Gilbert de la Porrée

Gilbert de la Porrée, also known as Gilbert of Poitiers, Gilbertus Porretanus or Pictaviensis (1070 – September 4, 1154) was a scholastic logician and theologian.


He was born in Poitiers. He was educated under Bernard of Chartres and Anselm of Laon. After teaching for about twenty years in Chartres, he lectured on dialectics and theology in Paris (from 1137). At Paris Stephen of Alinerre was among his pupils. In 1141 he returned to Poitiers, being elected bishop in the following year. At Poitier Jordan Fantosme was one of his pupils.

Gilbert's heterodox opinions regarding the doctrine of the Trinity drew upon his works the condemnation of the church. The Council of Rheims in 1148, at which both Gilbert and Stephen were present, procured papal sanction for four propositions opposed to certain of Gilbert's tenets, and his works were condemned until they should be corrected in accordance with the principles of the church. Gilbert seems to have submitted quietly to this judgment; he yielded assent to the four propositions, and remained on friendly terms with his antagonists till his death.


Gilbert is almost the only logician of the 12th century who is quoted by the greater scholastics of the succeeding age. His chief logical work, the treatise "De sex principiis", was regarded with a reverence almost equal to that paid to Aristotle, and furnished matter for numerous commentators, amongst them Albertus Magnus. Owing to the fame of this work, he is mentioned by Dante as the "Magister sex principiorum". The treatise itself is a discussion of the Aristotelian categories, specially of the six subordinate modes.

Gilbert distinguishes in the ten categories two classes, one essential, the other derivative. Essential or inhering (formae inhaerentes) in the objects themselves are only substance, quantity, quality and relation in the stricter sense of that term. The remaining six, when, where, action, passion, position and habit, are relative and subordinate (formae assistentes). This suggestion has some interest, but is of no great value, either in logic or in the theory of knowledge. More important in the history of scholasticism are the theological consequences to which Gilbert's realism led him.

In the commentary on the treatise "De Trinitate" (erroneously attributed to Boetius) he proceeds from the metaphysical notion that pure or abstract being is prior in nature to that which is. This pure being is God, and must be distinguished from the triune God as known to us. God is incomprehensible, and the categories cannot be applied to determine his existence. In God there is no distinction or difference, whereas in all substances or things there is duality, arising from the element of matter. Between pure being and substances stand the ideas or forms, which subsist, though they are not substances. These forms, when materialized, are called "formae substantiales" or "formae nativae"; they are the essences of things, and in themselves have no relation to the accidents of things. Things are temporal, the ideas perpetual, God eternal. The pure form of existence, that by which God is God, must be distinguished from the three persons who are God by participation in this form. The form or essence is one, the persons or substances three. It was this distinction between "Deitas" or "Divinitas" and "Deus" that led to the condemnation of Gilbert's doctrine.


*"De sex principiis" and commentary on the "De Trinitate" in Migne, "Patrologia Latina", lxiv. 1255 and clxxxviii. 1257
*Abbé Berthaud, "Gilbert de la Porrée" (Poitiers, 1892)
*B. Haurbau, "De la philosophie scolastique", pp. 294-318
*R. Schmid's article "Gilbert Porretanus" in "Herzog-Hauck, Realencyk. f. protest. Theol." (vol. 6, 1899)
*Karl von Prantl, "Geschichte d. Logik", ii. 215
*Joseph Bach, "Dogmengeschichte des Mittelalters", ii. 133.


External links

* [ Latin Text of his Apocalypse prologue]

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  • Gilbert De La Porrée — (Miniature, Basel, Universitätsbibliothek. Ms. O II 24, 14r) Gilbert de la Porrée, connu aussi comme Gilbertus Poretta (de préférence à Porretanus[1]) ou Pictavieiisis et parfois simplement Gilbert de Poitiers, où il est né vers 1070/75 (?). Il y …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gilbert de la Porrée — • Bishop of Poitiers, philosopher, theologian and general scholar; b. at Poitiers in 1076; d. in 1154 Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Gilbert de la Porree     Gilbert de la Porrée …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • GILBERT DE LA PORRÉE — (1080? 1154) Après 1126, Gilbert de La Porrée est chancelier de la cathédrale de Chartres; en 1141, Jean de Salisbury assiste à ses cours à Paris; il est évêque de Poitiers en 1142, et meurt en 1154. C’est avant tout un théologien, qui aura, de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Gilbert de la Porrée — Gilbert von Poitiers, auch Gilbert Porreta, Gilbertus Porretanus, Gilbert de la Porrée (* 1080; † 1155) war ein scholastischer Philosoph und Theologe. Der Schüler Bernhards von Chartres, Anselms von Laon und Radulfs von Laon war Lehrer in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gilbert de la Porrée —   [ʒil bɛːr də la pɔ re], Gilbẹrtus Porretanus, Gilbert Porreta, Gilbert von Poitiers [ pwa tje], französischer Philosoph und Theologe, * Poitiers um 1080, ✝ ebenda 4. 9. 1154; Schüler des Bernhard von Chartres und des Anselm von Laon; lehrte in …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gilbert de la Porrée — (Gislebertus Porretanus), namhafter franz. Scholastiker, geboren um 1070 in Poitiers, gest. daselbst 4. Sept. 1154, war zuerst Kanzler der Kirche von Chartres, mit welcher Stelle ein Lehramt verbunden war, dann Lehrer der Dialektik und Theologie… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Gilbert de la Porrée — (c. 1080–1154)    Bishop and Theologian.    Gilbert was born in Poitiers, France, and was a pupil of bernard of chartres and anselm of laon. He was consecrated Bishop of Poitiers in 1142. He was the author of commentaries on the Psalms and on the …   Who’s Who in Christianity

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