Albertus Magnus, Saint biographical name
(born c. 1200, Lauingen on the Danube, near Ulm, Bavariadied Nov. 15, 1280, Cologne; canonized Dec. 16, 1931; feast day November 15) German cleric, theologian, and philosopher. Son of a wealthy German lord, he studied at Padua, where he joined the Dominican order (1223). At the University of Paris he was introduced to the works of Aristotle and to Averroës' commentaries and decided to present to his contemporaries the entire body of human knowledge as seen by Aristotle and his commentators. For 20 years he worked on his Physica, which encompassed natural science, logic, rhetoric, mathematics, astronomy, ethics, economics, politics, and metaphysics. He believed that many points of Christian doctrine were recognizable both by faith and by reason. In 1248 he organized the first Dominican studium generale (general house of studies, a precursor to the university) in Germany, at Cologne. Thomas Aquinas, who had been with Albertus in Paris and joined him in Cologne, was his chief disciple at this time. His works represented the entire body of European knowledge of his time, and he contributed greatly to the development of natural science.
Albertus Magnus, detail of a fresco by Tommaso da Modena, c. 1352; in the Church of San
—Alinari/Art Resource, New York
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