John Peckham: Wikis

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John Peckham
Archbishop of Canterbury

Interior of part of Canterbury Cathedral where Peckham was buried in the north transept.
Enthroned unknown
Reign ended 8 December 1292
Predecessor Robert Burnell
Successor Robert Winchelsey
Consecration 25 January 1279
Personal details
Died 8 December 1292
Mortlake
Buried Canterbury Cathedral

John Peckham or Pecham (c. 1230 – 8 December 1292), was Archbishop of Canterbury in the years 1279–1292. He was a native of Sussex who was educated at Lewes Priory and became a Franciscan friar about 1250. He studied at Paris under Bonaventure, where he later taught theology. From his teaching, he came into conflict with Saint Thomas Aquinas, whom he debated on two occasions. Known as a conservative theologian, he opposed Aquinas' views on the nature of the soul. Peckham also studied optics and astronomy, and his studies in those subjects were influenced by Roger Bacon.

In around 1270, he returned to England, where he taught at the University of Oxford, and was elected the Franciscan provincial minster of England in 1275. After a brief stint in Rome, he was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury in 1279. His time as archbishop was marked by efforts to improve discipline in the clergy as well as reorganize the estates of his see. Pluralism, or holding more than one clerical benefice, was one of the abuses that Peckham combatted. He served King Edward I of England in Wales, where he formed a low opinion of the Welsh people and laws. Before and during his time as archbishop, he wrote a number of works on optics, philosophy, and theology, as well as writing hymns. Numerous manuscripts of his works survive. On his death, his body was buried in Canterbury Cathedral, but his heart was given to the Franciscans for burial.

Contents

Early life

Peckham came from a humble family, possibly from Patchem in Sussex.[1] He was born about 1230 and received his early education from the Cluniac monks of Lewes.[2] About 1250, he joined the Franciscan order and studied in their Oxford convent. Shortly afterwards he proceeded to the University of Paris, where he took his degree under St Bonaventura and became regent master, or official lecturer, in theology.[3][4] While at Paris, he wrote a Commentary on Lamentations, which sets out two possible sermons.[5]

For years Peckham taught at Paris, coming into contact with the greatest scholars of the day, among others St Thomas Aquinas.[3] He famously debated Aquinas on at least two occasions during 1269 and 1270, during which Peckham defended the conservative theological position, and Thomas put forth his views on the soul.[6] The Thomist doctrine of the unity of form was condemned after these debates.[7] His theological works later were used by his pupil Roger Marston who in turn inspired Duns Scotus.[2]

Peckham also studied other fields, however; and was guided by Robert Grosseteste and Roger Bacon's views on the value of experimental science.[8] Where Peckham met Bacon is not known, but it would have been at either Paris or Oxford. Bacon's influence can be seen in Peckham's works on optics (the Perspectiva communis) and astronomy.[2]

Return to England

A manuscript of Roger Bacon's work on optics, which influenced Peckham's own works
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Reorganization of the archdiocese

About 1270, he returned to Oxford and taught there, being elected in 1275 provincial minister of the Franciscans in England,[9] but he was soon afterwards called to Rome as lector sacri palatii, or theological lecturer in the schools of the papal palace.[10] It is likely that he composed his Expositio super Regulam Fratrum Minorum, a work that included information on preaching, a subject that Peckham felt was of great importance.[11] In 1279 he returned to England as Archbishop of Canterbury, being appointed by Pope Nicholas III on the rejection of Robert Burnell, Edward I's preferred candidate. He was provided (appointed by the pope to the see) on 25 January 1279 and consecrated on 19 February 1279.[12]

Peckham's insistence on discipline offended contemporaries. His first act on arrival in England was to call a council at Reading, which met in July of 1279. Its main object was ecclesiastical reform, but the provision that a copy of Magna Carta should be hung in all cathedral and collegiate churches seemed to the king a political action. Another ruling was on non-residence of clergy in their livings. The only exception Peckham was prepared to make on non-residence was if the clerk needed to go abroad to study.[13] At the Parliament of Winchester in 1279, the archbishop compromised and the parliament declared void any action of this council touching on the royal power. The copies of Magna Carta were taken down.[14] One reason the archbishop may have backed down was that he was in debt to the Italian banking family of the Riccardi, who also were bankers to Edward and the pope, and Peckham was under threat of excommunication from the pope unless he repaid the loans.[15]

