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Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Alexander of Hales

Publié le 11/01/2010

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It surpasses earlier authors in the variety of topics it treats, the sophistication of its theological method and the profundity of its thought (Principe 1967). In the fourth book, on the seven sacraments of the Church, he reveals himself an accomplished canonist, quoting Gratian and the Decretals of Gregory IX hundreds of times. According to Roger Bacon, Alexander was the first to introduce the four books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard as a textbook for the faculty of theology. It was Alexander who divided the books into 'distinctions', according to the principal problems treated. As divided by Alexander, the Sentences remained the basis of theological instruction for three centuries; hundreds of commentaries were written on it. Alexander of Hales fully deserves his reputation as one of the greatest theologians of the thirteenth century. 

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