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Godfrey of Fontaines (c. 1250-1309), whose name in Latin was Godefridus de Fontibus, was a scholastic philosopher and theologian, designated by the title Doctor Venerandus. His greatest contributions to philosophy were in metaphysics.

Life and work

Born of a noble family in Fontaines-les-Hozémont near Liège, within the first half of the thirteenth century, Godfrey became a canon of his native diocese, and also of Paris and Cologne, and was elected, in 1300, to the See of Tournai, which he declined. He taught theology at the University of Paris during the last quarter of the century, was a distinguished Magister, or doctor, of theology and a member of the Sorbonne, to which he left a valuable collection of manuscripts.

He is the author of a notable collection of disputations, "XIV Quodlibeta", which show him to have been not merely a distinguished theologian and philosopher, but also a canonist, jurist, moralist, and controversialist, who took an active part in the various ecclesiastical, doctrinal, and disciplinary disputes that stirred Paris at that period. In regard to the privileges of the mendicant orders, Godfrey opposed Thomas Aquinas, but for the Angelic Doctor's teaching he professed a sincere admiration. The bold "innovations" of Thomism were just then on their trial; they were condemned by Etienne Tempier, Bishop of Paris (1277), and opposed by John Peckham and many others. Godfrey was a staunch supporter of Thomism, yet sufficiently original to differ in many things from the master's views, e.g., the principle of individuation, and the distinction between essence and existence in material things.

The "XIV Quodlibeta" of Godfrey, extensively studied and multiplied in manuscript form in the medieval schools, are at present in course of being published for the first time. A critical edition of the first four of them has already appeared in the series "Les Philosophes Belges, Textes et Etudes" (II, "Les quatre premiers Quodlibets de Godefroid de Fontaines", by de Wulf and Pelzer, Louvain, 1904). The remaining Quodlibeta (V-XIV) will form vols. III and IV of the same series; vol. V is to contain studies on Godfrey by de Wulf, de Munnynck, and Van Roel.

Bibliography

  • Dales, R. (1990). Medieval Discussions of the Eternity of the World. Leiden: E.J. Brill.
  • De Wulf, M. (1904). Un théologien-philosophe du XIIIe siècle. Étude sur la vie, les oeuvres et l'influence de Godefroid de Fontaines. Brussels: M. Hayez.
  • Duin, J.J. (1959). La bibliothèque philosophique de Godefroid de Fontaines, Estudios Lulianos 3, pp. 21-36, 136-60.
  • Marrone, S. (2001). The Light of Thy Countenance. Science and Knowledge of God in the Thirteenth Century. Vol. 2: God at the Core of Cognition. Leiden: Brill.
  • Putallaz, F.X. (1995). Insolente liberté. Controverses et condemnations au XIIIe siècle. Fribourg: Éditions Universitaires/Paris: Éditions du Cerf.
  • Wippel, J.F. (1981). The Metaphysical Thought of Godfrey of Fontaines. A Study in Late Thirteenth-Century Philosophy. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press.
  • Wippel, J.F. (1984). Possible Sources for Godfrey of Fontaines' Views on the Act-Potency Composition of Simple Creatures, Mediaeval Studies 44 (1984), pp. 222-44.
  • Wippel, J.F. (1986). The Role of the Phantasm in Godfrey of Fontaines' Theory of Intellection, in C. Wenin, ed., L'homme et son univers au moyen âge (Actes du septième congrès internationale de philosophie médiévale [30 Août-4 Septembre 1982]), Vol. 2, pp. 573-82.
  • Wippel, J.F. (2001). Godfrey of Fontaines at the University of Paris in the Last Quarter of the Thirteenth Century, in J.A. Aertsen, K. Emery, Andreas Speer, eds., Nach der Verurteilung von 1277. Philosophie und Theologie an der Universität von Paris im letzten Viertel des 13. Jahrhunderts. Studien und Texte (Miscellanea Mediaevalia, 28) Berlin-New York: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 359-89.

Online reference

This article incorporates text from the public-domain Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913.

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