However, Peckham worked hard to reorganize the estates of the diocese, and held an inquiry in 1283 through 1285 into the revenues of the see. He set up administrative structures in the manors that divided them into seven administrative groups.[16] Peckham, though, was almost continually in debt, and because he was a Franciscan, he had no personal property to help with his living expenses. He had inherited the diocesan debts that his predecessor had allowed to accumulate, and never managed to clear them.[17]

Relations with the Welsh

Nevertheless Peckham's relations with the king were generally good, and Edward called on him for help in bringing order into conquered Wales, sending him on a diplomatic mission to Llywelyn the Last. In 1282 he attempted to mediate between the Welsh and King Edward, but given that Edward would not budge on the main issues, it was a hopeless mission.[18] In the end, Peckham excommunicated some of the Welsh who were resisting Edward, not unsurprising given Peckham's views of the Welsh.[18][19] Peckham visited the Welsh dioceses as part of his tour of all his subordinate dioceses. While there, Peckham criticised the Welsh clergy for their unchaste lives, conspicuous consumption, and heavy drinking. He also found the Welsh clergy to be uneducated, although he did order a Welsh-speaking suffragan bishop to be appointed to help with pastoral duties in the diocese of Coventry and Lichfield.[20] Peckham also criticized the Welsh people as a whole, contrasting their pastoral economy with the farming-based economy of England, and finding the Welsh to be lazy and idle.[21]

As part of his diplomatic duties, Peckham wrote to Llywelyn, and in those letters the archbishop continued his criticisms of the Welsh people, this time condemning their laws as contrary to both the Old and New Testament. Peckham was particularly offended that Welsh laws sought to get parties to homicides or other crimes to settle their differences rather than the process of English law which condemned the criminal.[22]

Peckham also had problems with his subordinate Thomas Bek, who was Bishop of St David's in Wales. Bek tried to revive a scheme to make St David's independent from Canterbury, and to elevate it to metropolitan status. This had originally been put forth by Gerald of Wales around 1200, but had been defeated by the actions of Hubert Walter, then the Archbishop of Canterbury. Bek did not manage even the four-year fight that Gerald had managed, for Peckham routed him quickly.[23]

Ecclesiastical matters

Skirmishes with Edward over clerical privileges, royal power, Peckham's use of excommunication, and ecclesiastical taxation continued, but in October of 1286, Edward issued a writ entitled Circumspecte Agatis which specified what types of cases the ecclesiastical courts could hear. These included moral issues, matrimonial issues, disputes about wills and testaments, the correction of sins, and slander and physical attacks on the clergy.[24]

Peckham was very strict in his interpretations of canon law, and once wrote to Queen Eleanor that her use of loans from Jewish moneylenders to acquire lands was usury and a mortal sin.[25] He also felt that Welsh laws were illogical and conflicted with Biblical teachings.[26] He also mandated that the clerical tonsure worn by the clergy should not just include the top of the head, but also have the nape and over the ears shaved, which allowed the clergy to be easily distinguished from the laity. To help with this, the archbishop also forbade the clergy from wearing secular clothing, especially military garb.[27] He also forbade an effort by the Benedictine order in England to reform their monastic rule, to allow more time for study and for more education for the monks. Peckham's reason was that they were against custom, but he may also have had concerns that these reforms would have drawn recruits away from the Franciscans.[28]

At an ecclesiastical council held at Lambeth in 1281, Peckham ordered the clergy to instruct their congregations in doctrine at least four times a year. They were to explain and teach the Articles of Faith, the Ten Commandments, the Works of Mercy, the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Virtues and the Sacraments.[29] This command was issued as a canon, or law, of the council, and the group is known as the Lambeth Constitutions.[30] Even later these constitutions were collected as the Ignorantia sacerdotum.[29] The six doctrines comprised the minimum theological knowledge the archbishop considered necessary for the laity to know.[31] The constitutions, which were originally in Latin, were the basis and inspiration for pastoral and devotional works throughout the remainder of the Middle Ages, and were eventually translated into English in the 15th century.[30]

