Bonaventura, civil Giovanni (di) Fidanza (* 1221 in Bagnoregio near Viterbo, † July 15, 1274 in Lyon), was one of the most important philosophers and theologians of Scholasticism, Minister General of the Franciscans and the Cardinal of Albano. He led the Franciscan Order for 17 years until his death and is due to his organizational skills as its second founder. He mediated between the Fratres de communitate after the necessary poverty of the church took a moderate position on the issue, and the more radical Spirituals or Fraticelli in the so-called poverty dispute. On behalf of the General Chapter 1263 Bonaventure wrote an extensive biography of Francis of Assisi. 1273 appointed him cardinal bishop of Gregory X. Albano and entrusted him with the preparation of the Second Council of Lyons, which should bring the Union negotiations with the Greek Orthodox Church of the financial statements. He was canonized in 1482 by Sixtus IV and declared in 1588 by Sixtus V as Seraphic Doctor Doctor of the Church. Bonaventure was one of the most effective historically most influential theologians of Scholasticism. Leo XIII. described him as " a prince among all mystics ". He stood in the Augustinian tradition and was influenced by the mysticism of Hugo of St. Victor and Dionysius Areopagitas.

  • 2.1 Critique of Philosophy
  • 2.2 About God and the world
  • 2.3 The trinitarian structure of God
  • 2.4 The divine Logos
  • 2.5 Human cognition
  • 2.6 Virtue and soul
  • 2.7 The way to God

Life and work

Childhood and studies

A contemporary Bonaventure 's biography does not exist. Before 1300 circulated a biography that was written by the Spanish Franciscan Zamorra and not delivered. However, life descriptions refer to the 14th century for clues in the work Salimbene of Parma from 1282nd Bonaventura was when John Fidanza in Bagnoregio, Lazio, born. The exact date of birth is unknown, it is sometimes, often dated to 1217 to 1221. In his biography of Francis, he tells of a miracle of the Holy, by which he himself had escaped as a child from death. The later religious name Bonaventura means " favorable wind " or " good future ". According to legend, this name owes to St.. Francis. The critically ill child had been blessed by St. Francis of Assisi and then soon recover. When Francis was dying in 1226, his mum did with the boys revisited and Francis had exclaimed: " O buona ventura ". At age 18, he enrolled as a layman in 1235 at the University of Paris ( Sorbonne ). There he first studied the seven liberal arts. The focus was primarily on the language: grammar, rhetoric and logic. John studied under Alexander of Hales, the founder of the Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. At this time, Hales joined the Franciscans, which the Order was given a chair of theology. Hales valued and promoted John.

First Order of years

In Paris Fidanza occurred in 1243, according to other sources 1244 or even an 1238, in the Order of Friars Minor ( minor friars, dt Friars Minor ) and took the religious name Bonaventura. He studied theology from 1243 to 1248. At the conclusion of his studies Bonaventura commented on the Gospel of Luke. Then he received from the Minister General of his order, John of Parma, permission to read even in Paris. In the following two years he lectured on the Bible. From 1250 to 1252 he commented as Hales student also the Sentences of Peter Lombard. 1254 he was appointed to the chair of theology of the Franciscans. There he taught until 1257th During these three years he revised his comment and Luke wrote about the Gospel of John as well as the Old Testament books of Sirach and Wisdom. He has given seminars on the knowledge of Christ ( De scientia Christi ), about the mystery of the Trinity ( De mysterio Trinity ) and on the evangelical perfection ( De perfectione evangelica ). In it, he defended the life of the Friars Minor against theologians who belonged to no mendicant orders. In the period of his teaching career from 1255 to 1257 it also dates the creation of his work De reductione artium ad theologiam, a representation of the system of sciences. At the conclusion of his teaching, he still wrote the Breviloquium, a brief introduction to the theology.

Minister General of the Order

As Bonaventura was in 1257 at the suggestion of John of Parma chosen as his successor to the Minister General of his Order, he gave up his academic career. Back in April he wrote a circular letter to his Order, in which he exhorted the brethren, the tarnished reputation of the Order supplement again. From 1259 to 1260 he wrote three treatises on the spiritual education of brothers: soliloquy about four mental exercises ( Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exercitiis ), The Tree of Life ( Lignum vitae ) and over three times the way ( De triplici via). At this time, Bonaventura wrote his work travelogue of the mind ( mentis in Deum itinerary ) to God. It is considered Bonaventure's mystical masterpiece and as a highlight of speculative thought in the Christian West. Reason for this was a visit to Bonaventure in 1259 on Mount Alverna near Arezzo. In the prologue, he recalls the Stigmatization of St. Francis on this mountain, two years before his death and at the same time of year, namely in September and October 1224. Bonaventura This inspired a theological treatise on the knowledge of God. The totality of things, including the knowing soul is compared by him with a ladder by which the ascent may take place at God. The last stages presuppose a grace-filled molding by the light of eternal truth.

