Albertus Magnus

Albertus Magnus (also Albertus Teutonicus; Albertus Coloniensis; Albert the Great, Albert of the German, Albert of Lauingen, often wrongly called Albert Graf von Bollstaedt; * around 1200 in Lauingen on the Danube, † November 15, 1280 in Cologne ) was a German scholar and bishop who pioneered the Christian Aristotelianism of the Middle Ages. In 1622 he was beatified and on 16 December 1931 by Pope Pius XI. canonized and declared a Doctor of the Church.


Albertus ' father, Mark Ward of Lauingen, possibly came from the lower layer of the Hohenstaufen service nobility, ministry officials, and practiced in or near Lauingen rule tasks. Albert himself spent there probably his first youth.

Albert's year of birth is unknown. Some researchers (eg Franz Pelster, HC Scheeben, Hugo standing Kamper ) take 1193 and relate to the specification of the Ludwig von Valladolid (Paris, 1414) that Albert died in 1280, " after he completed about 87 years of life had ". Others (eg Mandonnet, Glorieux, Fernand Van Steenberghen ) start from 1206/ 07, where they are based on the Chronicle of Henry of Herford ( 1355 ), after Albert " a boy of sixteen years " was when he entered the Order (by 1223 ). Since both data contradict each other, one can not say more than that Albert was born around the year 1200 or a little earlier after JA Weisheipl. Meinolf Also Lohrum OP has convincingly argued for the birth indication " around 1200 ".

Getting reliable information on Albertus ' stay date from the year 1222. At that time, he lived with an uncle in Venice and Padua. From the following year he studied the liberal arts and perhaps medicine in Padua. Already at this time he came into contact with the writings of Aristotle and with Jordan of Saxony, Dominic 's successor as Superior General of the Dominican Order. Even in 1223 Albertus joined this Order. His novitiate he graduated in Cologne in the monastery in the Stolkgasse, where he began the study of the theology and was ordained a priest. Then Albertus studied at various Dominican convent schools, including Hildesheim, Freiburg im Breisgau, Regensburg and Strasbourg. Albertus Magnus held from 1236 to 1238 the office of master in reading Predigerkloster in Freiburg. During this time he wrote his first writings, among others, the Praise of Mary. When Jordan of Saxony died in 1237, Albertus was proposed in the following year on the Order Chapter of the Dominicans in Bologna by the German meeting participants as the new general of the order, but not selected.

1243 Albertus went for five years at the University of Sorbonne in Paris, where she earned the Master of Divinity in 1245, taught for three years and dealt intensively with Aristotle and the Jewish-Arab philosophy. Thomas Aquinas joined him at this time as a student at. As a member of a committee of forty experts put Albert in 1248 in Paris his signature on a document that condemned the Talmud and other Jewish texts and their combustion ordered. During his time in Paris Albertus lived in the convent of Saint-Jacques. In 1248 he came again to Cologne, to direct the just launched Studium Generale of his order there. Under him, the Cologne convent school developed an excellent reputation and attracted students from all over Europe. As a follow up of this institution, the university was founded in 1388 by the City of Cologne in Cologne. He was probably on August 15, 1248 witnessed the foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral. Albert also played a prominent role in the disputes between the city and the Archbishop in his time in Cologne. In the small difference on 17 April 1252 and in large difference on June 28, 1258 he gutach ended in favor of the citizens whose rights recognized Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden on his advice to go.

1254 Albert was elected Provincial of the German- Worms Dominican Order province of Teutonia, to which he gave his teaching office in Cologne. In the following years he moved - almost always on foot - by the German lands to inspect the total of 40 branches and maintain the monastic discipline. 1257 ended Albertus ' provincial office, and he returned as head of the religious school back to Cologne.

On January 5, 1260 Albertus was and appointed by Pope Alexander IV to the bishop of Regensburg in order to princes. Alexander had ignored this decision on the actual right to vote, to draw a line under several irregular runny Episcopal elections and the mismanagement of the previous years in the diocese. In addition, Alexander was an outspoken promoter of the mendicant orders, which were given by the episcopal dignity for an additional political weight of their number. Albertus even took office only reluctantly and also looked criticism of the Order line against which regarded this position as incompatible with the principle of poverty. However, Albert was ordained a bishop in July 1260 and in September took part in a synod in Bavaria. 1262 Albert stayed at the court of Pope Urban IV in Orvieto. There the Pope him entpflichtete in February 1262 from his position as Bishop of Regensburg, and Albert initially remained in Orvieto. On February 13, 1263, he was named Urban IV crusade preacher for the German-speaking areas. 1263 and 1264 Albertus propagated together with Berthold of Regensburg in Germany and Bohemia the train to the Holy Land. After Pope Urban IV died on October 2, 1264 Albert resigned as a crusade preacher.

