Paul Anglicus (DNB00)

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PAUL Anglicus (fl. 1404), canonist, was one of the earliest writers to treat of the errors of the Roman catholic church. His ‘Aureum Speculum Papæ, ejus Curiæ, Prælatorum et aliorum spiritualium,’ written in 1404, is divided into three parts, and is in the form of a dialogue between Peter and Paul. The interlocutors represent two imaginary persons, who are made to reason in plain language, to quote scripture and the canons of the church, and to appeal to natural law and justice. The first and second parts affirm the existence of the gravest errors and abuses within the church: the sale of benefices, indulgences, and other privileges, which is condemned as simony. In the third part the writer resumes, and reasserts that the church of Rome is fundamentally wrong: ‘fore erroneam in statu damnationis laborantem, cum omnibus qui exorbitantes gratias a jure communi et beneficia ecclesiastica sunt adepti.’ He further affirms it to be impossible to exempt the cardinals from the charge of simony, and questions the power of the pope. The writer states that he wrote the book in the fifteenth year of the pontificate of Boniface IX, i.e. 1404.

The ‘Aureum Speculum’ was well known in Germany prior to the Reformation. John Huss referred to it. Manuscript copies of it, without the author's name, were at that time to be found in many continental libraries; a manuscript now in the University Library at Basle seems to present the text followed in the earlier printed editions. It was first published at Basle in 1555, in the ‘Antilogia Papæ, hoc est de corrupto ecclesiæ statu,’ by Wolfgang Wisseburg, theologian, a work which has been reproduced in the ‘Appendix ad Fasciculum Rerum Expetendarum et Fugiendarum,’ edited by Edward Brown, 2 vols. fol. London, 1690 (pp. 584–607). Wisseburg says, in his preface, that he was ignorant of the name of the author, but, after commending the work to the reader, adds: ‘Mirandum sane esset tam liberam fuisse linguam in tam captivo seculo.’ Edward Brown, in his preface to the later reprint, states further: ‘Aureum Speculum est a Paulo quodam conterraneo nostro.’ A short summary of it is to be found in the ‘Catalogus Testium Veritatis qui ante nostram ætatem Pontifici Romano ejusque erroribus reclamaverunt,’ by Mathew Flacius, Strasburg, 1562, and in later editions of the same work, Lyons, 1597; Geneva, 1608. It is also noticed in ‘Lectionum Memorabilium et Reconditarum Centenarii XVI,’ by John Wolf (Wolfius), Lavingæ, 1600. It is given complete, with the author's name, in Goldast's ‘Monarchiæ Romani Imperii, sive Tractatus de Jurisdictione Imperiali,’ Frankfort, 1621, t. iii. pp. 1527–58, under the title, ‘Pauli Decretorum Doctoris Angli, Aureum Speculum Papæ, ejus curiæ, prælatorum et aliorum spiritualium super plenitudine potestatis Papalis, scriptum ante ducentos annos.’

[Fabricius's Bibl. Eccles. v. 197; Oudin's Script. Eccles. iii. 2236; Tanner's Bibl. Brit.-Hib. p. 582, Append. ad Hist. Lit. de Script. Eccles. a Cave per Wharton, p. 78; Sacra Bibl. Illustr. Arcana Relecta à Theoph. Spizelio, Augsburg, 1668.]

J. G. F.