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Henry Of Ghent

HENRY OF GHENT [Henricus a Gandavo] (c. 1217-1293), scholastic philosopher, known as " Doctor Solennis," was born in the district of Mude, near Ghent, and died at Tournai (or Paris). He is said to have belonged to an Italian family named Bonicolli, in Flemish Goethals, but the question of his name has been much discussed (see authorities below). He studied at Ghent and then at Cologne under Albertus Magnus. After obtaining the degree of doctor he returned to Ghent, and is said to have been the first to lecture there publicly on philosophy and theology. Attracted to Paris by the fame of the university, he took part in the many disputes between the orders and the secular priests, and warmly defended the latter. A contemporary of Aquinas, he opposed several of the dominant theories of the time, and united with the current Aristotelian doctrines a strong infusion of Platonism. He distinguished between knowledge of actual objects and the divine inspiration by which we cognize the being and existence of God. The first throws no light upon the second. Individuals are constituted not by the material element but by their independent existence, i.e. ultimately by the fact that they are created as separate entities. Universals must be distinguished according as they have reference to our minds or to the divine mind. In the divine intelligence exist exemplars or types of the genera and species of natural objects. On this subject Henry is far from clear; but he defends Plato against the current Aristotelian criticism, and endeavours to show that the two views are in harmony. In psychology, his view of the intimate union of soul and body is remarkable. The body he regards as forming part of the substance of the soul, which through this union is more perfect and complete.

WORKS. Quodlibeta theologica (Paris, 1518; Venice, 1608 and 1613); Summa theologiae (Paris, 1520; Ferrara, 1646); De scriptoribus ecclesiasticis (Cologne, 1580).

AUTHORITIES. F. Huet's Recherches hist, el crit. . . . de H. de G. (Paris, 1838) has been superseded by F. Ehrle's monograph in Archiv fur Lit. u. Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters, i. (1885); see also A. Wauters and N. de Pauw in the Bull, de la Com. royale d'histoire de Belgique (4th series, xiv., xv., xvi., 1887-1889); H. Delehaye, Nouvelles Recherches sur Henri de Gand (1886) ; C.Werner, Heinrich von Gent als Reprasentant des christlichen Platonismus im I3ten Jahrh. (Vienna, 1878); A. Stockl, Phil. d. Mittelalters, ii. 738-758; C. Brdehillet Jourdain, La Philosophie de St Thomas d'Aquin (1858), ii. 29-46; Alphonse le Roy in Biographic nationale de Belgique, vii. (Brussels, 1880); and article SCHOLASTICISM.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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