On this day:
1277 – Stephen Tempier, bishop of Paris, condemns 219 philosophical and theological theses.
Étienne (Stephen) Tempier (French: [tɑ̃pje]; also known as Stephanus of Orleans; died 3 September 1279) was a French bishop of Paris during the 13th century. He was Chancellor of the Sorbonne from 1263 and bishop of Paris from 1268.
He is best remembered for promulgating a Condemnation of 219 philosophical and theological propositions (or articles) that addressed concepts that were being disputed in the faculty of arts at the University of Paris.
Born in Orléans, Tempier studied in Paris, where he became master of theology and canon of Notre Dame. During a period of about five years (1263–ca. 1268), Tempier was the Chancellor of the chapter of Notre Dame at Paris, succeeding Erich von Veire. At that time, the Chancellor of the Chapter was also the Chancellor of the University of Paris.
He served as bishop of Paris from 7 October 1268 until his death on 3 September 1279. Tempier had been a master in the faculty of theology.
In 1270 Tempier, encouraged by Henry of Ghent (died 1293), had issued a formal condemnation of thirteen doctrines held by “radical Aristotelians.” These included the unity of intellect, causal necessity, and the eternity of the world. Further investigation into perceived errors then prevalent at the university was prompted by the Portuguese cleric Juliani, who was elected Pope John XXI on September 13th 1276. A former professor of theology at the University of Paris, he wrote Tempier on 28 January 1277. The pope told Tempier that he had heard reports of heretical opinions in the Paris area, and requested to be informed of the situation. By this time Tempier was already investigating possible heretical opinions at the University of Paris.
On 7 March 1277, Tempier expanded the number of condemned doctrines to 219. He was assisted by a commission of theologians from the University. Henry of Ghent sat on Tempier’s episcopal commission (assessores episcopi) of sixteen masters, which produced the syllabus of 219 propositions comdemned by Tempier on 7 March 1277. The condemnations against Aristotelianism in Paris involved Giles of Rome, Siger of Brabant, the arts faculty, and certain doctrines of Thomas Aquinas. The forty-ninth item on the list was the assertion that God is incapable of moving the universe because it implies the existence of a void.
Tempier also overturned Aristotle on one point: God could have created more than one world (given His omnipotence) yet we know by revelation He made only one. Tempier’s stress on God’s omnipotence also opened up all kinds of possibilities for the understanding of the cosmos. In his effort to defend the abilities and unique rights of the Creator, Tempier’s propositions led to the new approach taken to understand the workings of celestial and terrestrial bodies. By rejecting that astral bodies were animated, incorruptible and eternal, refuting the idea that their motion was the result of something comparable to animal desires and denying that stars had any influence over individuals, he showed that Christians were prepared to refute Aristotle’s world view along with some basic assumptions held by Greek learning.
It is not clear what Tempier’s intentions were in issuing this condemnation. Nevertheless, scholars have written that “the Parisian Condemnation of 1277 is symbolic of an intellectual crisis in the University. It is indicative of fundamental shifts in speculative thought and cultural perception which occurred in the late 13th century, which portend aspects of modern thought.”
Opposition to and repeal
Tempier’s prohibitions did not curtail the free discussion of Thomist doctrines and did little to limit their influence at the University of Paris. His decree was actively opposed and eventually overturned in 1325.
Born on this day:
1811 – Increase A. Lapham, American botanist and author (d. 1875)
Increase Allen Lapham (March 7, 1811 – September 14, 1875) was an author, scientist, and naturalist.
Born in Palmyra, New York, his family moved to Pennsylvania, back to New York, to Ohio then to Louisville, Kentucky (1827–1830) then back to Ohio while his father, Seneca Lapham, worked on the canals in various locations. Lapham was of entirely English ancestry, all of which had been in what is now the United States since the early 1600s. His ancestors were among the first English colonists to establish Rhode Island. He displayed a talent for scientific observation early on while working on the canals and their locks himself, producing drawings that he could sell at the age of thirteen.
In July 1836, Lapham moved to Kilbourntown (which soon incorporated into the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin) and worked closely with Byron Kilbourn in his business and development endeavors. The two had worked together previously on the Miami Canal and Lapham considered him a loyal friend and mentor. Before the end of the year, Lapham had published a Catalogue of Plants and Shells, Found in the vicinity of Milwaukee, on the West Side of Lake Michigan, perhaps the first scientific work published west of the Great Lakes.
In 1848, Lapham founded the Wisconsin Natural History Association, a predecessor of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, of which he also was a charter member.
Many of his works and early maps were used for various civil projects such as canal and railroad development. In 1844 Lapham published the first substantial book on the geography of the Wisconsin Territory. His first map of Wisconsin was made in 1846. He published many more papers and books through his life, particularly on geology, archaeology and history, and flora and fauna of Wisconsin, including publication by the Smithsonian Institution.
In 1850, he discovered the Panther Intaglio Effigy Mound, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lapham was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1853.
He was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.
Lapham is considered “Wisconsin’s first great scientist” and the “Father of the U.S Weather Service,” based upon his lobbying to Congress and the Smithsonian Institution to create such an agency to forecast storms on the Great Lakes and both coasts. When the agency was created through the U.S. Secretary of War, Lapham made the first such accurate Great Lakes storm warning from Chicago.
Since his death, numerous landmarks throughout the southeastern Wisconsin area have been named after him, including Lapham Peak, the highest point in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, a major University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee building, and streets. In Madison, Wisconsin, he currently has an elementary school named after him.
A genus of North American plants, Laphamia, was named for him by Asa Gray. Certain markings found on iron meteors were designated by J. Lawrence Smith as Laphamite markings. A formerly existing glacial lake was provisionally named Lake Lapham. The Wisconsin Archeological Society awards the Lapham Research Medal, first doing so in 1926. The U.S. Navy named a ship SS Increase A. Lapham during World War II. The University of Wisconsin has an Increase A. Lapham Professorship. Lapham was inducted in 1992 into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame and in 2003 into the Wisconsin Forestry Hall of Fame.
The centennial of Lapham’s birth was celebrated in 1911. In 2011, celebration of the bicentennial is planned, including an Increase A. Lapham Day at Aztalan State Park.
Courtesy of Just A Car Guy: David Samson, Former New Jersey Attorney General
Former New Jersey Attorney General, guilty and corrupt as hell, (who expected anything else?) pled guilty to bribery for using his post to get United Airlines to run money-losing direct flights between Newark, N.J., and Columbia, S.C., saving him an hour’s driving time to his weekend home.