John of Mirecourt - Life and Writings

Life and Writings

Very little is known of the life of John of Mirecourt, but it seems that he was born at Mirecourt in Lorraine between 1310-1315. He lectured at the Cistercian College of St. Bernard in Paris, and rose to the height of his philosophical and theological fame around the year 1345. He is credited with writing a commentary on Peter Lombard's Sentences, and two subsequent apologies which were responses to various criticisms of his commentary. He wrote two versions of his commentary; the first of which was attacked by a Benedictine called Johannes Normanus. Mirecourt replied by issuing a Declaratio in which he explained the meanings behind his propositions. Nevertheless, acting upon the recommendation of the faculty of theology at the University of Paris, Robert of Bardis, the University chancellor, condemned 41 propositions that were drawn from Mirecourt's writings on the Sentences. Mirecourt responded to this condemnation by writing a second apology to no avail: he was censured in Paris by Pope Clement VI in 1347. After this censure, nothing further is known of him, including any approximation as to the date of his death. There is some speculation that scholarly jealousy and academic politics made up a portion of the motivation behind Mirecourt's censure; and as Mirecourt was not radical in all of his philosophical views, it is not unsubstantiated that his censure was in part the result of some ill-will from various of the nominalist factions.

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