Robert Pullus

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Robert Pullus (also Robert Pullen, Pullan or Pully) was an English cardinal, philosopher and theologian, of the twelfth century.


Robert Pullus was born in Exeter, England about 1080; died 1147–50. He seems to have studied in Paris (at the Sorbonne) in the first decades of the twelfth century. In 1133 he began to teach at Oxford, being among the first of the celebrated teachers in the schools which were afterwards organized into the University of Oxford.[1] Multitudes are said to have come to hear him.[2]

After the death of king Henry I of England (1135) he returned to Paris. One of students was John of Salisbury.[3] From thence he went to Rome, where in 1144 he was appointed cardinal[4] and Chancellor of the Apostolic See. This we know from the biography of St. Bernard written by William of St. Thierry, and from his letters.[1] Pullus was instrumental in the development of the concept of purgatory, questioning where purgation took place, as neither heaven nor hell seemed entirely appropriate.[5]


Robert wrote a compendium of theology, entitled "Sententiarum Theologicarum Libri Octo", which, for a time, held its place in the school of Western Europe as the official textbook in theology until it was supplanted by the "Libri Sententiarum" of Peter the Lombard, compared with whom Robert seems to have been more inclined to strict interpretation of ecclesiastical tradition than to yield to the growing demands of the dialectical method in theology and philosophy. Marcia L. Colish describes the eight volume work as poorly organized, redundant and "unwieldy".[6]

The Lombard, however, finally gained recognition and decided the fate of scholastic theology in the thirteenth century.[1]