Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Adam Anglicus

ADAM Anglicus is identified by Tanner with Adam Angligena [see Adam Angligena]. Quetif, on the other hand, contends that he is none other than Adam Goddam, and in support of his position quotes the opening words of the so-called Adam Anglicus, ‘Commentarii in Magistri Sententias,’ which are almost exactly the same as the commencement of a similar treatise written by Adam Goddam as given by Wadding [see Goddam, Adam]. The very name of Adam Anglicus is unknown to Leland; but in Bale this author appears as ‘Adamus Scholasticus,’ and is by him assigned to the Dominican order on the authority of Peter Vincentinus (Bandellus), who describes him as maintaining that the Virgin Mary was born in original sin. But Bale's argument is very fallacious; for many of the writers cited by Bandellus, though adhering to the doctrines which in later times were so strongly upheld by the Dominicans, were most certainly not themselves members of that brotherhood. Indeed, it is part of Bandellus's argument to show what was the orthodox and early creed of the church on the above question; and so far is his list of names from being one of Dominicans exclusively, that we have the name of Maurice, bishop of Paris, quoted on the opposite page, and, only a few leaves before, that of Alcuin—both of whom flourished before the Dominican order was instituted; while just above the name of Adam Anglicus comes that of the fierce enemy of both the great mendicant orders, Richard Fitzralph, the archbishop of Armagh. Pits's account, which is plainly based upon that of Bale, adds to the list of his works certain ‘Quæstiones Ordinariæ;’ but in this assertion too he is merely following Bale, who gives us the additional information that Adam Anglicus won great fame for himself at Paris by his skill as a disputant and a teacher. Neither of our two English authorities knows anything respecting the age in which this writer lived. If we accept Quetif's theory, and then identify Adamus Scholasticus and Adamus Anglicus, as Pits has done, the writer will have to be considered a Franciscan, and to have flourished in the fourteenth century. Perhaps, on the whole, it is safer to acknowledge that we know nothing more of him than what Bandellus tells us, viz. that a certain ‘Magister Adamus Anglicus, doctor Parisiensis,’ wrote a Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard.

[Bale, Scriptorum Catalogus, ii. 81; Pits, Rel. Hist. de Reb. Angl. 819; Wadding's Scriptores Ordinis Minoris, 1; Quetif's Scriptores Ordinis Prædicatorum, i. 739; Bandellus de Puritate Conceptionis, 36.]

T. A. A.