BERNARD OF AUVERGNE (Bernardus de Gannato, Bernardus Clarmontensis, Bernardus de Alvernia)—theologian, philosopher-polemicist, b. in Gannato in the province of Auvergne, d. around 1304.
Data concerning Bernard of Auvergne’s life and work are incomplete and uncertain. On the basis of manuscripts of his sermons it can be established that he was in Paris in 1302 and that he was a bachelor of theology in the University of Paris. In 1303 he was the prior in the Dominican convent of St. Jacques in Paris; on November 25, 1304 he was chosen to be a bishop by the cathedral chapter in Clermont, but he never took the position.
Bernard of Auvergne was the author of a commentary on the Sentences of P. Lombard—Lectura super IV libros Sententiarum (ms perished, cited in a work called Panthelogia by Rainerius a Pisis), polemical works—Contra dicta Henrici de Gandavo, quibus impugnat Thomam (ms—National Library in Paris, Cod. lat. 15489; Cod. lat. 1465 (f. 5r–167r); Improbationes contra Godefridum de Fontibus (the manuscript is found, among other places, in the National Library in Florence, Cod. II, II, 182, f. 313r–418r); Cod. Borghese 298, f. lr–153r, in the Vatican Library; Impugnationes contra Jacobum de Viterbo (ms—Toulouse, Cod. 744 (f. 156r–192r); Berlin, Cod. 468 theol. (f. 77r–105r); Cod. Vatic. Borghese 298 (f. 157–201) and Quaestiones 5 disputatae (mss—Barcelona, Archivo de la Corona de Aragon, S. Cucufate 54 (f. 13 d-19 d), and sermons (mss are found in the National Library in Paris, Cod. lat. 3557 (f. 50v, f. 102, f. 174), Cod. lat. 14889 (f. 47a). It is doubtful, however, that the work Impugnationes contra fratrem Egidium contradicentem Thomae super I Sent. (ms—Vatican Library, Cod. 772 (f. 4–17)) can be attributed to Bernard of Auvergne.
Bernard of Auvergne’s polemical works were without doubt esteemed by his contemporaries and later authors and they regarded them as an important scientific achievements. This is evident from citations of the works in scholastic works over the following centuries. Some of the who cited his works are Henry of Herford, Cardinal Torquemada, Johannes Capreolus, Johannes Nieder, Pico della Mirandola, Paolo Cortese, and Johannes Morinus. Capreolus in particular drew abundantly on Bernard of Auvergne’s polemical works in his own arguments against Gotfried of Fontaines and Jacob of Viterbo. Bernard’s texts as found in Carpreolus’ works show that their author, a student of St. Thomas who had attended his lectures, studied epistemological and psychological problems in depth. In particular, he analyzed the act of intellectual cognition, and against Henry of Ghent he defended and argued for the idea that the species intelligibilis must be received in the process of intellectual cognition. He devoted much attention to the problem of the mutual relation between acts of reason and of will. In the question of which of these powers precedes the other, he established that the intellect’s act of intuition occurs before the operation of the will, while discursive thought follows after the initiative of the will. In this matter he also studied in depth the problem of freedom of the will, and also analyzed the following questions: “Utrum voluntas sit altior potentia quam intellectus?” “Utrum operatio voluntatis sit propter operationem intellectus?”, and “Utrum intellectus magis uniatur intellecto quam voluntas volito?. In his writings Bernard explained and defended the views of Thomas Aquinas concerning, among other matters, the real difference between essence and existence in created beings (in the following questions: “Utrum creatura sit suum esse?”, “Utrum ponens essentiam creaturae idem cum esse possit salvare creationem?” contained in a polemical work against Henry of Ghent; “Utrum possit salvari creator si non different realiter esse in essentia in creaturis?”—in Impugnationes contra Jacobum de Viterbo). Such questions as the following concerning St. Thomas” characteristic teaching: “Utrum voluntas sit altior potentia intellectu?”, “Utrum anima sit sua potentia?”, “Utrum in materia sit rationes seminales respectu formae generandae?”, “Utrum forma substantialis recipit magis et minus?”, and others found in his work Contra dicta Henrici de Gandavo.
M. Grabmann, Doctrina S. Thomae de distinctione reali, R 1924, 131–190; P. Glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au XIIe siècle, P 1933, I 172–173; M. Grabmann, Mittelalterliches Geistesleben, Mn 1936, II 547–558.