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Alain de Lille

Alain de Lille (älăNˈ də lēl) [key], c.1128–c.1202, French scholastic philosopher, a Cistercian, honored by his contemporaries as the Universal Doctor. He was born in Lille; he taught at Paris and Montpellier before retiring to Cîteaux. Alain attempted to give rational support to the tenets of Christian faith in his writings. He held that the mind unaided by revelation can know the universe, but by faith alone can man know God. Although his thought was largely Neoplatonic, he made use of numerous Aristotelian and neo-Pythagorean elements. The mathematical and deductive method had an important place in the working out of his theology. One of his chief works, De fide catholica contra haereticos, was written in order to refute heretics and unbelievers. Alain de Lille was also one of the foremost didactic poets of his day; his chief poem Anticlaudian (tr. 1935) is a complicated allegory. He is also called Alanus de Insulis, the Latin form of his name.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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