Walter of St Victor

Walter of St. Victor was a pupil of Hugo of St. Victor, subprior of that monastery to the death of Richard, in 1173, and thenceforward prior. He died in 1180. He is known to posterity through a yet unpublished work, lengthy extracts from which are found in Bulaeus, Hist. Universit. Paris. 2, 200 sq., 402 sq., 562 sq., 629 sq. It bears the title Libri IV contra Manifestas et Damafas etiarm in Conciliis Hcereses, quas Sophistae Abelardus, Lombardus, Petrus Pictavinus et Gilbertus Porretanus Libris Sententiarumn suarusu Acuunt, Limant, Roborant, and is usually known by the title Contra quatuor Labyrinthos. Walter was a stranger to the profound mysticism of Hugo and Richard of St. Victor, but he shared their aversion to the trifling subtleties of scholasticism. To scholasticism he opposes the principle that dialectics can bring into view only formal, but not material, truth. The truthfulness of premises assumed lies altogether beyond its field of research. He was nevertheless so much the slave of authority that he violently opposed every attempt at a philosophical investigation of doctrine as a dangerous heresy. His work is filled with abusive epithets and denunciations. He accused Peter Lombard of Nihilism, and Abelard of errors with respect to the Trinity.

Various historians, among them Neander, have erroneously identified Walter of St. Victor with Walter of Mauritania (i.e. of Mortagne in Flanders). The latter taught rhetoric at Paris, was the tutor of John of Salisbury (q.v.), became bishop of Laon in 1155, and died in 1174. He left few writings, among which is a polemical letter on the subject of the Trinity addressed to Abelard. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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