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Étienne (Stephen) Tempier (also known as Stephanus of Orleans) (died September 3, 1279) was a French bishop of Paris during the thirteenth century. He is best remembered for promulgating a Condemnation of 219 philosophical and theological propositions (or articles) that addressed ideas and concepts that were being discussed and disputed in the faculty of Arts at the University of Paris.



Born in Orléans, Tempier studied in Paris, where he became master of theology and canon of Notre Dame. During a period of about five years (1263–ca. 1268), Tempier was the Chancellor of the chapter of Notre Dame at Paris, succeeding Erich von Veire. At that time, the Chancellor of the Chapter was also the Chapter of the University of Paris.

He served as bishop of Paris from October 7, 1268 until his death on September 3, 1279.


In 1270 Tempier, encouraged by Henry of Ghent (d. 1293), had issued a formal condemnation of thirteen doctrines held by "radical Aristotelians." These included the unity of intellect, causal necessity, and the eternity of the world.

On March 7, 1277, Tempier expanded the number of condemned doctrines to 219. Tempier had been a master in the faculty of Theology.

He was assisted by a commission of theologians from the University—which included Henry of Ghent. Giles of Rome was also involved in this affair. It is not clear what Tempier's intentions were in issuing this condemnation. Nevertheless, scholars have written that "the Parisian Condemnation of 1277 [was] symbolic of an intellectual crisis in the University and of fundamental shifts in speculative thought and cultural perception that occurred in the late thirteenth century and which portend aspects of modern thought."[1]

Tempier also overturned Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence) yet we know by revelation He made only one.

Tempier's stress on God's omnipotence also opened up all kinds of possibilities for the understanding of the cosmos. In his effort to defend the abilities and unique rights of the Creator, Tempier's propositions led to the new approach taken to understand the workings of celestial and terrestrial bodies. By rejecting that astral bodies were animated, incorruptible and eternal; refuting that their motion was the result of something comparable to animal desires and by denying that stars had any influence over individuals showed that Christians were prepared to refute Aristotle's world view along with some basic assumptions held by Greek learning.

See also


  1. ^ Kent Emery, Jr. and Andreas Speer, "After the Condemnation of 1277: New Evidence, New Perspectives, and Grounds for New Interpretations," Nach Der Verurteilung Von 1277: Philosophie Und Theologie an Der Universitat Von Paris Im Letzten Viertel Des 13. Jahrhunderts. Studien Und Texte (Miscellanea Mediaevalia, 28) (Walter De Gruyter Inc, October 2000), 1.




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