Second Donors

1260 led Bonaventura first time the General Chapter of the Franciscans, which took place this year in the French Narbonne. It ratified its draft statutes for the life of the brothers. The General Chapter of Narbonne in 1260 gave him the mandate to write a new biography of Francis of Assisi, and the General Chapter in Paris in 1266 declared his work to be the only authentic biography of Francis. It decided to ban the brothers from then on reading each other Vita of the saint, and ordered to destroy all earlier writings about him. There were two versions of the Legenda Sancti Francisci distribution. Binding was more extensive Legenda maior, folk was the shorter Legenda minor. Bonaventure controlled the Franciscans to a moderate and sustainable price, the reputation of the " second founder of the Order " earned him. He reconciled the followers of the strictest poverty ( spirituales ) with the representatives of a more comfortable view of life ( conventuales ). In the nine years from 1257 to 1266 to Bonaventure went on pastoral journeys through France and Italy, according to the Franciscan way of walking. Finally, he returned to Paris, where his brothers were attacked by conservative theologians and radical philosophers. He published again a series of publications, especially on moral issues: About the Ten Commandments ( Collationes de decem praeceptis ), 1267 About the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit ( Collationes de septem donis Spiritus Sancti ), 1268, a defense of the Friars Minor ( Apologia pauperum ), 1269th between Easter and Pentecost 1273 he was in Paris in front of an unfinished series of large-scale public university sermons on the six days' work ( Collationes in Hexaemeron ), which are obtained only by listeners transcripts. Based on the six days of creation, the sequence of stages of human knowledge should be deployed to the end of the beatific vision. Thus Bonaventure took a stand against professors of philosophy at the University of Paris, who wanted to emancipate an independent philosophy and its based on Aristotle and Averroes doctrine was incompatible with central beliefs.

Cardinal and council

In his last years he had become one of the most influential figures of Christianity. In the three-year Sedisvakanz the papacy from 1268 to 1271 Bonaventure held in Viterbo an important sermon and probably mediated in the convening of the conclave. He was regarded as a promising candidate, but should itself have suggested Teobaldi Visconti as Pope. After his election as Pope Gregory X Bonaventura appointed Cardinal Bishop of Albano, on 28 May 1273 when he preached on the reunification of the Orthodox and the Roman Church. The pope conferred on him at the same time the preparation and conduct of the business of the Second Council of Lyons, which should lead the Union with the Greek Church finally to success. On May 20, 1274, the Franciscans elected Minister General as successor to Bonaventura Girolamo Masci d' Ascoli, the future Pope Nicholas IV The goal of the Church's reunification appeared on the second Council of Lyons almost reached when Bonaventura during the Council after a short and severe disease with 53 or 57 years, died on July 15, 1274. At the solemn funeral the following day, the Pope, the King of Aragon, the Cardinals and other council members attended. The official mourning kept the Dominican Pietro of Tarantasia, the future Pope Innocent V.

Philosophy and Theology

Critique of Philosophy

Bonaventure's thinking is gaining its speculative force in the knowledgeable discussion of the Aristotelian philosophy dominated university in Paris and is sustainable motivated and shaped by Neoplatonic philosophy. It draws upon Augustine of Hippo, Boethius, Bernard of Clairvaux, the Victorines and especially to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Bonaventura is committed to the unity of Christian wisdom with respect to the duality of philosophy and theology. Basis of all security -demanding knowledge for him is that the existence of God is an undeniable truth.

" The faculty of knowledge has namely, as it is in itself created a sufficient light, those doubts ( whether God is ), far to reject [ ... ]. In the case of the gates this cognition fails voluntarily rather than compulsorily [ ... ]. "

God's non-existence proves for Bonaventure as unthinkable. He criticized a persecuted by many Dominicans method that is based on scientific understanding, the method, the concepts and some theses of Aristotle. This approach is insufficient for Bonaventure. Although Aristotle recognize quite share the truth. As Heide him but did not come to the authority of the Church Fathers. Even the whole philosophy of Aristotle could not explain the instantaneous motion of a star. For Bonaventure, God is not a philosophical conclusion, but a living presence. Aristotle and his followers were mistaken by the archetypal, divine providence and the divine creation of the world's course denied ( three-time error). They were blind to the alleged eternity of the world, the unit adopted by the intellect and are denying punishment and bliss after this life ( triple blindness). The full form of truth 'll be tapped only through the realization of the divine Logos. Since these additional insight manifested in biblical and church tradition, this knowledge sources should be conductive. At the beginning of his fourth Collatio in Hexaemeron there is a sharp criticism of the philosophers. One must be careful not to recommend the statements and propositions of the philosophers too much and appreciate. These were unable to separate from darkness and error and had become entangled in even more errors:

