William of St Amour

William of St. Amour in Burgundy, doctor of the Sorbonne, and a famous defender of the Paris University in the 13th century against the mendicant orders, which claimed the right to occupy regular chairs of theology in the university without consenting to be governed by its rules. Pope Innocent IV had seen the necessity of putting down the monks before his death, but under Alexander IV they obtained full control of the university. Under these circumstances, St. Amour attacked them, ridiculing their doctrine that manual labor is criminal, and that prayer will reap greater harvests from the soil than labor. He was summoned before the bishop of Paris, but acquitted because his accusers did not appear (1254). Alexander, nevertheless, issued three bulls in behalf of the Dominicans in 1255. In 1256 William published his book De Periculis Novissimoruma Temporum, which, without specifying the orders endorsed by the pope, charged monks generally with being ignorant intruders into the pulpit and the teacher's chair, and also self-seeking proselyters, as well as professional beggars, liars, flatterers, and calumniators. It asserted directly that perfection consists in labor, in the performing of good works, and not at all in begging. St. Amour achieved great popularity in consequence, and found many imitators among the common people in ridiculing the monks, though the book was condemned by the pope, and its author was banished despite the ingenious defense he interposed at Rome. A French version of the work had already been put into circulation, however, and with such effect that men like Thomas Aquinas and Bonayentura felt constrained to write in defense of mendicancy. The victory achieved over St. Amour enabled the orders to pursue their arbitrary methods without restraint, until the accession of popes Urban IV and Clement IV restored the rules of the university to some degree of honor. St. Amour was thereupon permitted to return, and was not again molested by the Dominicans. His death occurred probably in 1272. See Bulaeus, Hist. Universit. Palis. 3, 260; Dupin, Nouv. Bibl. des

Auteurs Eccl. vol 10; Schröckh, Kirchengesch. 27:458 sq.; Hist. Lit. de la France, vol. 19; Herzog, Real Encyklop. s.v.

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