philosophy, his protracted study of 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...

 gave him a great power of systematic thought and exposition. An exception to this general tendency is his Latin treatise "De falconibus" (later inserted in the larger work, De Animalibus, as book 23, chapter 40), in which he displays impressive actual knowledge of a) the differences between the birds of prey and the other kinds of birds; b) the different kinds of falcon
Falcon
A falcon is any species of raptor in the genus Falco. The genus contains 37 species, widely distributed throughout Europe, Asia, and North America....

s; c) the way of preparing them for the hunt
Hunt
Hunt may refer to:* Hunting* Hunt * Hunt * Hunt, Idaho* Hunt, Texas* Hunt, California, former name of McFarland, California*Hunt v. Cromartie, 1999 U.S...

; and d) the cures for sick and wounded falcons. His scholarly legacy justifies his contemporaries' bestowing upon him the honourable surname Doctor Universalis.

In the centuries since his death, many stories arose about Albertus as an alchemist
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

 and magician. On the subject of alchemy and chemistry, many treatises relating to Alchemy have been attributed to him, though in his authentic writings he had little to say on the subject, and then mostly through commentary on Aristotle. For example, in his commentary, De mineralibus, he refers to the power of stones, but does not elaborate on what these powers might be. A wide range of Pseudo-Albertine works dealing with alchemy exist, though, showing the belief developed in the generations following Albert's death that he had mastered alchemy, one of the fundamental sciences of the Middle Ages. These include Metals and Materials; the Secrets of Chemistry; the Origin of Metals; the Origins of Compounds, and a Concordance which is a collection of Observations on the philosopher's stone
Philosopher's stone
The philosopher's stone is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal...

; and other alchemy-chemistry topics, collected under the name of Theatrum Chemicum. He is credited with the discovery of the element arsenic
Arsenic
Arsenic is a chemical element with the symbol As, atomic number 33 and relative atomic mass 74.92. Arsenic occurs in many minerals, usually in conjunction with sulfur and metals, and also as a pure elemental crystal. It was first documented by Albertus Magnus in 1250.Arsenic is a metalloid...

 and experimented with photosensitive chemicals, including silver nitrate
Silver nitrate
Silver nitrate is an inorganic compound with chemical formula . This compound is a versatile precursor to many other silver compounds, such as those used in photography. It is far less sensitive to light than the halides...

. He did believe that stones had occult properties, as he related in his work De mineralibus. However, there is scant evidence that he personally performed alchemical experiments. Much of the modern confusion results from the fact that later works, particularly the alchemical work known as the Secreta Alberti or the Experimenta Alberti, were falsely attributed to Albertus by their authors in order to increase the prestige of the text through association.

According to legend, Albertus Magnus is said to have discovered the philosopher's stone
Philosopher's stone
The philosopher's stone is a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver. It was also sometimes believed to be an elixir of life, useful for rejuvenation and possibly for achieving immortality. For many centuries, it was the most sought-after goal...

 and passed it to his pupil 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...

, shortly before his death. Magnus does not confirm he discovered the stone in his writings, but he did record that he witnessed the creation of gold by "transmutation." Given that Thomas Aquinas died six years before Albertus Magnus' death, this legend as stated is unlikely.

However, it is true that Albertus was deeply interested in astrology, as has been articulated by scholars such as Paola Zambelli. While today we would view this as evidence of superstition, in the high Middle Ages—and well into the early modern period—few intellectuals, if any, questioned the basic assumptions of astrology: humans live within a web of celestial influences that affect our bodies, and thereby motivate us to behave in certain ways. Within this worldview, it was logical to believe that astrology could be used to predict the probable future of a human being. Albertus made this a central component of his philosophical system, arguing that an understanding of the celestial influences affecting us could help us to live our lives more in accord with Christian precepts. The most comprehensive statement of his astrological beliefs is to be found in a work he authored around 1260, now known as the Speculum astronomiae
Speculum Astronomiae
Albertus Magnus, produced the Speculum astronomiae sometime after 1260 to defend astrology as a Christian form of knowledge...

. However, details of these beliefs can be found in almost everything he wrote, from his early Summa de bono to his last work, the Summa theologiae.

Music


Albertus is known for his enlightening commentary on the musical practice of his times. Most of his written musical observations are found in his commentary on Aristotle's Poetics. He rejected the idea of "music of the spheres
Musica universalis
Musica universalis is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the Sun, Moon, and planets—as a form of musica . This 'music' is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept...

