traditional title, Doctor Universalis [Teacher with Universal Talents], well captures the abilities of Alan: Scripture commentator, philosopher, preacher, hymnist, poet, and theologian. Born in the northern French town of Lille, he studied under Gilbert of Poitiers in the early 1240s, taught at Paris for more than a decade (1257-1270), and then at Montpellier from 1271-1285. His summa begins with the words "Quoniam homines" (Since men . . . ) and is complemented by his Disputed Questions. His most cited theological work is his Regu-lae de sacra scriptura [Rules of Sacred Scripture], which is a collection of traditional and original principles of theology and their explanations. One of his more famous rules is "Deus est sphaera intelligibilis cuius centrum ubique, circumferentia nusquam" ("God is an intelligible sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere"). From Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy and Bernard Silvestris's Cosmography, Alan gains much of the inspiration for his famous theological treatise, De planctu naturae [Nature's Lament] and the nine-book theological poem, Anticlaudi-anus [The Good and Perfect Man], both of which were written during his years at Montpellier. Alan retired to the Cistercian monastery of Citeaux where he died in 1202.
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