" [ ... ] And by they called themselves wise, they became fools; by they were proud of their knowledge, they became followers of Lucifer. "

About God and the world

Who puts his hope in God blessed is he who on the other hand seeks his salvation in the world is vain. God is Himself in His salvation and therefore is able to hoper through participation to provide support to his salvation. He gives through participation in its fullness fulfillment. He gives peace and quiet. God is his own blessed in eternal pleasure and can therefore also give the people the benefit of his salvation. The world rests not in yourself and can give any support. Because the world is but a shadow of the eternal, it can never truly meet the man who is created for the eternal. It is capable to procure neither rest nor peace. Anyone who tries to enjoy the world, will suffer damage. The world feigns grandeur, fulfillment and wisdom, but in truth they awakened by arrogance, greed and curiosity. Man is thus inwardly vain and spiritually barren. The curiosity tempted him to a chattering " worldly wisdom " that wanders restlessly and aimlessly. By his arrogance, man fails to recognize their own inadequacy and closes itself from the vision of God from. This is a folly which does not lead to salvation before God. Christ is the only true teacher, without him no one comes to the knowledge of God leading to salvation. He is not einholbar by philosophizing.

The trinitarian structure of God

God is without pick up on and at the same time in all its transcendence and absoluteness. The divine self- statement "I am who I am" ( Ex 3:13-15 EU) understands Bonaventure as the pure, first and absolute Being, the pure and supreme unity and simplicity par excellence. This includes free time each way of being-possible, and thus of non-being as well as any real difference from a whole could be composed, of itself off. God is good itself ( ipsum bonum ) and being itself ( ipsum esse ). Since God is pure being, its not unthinkable. Since he is goodness itself, nothing greater can be thought about God also. The good communicating itself ( bonum est diffusivum sui ), there is a self-development and a self- digestion.

" For the good that is itself called exuding; the supremely good thing is which is what exudes itself in the highest degree. The highest self- outpouring but can only be a real and Inner Royal, an in -itself - standing and staffs, one being the same and willful, a Free and necessary, an Incessant and Consummate. "

Since this must be done internally, substantial and personal, find an inner differentiation instead that the highest good parts as Father eternally in the witness of the Son and of the Spirit with puffs. The feeling of communicating the trinitarian persons is at an absolute Bonaventura: In him the whole substance and essence are towards the other. The relation of the three persons is to understand each of distinct selves in innertrinitarischer love as an inseparable Ineinandersein ( circumincessio ). This mutual Ineinandersein of the divine persons has shown with the light metaphor Bonaventura:

" As the visible sun shineth in his strength and glows, its light powerful and glowing and their embers are powerful and luminous, as the Father is in itself, in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, the Son in the Father, in itself and in the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit in the Father, the Son and in the sense of a circumincessio which unit states in distinctiveness. "

The divine Logos

In the diffusio ad extra, due to its quality or goodness of the self-development of God takes place in the resulting first constituted world. The Many can be seen from the One. All things are created by the divine logos. This is the mental image of the self-knowing divine father and as a reflection of a lot at the same time. The divine Logos contains the exemplary ideas of all things ( rationes aeternae ) in itself. After this the world was created. The created world could therefore be read until the fall of man as a book in which the Creator is reflected. In the created things ( images of the ideas) man perceived the Creator and was led to the worship and love of God. After the fall, man did not understand the language of this book. But the Scriptures helps the people back in understanding the image and Gleichnishaftigkeit of creation and so to get to the love and knowledge of God. All created things are composed of matter and form. The substantial form of corporeal things is light. It was created by God on the first day above all other things. Therefore have in him all things in different ways part.

Human cognition

Secure knowledge is possible because God works in man. The creature as a trace ( vestigium ) is related to God as a principle, if it is from him. As an image ( imago ), it behaves like an object if it knows God. As a similarity ( similitudo ) it is related to God as to a cast gift of grace, if God dwells in you.

