Durand, De Saint-pourgain
Durand, De Saint-Pourgain (DURANDUS A SANCTO PORTIANO), one of the most eminent of the later scholastic divines, was born at Saint Pourcain, Auvergne, about 1280. From early years a member of the Dominican order, he was made doctor in 1313. His great abilities were soon manifest. John XXII called him to Rome, and appointed him master of the palace. In 1318 Durand re-crossed the mountains, and accepted the bishopric of Puyen Velay. He became bishop of Meaux in 1326, and died in 1332. He is known among the great scholastics by the distinctive title Doctor Resolutissimus. His principal writings are, In Sententias Lombardi commentariorum libri 4 (Lugd. 1569; Venice, 1586, fol.): De Origine Jurisdictionum, sive de jurisdictione ecclesiastica et de legibus (Paris, 1564, 4to): Statuta synodi dicecesis Aniciensis, in a work of P. Gissey entitled Discours historiques de la devotion a ND dupuy (Lyon, 1620, 8vo).
In philosophy and theology Durand was naturally a Thoinist, but the course of his studies led him far away from the ground of Aquinas. He was a thorough Nominalist in philosophy. SEE NOMINALISM. He held theology to be a practical science, the object of which is, not the knowledge of God, but the life of faith. He pronounced the scientific knowledge of God to be beyond the reach of the human mind. Our knowledge of God rests on faith, and faith on the authority of the Church. Nevertheless, in his Comment in Sentent. Lombardi (1, dist. 3, qu. 1, cited by Hagenbach, History of Doctrines, § 164), he speaks of a threefold way which leads to the knowledge of God:
1. Via eminentiae, which ascends from the excellencies of creatures to the idea of the highest excellency, i.e. to the perfect God.
2. Via causalitatis, which ascends from the phenomena of creation to the first cause.
3. Via remotionis, which begins with changeable and dependent existence, and ends with necessary and absolute existence (esse de se). This is apparently in contradiction to his fundamental principle; but he clears it up by declaring that it is not the nature of God which is thus demonstrable, but his relation to the external world which can be thus demonstrated. It will be seen that the question of the relativity of knowledge is here involved; and that Sir W. Hamilton and Mansell, in our days, almost reproduce the theory of Durand. As to the sacraments, Durand declared that they are "not necessary nor sufficient in themselves for the salvation of men, since God has not so necessarily connected with these elements the power by which he upholds and redeems men in nature and in grace that he cannot work without them. They are instruments and means of grace, however, since, according to an appointment of God, every one who receives the sacrament receives also grace (provided he offers no impediment), but not from the sacrament, but from God. He makes use of the illustration that occurs elsewhere of a king who promises to bestow an alms on condition of the receiver bringing a leaden penny. The sacrament can impart no character spiritualis, for it is absurd to suppose that material things can effect such a communication to the spirit" (Neander, History of Dogmas, Bohn's ed., 2:613). On transubstantiation he helped to prepare the way for the Lutheran view. Durand remarks: "It appears to be a reflection on the divine power to maintain that the body of Christ cannot be present at the Supper otherwise than by transubstantiation. The words of the institution also admit the view that the body of Christ was really contained in the sacrament (Corpus Christi realiter contentum esse in elemento). Yet the decision of the Church is contrary, in which we are not allowed to suppose an error" (Neander, 1.c.; see also Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, § 196); Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 15:431; Herzog, Real-Encyklopadie, 3:895; Tennemann, Geschichte der Philosophie, Leipsic, 1811, volume 8, part 2:803 sq.; Oudin, De Scriptor. Ecclesiastes 3:792 sq.; Haureau, Philosophie Scolistique (Paris, 1850, 3:411 sq.); Schrockh, Kirchengeschichte, 30:393; 34; 191 sq.