Saint Albertus Magnus (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Albertus expanded scientific knowledge through experimentation and observation. As an Aristotelian, he reconciled reason with revelation.
Albertus was born at Lauingen in Swabia, the eldest son of the Count of Bollstädt. The exact date of his birth is not known; it could have been as early as 1193 or as late as 1207. Albertus matured during the most dynamic decades in medieval history, decades marked by the rule of great medieval sovereigns such as Pope Innocent III, Philip II in France, and Ferdinand III in Castile. The Albigensian and the Fourth crusades were fought at this time, and in England, King John signed the Magna Carta. The dates, places, and content of Albertus’ education are still open to speculation. Most scholars believe that he studied the liberal arts for some months in 1222 at the newly founded University of Padua.
As the University of Padua had just broken away from the University of Bologna over the issue of civil versus canon law, it would appear that Albertus’ father planned for him to become a civil lawyer. That would account, too, for the strong objections of Albertus’ family when, in 1223, at about the age of sixteen, he joined the Dominican Order.
As a novice, Albertus studied theology, probably at Bologna, where he was immersed in the writings of theologians ranging from Saint Augustine to Robert Grosseteste. Despite the constitutions...
(The entire section is 2079 words.)
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