" In a work, however, which is performed by a creature on the type of image ( imago ), God acts in the manner of a moving subject; of such a nature is the work of certain and sure knowledge. "

The transient and changeable world enters through the doors perception of the senses in the human soul. The excellency of the knowledge ( nobilitas cognitionis ) but depends on the immutability of the object of cognition, and the infallibility of the cognitive subject. To cognitio plena, full of knowledge, therefore, the decline on a unchanging truth is required. The soul has to grasp things in their convertible Its not only conceptual and categorical, belongs to the sure knowledge rather that they did things " in any way affected, if they are in the eternal creative art." An created beings can only be detected when the mind is supported by the insight into the consummate, absolute being. Thus Bonaventure draws on the Platonic doctrine of ideas. The ideas are the object of knowledge in so far as is recognized by them something: They guarantee as formal principle of recognizing the safety on the side of the object of cognition and of the knowing subject. From the experience was available from only specifying the properties and material principles. For Bonaventure knowledge is a recollection; that can be addressed only what is currently in our memories. True Being is not mixed with potentiality, it is not the particulate being in the particulars. It is pure actuality, it is the Divine Being as the first Knew. The first being is ahead of all created beings and is represented by them.

Virtue and soul

The virtues act according to Bonaventure in three ways in the human soul: You arrange the soul towards the goal, focus their feelings straight and heal the sick. None of these three modes of action without the revelation to understand right. The faith and hope presuppositional Christian love is the only cure for the disease of the soul and at the same time the form of all the virtues. Full virtue is impossible without grace. The individual soul is an immortal spiritual substance and at the same time the shape of the organic body. The knowledge of truth is innate in the rational soul. It strives for that whose image it is, is to regain their blissful perfection. It is centered on God. In order to ascend to God, the soul must keep itself in contemplation. In their own structure of memory, intellect and will, the soul recognizes the trinitarian structure of God and himself as God's image.

The way to God

Many are knowing, but few are wise. After Bonaventura there is no safe transition ( transitus ) from knowledge to wisdom. The Transitus is an exercise that leads from the pursuit of knowledge to the pursuit of holiness and then to the pursuit of wisdom. It is the task of the ways to teach the path of knowledge leading to salvation. This you have to love the eternal celestial and the only present, only transitory earthly despise. The recognition as an abstraction of sensory perception is inadequate. True knowledge only comes in enlightenment. This is done by the divine Logos. He is present in the human mind as unknowable light. In it, the ideas are immanent as exemplary forms of all created things. Although these can by the human mind can not be detected directly, but the logo allows the people in the true knowledge of enlightenment. In four spiritual exercises the soul is to capture the love of God and the love of God:

The goal of the soul is to achieve the first, entirely spiritualized principle. The path leads from the world and the human being as the exemplary to God as the first cause. In the mystical rapture of the soul, the intellect comes to rest. The mind is completely absorbed in God and finds the ecstatic union with God peace. But this way can not be reproduced, it must itself be gone and experienced.


Eight years after his death, the first catalog of his works of Salimbene de Adam ( 1282) appeared. Other catalogs followed by Henry of Ghent ( 1293 ), About Tino da Casale ( 1305), Tolomeo da Lucca ( 1327 ) and in the Chronica XXIV generalium ministrorum ( 1365-1368 ). In the 15th century there were no less than 50 editions of his works. Especially famous was the Roman edition in seven volumes, which was made 1588-96 by order of Sixtus V.. It was reprinted with slight improvements in Metz in 1609 and Lyon in 1678. A fourth edition in 13 volumes was published in 1751 in Venice and was reprinted in 1864 in Paris. All these expenses contained works that were later sorted out and supplemented by others. Recent research is largely based on the Quaracchi edition in ten volumes from 1882 to 1902.

Alexander of Alexandria ( † 1314) wrote a Summa quaestionum S. Bonaventura. Other comments submitted by John of Erfurt ( † 1317 ), Verilongus († 1464 ), Brulifer († 1497 ), de Combes († 1570), Trigosus († 1616), Coriolano († 1625), Zamora († 1649), Bontemps († 1672), Hauzeur († 1676 ), Bonelli († 1773) and others. Sixtus V. taught in Rome a Bonaventure Chair, additional named after him Chairs made ​​in Ingolstadt, Salzburg, Valencia, and Osuna. Benedict XVI. habilitated in 1957 at the Ludwig- Maximilians- University of Munich in Gottlieb Söhngen with Scripture The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure.

Bonaventure's writings have influenced the councils of Vienna ( 1311 ), Constance ( 1417 ), Basel ( 1435 ), Florence ( 1438 ), Trent ( 1546) and the First Vatican Council (1870 ) and the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965 ).

In Dante's Divine Comedy Bonaventura occurs in the fourth heaven, the sun canopy on. In pretty permutation of the Franciscan told there the life story of St. Dominic, while the Dominican Thomas Aquinas tells the life story of St. Francis.


