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Stephen of Bourbon

Writer and preacher, especially noted as a historian of medieval heresies, b. towards the end of the twelfth century; d. in 1261

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Stephen of Bourbon, illustrious writer and preacher, especially noted as a historian of medieval heresies, b. at Belleville (Archdiocese of Lyons) towards the end of the twelfth century; d. in 1261. Having received his early education from the cathedral clergy of Macon, he made his higher studies in Paris, about 1220, and there shortly afterwards, as it seems, he entered the Order of Preachers. From 1230 he was very active for many years as preacher and inquisitor in the districts of Lyonnais, Burgundy, Franche-Comté, Savoy, Champagne, Lorraine, Auvergne, Languedoc, and Roussillon. In his work for preachers entitled “De septem donis Spiritus Sancti”, or “Tractatus de diversis Materiis praedicabilibus”, Stephen has embodied much useful matter out of the many years of his practical experience. The parts of this work more valuable at the present day were published in Paris in 1877 by A. Lecoy de la Marche under the title “Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues, tirés du recueil inédit d’Etienne de Bourbon dominicain du 13e siècle”. Considered as a whole Stephen’s work affords a clear insight into the different sects and superstitions of the age, while giving at the same time valuable information regarding the most prominent of his contemporaries. Although credulous to a marked degree, Stephen was, nevertheless, a strenuous opponent of superstition. A free use of his writings was made by a later compiler to form a “Speculum Morale”, which for a long time was falsely ascribed to Vincent of Beauvais.

CHARLES J. CALLAN


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