1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Ratramnus

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RATRAMNUS (d. c. 868), a theological controversialist of the second half of the 9th century, was a monk of the Benedictine abbey of Corbie near Amiens, but beyond this fact very little of his history has been preserved. He is best known by his treatise on the Eucharist (De corpore et sangnine Domini liber), in which he controverted the doctrine of transubstantiation as taught in a similar work by his contemporary Radbertus Paschasius. Ratramnus sought in a way to reconcile science and religion, whereas Radbertus emphasized the miraculous. Ratramnus's views failed to find acceptance; their author was soon forgotten, and, when the book was condemned at the synod of Vercelli in 1050, it was described as having been written by Johannes Scotus Erigena at the command of Charlemagne. In the Reformation it again saw the light; it was published in 1532 and immediately translated. In the controversy about election, when appealed to by Charles the Bald, Ratramnus wrote two books De praedestinatione Dei, in which he maintained the doctrine of a twofold predestination; nor did the fate of Gottschalk deter him from supporting his view against Hincmar as to the orthodoxy of the expression “trina Deitas.” Ratramnus perhaps won most glory in his own day by his Contra Graecorum opposita, in four books (868), a valued contribution to the controversy between the Eastern and Western Churches which had been raised by the publication of the encyclical letter of Photius in 867. An edition of De corpore et sanguine Domini was published at Oxford in 1859.

See the article by G. Steitz and Hauck in Hauck's Realencyklopädie für protest. Theologie, Band xvi. (Leipzig, 1905); Naegle, Ratramnus und die heilige Eucharistie (Vienna, 1903); Schnitzer, Berengar von Tours; and A. Harnack, History of Dogma, v., pp. 309-322 (1894-9).