Hugh of Saint-Cher, O.P. (Latin: Hugo de Sancto Charo; c. 1200 – 19 March 1263) was a French Dominican friar who became a cardinal and noted biblical commentator.

Hugh of Saint-Cher

Cardinal Priest of Santa Sabina (1244–1261)
Cardinal Bishop of Ostia (1261–1262)
Cardinal Priest of Santa Sabina (1262–1263)
SeeBishop of Ostia
Term ended1262
PredecessorRinaldo di Jenne
SuccessorHenry of Segusio
Ordinationc. 1227
Created cardinal1244
Personal details
Bornc. 1200
Saint-Cher, Dauphiné
Died19 March 1263
Orvieto, Papal States
DenominationRoman Catholic



Hugh was born at Saint-Cher, a suburb of Vienne, Dauphiné, around the beginning of the 13th century. After completing his early studies at a local monastery near his home, at about the age of fourteen, he went to the University of Paris to study philosophy, theology, and jurisprudence, which latter subject he later taught in the same city.[1]

In 1225, he entered the Dominican priory there and took the religious habit of the recently founded Order. Soon after his admission, he was appointed as Prior Provincial of the Order for France. In 1230 he became Master of Theology and was elected prior of the Paris monastery. During those years, he contributed largely to the Order's success, and won the confidence of Pope Gregory IX, who sent him as a papal legate to Constantinople in 1233.[1]



Pope Innocent IV made Hugh a Cardinal Priest as the first of the Dominican order[2] in 1244, with his titular church being Santa Sabina, the mother church of the Dominican Order. He then played an important part in the First Council of Lyons, which took place the following year. He contributed to the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi on the General Roman Calendar. In 1247, upon instructions of Pope Innocent, Hugh revised the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert, which the Saint Albert Avogadro, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, had given the first Carmelite friars on Mount Carmel. The Holy See felt it necessary to mitigate some of the Rule's more demanding elements to make it more compatible with conditions in Europe. The same pope approved these changes,[3] and this revision remains the Rule for the Carmelite Order. After the death in 1250 of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, Pope Innocent sent Hugh to Germany as his legate for the election of a successor.[1]

Under the authority of Pope Alexander IV, in 1255 Hugh supervised the commission that condemned the Introductorius in Evangelium aeternum of Gherardino da Borgo San Donnino, which promoted the teachings of Abbot Joachim of Fiore. These teachings worried the bishops as they had become widespread among the "Spiritual" wing of the Franciscan friars, to which Gherardino belonged.[4]

He also supervised the condemnation of William of St Amour's De periculis novissimorum temporum. This work was an expression of the attack on the mendicant Orders, who were becoming so successful in the lives of the universities, by the secular clergy who had previously had unchallenged authority there. Hugh served as Major Penitentiary of the Catholic Church from 1256 to 1262. He was named Cardinal Bishop of Ostia in December 1261, but resigned a few months later and returned to his title of Santa Sabina.

Hugh was in residence in Orvieto, Italy, with Pope Urban IV, who had established a long-term residence there, when he died on 19 March 1263.[5]


In universum Vetus et Novum Testamentum, 1732

Hugh of St-Cher (or, possibly, a team of scholars under his direction) was the first to compile a so-called "correctorium", a collection of variant readings of the Bible. His work, entitled "Correctio Biblie", survives in more than a dozen manuscripts.[6]

In the preface to the "Correctio Biblie", Hugh writes that he has collated various Latin versions and biblical commentaries, as well as the Hebrew manuscripts.[7] For his approach to the text of the Bible, he was criticised by William de la Mare, author of another correctorium.[8]

His commentary on Peter Lombard's Book of Sentences exercised significant influence over subsequent generations of theologians.[9] The works introduced for the first time the distinction between God's unconditioned potence (in Latin: potentia absoluta) and his conditioned one (potentia conditionata). The latter belongs to the divine kingship, but is also limited by the goodness and love of God, as well as by the law he had given to mankind.[10][11] The distinction influenced the theology of John Duns Scotus who distinguished the unconditioned potence of God (potentia absoluta) from the ordained potence (potentia ordinata).[12][13] The distinction was forged in his commentary on the Sentences.[14] This new theological notion was rejected by William of Auxerre, Thomas Aquinas, Albert the Great, Saint Bonaventure and John of La Rochelle.[14] William Courtenay (1342-1396) and Lawrence Moonan identified its origin in the Summa Theologiae of Geoffrey of Poitiers.[15]

Hugh of Saint-Cher also wrote the Postillae in sacram scripturam juxta quadruplicem sensum, litteralem, allegoricum, anagogicum et moralem, published frequently in the 15th and 16th centuries. His Sermones de tempore et sanctis are apparently only extracts. His exegetical works were published at Venice in 1754 in eight volumes.[16]