The crime of "plurality," or pluralism, which was the holding by one cleric of two or more benefices, was one of Peckham's targets,[32] as were clerical absenteeism and laxity in the monastic life. His main instrument was a system of "visitation," which he used with an unprecedented frequency. Disputes resulted, and on some points Peckham gave way, but his powers as papal legate complicated matters, and he did much to strengthen the court of Canterbury at the expense of the lower courts.[33] The quarrel with Thomas de Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford, arose from similar causes. It involved an appeal over the jurisdiction of the archbishop, that Thomas sent to Rome in 1281, but Thomas died before the case could be decided.[34] He also decreed that the clergy should preach to their flocks at least four times a year.[35]

Peckham often was in conflict with his subordinate bishops, mainly because of his efforts to reform them, but Peckham's own attitude and handling of his clergy contributed to the problem.[36] He once wrote to Roger de Meyland, the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield "These things need your attention, but you have been absent so long that you seem not to care. We therefore order you, on receipt of this letter, to take up residence in your diocese, so that—even if you are not competent to redress spiritual evils—you may at least minister to the temporal needs of the poor."[37] The historian Richard Southern says that Peckham's disputes with his suffragan bishops were "conducted in an atmosphere of bitterness and perpetual ill-will",[38] which probably owed something to a "petulant strain in Peckham's character".[38] Peckham's conflicts started because his own ideals were those of a Franciscan, but most of his clergy were concerned with more mundane and materialistic affairs. These strains between the archbishop and his subordinates were intensified by clashes over ecclesiastical and secular authority, as well as Edward's great need for income.[39]

Death and legacy

The numerous manuscripts of Peckham's works to be found in the libraries of Italy, England and France, testify to his industry as a philosopher and commentator. Queen Eleanor pers­ed him to write for her a scholarly work in French, which was later described as "unfortunately rather a dull and uninspired little treatise."[40] His poem Philomena is considered one of the finest poems written in its time.[41]

Peckham died on 8 December 1292[12] at Mortlake and was buried in the north transept, or the Martyrdom, of Canterbury Cathedral.[2] His heart, however, was buried with the Franciscans under the high altar of their London church.[42] His tomb still survives.[2] He founded a college at Wingham, Kent in 1286, probably a college of canons serving a church.[43]

Works

A number of his works have survived, and some have appeared in print in various times:

  • Perspectiva communis[44]
  • Collectarium Bibliae[2]
  • Registrum epistolarum[45][46]
  • Tractatus de pauperitate[47][48]
  • Divinarum Sententiarum Liborum Biblie[11]
  • Summa de esse et essentia[2]
  • Quaestiones disputatae[2]
  • Quodlibeta[49]
  • Tractatus contra Kilwardby[48]
  • Expositio super Regulam Fratrum Minorum[11]
  • Tractatus de anima[50]
  • Canticum pauperis[2]
  • De aeternitate mundi[51]
  • Defensio fratrum mendicantium[48]

Peckham is the earliest of the Archbishops of Canterbury to have his registers, the principal records of archiepiscopal administration, held in at Lambeth Palace Library.[52]

