AMAURY OF BÈNE (Latin Almaricus, Amalricus, Amauricus)—a theologian and philosopher, b. in Bène near Chartres, d. around 1205 in Paris.
It is difficult to establish his exact views since they have been reconstructed on the basis of the testimony of others. Amaury’s doctrine is associated with the doctrine of John Scotus Eriugena and the school of Chartres. Some of Amaury’s theses in fact differ from those commonly ascribed to him. Furthermore, in the theses that have been identified as authentic we must distinguish between the material and formal meaning. They sound the same as those of these others, but have a different meaning. Even if he drew his inspiration from certain theses of Eriugena, the school or Chartres, or Pseudo-Dionysius, we should emphasizes that he was no less inspired by the texts of St. Paul. Hence Alberic de Trois Fontaines would be confirmed in his doubt that Amaury and his disciples correctly understood the sources upon which they drew.
Amaury’s fundemental theses are as follows: everything that exists is God (omnia sunt Deus). Creatures with their plurality and variety lose their identity because everything is one—quite simply, that which is, is God (Omnia unum, quia quidquid est, est Deus). The same identical nature is present in different individuals. God is the essence of all creatures. God is formally the existence of everything that exists. He is invisible in himself but is known throught creatures, which are his theophanies. God’s ideas are creative and creating, and they are identical with God, since that which is in God is God. The Divine Essence is the essence of all things, and the necessity that links essence and existence in God also links creatures, which means that it also links God as he is manfested in his temporal representations.
The historians who mention Amaury and the Amalricians, namely Thomas Aquinas, Martin Polac, John Teutonicus, Henry Suzo, Alberic de Trois Fontaines, William Breton, and others, are unanimously in saying that he was a pantheist. On occasion Amaury seems to be a dialectician engaged in the virtuousity of his art. The basic problems he discussed—exemplarism, participation, causality, and God’s presence—show his ingenious and subtle mind, but also prompted him to balance on the edge of heresy as he placed too much emphasis on dialectic. For this reason he was condemned in 120 by the University of Paris and in 1215 by the Fourth Lateran Council.
C. Baeumeker, Contra Amaurianos. Ein anonymer, wahrsheinlich dem Gamerius v. Rochefort zugehöriger Traktat gegen die Amalrikaner, “Beiträge“ 24, 5–5, Mr 1926; A. Chollet, DThC I 936-940; C. G. Capelle, Autour du décret de 1210; III: Amaury de Béne. Étude sur son panthéisme formal, P 1932; F. Vernet, DSAM I 422–425; J. M. Parent, La doctrine de la création dans l’École de Chartres, P 1938; F. Foberti, Gioacchino da Fiore e il gioacchinismo antico e moderno, Pd 1942; G. Bonafede, Saggi sul pensiero di Scoto Eriugena, Palermo 1950; M. Dal Pra, Amaury di Bène, Mi 1951.