Gregory of Rimini may have been the last great scholastic theologian of the Middle Ages. He had a long-lasting impact on European thought, and his role within the Augustinian Order as its Prior General was significant.
1. His life and Work
Gregory was born in Rimini around 1300, a town going back to the era of the Roman Empire on the Emilia-Romagna's Adriatic Coast in northeast Italy. Gregory joined the mendicant order of the Hermits of Saint Augustine, and received his basic education before going to Paris.
Gregory studied for his baccalaureate in theology at Paris from 1322 or 1323 until 1328 or 1329.
Gregory then taught theology at various Augustinian studia in Italy, first at Bologna, where he is attested as lector in documents of late 1332, 1333, and early 1337.
Perhaps he was transferred to Padua by the Augustinians' General Chapter meeting in Siena in 1338, and then he was shifted to Perugia.
The prevailing view is that Gregory returned to Paris in 1342 for a year of preparation for his theological lectures on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, which were probably delivered in 1343-44.
Gregory probably became Master of Theology in 1345, holding at least one quodlibetal disputation at Paris. He continued to revise his written Sentences commentary until 1346.
In late 1346 Master Gregory was in Rimini, and in 1347 teaching again in Padua, where he stayed until 1351. In that year, the General Chapter at Basel sent him to teach at the recently-established studium in Rimini.
He remained there at least until late 1356, but on 20 May 1357, at the General Chapter in Montpellier, he was elected the Augustinians' prior general, succeeding the late Thomas of Strasbourg. Gregory died in Vienna toward the end of 1358.
Gregory's most important writing by far is his commentary on the first two books of the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Gregory’s Book I survives in some twenty complete manuscripts, while there are about a dozen for book II.
The work was printed several times from 1482 to 1532, reprinted in 1955, and finally received a modern critical edition in six volumes in 1979-84 (Rimini 1979-84; Bermon 2002). Parts have been or are being translated into French, German, and English.
(The work by Peter Lombard (c. 1100 – 1160) called Libri Quatuor Sententiarum, or the Four Books of Sentences, became the standard textbook of theology at the medieval universities. From the 1220s until the 16th century, no work of Christian literature, except for the Bible itself, was commented upon more frequently.
All the major medieval thinkers were influenced by it. Even the young Martin Luther
still wrote glosses on the Sentences