From 1264 Albert took over the teaching activities - in Würzburg and Strasbourg - again. 1269 he returned to the Dominican Monastery of the Holy Cross in Cologne. An appeal to the University of Paris, he refused on grounds of age. However, he joined in 1274 at the Second Council of Lyons for the recognition of Rudolf of Habsburg as German King a. On April 28, 1275 he dedicated the Gothic nave choir of Gladbach Cathedral.

On November 15, 1280 Albertus died in Cologne. His remains rest after the lifting of the Dominican monastery (1804 ) since 15 November 1954 in the crypt of St. Andrew in Cologne.

1931 Albertus -Magnus -Institut was founded in Cologne (1954 relocated to Bonn). Pope Pius XII. Albertus Magnus appointed on 16 December 1941, the patron saint of scientists. A memorial plaque to him was taken in in the Walhalla near Regensburg.


Albertus Magnus was polymath, also a philosopher, jurist, scientist, theologian; Dominicans and Bishop of Regensburg.

Its great versatile knowledge gave him the name Magnus (the Great), the title of Doctor of the Church and the honorary title of doctor universalis. He knew the ancient and contemporary literature and wanted to fully grasp the knowledge of his time and explain in understandable textbooks. The more than 70 papers and books would result in about 22,000 printed pages today. Since 1931 The Albertus-Magnus- Institute is working on a critical edition of his complete works. Of the 41 volumes applied ( with different sub-band number ) Editio Coloniensis only 15 sub- volumes and a supplementary volume to 2003 are published and 8 partial volumes in preparation. 44 more partial volumes are planned.

The most important result of his work is the foundation of the Christian Aristotelik so high scholasticism and, ultimately, of modern science. Up to Albertus ' work the works of Aristotle in the Christian world were controversial because of its pagan origins. Albert sat down on church political level massively to accommodate the Aristotelian works in the canon of Christian schools.

Alchemy: In the work De mineralibus Albert was of the opinion that metals of four elements ( Empedocles s ), including mercury and sulfur, would have to be constructed. Common metals should by cleansing, ie the medicines pass into noble metals. Due to the relationship between sulfur and metals, he believed, know you the relationship between metals. He calls in his work white, yellow, red alum and vitriol salts (presumably used in the 12th century by Salernitani ). He mentions a flammable, oily liquid on strong wine ( Alkohol! ). Albert also mentioned the cream of tartar (Latin tartratus, tatratum, dt precipitation ), which he translated from the Arabic-Persian word. Albert also had good knowledge of distillation and sublimation.

In addition, some of his scientific work in the relevant scientific community regarded as groundbreaking: so the first detailed account of the Central European flora and fauna and its geographical descriptions. His work on the lithology represent the first attempt to develop a complete system for minerals.

In an attempt to reconcile the natural philosophical thought of Aristotle with the Christian faith, he worked through the entire knowledge of his time in theology, philosophy, medicine and science, without, however, represent it in a closed system.


After his death, Albert became a figure of legend. Following on from his scholarship and his preoccupation with magic and alchemy all sorts of fairy tales and legends surrounding motifs were picked up and connected with his vita. According to legend, Albert had created a " -talking statue " that destroyed his pupil Thomas Aquinas. This story is symbolically true in the sense that Albert's thinking in the period that followed was without huge impact and that instead, Thomas Aquinas received wide attention. Since Albert was beatified in 1622 and canonized in 1931, Albertus images were not set too early from official Catholic side to certain display types. That is why a variety of motifs could develop, with even some legends einbezog. So on some among the so-called " Alberti panels " that exist especially in southern Germany, the representation of a host legendary miracle, after which Albert the Sacred Host was forced to tell him secret. Because Albert in contrast to other host miracle legends while coercive power, it appears to some extent in the role of a magician conjuring.

During the 15th and 16th century Albert were falsely attributed with magical and alchemical treatises, as well as the work of mid-13th century. Describing the black powder, which almost completely copied an earlier work

Since the Dominicans increasingly committing himself to the teaching of Thomas Aquinas since 1278, Alberts thinking has usually had no equally significant direct influence. At the old University of Cologne in the fifteenth century there was a Albertistenschule, but which has not very much to do with the philosophy Alberts.