  • Doctoris Seraphici SB Opera omnia, 10 vols, ed. in Quaracchi 1882-1902, digitized, volumes at; Stanford
  • Opera Theologica Selecta, 4 vols, 1934-1949
  • Mystical - ascetic writings, ed. Translator's Siegfried and John Hamburg, 1923.

For collection information on dating and attributions see Balduinus thistle Brink: Bonaventurae scripta, authentica vel dubia spuria critice recensita, SSFr5, Rome 1975 gives a first overview the compilation of Rolf Schönberger et al.. ( Eds. ): Alcuin. Regensburg Infotheque of scholasticism overview page Bonaventura, also the list of works for the Union Catalogue of Incunabula.

  • Isaac Syrus. Bonaventura. ( Manuscript collection ) Dusseldorf: Knights of the Cross Convention to 1460-1465 ( digitized )
  • Itinerarium mentis in Deum. [ Cologne ]: [ Arnold ter horns ], [ 1472 ] ( digitized )
  • Commentarius in secundum Librum the Sentences of Peter Lombardi. - Treviso. Hermann Liechtenstein, 1477 Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf
  • Sermons quattuor novissimorum. - [ Paris]: Ulrich Gering, 1480 Digitized edition.
  • Opuscula, Cologne 1486th ( digitized )
  • Opuscula: P. 1-2. Strasbourg: [ printers use Jordan ( = Georg Husner ) ] 1, 1495 ( digitized ). Opuscula: P. 1 Strasbourg: [ printers use Jordan ( = Georg Husner ) ] 1, 1495 ( digitized ).
  • Opuscula: P. 2 Strasbourg: [ printers use Jordan ( = Georg Husner ) ] 1, 1495 ( digitized ).
  • Sermones de tempore mediocres. - Strasbourg: Printer of Jordanus ( = Georg Husner ), 1496 Digitized edition.
  • Commentarius in IV libros of the Sentences of Peter Lombardi ( 1248-55 ) Online: Sentences commentary, lib ( part edition, Latin text together with facsimiles, ed Edward Buckner. ). 1 ( gallica ), lib. 2
  • De mysterio trinitatis ( 1254-55 ), online: Italian
  • De scientia Christi ( 1254 ), online: span; Übers Andreas Speer, Meiner, Hamburg 1992
  • De perfectione evangelica ( 1254ff )
  • De reductione artium ad theologiam ( 1254-55/1269? ) in: Itinerarium mentis in Deum. De reductione artium ad theologiam. Pilgrims Book of the Soul to God. The reduction of the arts to theology ( 1259 ), Translator Julian Raup / Ph. Boehner, 1961.
  • Online: Forum Romanum, UBB Cluj, Quarrachi Opera 5 (1891 ), 295-316 ( with camera)
  • Breviloquium (between 1253-57 ) Breviloquium. An outline of Theology, trans. v. Fanni Imle composed v. Julian Kaup, 1931.
  • Online: French
  • De quinque festivitatibus pueri Jesu ( around 1257 ), online: Span, French, Meditations on the Supper of Our Lord, and the hours of the passion, Mannyng / Cowper 1875.
  • Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exercitiis (after 1257 ) Soliloquium de quatuor mentalibus exencitiis. Only talking about the four spiritual exercises, Translator Josef Hosse, 1958.
  • Online: French
  • Itinerarium mentis in Deum ( 1259 ) in: Itinerarium mentis in Deum. De reductione artium ad theologiam. Pilgrims Book of the Soul to God. The reduction of the arts to theology, Translator Julian Raup, 1961.
  • Online: Latin and English. (2005), Latin, Latin Library, Peter King, UBB Cluj, Eng. , Eng. , Spanish, French, Italian, Italian
  • Legenda S. Francisci ( 1261 ) ( legenda minor) The life of St. Francis of Assisi. Übers Emmeran Leitl, 1956.
  • Collationes de septem donis Spiritus Sancti ( 1268 ), online: Latin, French, English.
  • Collationes in Hexaemeron ( 1273) Collationes in Hexaemeron, ed. F. M. Delorme, Quaracchi 1934.
  • Collationes in Hexaemeron. The six days' work. Übers Wilhelm Nyssen, 1964.
  • Online: French
  • Tractatus brevis domini Bonaventur [ a] e de modo se pr [ a] eparandi ad celebrandum Missam. - Parisiis. Marnef de, c.1510 Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf


  • Evangelical: July 15
  • Anglican: 15 July
  • Roman Catholic: 15 July