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PETERJOHNOLIVI: HISTORICAL AND DOCTRINAL STUDY The name of Olivi is familiar in the early history of our Order. It has always been difficult to arrive at a true picture of his character, involving as it does so many complex issues, not only in regard to him in particular but also in regard to early Franciscan history in general. It is our purpose here to summarize, as briefly as possible, the materials for a more accurate evaluation of his historical and doctrinal position, with special reference to the Council of Vienne.1 EARLY LIFE Petrus Iohannis Olivi,2 or "Petrus Provenzalis," as he was sometimes called, was born at Sérignan in Languedoc, near Béziers, in the latter half of 1247 or the first half of 1248. This we learn from a contemporary Spiritual document: Anno domini 1297, pridie idus martii, die veneris, hora 6. in civitate Narbone migravit a seculo. Vixit autem 50 annis in mundo, in religione 38, natus de castello Cirinhani dyocesis Biterrensis. Hic post sacram inunctionem susceptam, astante sibi conventu fratrum, dixit totam scientiam suam récépissé a deo, Parisius hora 3a se fuisse illuminatum a domino Yhesu Christo.3 As the year then began at Easter in southern France, the date of death would in our reckoning read March 14, 1298, which places his birth date as indicated and his entrance into religion in 1259 or 1260. 1 The chief sources are, of course, the documents and studies published by Ehrle, in Archiv für Literatur- u. Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters (A .L.K.G.), II—III. Documents since published will be cited as they occur. 2 This form signifies Petrus, son of Iohannes Olivus, a Latinized Languedocian name which was probably Olieu. Cf. Thomas, "Le vrai nom du Frère Mineur Petrus Johannis Olivi," Annales du Midi, XCVII (1913), 68 et seq.; Jarraux, "Pierre Jean Olivi, sa vie, sa doctrine," Études Franciscaines (E. F.), XLV (1933), 133. The forms Petrus Johannes Olive, d'Olive, Oliva, frequently met with, are incorrect. 3 Cf. Bernard Guidonis, Practica Inquisitionis (éd. Douais, Paris 1886), p. 287; Ehrle, A.L.K.G., III, 411; Archivum Franciscanum Historicum (A.F.H.), XI (1918), 267. 2Ï5 2i6C. PARTEE Very early then, when around 12 years of age, Olivi entered the Franciscan Order at Béziers.4 Apparently he manifested the marks of good character and intellectual ability required of those to be sent to the university of Paris,5 for his superiors conferred that honor on him. This is attested by Bartholomew of Pisa, who writes (c. 1385) : Fr. Petri Iohannis: hie baccalarius formatus Parisius fuit, qui opera praeclara super Sententias ac super totam Scripturam faciendo et alia, mundo sui famam perennem dimisit.8 In his commentary on the Sentences7 Olivi mentions having heard at Paris St. Bonaventure's exegesis of the apocalyptic number 666, which occurs in the eighth of his Collationes de Donis Sancti Spiritus,8 given at Paris on April ?, 1268.9 Hence Olivi was in Paris as a student in 1268. Speaking of St. Bonaventure in another place, he writes: "Parisius in pleno capitulo me asíante dixit . . ."10 This indicates that Olivi took part in the scholastic exercises at the General Chapter of 1266.11 Finally, according to the document quoted above, he declared on his deathbed that he had received a special illumination at Paris. Allowing about ten years for his stay in Paris, plus two or three years previously in a provincial house of studies after his novitiate,12 we conjecture that he became baccalarius formatus around 1273. Subsequently , as was customary, he became a lector at various houses of his 4 Cf. Wadding, Annales Minorum (Quaracchi 1931), ad an. 1278, n. 29, V, 58. 5 Cf. Constitutiones Narbonenses, S. Bonaventurae Opera Omnia (Quaracchi 1898), VIII, 456?; Felder, Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Studien im Franziskanerorden bis um die Mitte des 13. Jahrhunderts (Freiburg im B., 1904), pp. 362—364. Only a limited number were sent from each province. 8 Liber de Conformitate Vitae S. Francisci ad Vitam Domini Iesu (Analecta Franciscana, IV) (Quaracchi, 1906), pp. 339 et seq., 540 et seq. 7 Quaestiones in Secundum Librum Sententiarum, ed. B. Jansen, S. J. (Bibliotheca Franciscana...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 215-260
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
Archive Status
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