Notes

  1. ^ Moorman Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century p. 159
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Thompson "Pecham, John (c.1230–1292)" Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  3. ^ a b Lawrence "The Thirteenth Century" in Lawrence (ed.) The English Church & the Papacy in the Middle Ages p. 146–147
  4. ^ Leff Paris and Oxford Universities p. 183
  5. ^ Douie "Archbishops Pecham's Sermons and Collations" Studies in Medieval History p. 269
  6. ^ Knowles The Evolution of Medieval Thought p. 294
  7. ^ Leff Paris and Oxford Universities p. 228
  8. ^ Leff Paris and Oxford Universities p. 288
  9. ^ Greenway Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: volume 2: Monastic cathedrals (northern and southern provinces):Canterbury Archbishops
  10. ^ Knowles The Evolution of Medieval Thought p. 169
  11. ^ a b c Douie "Archbishops Pecham's Sermons and Collations" Studies in Medieval History p. 270
  12. ^ a b Fryde Handbook of British Chronology p. 233
  13. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 250
  14. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 251
  15. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 252
  16. ^ DeBoulay The Lordship of Canterbury p. 248
  17. ^ Moorman Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century p. 173
  18. ^ a b Prestwich Edward I p. 191–192
  19. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 200
  20. ^ Walker Medieval Wales p. 87
  21. ^ Given State and Society p. 94
  22. ^ Given State and Society p. 77
  23. ^ Walker Medieval Wales p. 77–79
  24. ^ Prestwich, Edward I p. 257
  25. ^ Prestwich, Edward I p. 125
  26. ^ Prestwich, Edward I p. 186
  27. ^ Moorman, Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century p. 149
  28. ^ Southern Western Society p. 236
  29. ^ a b Wallace, Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature p. 396
  30. ^ a b Swanson Religion and Devotion p. 59–60
  31. ^ Wallace, Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature p. 548
  32. ^ Moorman, Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century p. 220–221
  33. ^ Lawrence, "The Thirteenth Century" in Lawrence (ed.) The English Church & the Papacy in the Middle Ages p. 137
  34. ^ Lawrence, "The Thirteenth Century" in Lawrence (ed.) The English Church & the Papacy in the Middle Ages p. 128
  35. ^ Moorman, Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century p. 80–81
  36. ^ Southern Western Society p. 194–196
  37. ^ quoted in Southern Western Society p. 194
  38. ^ a b Southern Western Society p. 194
  39. ^ Southern Western Society p. 211
  40. ^ Prestwich Edward I p. 123
  41. ^ Wallace Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature p. 362
  42. ^ Burton Monastic and Religious Orders p. 120
  43. ^ DeBoulay The Lordship of Canterbury p. 127
  44. ^ "Google Books: John Pecham and the Science of Optics: Perspectiva Communis". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=UVJaAAAACAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Pecham&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=M_HvR5jfLJvmiQGHlqitDQ. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  45. ^ "Google Books: Registrum Johannis Pecham Archiepiscopi Cantuariensis". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=48u4HAAACAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Peckham&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=DPjvR9-bFovsiQHN772pDQ. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  46. ^ Mullins Texts and Calendars I section 6.77
  47. ^ "Google Books: Tractatus Tres de Paupertate". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=5BwYIAAACAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Pecham&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=7PHvR_7JMpewiQG9n8ijDQ. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  48. ^ a b c Mullins Texts and Calendars I section 13.2
  49. ^ "Google Books: Johannis de Pecham Quodlibet Romanum". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=PdIlHQAACAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Pecham&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=YfLvR6H3I5vEigHAn9SrDQ. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  50. ^ "Google Books: Tractatus de Anima Ioannis Pecham". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=UmTSGAAACAAJ&dq=inauthor:John+inauthor:Peckham&lr=&as_brr=0&ei=cPPvR5XjI5eOiQGJ8siwDQ. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  51. ^ "Google Books: Questions Concerning the Eternity of the World". Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=ahI3zH34dFAC. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  52. ^ Holdings of Lambeth Palace Library accessed on 6 March 2008

References

  • Burton, Janet (1994). Monastic and Religious Orders in Britain: 1000–1300. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37797-8. OCLC 185319315.  
  • Douie, Decima (1979). "Archbishop Pecham's Sermons and Collations". in R. W. Hunt, W. A. Pantin and R. W. Southern. Studies in Medieval History Presented to Frederick Maurice Powicke (reprint of the 1948 ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. pp. 269–282. ISBN 0-313-21484-0.  
  • DuBoulay, F. R. H. (1966). The Lordship of Canterbury: An Essay on Medieval Society. New York: Barnes & Noble.  
  • Given, James Buchanan (1990). State and Society in Medieval Europe: Gwynedd and Languedoc under Outside Rule. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9774-4.  
  • Fryde, E. B.; Greenway, D. E.; Porter, S.; Roy, I. (1996). Handbook of British Chronology (Third Edition, revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56350-X. OCLC 183920684.  
  • Greenway, Diana E. (1971). Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066–1300: volume 2: Monastic cathedrals (northern and southern provinces): Canterbury Archbishops. Institute of Historical Research. http://british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=33853. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  • "Holdings of Lambeth Palace Library". Holdings of Lambeth Palace Library. Church of England Record Centre. http://www.lambethpalacelibrary.org/holdings/archbishopsarchives.html#registers. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  • Knowles, Dom David (1962). The Evolution of Medieval Thought. London: Longman.  
  • Lawrence, C. H. (1965). "The Thirteenth Century". in Lawrence, C. H.. The English Church and the Papacy in the Middle Ages (Reprint edition 1999 ed.). Stroud: Sutton Publishing. pp. 117–156. ISBN 0-7509-1947-7.  
  • Leff, Gordon (1975). Paris and Oxford Universities in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries: An Institutional and Intellectual History. Huntington, N.Y: Robert E. Krieger Pub. Co. ISBN 0-88275-297-9. OCLC 2352102.  
  • Moorman, John R. H. (1955). Church Life in England in the Thirteenth Century (Revised ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.  
  • Mullins, E. L. C. (1958). Texts and Calendars I: An Analytical Guide to Serial Publications. London: Royal Historical Society.  
  • Prestwich, Michael (1997). Edward I. New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07157-4. OCLC 37697840.  
  • Southern, R. W. (1970). Western society and the Church in the Middle Ages. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-020503-9. OCLC 127796.  
  • Swanson, R. N. (1995). Religion and Devotion in Europe, c. 1215-c. 1515. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-37950-4. OCLC 233991444.  
  • Thompson, Benjamin (2004). "Pecham, John (c.1230–1292)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21745. Retrieved 2008-03-30.  
  • Walker, David (1990). Medieval Wales. Cambridge Medieval Textbooks. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31153-5. OCLC 20091944.  
  • Wallace, David Foster (editor) (2002). The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-89046-2. OCLC 48627599.  

