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THOMAS OF YORK'S ROLE IN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN MENDICANTS AND SECULARS AT PARIS In the summer of 1256, the Franciscan Thomas of York, a master of Theology at the University of Oxford, composed a work entitled Manus quae contra omnipotentem tenditur} Scholars have traditionally viewed this treatise both as a defense of the Franciscan Order and an attack upon the anti-mendicant works of the Parisian secular theologian William of Saint-Amour. I Throughout the 1250s, the secular and mendicant masters of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Paris had been embroiled in a bitter debate.2 The conflict first began when the secular theologians challenged the friars' refusal to obey specific university statutes, most notably the suspension of lectures or the strike actions of the masters. But what had initially begun as an academic argument over internal university procedure quickly devolved into a full-scale polemical dispute between the mendicant and secular theologians over the issue of the actual legality of the mendicant orders. 'Very little is known about the life and career of Thomas of York. Most of our information about him can be culled from die letters of the Franciscan master Adam Marsh, with whom Thomas kept frequent correspondence; Epistolae in Monumento Franciscana in Rerum Brittanicarum medii aevi scriptores ed. J. S. Brewer (London: 1858) 4.1: 75-489. P. E. Longpré O.F.M., discusses all of die letters significant to Thomas's life in "Fr. Thomas d'York, O.F.M. la première somme métaphysique du XIIIe siècle," AFH 19 (1926): 876-9. Odier secondary sources relevant for Thomas' life are: R. Lambertini, Apologia e crescita dett'tdentità francescana (1255-1279) (Rome: Palazzo Borromini, 1990), 25-42; A. G. Little, The Franciscan School at Oxford in die Thirteenth Century," AFH 19 (1926): 803-74; idem, The Grey Friars in Oxford (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1892), 38-9, 140-2; D. E. Sharp, Franciscan Philosophy at Oxford in the Thirteenth Century (Oxford: University Press, 1930), 49-1 Í2. The Manus has been edited in M. Bierbaum, Bettelorden und Weltgeistlichkeit an der Universität Paris (Münster: Aschendorffsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1920), 37-168. 2On this conflict, see D. L. Douie, "Saint Bonaventure's Part in the Conflict Between Seculars and Mendicants at Paris," S. Bonaventura: 1274-1974 (Grottaferrata: Collegio S. Bonaventurae, 1973), II: 585-612; M.-M. Dufeil, Guillaume de Saint-Amour et la polémique universitaire parisienne (Paris: A. Picard, 1972). 179 Franciscan Studies, 57 (1999) 180A. G. TrAVER As with most academic conflicts, both parties produced ample rounds of pamphlet warfare to support their respective positions. During the years 1255-56, the spokesman of the Parisian secular theologians, William of Saint-Amour, composed numerous works against the friars. William preached nine sermons,3 he determined two disputed questions,4 he replied to a reportatio of Bonaventure's question De mendicitate,5 and he wrote a tract entitled De periculis novksimorum temporum which sought to prove that the mendicants' ministry had been forewarned in Scripture as the dangers which would herald the Last Days.6 In all of these works, William challenged the legitimacy of the more controversial aspects of the mendicants and focused on three main issues: the friars' right to In the Responsiones, die mémoire-justificatif written after his condemnation at Anagni, William claims that he had delivered nine sermons: one at Macon and eight at Paris. See E. Faral, "Les Responsiones de Guillaume de Saint-Amour," AHDL 18 (1950-1): 346-56. The Maçon sermon is lost and only three from die Parisian cycle survive. The extant sermons are for Saints James and Philip, Pentecost, and die tenth Sunday after Pentecost. The sermons for Saint James and Philip and die tenth Sunday after Pentecost have been printed in Guilielmus de Sancto Amore, Opera omnia quae reperiri poterunt ed. Alithophilius (Constance [Paris]: 1632), 7-15, 491-504. William's Pentecost sermon has been edited by S. Ciasen O.F.M., in "Die Kampfpredigten des Wilhelms von Saint-Amour gegen die Mendikanten Orden," Kirchengeschichtliche Studien (1941): 88-95. These sermons were preached between January and August 1256; on their dates, see M.-M. Dufeil, "Gulielmus de Sancto Amore, Opera...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 179-202
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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