Alanus from Insulis

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Alanus from Insulis and Petrus Cantor in dialogue. Full-page miniature in a theological anthology, which was made between 1227 and 1249 for the abbot of the Benedictine abbey Ottobeuren . London, British Library, Add. 19767, fol. 217.

Alanus ab Insulis (also Alanus de Insulis , French Alain de Lille ; * around 1120 in Lille (Flemish Rijsel), County of Flanders , France ; † 1202 in Cîteaux , France) was a French scholastic , poet and Cistercian monk and is considered a saint . His feast day is January 30th .

Live and act

Alanus probably studied in Chartres, Paris, Tours and Orléans and taught in Paris and in southern France (Montpellier) first the seven liberal arts , then theology. As a pupil of Gilbert von Poitiers , he was one of the Porretans of the School of Chartres . Alanus was of encyclopedic erudition, which earned him the nickname Doctor universalis . He wrote a collection of proverbs in verse - the so-called parabolae - as well as various theological works on Catholic doctrine, on the heretics , instructions for the sermon and an alphabetically ordered Bible dictionary for the allegorical interpretation of the Bible. He created a deductive system of theology based on mathematical- axiomatic methods .

His main work is the Anticlaudian , which gives an allegorical overview of all the knowledge known at the time. The title alludes to the work In Rufinum by the late antique poet Claudius Claudianus . In the book of Claudian, all human vices come together at the beginning to create the monster Rufinus. In the Anticlaudian all virtues come together to create the divine human being ( divinus homo ) as an inhabitant of the earth.

Rudolf Steiner saw in Alanus from Insulis the high point of the School of Chartres and thus an early pioneer of anthroposophy . In 1973 he was named after the anthroposophically oriented Alanus University for Art and Society in Alfter near Bonn.


  • De planctu naturae (written between 1168 and 1176)
    • Translation: De Planctu Naturae. Nature's lament. Latin text, translation and philological-philosophical commentary by Johannes B. Köhler. Münster 2013.
  • Anticlaudianus
    • Translation: The Anticlaudian or The Books of the Heavenly Creation of the New Man. Translated and introduced by Wilhelm Rath. Stuttgart 1966.
  • Parabolae , Proverbiae or Liber parabolarum
    • French translation: Les paraboles Maistre Alain en françoys. Edited by Tony Hunt. Modern Humanities Research Association Critical Texts 2, London 2005, ISBN 0-947623-64-7 .
  • Distinctiones dictorum theologicarum sive summa Quot modis
  • Omnis Mundi Creatura
  • Summa Quoniam homines
    • Edited by P. Glorieux. Archives d'Histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge. Paris 1954, pp. 113-364
  • Liber poenitentialis
  • Contra haereticos (In several manuscripts of this tract, which was obviously written during his teaching activities in Montpellier , he is also called Alanus de Montepessulano .)
  • Regulae de sacra theologia
  • De arte praedicandi
  • Sermons
    • see. Alain de Lille, Textes inédits, ed. v. Marie-Thérèse d'Alverny . Études de Philosophie Médiévale, LII, Paris 1995
    • Sermons for the course of the year. Ed. U. trans. v. Bruno Sandkühler, Stuttgart 1998, ISBN 3-7725-1628-9


Web links

Wikisource: Alanus from Insulis  - Sources and full texts (Latin)


  1. See Tony Hunt: Les paraboles Maistre Alain . In: Forum for Modern Language Studies . XXI, No. 4, 1985, ISSN  0015-8518 , pp. 362-375. doi : 10.1093 / fmls / XXI.4.362 . Accessed November 6, 2010. .
  2. Martin Grabmann : The history of the scholastic method, based on the printed and unprinted sources , Volume 2, Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1956, p. 457.