Albert the Great, 15 November 1280
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Albert the Great

Albertus Magnus was born in Swabia (in Germany) in 1206. He studied at the University of Padua, and then, against his family's wishes, joined the newly founded Order of Preachers (Dominicans). He became a famous teacher, with headqarters at Cologne from 1248 on. His pupils included Thomas Aquinas.

His writings are considerable both in bulk and in scope. They are concerned not only with biblical and theological studies, but also with logic, metaphysics, ethics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, human and animal physiology, geography, geology, and botany. He says that in some areas, such as questions about the nature of God, men cannot draw sound conclusions by themselves because they lack the necessary data. But he is an enthusiastic supporter of the autonomy of human reason, working on empirical data, in areas of knowledge where those data are relevant. Given an longstanding belief in his day that eagles incubate only one egg and rear only one offspring per season, he had himself lowered over a cliff edge and down to an eagle's nest, so that he might check for himself.

written by James Kiefer


O Almighty God, who gave to your servant Albert special gifts of Grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent: who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.