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Peter of Poitiers (Latin: Petrus Pictaviensis) was a French scholastic theologian,[1] born at Poitiers or in its neighbourhood about 1130. He died in Paris, probably in 1215 (though Ulrich Rehm dates Peter's death to 1205 in "Bebilderte Vaterunser-Erklärungen des Mittelalters", Baden-Baden 1994, p. 62)



He studied at the University of Paris, where he became professor of theology and lectured for thirty-eight years. In 1169 he succeeded Peter Comestor in the chair of scholastic theology. His lectures were inspired the enmity of Gauthier de St-Victor, one of the bitterest opponents of Scholasticism, who ranked him with Gilbert de la Porrée, Abelard, and Peter Lombard in the pamphlet wherein he tries to throw ridicule on the four doctors, under the name of the Four Labyrinths of France.

As Chancellor of the Church of Paris he displayed great zeal on behalf of poor students, and to supply their want of text-books, which were very expensive, he had a kind of synopsis engraved on the walls of the classrooms for their assistance.

In 1191 he was appointed by Pope Celestine III to settle a dispute between the Abbeys of St-Eloi and St-Victor. He was a constant correspondent of Celestine III and Pope Innocent III. Certain writers believe that he died Bishop of Embrun; the Gallia Christiana Nova shows that he was only Chancellor of Paris.


In 1179 he published five books of sentences which are a synopsis of his lectures. His doctrine is orthodox, but, though containing no condemned proposition, it arguably exhibits more subtlety than theology based on Holy Scripture.

He wrote commentaries, still unedited, on Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and the Psalms. A chronological and genealogical abridgment of the Bible is attributed to him, but the authorship is uncertain. His works were published by Dom Hugo Mathoud with those of Robert Pullus (Paris, 1855).



  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Peter of Poitiers" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.

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