After an on Carl von Prantl (1820-1888) declining philosophy historical topos to Albert only have been a polymath who compiled raw and undigested materials in his works. Because of the canonization of Thomas Aquinas, the theological work of Alberts was very quickly pushed aside and emphasizes the scientific interests Alberts instead. The re-evaluation of his philosophical position goes back only to the last few years and is not yet complete.

In particular, the actual philosophically significant lingering effects Alberts at the German Dominicans of the 13th and 14th centuries will only be recognized for several decades ( Loris Sturlese, Alain de Libera). At some Neoplatonic, avicennische and partly also Averroistic motives of his thought Dietrich joined by Freiberg, Berthold of Moosburg, Ulrich of Strasbourg and Meister Eckhart.

Alberts names carry different schools and numerous churches and chapels. See: Albertus -Magnus- School and Albertus Magnus Church. In addition, students' associations have named after him, such as the K.St.V. Albertia to Munich and the K.A.FV. Albertia of Cologne. The botanist and historian Ernst Meyer in 1838 named a plant after him, Alberta magna E. Mey.; it belongs to the Rötegewächsen and thrives only in southeastern Africa.

Feast day:

  • Evangelical: November 15 names in Evangelical Calendar
  • Roman Catholic: 15 November in the regional calendar for the German -language area


  • Complete Edition. 38 volumes. Edited by Augustus Borgnet. Paris from 1890 to 1899. ( Online)
  • Currently appearing critical Cologne Edition: edition of Albertus Magnus Institute Alberti Magni Opera Omnia. Aschendorff, Münster S. 1951 ff (since the fall of 2011 as a digital edition to subscribe )
  • For a complete list of works see Winfried Fauser: The works of Albertus Magnus in their manuscript tradition. Aschendorff, Monasterii Westfalorum 1982, ISBN 3-402-03990-7.
  • And R. Schoenberger, B. Kible: Repertory edierter texts of the Middle Ages, from the field of philosophy and related fields. Berlin 1994, 10501-10639.
  • The entry in Alcuin; for surviving manuscripts see the entries in Manuscripta Mediaevalia


  • About logic and Universalienlehre. Translated on the basis of the Editio Coloniensis and new ed. by Uwe Petersen and Manuel Santos Noya. Meiner, Hamburg 2012, ISBN 978-3-7873-2221-3
  • Albertus Magnus and his system of Sciences. Key texts in translation. Latin - German, ed. from Albertus -Magnus- Institute. Aschendorff, Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-402-12930-2.
  • About the fifteen issues. De quindecim problematibus. Latin - German. According to the text of the Editio Coloniensis ed. Henryk Anzulewicz and Norbert Winkler, translated by Henryk Anzulewicz, introduced and annotated by Norbert Winkler. Herder, Freiburg in Breisgau, Basel, Vienna 2010, ISBN 978-3-451-31069-0.
  • Book on the causes and the emergence of everything transition from the first cause. Liber de causis et PROcessu universitatis a prima causa. According to the text of the Editio Coloniensis translated and ed. Henryk Anzulewicz among others Meiner, Hamburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-7873-1784-4.
  • On the nature and origin of the soul. Liber de natura et origine animae. Translated and introduced by Henryk Anzulewicz. Herder, Freiburg, Basel, Vienna 2006, ISBN 3- 451-28698 -X.
  • About the people. De homine. According to the text translated and created critical ed. Henryk Anzulewicz. Meiner, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 3-7873-1547-0.
  • From falcons, dogs and horses. German Albertus Magnus translation from the first half of the 15th century. Introduced and ed. Kurt Lindner. ( Original title: Liber de animalibus ). Sources and Studies in the History of the hunt, Volume 7 and 8 de Gruyter, Berlin 1962.
  • Commentaire de la « Théologie mystique ' de Denys le suivi de celui pseudo - Areopagite of Epîtres I- V. Super Dionysii Mysticam theologiam et Epistulas. Introduction, Translation, Notes and Index by Édouard -Henri Wéber. Ed. du Cerf, Paris 1993, ISBN 2-204-04712-0.
  • A Quaestio of Albertus Magnus ' De quiditate et esse ". Edited by Albert Fries. Schöningh, Paderborn et al 1983, ISBN 3-506-79431-0.
  • Selected texts. Lat.-dt. With a short biography. Edited by Albert Fries. 2nd edition. University Press, Darmstadt 1987, ISBN 3-534-07955-8.
  • Selected writings of Albert & Thomas. Translation, introduction and ed. by Simon Tugwell. Paulist Press, New York et al, 1988, ISBN 0-8091 3022 - X.