BARTHOLOMEW OF JASŁO—philosopher and theologian, professor in the Universities of Prague and Kraków, b. around 1360 in Jasło, d. in 1407 in Kraków.
He came from a burgher family from Jasło, whence he left, certainly before 1380, for his studies in Prague, where he studied philosophy in the faculty of arts. There in 1382 he obtained the degree of bachelor, and in 1384 master of arts. After he earned his master’s degree he began lectures in the faculty of philosophy. A year later he promoted his first students from the Polish nation to bachelors of arts. One of these students was Mathew of Raciąż, whom Bartholomew in his recommendation speech praised because he had strived become a friend of philosophy and thereby had embarked on the road of true happiness. The second one promoted also in 1385 as a bachelor of the arts in Prague was Bartholomew’s student Nicholas (Mikołaj) of Kurów, later the Archbishop of Gniezno.
From 1385 Bartholomew was a professor in the faculty of arts and at the same time studied law, but he did not obtain any degree, although according to the testimony of his professor and colleague, Luke of Wielki Koźmin, Bartholomew possessed great knowledge in this field. Bartholomew’s university speeches delivered in the faculty of arts of Prague University are the oldest known speeches delivered by a Polish master. In many of these addresses, in Prague and later in Kraków, he called students to study philosophy, in which he saw the leading field of knowledge that comprises the arts and sciences, and he saw in it an effective weapon in the battle against ignorance and darkness. When he promoted Blizbor (later a canon in Gniezno) to a bachelor in Prague on November 29, 1389, Bartholomew appealed to him to guard knowledge and the virtues, for these are true goods that flow from the treasury of philosophy that make men wealthy. This recommendation delivered on the occasion of Blizbor’s promotion as bachelor of arts is the last trace of Bartholomew in Prague. Around 1390 he returned to Poland and with great dedication he worked to renew the activities of the Academy of Kraków. He played an important role in these activities, for he spoke at the session of the Studium Generale that was renewed in the spring of 1390. From January 1394 he was the rector of a collegiate school in Sandomierz.
In 1399 he returned to Prague for theological studies, then returned to Kraków in 1400 or 1401 with the title of baccalarius sacrae paginae. Therefore he must have completed a two-year course on the Bible. In Kraków he took part in a commission that under the leadership of Stanisław of Skarbimierz prepared the university statutes. He continued the theological studies he had started in Prague under the direction of John Isner. In 1404 he began to deliver lectures on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. He based his lectures on a commentary of Menson of Prague. That commentary was written on Prague and was based on the writings of the Augustinian Thomas of Strasburg. Bartholomew also had at his disposal a commentary by Thomas of Strasburg, who was influenced by St. Augustine and Giles of Rome. After concluding his lectures on all four books of Peter Lombard’s Sentences, he met all the conditions to receive a doctorate in theology, and this took place in 1406 after he had prepared the so-called quaestio in aula that a doctoral candidate in theology customarily delivered at the solemn doctoral promotion (these events were probably interrupted by Bartholomew’s death).
The entire body of Bartholomew of Jasło’s scientific work, which is impressive, spread throughout various manuscripts to be found today in the Jagiellonian Library, are strictly connected with his studies and work as a professor in the universities of Prague and Kraków. This body of work includes promotional addresses and introductory lectures delivered in the faculty of arts, sermons and speeches in the university, sermons to the clergy, a treatise on ignorance, a variety of theological statements, a treatise Ad celebrantes missam, some Latin songs, and commentaries on Peter Lombard’s Sentences in the form of glosses. Until the mid-twentieth century Bartholomew’s work was almost unknown. In the 1960s M. Kowalczyk (custodian in the section of manuscripts in the Jagiellonian Library) made important discoveries. She established an autograph of Bartholomew and identified many of his works that had been preserved as anonymous in several over a dozen manuscripts. She worked on his speeches, analyzed them, and for the first time presented them in print, presenting large fragments from them in notes. They are an important source of our knowledge of the history of the University of Kraków, especially of attempts to renew it as early as 1390, that is, 10 years before its restoration in 1400. In Bartholomew’s work of special importance are his university addresses, Tractatus de ignorantia (ms BJ 2192); Ad celebrantes missam (ms BJ 2210), a very extensive commentary in the form of glosses on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (ms BJ 1752), and glosses on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics with the commentaries of Thomas Aquinas (ms BJ 501). In his philosophical and theological views, Bartholomew followed the authorities of the via antiqua, and supplemented their views at times with those of authors who belonged to the via moderna. The main direction for Bartholomew was fourteenth-century Augustinianism in the version of authors such as Thomas of Strasburg, Henry of Ghent, and Peter of Tarantasia. He called Giles of Rome “doctor noster” and cited him frequently. He also cited St. Thomas Aquinas, and he certain drew upon Thomas’ commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics in his own lectures on ethics, complementing them at times with glosses from the commentaries of Buridan and Albert of Saxony. When commenting on the Sentences he also drew upon the texts of Gregory of Rimini and Henry Totting of Oyta (representatives of moderate nominalism). Bartholomew’s ethical views may be described as ethical intellectualism in view of how he attached great importance to the moral problematic and the significance of knowledge for morality. Bartholomew of Jasło devoted much attention in his university addresses to the question of knowledge. He often emphasized that knowledge is a necessary condition for the ethical life, and his treatise De ignorantia is more a moral-legal treatise than an epistemological treatise.
Liber decanorum facultatis philosophicae Universitatis Pragensis pars prima. Monumenta historica Universitatis Carolo-Ferdinandae Pragensis, Pr 1830, I 209, 219, 239; Album seu matricula facultatis iuridicae Universitatis Pragensis, II 1, Pr 1834, 97; Z. Budkowa, Odnowienie Jagiellońskie Uniwersytetu Krakowskiego (1390–1414) [Restoration of the Jagiellonian University of Kraków (1390–1414)], in: Dzieje Uniwersytetu Krakowskiego w świetle mów B. z Jasła [History of Kraków University in light of the speeches of Bartholomew of Jasło], Małopolskie Studia Historyczne [Mało-Polski Historical Studies] 6 (1964) n. 3–4, 23–42; idem, Mowy uniwersyteckie B. z Jasła [University addresses of B. of Jasło], Biuletyn Biblioteki Jagiellońskiej [Bulletin of Jagiellonian Library] 15 (1964), 23–32; idem, B. z Jasła [Bartholomew of Jasło] MHFS 5 (1965), 3–23; J. Zathey, Biblioteka Jagiellońska w latach 1364–1492 [Jagiellonian Libary in the years 1364–1492] in: Historia Biblioteki Jagiellońskiej [History of Jagiellonian University], Kr 1966, I 64–66; M. Kowalczyk, Krakowskie mowy uniwersyteckie z pierwsej połowy XV w. [Kraków University addresses from the first half of the fifteenth century], Wr 1970 (passim); M. Markowski, FPS 16–17; J. Drewnowski, Dwa modele uczonego w twórczości pierwszych mistrzów Wszechnicy Krakowskiej. Próba analizy porównawczej poglądów B. z Jasła i Stanisława ze Skarbimierza [Two models of the scholar in the work of the first masters of the University of Kraków. An attempt at a comparative analysis of the views of B. of Jasła and Stanisław of Skarbimierz, Studia i Materiały z Dziejów Nauki Polskiej [Studies and materials from the history of Polish science], series A (1983) n. 16, 3–71.