Otto of Passau

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Description:
Otto of Passau was a medieval German clerical author.

Biography

All that is known of him is in the preface of his work, in which he calls himself a member of the Franciscan Order, at one time lector of theology at Basle, and says that he finished his writing on 2 (1) February 1386, dedicating it to all the "friends of God", both clerical and lay, male and female, and begs for their prayers.

According to Sbaralea (Suppl. Script. Franciscani ordinis, Rome, 1806, 571) he was a native of Flanders and belonged to the Franciscan ecclesiastical province of Cologne. Yet his name refers to the Bavarian city of Passau.

Work

His book bears the German language title (not Dutch language, as one might expect from a Fleming) Die vierundzwanzig alten oder der guldin Tron der minnenden seelen; The 24 elders or the golden throne of loving souls. He introduces the twenty-four ancients of Apocalypse, iv.4, and makes them utter sentences of wisdom by which men can obtain the golden throne in eternal life.

The sentences are taken from the Holy Scripture, the Fathers of the Church, Scholastics and from heathen authors "whom the Church does not condemn". He thus enumerates 104 "masters", among whom are also some of the mystic, as Hugo and Richard of St. Victor. He generally gives accurate quotation of his sources though he also draws from some not specified, e.g., St. Elizabeth of Schönau. He tries to remain on strictly Catholic ground, but sometimes loses himself...
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