Hugh directed the compilation of the first Bible concordance (of the Vulgate), completed in 1230.[17]


  1. ^ a b c Gigot, Francis. "Hugh of St-Cher." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 2 June 2018
  2. ^ Hieronymus, Frank (1997). 1488 Petri-Schwabe 1988: eine traditionsreiche Basler Offizin im Spiegel ihrer frühen Drucke (in German). Schwabe. p. 14. ISBN 978-3-7965-1000-7.
  3. ^ Smet O.Carm., Joachim. "The Mitigation of the Rule, 1247", The Mirror of Carmel, Carmelite Media, 2011, ISBN 978-1-936742-01-1
  4. ^ "Hugo of Sancto Caro", The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, (James Strong and John McClintock, eds.) Harper and Brothers. New York. 1880
  5. ^ Principe C.S.B., Walter Henry. Hugh of Saint-Cher's Theology of the Hypostatic Union, Vol. 3, PIMS, Toronto. 1970, ISBN 9780888440198
  6. ^ For the chronological order of the correctoria, see Gilbert Dahan, 'Sorbonne II. Un correctoire biblique de la seconde moitié du XIIIe siècle', in La Bibbia del XIII secolo: Storia del testo, storia dell’esegesi. Convegno della Società Internazionale per lo Studio del Medioevo Latino (SISMEL). Firenze, 1-2 giugno 2001, ed. G. Cremascoli and F. Santi, Florence 2004, pp. 113-153, at pp. 113-114. For the influence of the Correctio Biblie on later correctoria, see Heinrich Denifle, 'Die Handschriften der Bibel-Correctorien des 13. Jahrhunderts', Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters 4 (1888), pp. 263-311 and 471-601, at p. 544. See ibid., p. 264, for a list of manuscripts; another three have been added by Thomas Kaeppeli and Emilio Panella, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum Medii Aevii, 4 vols, Rome 1970-1993, II, p. 273 (no. 1986)
  7. ^ The preface has been edited by Gilbert Dahan, 'La critique textuelle dans les correctoires de la Bible du XIIIe siècle', in Langages et philosophie: hommage à Jean Jolivet, ed. A. de Libera, A. Elamrani-Jamal, A. Galonnier, Paris 1997, pp. 365-392, at pp. 386-387.
  8. ^ See Denifle, 'Die Handschriften', p. 296, n. 5.
  9. ^ Bieniak, Magdalena. "The Sentences Commentary of Hugh of St.-Cher", Mediaeval Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, vol.2, Brill, 2009, ISBN 9789004181434
  10. ^ Vos, Antoine (20 March 2018). The Theology of John Duns Scotus. Studies in Reformed Theology. Brill. p. 68. ISBN 9789004360235. OCLC 1019662563.
  11. ^ "De necessitate doctrinae revelatae - Pars Prima- Quaestio unica - Utrum homini pro statu isto sit necessarium alquam doctrinam supernaturaliter inspirari". Archived from the original on 16 February 2017.
  12. ^ Rosemann, Philipp W (27 January 2015). Mediaeval Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Medieval commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Vol. 3. Boston: Brill. p. 58. ISBN 9789004283046. OCLC 902674270.
  13. ^ Ojakangas, Mika (2012). "Potentia absoluta et potentia ordinata Dei: on the theological origins of Carl Schmitt's theory of constitution". Continental Philosophy Review. 45 (4). Springer Science+Business Media: 505–517. doi:10.1007/s11007-012-9233-x. ISSN 1387-2842. OCLC 5659908428. S2CID 159715427. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  14. ^ a b Vos, Antonie (20 March 2018). The Theology of John Duns Scotus. Studies in Reformed Theology. Brill. p. 68. ISBN 9789004360235. OCLC 1019662563.
  15. ^ Rosemann, Philipp W. (17 January 2015). Mediaeval Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Medieval commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Vol. 3. Brill. p. 58. ISBN 9789004283046. OCLC 902674270. Retrieved 11 July 2021.
  16. ^ Labrosse 1911.
  17. ^   Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Concordances of the Bible". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Hugh of St-Cher". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.


  • Quétif and Jacques Échard, Scriptores ordinis prædicatorum recensiti, notisque historicis illustrati ad annum 1700 auctoribus
  • Heinrich Seuse Denifle, in Archiv für Literatur und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters, i.49, ii.171, iv.263 and 471
  • L'Année dominicaine, (1886) iii.509 and 883
  • Chartularium universitatis Parisiensis, i.158.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLabrosse, Henri (1911). "Hugh of St Cher". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 858–859.
  • Ayelet Even-Ezra, Ecstasy in the Classroom: Trance, Self and the Academic Profession in Medieval Paris (Fordham University Press: NY, 2018).
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Cardinal-bishop of Ostia
Succeeded by