Pulleyn, Robert, an English Roman Catholic prelate of the 12th century, was born, according to Fuller, in the county of Oxford. After having studied in Paris, he returned to England in 1130, and found the University of Oxford devastated and almost ruined by the Danes, and he zealously contributed to restore it to its previously flourishing condition. In the reign of Henry I he was charged with the work of explaining the writings of, and commenting upon, Aristotle, and he acquitted himself in this double task to the great satisfaction of his scholars and the king, his constant patron. He received as recompense the archdeaconry of Rochester. After a short time he returned to Paris, and taught theology at the Sorbonne. In vain his bishop summoned him to return to England, and in order to compel him to do so, seized the revenues of his benefice. Pulleyn appealed against these proceedings to the pope, who decided in his favor. Such was his renown that Innocent II summoned him to Rome, and there received him with great honor. In 1144 Celestine II created him cardinal, and soon after Lucius II made him chancellor of the Roman Church. He died in 1150. Pulleyn wrote several works. The one which remains to us is the Sententiarum Liber (Paris, 1655). From it it is evident that he preferred the authority of the Bible and of reason to the testimony of the fathers or to the subtleties of the scholastics. Pulleyn belonged to the Abelard school of theology, and inclined to free dialectic discussion. He advocated the doctrine of free will, but did not admit goratia irresistibilis. "Through pride," he writes, "man fell; his salvation must proceed from the opposite quarter. The rational man, who was destined to rule over nature, must humble himself before the sensible elements to receive grace through them." But this was a lowering of the idea of humility to an outward act.
He favored, strangely enough for one so liberal in many things, the withholding of the cup from the laity, in order, as he taught, "that the blood might not be spilled again," and supported the doctrine of indulgences (q.v.) in a most extreme manner. But the most eccentric of all his theological notions was the absurd question he raised as to the exact moment at which, and the manner in which, the union of the divine nature of the Son with the human assumed in the womb of Mary had taken place; and that on the cross only Christ's body had died, but not the whole man Christ. Pulleyn appears to have written also on the Apocalypse. There are still twenty of his sermons preserved among the Lambeth MSS. See mrright, Biog. Erit. ii, 183; Hardwick, Church Hist. of the Middle Ages, p. 263, 264; Neander, Dogmas, ii, 486, 521, 524 sq., et al.; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, ii, 14, 41, 65, et al.