" as ridiculous: movement of astronomical bodies, he supposed, is incapable of generating sound. He also wrote extensively on proportions in music, and on the three different subjective levels on which plainchant could work on the human soul: purging of the impure; illumination leading to contemplation; and nourishing perfection through contemplation. Of particular interest to 20th century music theorists is the attention he paid to silence as an integral part of music.

Cultural references



The iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 of the tympanum
Pediment
A pediment is a classical architectural element consisting of the triangular section found above the horizontal structure , typically supported by columns. The gable end of the pediment is surrounded by the cornice moulding...

 and archivolt
Archivolt
An archivolt is an ornamental molding or band following the curve on the underside of an arch. It is composed of bands of ornamental moldings surrounding an arched opening, corresponding to the architrave in the case of a rectangular opening...

s of the late-13th century portal
Gate
A gate is a point of entry to a space enclosed by walls, or a moderately sized opening in a fence. Gates may prevent or control entry or exit, or they may be merely decorative. Other terms for gate include yett and port...

 of Strasbourg Cathedral was inspired by the writings of Albertus Magnus. Albertus is recorded as having made a mechanical automaton
Automaton
An automaton is a self-operating machine. The word is sometimes used to describe a robot, more specifically an autonomous robot. An alternative spelling, now obsolete, is automation.-Etymology:...

 in the form of a brass head that would answer questions put to it. Such a feat was also attributed to Roger Bacon.

In The Concept of Anxiety Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

 wrote that Albert Magnus, "arrogantly boasted of his speculation before the deity and suddenly became stupid." Kierkegaard cites G. O. Marbach who he quotes as saying "Albertus repente ex asino factus philosophus et ex philosopho asinus" [Albert was suddenly transformed from an ass into a philosopher and from a philosopher into an ass].

In 1968, he was cited by William F. Buckley as one of several historical figures whose best qualities would be emulated by the ideal President.

The typeface Albertus
Albertus (typeface)
Albertus is a glyphic, serif typeface designed by Berthold Wolpe in the period 1932 to 1940 for the Monotype Corporation type foundry. Wolpe named the font after Albertus Magnus, the thirteenth-century German philosopher and theologian....

 is named in his memory.

In Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley
Mary Shelley was a British novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer, and travel writer, best known for her Gothic novel Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus . She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley...

's Frankenstein
Frankenstein
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus is a novel about a failed experiment that produced a monster, written by Mary Shelley, with inserts of poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty-one. The first...

, Albertus Magnus is referred to as one of Victor Frankenstein's chosen readings. He is also referred to in Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne was an American novelist and short story writer.Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in 1804 in the city of Salem, Massachusetts to Nathaniel Hathorne and the former Elizabeth Clarke Manning. His ancestors include John Hathorne, a judge during the Salem Witch Trials...

's The Birth-mark and Herman Melville
Herman Melville
Herman Melville was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet. He is best known for his novel Moby-Dick and the posthumous novella Billy Budd....

's The Bell Tower. In Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

's Discworld
Discworld
Discworld is a comic fantasy book series by English author Sir Terry Pratchett, set on the Discworld, a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. The books frequently parody, or at least take inspiration from, J. R. R....

 novels, the character of Alberto Mallich (founder of the Unseen University and later Death's manservant Albert) is a sly nod to Albertus Magnus in his more legendary and esoteric guise. Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Walter Michael Miller, Jr. was an American science fiction author. Today he is primarily known for A Canticle for Leibowitz, the only novel he published in his lifetime. Prior to its publication he was a prolific writer of short stories.- Biography :Miller was born in New Smyrna Beach, Florida...

's novel A Canticle for Leibowitz
A Canticle for Leibowitz
A Canticle for Leibowitz is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by American writer Walter M. Miller, Jr., first published in 1960. Set in a Roman Catholic monastery in the desert of the southwestern United States after a devastating nuclear war, the story spans thousands of years as...

 centers on a monastic order called the Albertian Order of Leibowitz, named by its founder after Albertus Magnus and dedicated to preserving scientific knowledge lost after a nuclear war.

Influence and tribute


A number of schools are named after Albert, including Albertus Magnus High School
Albertus Magnus High School
Albertus Magnus High School is a Catholic, co-educational high school located in Bardonia, New York, named after the German philosopher and theologian of the same name...

