Clarembald of Arras as a Boethian Commentator
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Thomas Jefferson University Press (1995)
Clarembald of Arras, a twelfth-century ecclesiastical official and schoolmaster, composed glosses on two of the Boethian Opuscula Sacra and a commentary on the hexameron. While he acknowledged his study of Boethius under his masters Thierry of Chartres and Hugh of St. Victor, his dependence on the former is significant: he borrowed heavily from Thierry, following not only his basic doctrinal interpretation of the Boethian treatises but also repeating entire passages from Thierry's glosses. ;The question arises then: is Clarembald to be considered as nothing more than an imitator of the thought of Thierry? Is he to be understood simply as a "typical Chartrian"? Is his interest in the Boethian opuscula confined to restatements of Thierry's interpretations and entirely lacking in any other purposes or qualities that are peculiarly his own? ;A careful reading of the Clarembaldian corpus does indeed present a strong case for the dependence of Clarembald upon Thierry in thought and expression. Yet he composed his De Trinitate gloss at the request of others, even though Thierry's was available, indicating something of Clarembald's standing in the academic community. Further there is substantial evidence in his writings of a distinct measure of independence from Thierry. This is to be found in part in Clarembald's careful contextualization of each work and again in his utilization of sources unknown to Thierry. The most prominent feature of independence is found in Clarembald's intention or purpose in writing his own glosses and the hexameron: Clarembald's works have a certain polemical and apologetic orientation, particularly in regard to Gilbert of Poitiers, Peter Abelard and the Cathars, an orientation not found as such in Thierry's works. ;A careful examination of the texts shows Clarembald to be indeed a scholar of some merit in his research and in the expression of his thought. His intentions and purposes in writing go beyond an imitation of Thierry: he used the glosses to confront dogmatic issues of the day, giving him his own unique place in the tradition of Boethian commentators and in the intellectual history of the middle ages
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