On Job, Volume 1
Franklin T. St. Albert The Great Catholic University of America Press, 2019 Library of Congress BS1415.53.A4313 2019 | Dewey Decimal 223.107
Even prior to his death on 15 November 1280, the Dominican master Albert of Lauingen was legendary on account of his erudition. He was widely recognized for the depth and breadth of his learning in the philosophical disciplines as well as in the study of God, earning him the titles Doctor universalis and Doctor expertus. Moreover, his authoritative teaching merited him the moniker Magnus, an appellation bestowed on no other man of the High Middle Ages. This volume contains the first half of Albert the Great’s commentary On Job (on chs. 1-21), translated into English for the first time; a translation of the second half of the work will appear in a subsequent volume of the Fathers of the Church, Mediaeval Continuation series. Albert completed Super Iob in 1272 or 1274, when he was over seventy years old, at the Dominican Kloster of Heilige Kreuz in Cologne, where, as lector emeritus of the Order, he likely lectured on this profound biblical book. Significantly, Albert may have been inspired to produce On Job by his most famous student, Thomas Aquinas, who had written his own Joban commentary, the Expositio super Iob ad litteram, while serving as conventual lector at San Domenico in Orvieto from 1261 to 1264. Yet Albert occupies a unique position in the history of the interpretation of Job: he is the first and only exegete in history who explicitly reads the whole book as a debate in the mode of an academic or scholastic disputation among Job and his friends about divine providence concerning human affairs. The Introduction to this volume situates Albert’s On Job—its general approach and key exegetical features—in the broad context of Dominican theological education and pastoral formation in the thirteenth century.
Irven M. St. Albert the Great Catholic University of America Press, 2020 Library of Congress BT873.A[lbertus]13 | Dewey Decimal 236.8
According to 1 Cor 15.44 and 1 Cor 15.52, the human body “is sown an animal body, [but] it will rise a spiritual body” and “the dead will rise again incorruptible, and we will be changed.” These passages prompted many questions: What is a spiritual body? How can a body become incorruptible? Where will the resurrected body be located? And, what will be the nature of its experience? Medieval theologians sought to answer such questions but encountered troubling paradoxes stemming from the conviction that the resurrected body will be an “impassible body” or constituted from “incorruptible matter.” By the thirteenth century the resurrection demanded increased attention from Church authorities, not only in response to certain popular heresies but also to calm heated debates at the University of Paris. William of Auvergne, Bishop of Paris, officially condemned ten errors in 1241 and in 1244, including the proposition that the blessed in the resurrected body will not see the divine essence. In 1270 Parisian Bishop Étienne Tempier condemned the view that God cannot grant incorruption to a corruptible body, and in 1277 he rejected propositions that a resurrected body does not return as numerically one and the same, and that God cannot grant perpetual existence to a mutable, corruptible body.
The Dominican scholar Albert the Great was drawn into the university debates in Paris in the 1240s and responded in the text translated here for the first time. In it, Albert considers the properties of resurrected bodies in relation to Aristotelian physics, treats the condition of souls and bodies in heaven, discusses the location and punishments of hell, purgatory, and limbo, and proposes a “limbo of infants” for unbaptized children. Albert’s On Resurrection not only shaped the understanding of Thomas Aquinas but also that of many other major thinkers.
On the Body of the Lord
Albert Albert the Great Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BV825.3.A4313 2017 | Dewey Decimal 234.163
Albert the Great wrote On the Body of the Lord in the 1270s, making it his final work of sacramental theology. A companion volume to his commentary on the Mass, On the Body of the Lord is a comprehensive discussion of Eucharistic theology. The treatise is structured around six names for the Eucharist taken from the Mass: grace, gift, food, communion, sacrifice, and sacrament. It emerges from the liturgy and is intended to draw the reader back to worship.
The overall movement of the treatise follows the order of God’s wisdom. Albert begins by discussing the Eucharist as a gift flowing from the goodness of the Trinity. He touches on its relation to redemption and the Church, including a rigorous Aristotelian analysis of Eucharistic change and presence before ending with a discussion of Mass rubrics. The most significant theological emphasis is on the Eucharist as food given to feed the people of God.
The style varies to suit the content: certain sections are terse; others are devotional, allowing the reader to enter the saint’s own prayer. Perhaps most characteristically Albertine is an extended meditation that compares the process of digestion to the incorporation of the Christian into the Body of Christ. The mixed style allows this work to integrate rigorous aspects of scholastic thought with a fervent love for God, making On the Body of the Lord one of Albert’s most human as well as one of his most beautiful works.
On the Body of the Lord was well received, particularly in areas that came to be influenced by the devotio moderna. By 1484, three separate Latin editions had been printed, two of which were the inaugural works on new presses. In the following century the Protestant Reformation brought an end to its popularity. On the Body of the Lord is here translated into English for the first time.
This text, the Questions concerning Aristotle's On Animals [Quaestiones super de animalibus], recovered only at the beginning of the twentieth century and never before translated in its entirety, represents Conrad of Austria's report on a series of disputed questions that Albert the Great addressed in Cologne ca. 1258.