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Gerson, Jean de

(Jean Charlief; Johannes Arnaudi de Gersonio; ca. 1363–ca. 1429). “Doctor christianissimus”; b. Gerson (Jarson), near Rethel, Fr.,; educ. Reims and Paris; disciple and friend of P. d'Ailly (see Ailly, Pierre d'); chancellor U. of Paris 1395.

Drawn to the problem of papal schism, Gerson influenced the Councils of Pisa* and Constance.* Pol. turmoil in Fr. and hostility of Jean sans Peur (John the Fearless; 1371–1419; duke of Burgundy 1404–19), whose theory of tyrannicide Gerson dared to oppose, kept Gerson from returning to Fr. He spent some time in Bavaria and Austria and concluded his life in pastoral and literary activities at Lyons, Fr.

Gerson was equally at home in ecclesiastical politics. philos., and the cure of souls, and was a renowned orator. His chief concern was that the people, both educated and simple, would live truly pious lives. He sought to blend his nominalism* with a simple mysticism,* in an attempt to achieve a kind of religious experience in which all could participate. A moderate conciliarist (see Councils and Synods, 7), he supported the Gallican way in the papal schism and called for the abdication of the incumbents. He has with some reason been spoken of as a prereformer, but he held that for salvation man must “do what is in him.”

Works include sermons; ecclesiastical, mystical and pastoral treatises; devotional writings. Editions include Opera Omnia, ed. L. E. Dupin, 5 vols. (Antwerp, 1706); Oeuvres Complétes, ed. P. Glorieux (Paris, 1960– ).

J. L. Connolly, John Gerson: Reformer and Mystic (Louvain, 1928); W. Dress, Die Theologie Gersons (Gütersloh, 1931) and “Gerson und Luther,” ZKG, LII (1933), 122–161. DGS

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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