, in Bardonia, New York
Bardonia, New York
Bardonia is a hamlet , in the Town of Clarkstown, Rockland County, New York, United States located north of Nanuet; east of Spring Valley; south of New City and west of West Nyack...

, and Albertus Magnus College
Albertus Magnus College
Albertus Magnus College is a small private liberal arts college in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. It is located about two miles from the central campus of Yale University in a residential area near the border with Hamden. The neighborhood is on Prospect Street just above Edgerton park and...

 in New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven, Connecticut
New Haven is the second-largest city in Connecticut and the sixth-largest in New England. According to the 2010 Census, New Haven's population increased by 5.0% between 2000 and 2010, a rate higher than that of the State of Connecticut, and higher than that of the state's five largest cities, and...

. The main science building at Providence College
Providence College
Providence College is a private, coeducational, Catholic university located about two miles west of downtown Providence, Rhode Island, United States, the state's capital city. With a 2010–2011 enrollment of 3,850 undergraduate students and 735 graduate students, the College specializes in academic...

 is named in honor of Albertus Magnus.

The Academy for Science and Design
Academy for Science and Design
The Academy for Science and Design is a public charter school located in Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA. This is New Hampshire's first charter school to concentrate on science, math, engineering, and design and is free of tuition fees....

 in New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

 honored Albertus by naming one of its four houses Magnus House.

As a tribute to the scholar's contributions to the law, the University of Houston Law Center
University of Houston Law Center
The University of Houston Law Center is a law school located in Houston, Texas. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Founded in 1947, the Law Center is one of 12 academic colleges of the University of Houston...

 displays a statute of Albertus Magnus. It is located on the campus of the University of Houston
University of Houston
The University of Houston is a state research university, and is the flagship institution of the University of Houston System. Founded in 1927, it is Texas's third-largest university with nearly 40,000 students. Its campus spans 667 acres in southeast Houston, and was known as University of...

.

The Albertus-Magnus-Gymnasium is found in Regensburg
Regensburg
Regensburg is a city in Bavaria, Germany, located at the confluence of the Danube and Regen rivers, at the northernmost bend in the Danube. To the east lies the Bavarian Forest. Regensburg is the capital of the Bavarian administrative region Upper Palatinate...

, Germany.

In Managua
Managua
Managua is the capital city of Nicaragua as well as the department and municipality by the same name. It is the largest city in Nicaragua in terms of population and geographic size. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Xolotlán or Lake Managua, the city was declared the national capital in...

, Nicaragua, the Albertus Magnus International Institute, a business and economic development research center, was founded in 2004.

In the Philippines, the Albertus Magnus Building at the University of Santo Tomas
University of Santo Tomas
The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines , is a private Roman Catholic university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the...

 that houses the Conservatory of Music, College of Tourism and Hospitality Management, College of Education, and UST Education High School is named in his honor. The Saint Albert the Great Science Academy in San Carlos City
San Carlos City
San Carlos City can refer to two places in the Philippines* San Carlos City, Negros Occidental* San Carlos City, Pangasinan...

, Pangasinan
Pangasinan
Pangasinan is a province of the Republic of the Philippines. The provincial capital is Lingayen. Pangasinan is located on the west central and peripheral area of the island of Luzon along the Lingayen Gulf, with the total land area being 5,368.82 square kilometers . According to the latest census,...

, which offers preschool, elementary and high school education, takes pride in having St. Albert as their patron saint. Its main building was named Albertus Magnus Hall in 2008.

See also

  • Brazen Head
    Brazen Head
    A Brazen Head was a prophetic device attributed to many medieval scholars who were believed to be wizards, or who were reputed to be able to answer any question. It was always in the form of a man's head, and it could correctly answer any question asked of it...

  • Christian mysticism
    Christian mysticism
    Christian mysticism refers to the development of mystical practices and theory within Christianity. It has often been connected to mystical theology, especially in the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions...

  • Incorruptibles
  • List of Roman Catholic scientist-clerics
  • Science in the Middle Ages
    Science in the Middle Ages
    Science in the Middle Ages consisted of the study of nature, including practical disciplines, the mathematics and natural philosophy in medieval Europe. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the decline in knowledge of Greek, Christian Western Europe was cut off from an important...


Further reading

  • Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0-140-51312-4.
  • Collins, David J. "Albertus, Magnus or Magus?: Magic, Natural Philosophy, and Religious Reform in the Late Middle Ages." Renaissance Quarterly 63, no. 1 (2010): 1-44.

External links




Attributions