Stephen of Bourbon

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Stephen of Bourbon (c. 1180 – 1261) was a preacher of the Dominican Order, author of the largest collection of exempla for the preaching of his century, the Tractatus de diversis materiis predicabilibus, a historian of medieval heresies, and one of the first inquisitors. He was born in Belleville (Archdiocese of Lyons) towards the end of the twelfth century.

Having received his education from the cathedral clergy in Macon, he made his higher studies in Paris, about 1220, and there shortly afterwards, as it seems, he entered the Order of Preachers. From 1230 he was very active for many years as a preacher and inquisitor in the districts of Lyonnais, Burgundy, Franche-Comté, Savoy, Champagne, Lorraine, Auvergne, Languedoc, and Roussillon. In his work for preachers entitled De septem donis Spiritus Sancti, or Tractatus de diversis Materiis Praedicabilibus, Stephen included material drawn from his many years of practical experience, as well as a number of stories from the First Crusade chanson de geste tradition.[1] Written some time between 1250 and his death in 1261 as a "manual for his brethren presenting authorities, arguments and exempla from which to construct sermons... [and to] promote a Christian life [and 'edification of souls'] among the simple by means of arguments reinforced by authority and illuminated by story..." Exempla are at the heart of the work and are given promenence.[2] Parts of his work were published in Paris in 1877 by A. Lecoy de La Marche under the title Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues, tirés du recueil inédit d'Étienne de Bourbon dominicain du 13e siècle. A free use of his writings was made by a later compiler to form a "Speculum Morale", which for a long time was falsely attributed to Vincent of Beauvais.

Stephen was the protagonist of a 1987 French film Le Moine et la Sorcière, by Suzanne Schiffman, where he was played by Tchéky Karyo.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Susan B. Edington, Carol Sweetenham, The Chanson d'Antioche: An Old French Account of the First Crusade (2011) Ch.1, The Textual History of the Chanson d'Antioche, p.40.
  2. ^ L. J. Sackville, Heresy and Heretics in the Thirteenth Century: The Textual Representations (2011) p. 60.
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Stephen of Bourbon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Cites:
    • Jacques Échard, Script. ord. proed., I, 184 sq.;
    • HURTER, Nomenclator, II (Innsbruck, 1906), 375;
  • LECOY DE LA MARCHE, Introd. to work cited above;
    • HAUREAU in Journal des savants, 1881, 591 sq., 739 sq.;
    • MULLER, Die Waldenser (Gotha, 1886), 166 sq.

Further reading[edit]

  • Stephani de Borbone, Tractatus de diversis materiis predicabilibus. Prologus - Liber primus. De dono timoris, ed. Jacques Berlioz et Jean-Luc Eichenlaub (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis, 124), Turnhout, Brepols publishers, 2002 (ISBN 978-2-503-04241-1)
  • Stephani de Borbone, Tractatus de diversis materiis predicabilibus. Liber secundus. De dono pietatis, ed. Jacques Berlioz (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis, 124A), Turnhout, Brepols publishers, 2015 (ISBN 978-2-503-55258-3)
  • Stephani de Borbone, Tractatus de diversis materiis predicabilibus. Liber tertius. De eis que pertinent ad donum scientie et penitentiam, ed. Jacques Berlioz (Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis, 124B), Turnhout, Brepols publishers, 2006 (ISBN 978-2-503-04245-9)
  • Étienne de Bourbon, Anecdotes historiques, légendes et apologues tirés du recueil inédit d’Étienne de Bourbon dominicain du XIIIe siècle, édition de Albert Lecoy de la Marche, Paris, Henri Loones, 1877. Available online via Gallica.

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