Peter Cantor

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Peter Cantor (died 1197), also known as Peter the Chanter or by his Latin name Petrus Cantor, was a French Roman Catholic theologian.[1] He received his education at Rheims, and later moved on to Paris, where, in 1183, he became Chanter (hence his name) at Notre Dame. Charters show Petrus Cantor as a man active in hearing cases, witnessing documents and participating in the business of the chapter of Notre Dame.[2] Petrus was elected dean at Reims in 1196, but died in the following year in the Longpont Abbey, some time after 29 January 1197.[3] He commented on Old Testament and New Testament books.[1] His work on the sacrament of penance is especially noteworthy.[1] His work reflects Scholastic perspectives.[1]

Medievalist Jacques Le Goff cites Cantor when locating the "birth of purgatory" in the 12th century, based on Cantor's use of the term purgatorium as a noun in 1170.[4] John Baldwin's extensive study of Peter the Chanter and his circle underlines their social doctrines. Their teachings influenced the theological program of the Fourth Lateran Council.[5]


A group of Petrus' questions on the sacraments was compiled and published by Jean-Albert Dugauquier; see Summa De Sacramentis et Animae Consiliis', Louvain, Louvain University Press, 1954–1957. Petrus Cantor wrote the book Verbum Abbreviatum which was edited by Georgius Galopinus and published in 1639.[6][7] This work has been edited in the series Corpus Christianorum.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Peter Cantor - Catholic Encyclopedia article
  2. John Baldwin, Masters, Princes and Merchants: The Social Views of Peter the Chanter and His Circle, 2 vols., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970, vol. 2, 235-240.
  3. Beryl Smalley, The Gospels in the Schools c. 1100 - c. 1280, London 1985, p. 101
  4. Le Goff, Jacques. The Birth of Purgatory. Trans. Arthur Goldhammer. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984.
  5. John Baldwin, Masters, Princes and Merchants: The Social Views of Peter the Chanter and His Circle, 315-343.
  6. Johann Lorenz Mosheim; Charles Coote; George Gleig (1856). "An Ecclesiastical History, Ancient and Modern, in which the Rise, Progress, and Variations of Church Power, are Considered in Their Connexion with the State of Learning and Philosophy, and the Political History of Europe During that Period". Translated by Archibald Maclaine. Harper & Brothers. p. 323. The patrons of the ancient theology, who attacked the schoolmen, were Guibert, abbot of Nogent,* Peter, abbot of Moustier-la-Celle,† Peter the Chanter,‡ and principally Walter of St. Victor.§ [...] ‡ In his Verbum Abbreviat. cap. iii. p. 6, 7. published at Mons in the year 1639, in 4to. by George Galopin.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Petrus (Cantor) (1639). Georgius Galopinus (ed.). "Venerabilis Petri, Cantoris Ecclesiae B. Mariae Parisiensis, ... Verbum abbreviatum opus morale ab annis fere quingentis conscriptum, omnibus theologis, pastoribus, confesariis, concionatoribus, Iuris-consultis, & cuiuscumque conditionis hominibus utilissimum". ex Typographia Francisci Waudraei.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Petri Cantoris Parisiensis verbvm abbreviatvm, textus alter, ed. Monique Boutry (Turnhout, 2012).

Further reading

  • Philippe Buc, L'Ambiguïté du Livre. Prince, pouvoir, et peuple dans les commentaires de la Bible au Moyen Âge. Beauchesne (1994)
  • Philippe Buc, "Vox clamantis in deserto? Pierre le Chantre et la prédication laïque", Revue Mabillon 4 (1993), pp. 5–47.

External links