Further reading

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Robert Burnell
Archbishop of Canterbury
1279–1292
Succeeded by
Robert Winchelsey

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

JOHN PECKHAM (d. 1292), archbishop of Canterbury, was probably a native of Sussex, and received his early education from the Cluniac monks of Lewes. About 1250 he joined the Franciscan order and studied in their Oxford convent. Shortly afterwards he proceeded to the university of Paris, where he took his degree under St Bonaventure and became regent in theology. For many years Peckham taught at Paris, coming into contact with the greatest scholars of the day, among others St Thomas Aquinas. About 1270 he returned to Oxford and taught there, being elected in 1275 provincial minister of the Franciscans in England, but he was soon afterwards called to Rome as lector sacri palatii, or theological lecturer in the schools of the papal palace. In 1279 he returned to England as archbishop of Canterbury, being appointed by the pope on the rejection of Robert Burnell, Edward I.'s candidate. Peckham was always a strenuous advocate of the papal power, especially as shown in the council of Lyons in 1274. His enthronement in October 1279 marks the beginning of an important epoch in the history of the English primacy. Its characteristic note was an insistence on discipline which offended contemporaries. Peckham's zeal was not tempered by discernment, and he had little gift of sympathy or imagination. His first act on arrival in England was to call a council at Reading, which met in July 1 2 79. Its main object was ecclesiastical reform, but the provision that a copy of Magna Carta should be hung in all cathedral and collegiate churches seemed to the king a political action, and parliament declared void any action of this council touching on the royal power. Nevertheless Peckham's relations with the king were often cordial, and Edward called on him for help in bringing order into conquered Wales. The chief note of his activity was, however, certainly ecclesiastical. The crime of "plurality," the holding by one cleric of two or more benefices, was especially attacked, as also clerical absenteeism and ignorance, and laxity in the monastic life. Peckham's main instrument was a minute system of "visitation," which he used with a frequency hitherto unknown. Disputes resulted, and on some points Peckham gave way, but his powers as papal legate complicated matters, and he did much to strengthen the court of Canterbury at the expense of the lower courts. The famous quarrel with St Thomas of Cantilupe, bishop of Hereford, arose out of similar causes. A more attractive side of Peckham's career is his activity as a writer. The numerous manuscripts of his works to be found in the libraries of Italy, England and France, testify to his industry as a philosopher and commentator. In philosophy he represents the Franciscan school which attacked the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas on the "Unity of Form." He wrote in a quaint and elaborate style on scientific, scriptural and moral subjects and engaged in much controversy in defence of the Franciscan rule and practice. He was "an excellent maker of songs," and his hymns are characterized by a lyrical tenderness which seems typically Franciscan. Printed examples of his work as commentator and hymn writer respectively may be found in the Firamentum trium ordinum (Paris, 1512), and his office for Trinity Sunday in the "unreformed" breviary.

The chief authority on Peckham as archbishop of Canterbury, is the Registrum fratris Johannis Peckham, edited by C. Trice Martin for the Rolls Series (London, 1882-1885). A sympathetic account of his life as a Franciscan is to be found in L. Wadding, Annales minorum (Lyons, 1625, 1654). See also the article by C. L. Kingsford in Dict. Nat. Biog., and Wilkin's Concilia magnae Britanniae (London, 1737). (E. O'N.)


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