Jean Gerson Criticism - Essay

Heiko Augustinus Oberman (essay date 1963)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Oberman, Heiko Augustinus. “Jean Gerson: Nominalist and Mystic.” In The Harvest of Medieval Theology: Gabriel Biel and Late Medieval Nominalism, pp. 331-40. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963.

[In following excerpt, Oberman investigates the apparent influence of two contradictory theological schools on Gerson's thought.]


[Gabriel] Biel's authority par eminence for all problems concerning the contemplative life is Jean Gerson, the influential Chancellor of the University of Paris from 1395 throughout the turbulent beginnings of the conciliar high tide of the fifteenth...

(The entire section is 4064 words.)

Steven E. Ozment (essay date 1970)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Ozment, Steven E. “The University and the Church: Patterns of Reform in Jean Gerson.” Medievalia et Humanistica 1 (1970): 111-26.

[In the following essay, Ozment argues that Gerson's programs for reform of the University of Paris and the Church are part of a consistent strain of his thought.]

This essay will explore the relationship between Jean Gerson's program for theological reform within the University of Paris and his program for the unification and reform of the Church. The former program culminates in the development of a mystical theology as the more effective way to salutary knowledge of God. The latter culminates in the enactment of the via...

(The entire section is 6422 words.)

Louis B. Pascoe (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pascoe, Louis B. “Personal Reform.” In Jean Gerson: Principles of Church Reform, pp. 175-206. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1973.

[In the following essay, Pascoe explores how Gerson's views on ecclesiastical reform are rooted in the reformation of the individual.]

All ecclesiastical reform must, in the final analysis, terminate in personal reform if it is to be in any way effective. This personal orientation is intrinsic to Gerson's ideas on episcopal and clerical reform. Hierarchy and hierarchical activity result in the reformation and sanctification of the individual and thereby contribute toward the growth and edification of the entire mystical body. The purpose...

(The entire section is 14170 words.)

Louis B. Pascoe (essay date 1974)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pascoe, Louis B. “Jean Gerson: Mysticism, Conciliarism, and Reform.” Annuarium Historiae Concilorum 6 (1974): 135-53.

[In following essay, Pascoe emphasizes the importance of the concept of hierarchical order in Gerson's writings, arguing that it links several aspects of his thought.]

Within the past ten years our understanding of the ecclesiology of Jean Gerson (1363-1429) has undergone a considerable, if not revolutionary, transformation. Until the work of G. H. M. Posthumus Meyjes, Gerson's ecclesiology was commonly regarded as a form of radical conciliarism. His ideas on the church were frequently compared to the laicizing tradition of Marsilius of...

(The entire section is 9117 words.)

Louis B. Pascoe (essay date 1974)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pascoe, Louis B. “Jean Gerson: The ‘Ecclesia Primitiva’ and Reform.” Traditio 30 (1974): 379-409.

[In following essay, Pascoe discusses Gerson's ideas concerning the “primitive Church,” the Church in its earliest days, which held a central place in his teachings on Church reform.]

Recent studies on the history of reform in the early and medieval church have been highly influenced by the works of Gerhart Ladner.1 In his writings Ladner stresses primarily the ideological foundations of reform. He distinguishes, moreover, the idea of reform from other types of renewal. In contrast with cosmological, vitalistic, and millenaristic renewal,...

(The entire section is 15497 words.)

Louis B. Pascoe (essay date 1974)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pascoe, Louis B. “Gerson and the Donation of Constantine: Growth and Development within the Church.” Viator 5 (1974): 469-85.

[In the essay that follows, Pascoe examines Gerson's views of the early Church, particularly regarding the enormous changes brought about the Donation of Constantine, a document long believed legitimate but ultimately proved a forgery, in which the Emperor granted great power and possessions to the Pope.]

In the Middle Ages, few documents received the attention given to the Donation of Constantine.1 Although lawyers and royal publicists frequently doubted its validity, its authenticity was generally accepted. Not until the...

(The entire section is 8457 words.)

Steven Ozment (essay date 1980)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Ozment, Steven. “The Spiritual Traditions: Critics of Scholasticism.” In The Age of Reform, 1250-1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe, pp. 73-82. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1980.

[In the following excerpt, Ozment sketches out the main lines of Gerson's thought.]

By the end of the fourteenth century, when scholasticism had run its course as a creative movement and its excesses and limitations had become all too evident, critics returned to patristic and monastic ideals in an effort to revive traditional religious life both within and beyond the universities. Two of the most effective late medieval...

(The entire section is 2469 words.)

B. J. Caiger (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Caiger, B. J. “Doctrine and Discipline in the Church of Jean Gerson.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 41, No. 3 (July 1990): 389-407.

[In the essay that follows, Caiger discusses how Gerson's views of teaching shifted over time, from an emphasis on “how one may be confident that what is taught is true” to “how one may know that the teacher has a right to teach and may therefore be trusted.”]

The problem of ascertaining by what means and what authority true teachings may be distinguished from false is fundamental to any ecclesiology, since the ecclesiastical community is based, above all, on commonly accepted doctrine. It is a community whose...

(The entire section is 10180 words.)

Mark S. Burrows (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Burrows, Mark S. “Jean Gerson after Constance: ‘Via Media et Regia’ as a Revision of the Ockhamist Covenant.” Church History 49, No. 4 (December 1990): 467-81.

[In following essay, Burrows focuses on how Gerson's theological theories changed after the Council of Constance, especially as reflected in his On the Consolation of Theology.]

Few issues have received as much attention and achieved as little consensus among historians of late medieval theology during the past several generations as the debate over the character of “nominalism.” One thrust of the research from this debate has focused on the theological dimensions of this scholastic...

(The entire section is 7890 words.)