BERENGAR OF POITIERS—one of the most renowned students of Peter Abelard; Scholasticus, as he called himself at the beginning of his writings, he lived in the twelfth century.
His place of birth and where he worked are unknown. It is sometimes thought that he lived in Gevaudan. Ms 2923 of the National Library in Paris calls him Pictaviensis and hence he is called Berengar de Poitiers. He wrote Apologeticus contra beatum Bernardum, Claravallensem abbatem, et alios qui condemnaverunt Petrum Abaelardum (PL 178, 1857–1870), a pamphlet without historical value—in it one may find some remarks on the preparatory work for the Synod in Sens (1140) that condemned Abelard; the first part is directed against Bernard of Clairvaux, and in the second part his intention was to defend Abelard’s doctrine. In Epistula contra carthusienses (PL 178, 1875–1880) he criticized the customs of religious orders at that time, especially the neglect of silence, and in Epistola ad episcopum Mimatensem (PL 178, 1871–1874) he made malicious remarks about Bernard de Clairvaux while at the same time honoring his sanctity and seeing in him a witness of the epoch; the same applies to the abbey in Chartres—Berengar praises their rich religious life. Tractatus de Incarnatione is also ascribed to him, in which one finds a statement about God as different from the Creator of the world. These writings show Berengar as a writer with witty language that demonstrates a highly developed literary culture, and more as a polemicist than as a thinker who positively expounds upon his views.
Editions of Berengar’s works: Petri Abaelardi opera omnia (II, ed. V. Cousin, P 1859); French translation Apologeticus contra beatum Bernardum, Claravellensem […] and Introduction to Epistola ad Episcopum Mimatensem in addition to M. M. Guizot, Abailard et Héloise (P 1853).
G. Gennaro, ECat II 1375–1376; R. Klibansky, L’épitre de B. contre les chartreux, Revue de moyen-âge latin 2 (1946), 314–316; D. E. Luscombe, The School of Peter Abelard, Lo 1969, 29–40; J. Brachtendorf, LThK II (19944), 244.