Radbertus Paschasius - Encyclopedia

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RADBERTUS PASCHASIUS (d. c. 860), French theologian, was born at or near Soissons towards the close of the 8th century. He became a monk of Corbie, near Amiens in Picardy, in 814, and assumed, the cloister name of Paschasius. He soon gained recognition as a learned and successful teacher, and the younger Adalhard, St Anskar the apostle of Sweden, Odo bishop of Beauvais and Warinus abbot of Corvei in Saxony may be mentioned among the more distinguished of his pupils. Between 842 and 846 he was chosen abbot, but as a disciplinarian he was more energetic than successful, and about 851 he resigned the office. He never took priestly orders. He died and was buried in Corbie.

Radbertus is one of the most important theologians in the history of the church. "He was perhaps the most learned and able theologian after Alcuin, as well versed in Greek theology as he was familiar with Augustinianism, a comprehensive genius, who felt the liveliest desire to harmonize theory and practice, and at the same time give due weight to tradition" (Harnack). His great work was the Liber de Corpore et Sanguine Domini (first ed. 831; new ed., with an epistle to Charles the Bald, 844), which was not only the first systematic and thorough treatise on the sacrament of the eucharist, but is the first clear dogmatic statement of transubstantiation, and as such opened an unending controversy. It was at once attacked by Ratramnus and Hrabanus Maurus, but was so completely in touch with the practice of the church and the spirit of the age, as to win the verdict of Catholic orthodoxy.

On the eucharistic controversy see the article on Radbertus by Steitz in Herzog-Hauck's Real-Encyklopadie; Bach, Dogmengeschichte des Mittelalters, i. 156 ff.; Ernst, Die Lehre des h. Paschasius Radbertus v. d. Eucharistie (1896); Renz, Die Geschichte des Messopferbegriffs (1901); K. G. Goetz, Die Abendmahlsfrage in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung (1904), a complete survey of the whole problem, beginning with Radbertus. A. Harnack's treatment in his History of Dogma (vol. v., p. 308 ff.) is clear and appreciative.

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