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Bartholomew Mastrius

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Franciscan, philosopher and theologian, born near Forli, at Meldola, Italy, in 1602; died 3 January, 1673. He was one of the most prominent writers of his time on philosophy and theology. He received his early education at Cesena, and took degrees at the University of Bologna. He also frequented the Universities of Padua and Rome before assuming the duties of lecturer. He acquired a profound knowledge of scholastic philosophy and theology, being deeply versed in the writings of Scotus. He was an open-minded and independent scholar. As a controversialist he was harsh and arrogant towards his opponents, mingling invective with his arguments. His opinions on some philosophical questions were fiercely combatted by many of his contemporaries and especially by Matthew Ferchi and the Irish Franciscan, John Ponce. When presenting the second volume of his work on the "Sentences" to Alexander VII, to whom he had dedicated it, the pope asked him where he had learned to treat his opponent Ferchi in such a rough manner: Mastrius answered, "From St. Augustine and St. Jerome , who in defence of their respective opinions on the interpretation of Holy Scripture fought hard and not without reason ": the pope smilingly remarked, "From such masters other things could be learned". Ponce in his treatise on Logic holds that with qualifying explanations God may be included in the Categories. Mastrius in combatting this opinion characteristically says, "Hic Pontius male tractat Deum sicut et alter". Mastrius had a well-ordered intellect which is seen in the clearness and precision with which he sets forth the subject-matter of discussion. His arguments for and against a proposition show real critical power and are expressed in accurate and clear language. His numerous quotations from ancient and contemporary authors and various schools of thought are a proof of his extensive reading. His works shed light on some of the difficult questions in Scotistic philosophy and theology. His "Philosophy" in five volumes folio, his "Commentaries" on the "Sentences" in four volumes, and his Moral Theology "ad mentem S. Bonaventurae" in one volume were all published in Venice.

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