Rupert, Abbot of Deutz (Rupertus Tuitiensis)

Rupert, Abbot Of Deutz (Rupertus Tuitiensis), a contemporary of St. Bernard, and in his theological relation a mystic, was one of the most prolific among the exegetical writers of his time. Neither his country nor the exact time of his birth is known; but it is certain that he spent his early years in the Benedictine convent of St. Laurent at Liege in preparation for a monastic life. He was consecrated to the priesthood in 1101 or 1102, and began his literary career somewhat later. The earliest work from his pen, if we disregard some Latin verses but little known, is entitled De Divinis Officiis, in which he endeavors to explain the entire symbolism of the public worship to the common understanding. His first exegetical work was an abridgment of the Moralia in Jobum of Gregory the Great. These publications involved him in controversies. chief among which was that waged against the schools of William of Champeaux and Anselm of Laon. One of their adherents had advanced the idea in Rupert's convent at Liege that God willed the evil and that Adam sinned in accordance with God's will. Rupert characterized the doctrine as impious, and advocated instead the Augustinian (infralapsarian) view that God simply permits the evil. Being protected by his abbot Berengar, and after the death of that patron in 1113 by Cuno, abbot of Siegburg, and later bishop of Ratisbon, he resisted the virulent attacks of the body of adherents belonging to those schools. He embodied his views in the treatise De Voluntate Dei, and when his opponents asserted that the idea of a permission of evil is destructive to the doctrine of God's omnipotence, he added the book De Omnipotentia Dei (about 1117), and followed up his effort by meeting William of Champeaux in a public disputation at Chalons, which ended by leaving each disputant confident of the success of his cause, and exposed Rupert to the subsequent malicious attacks of William's pupils while he lived.

The energy of Rupert's devotion to the Scriptures is apparent from the fact that it was in this period of exciting conflict that he issued the first of his independent exegetical works. a Tractatus in Evangelium Johannis (in 14 books). The exposition follows the text, giving the literal meaning, reconciling difficulties — which are regarded as only apparent — and frequently adding an allegorical interpretation. The authority of the fathers prevails everywhere, and all manner of dogmatical questions are woven into the exposition. A second, the largest and most original of his exegetical works — the Commentarius de Operibus Sanctoe Trinitatis (in 42 books) — appeared in 1117. Its purpose was to explain the entire plan of salvation from the beginning to its consummation. Its title is derived from the systematic plan by which the dispensation of each Person in the Trinity is distinguished. The work is dominated by the systematizing tendency of Middle-Age theology, and as it lacks the advantage growing out of a knowledge of the original languages of Scriptures, is obliged to present the traditional results of earlier investigations; but it luxuriates in the use of the unregulated hermeneutics of the time and in the development of mystical and anagogical meanings from the Scriptures, and thereby illustrates the qualities which distinguish Rupert as a theologian, namely, the religious fervor and enthusiasm of the mystic.

In 1119 Rupert returned to Cuno of Siegburg, and would seem to have formed an intimate relation with the archbishop Frederick of Cologne, to whom he dedicated a Commentary on the Apocalypse (in 12 books), which is peculiar as regarding the visions and statements of that book as relating to past experiences of the Church from the Creation to the times of the New Test., rather than as prophecies having reference to the future. His next work was a Commentary on the Song of Solomon (in 7 books), which expounds the book as being a prophetical celebration of the incarnation of Christ, though the execution of the plan results instead in inspired laudations of the Virgin Mother. The book is nevertheless a witness to show that the 12th century did not accept the dogma of the "immaculate conception." A Commentary on the Twelve Minor Prophets followed which was interrupted by the composition of a work entitled De Victoria Verbi Dei (in 13 books), showing how God executes his counsels, despite the opposition of Satan, by an examination of the Bible narratives, the mystical treatment being altogether ignored — but was eventually completed.

In 1120 Rupert was chosen abbot of Deutz, and was compelled to lay aside his pen to arrange difficulties relating to the property of his convent and involving a number of actions at law (comp. Ruperti, De Incendio Tuitiensi

Liber Aureas, cap. 8, 9). He eventually placed the management of the secular business of the convent in the hands of a committee of monks, and reserved for himself the administration of discipline and the spiritual care of his subordinates. His Commentary on Matthew (in 13 books), allegorical throughout, appeared not earlier than 1126. A work entitled De Glorioso Rege David (in 15 books) appeared at about the same time. It is based on the books of Kings, and, like all of Rupert's writings, refers everything to Christ in some form of typical relation. He also gave attention to practical subjects, and wrote De Regula Sancti Benedicti (in 4 books), and an Annulus (in 3 books), written in dialogue form and designed to promote the conversion of the Jews by proving that the Messiah had appeared. This composition does not appear, however, in editions of Rupert's works, and was not discovered until after 1669, by Gerberon, who included it in his edition of Anselm's works. The book De Glorificatione Trinitatis et Processione Spiritus Sancti likewise aims to help the Jews to embrace Christianity. The Liber Aureus de Incendio Tuitiensi commemorates a fire which on the night of Sept. 1, 1128, destroyed the surroundings of Deutz, but left the convent and church unharmed. Two books De Meditatione Maortis give evidence that the author believed his end approaching; and with a Commentary on Ecclesiastes, in which he develops, more than in any other work, the literal sense alone, he brought his exegetical labors to a close. A few additional writings, lives of saints, etc., do not require special mention. Rupert died peaceably in his abbey of Deutz, March 4, 1135.

The earliest edition of Rupert's works was issued under the direction of Cochleeus at Cologne (1526-28; enlarged ed. ibid. 1577, 3 vols. fol.; again enlarged, 1602, 2 vols.; once more enlarged, Mayence, 1631; the latter edition reprinted, but carelessly, Paris, 1638). Separate editions of particular works are numerous. The latest complete edition is that of Venice (1751, 4 vols. fol.). See Gerberon, Apologia pro Ruperto Tuitiensi (Par. 1669); Mabillon, Annales Ordinis S. Benedicti, tom. 5, 6 passim; Histoire Litteraire de la France (ibid. 1841), 11, 422-587.

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