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Peter Lombard
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Religious Figure
    (circa 1100-July 20, 1160)
    Born in Lumellagno, Italy
    Medieval Catholic theologian
    Most well known for his monumental work, 'Sentences' or 'The Four Books of Sentences,' a collection of theological questions and how the Bible and the Church Fathers address the answers
    Studied in Rheims and Paris
    Taught at Notre Dame in Paris
    Appointed Bishop of Paris late in life
    'Sentences' was by today's standards a 'cut and paste' job. Lombard collected what the Bible and Church Fathers said about a subject but contributed relatively little of his own thought and usually did not try to reconcile differences in opinions between theologians.
    He was unable to take advantage of the Greek philosophical writings (especially Aristotle) that became available the century after his death.
    He was little interested in being a bishop and proved to be a very average one.
    'Sentences' was not translated into English until the 20th century.
    He used very little of the Greek Fathers.
    His sermons were quite dry and frankly boring.
    Physically, 'Sentences' was an incredible achievement: Lombard had to singlehandedly go through the entire Bible and the collected Church Fathers, write down what was said on the various questions and then put it in book form. All by hand.
    Although he usually let the quoted material speak for itself, he did contribute to several areas, particularly to the idea that 'God is love' as the Bible says is meant to be understood literally and that we partake in the Divine Nature when we love one another.
    'Sentences' became a standard textbook for Catholic seminaries throughout the Middle Ages.
    Even Martin Luther and John Calvin used 'Sentences' as a reference.
    Being from a poor family, he accomplished all that he did without any type of connections in high places.
    He also wrote very well received works on the Psalms and the writings of St. Paul.
    'Sentences' was so influential during the Middle Ages that graduate students in theology had to do the equivalent of a dissertation on it to graduate.
    Unlike today's televangelists, he never had any type of scandal, financial or personal, attached to his name.

Credit: tom_jeffords


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