Jean Gerson  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Jean Charlier de Gerson (December 13, 1363July 12, 1429), French scholar, educator, reformer, and poet, chancellor of the University of Paris, a guiding light of the conciliar movement and one of the most prominent theologians at the Council of Constance, was born at the village of Gerson, in the bishopric of Reims in Champagne.

His parents, Arnulphe Charlier and Élisabeth de la Chardenière, "a second Monica," were pious peasants, and seven of their twelve children, four daughters and three sons, devoted themselves to a religious life. Young Gerson was sent to Paris to the famous college of Navarre when fourteen years of age. After a five years' course he obtained the degree of licentiate of arts, and then began his theological studies under two very celebrated teachers, Gilles des Champs (Aegidius Campensis) and Pierre d'Ailly (Petrus de Alliaco), rector of the college of Navarre, chancellor of the university, and afterwards bishop of Puy, archbishop of Cambrai and cardinal. Pierre d'Ailly remained his life-long friend, and in later life the pupil seems to have become the teacher (see preface to Liber de vita Spir. Animae).

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