Henry of Langenstein
Henry of Langenstein, also known as Henry of Hesse the Elder (b. about 1325 at Hainbuch (Hembuche), near Langenstein
Langenstein may refer to:*Langenstein, Austria, a municipality in Upper Austria, Austria*Langenstein, Saxony-Anhalt, a municipality in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany**Langenstein-Zwieberge, a WW2 concentration camp in Langenstein, Saxony-Anhalt...

 in Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

; d. at Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

, 11 February 1397) was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Scholastic philosopher, theologian and mathematician.


He studied at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

, where he became professor of philosophy in 1363, and of theology in 1375.

In 1368, on the occasion of the appearance of a comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

, which the astrologer
An astrologer practices one or more forms of astrology. Typically an astrologer draws a horoscope for the time of an event, such as a person's birth, and interprets celestial points and their placements at the time of the event to better understand someone, determine the auspiciousness of an...

s of his times claimed to be a sure foreboding of certain future events, he wrote a treatise entitled Quæstio de cometa, in which he refutes the then prevalent astrological beliefs. At the instance of the university he wrote three other treatises the same subject, completed in 1373.

On his scientific work, A. C. Crombie
Alistair Cameron Crombie
Alistair Cameron Crombie was an Australian historian of science who began his career as a zoologist. He was noted for his contributions to research on competition between species before turning to history....

... Oresme extended the impetus theory to psychology. One of his followers, Henry, while doubting whether the proportions and intentions of the elements of a given substance were knowable in detail, seriously considered the possibility of the generation of a plant or animal from the corpse of another species, for example of a fox from a dead dog. (Augustine to Galileo 2, p.114)

When the Western Schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

 broke out in 1378, Henry sided with Urban VI against Clement VII, and wrote various treatises in defence of the former. In 1379 he composed "Epistola pacis" (see Helmstädter Program, 1779 and 1780) in which, under the form of a disputation between an Urbanist and a Clementine, he advocates the suppression of the schism by way of a general council
General council
General council may refer to:In education:* General Council , an advisory body to each of the ancient universities of Scotland...

 or a compromise. In his Epistola concilii pacis, composed in 1381, and based on a similar work, the Epistola Concordiæ of Conrad of Gelnhausen
Conrad of Gelnhausen
Conrad of Gelnhausen was a German theologian and canon lawyer, and one of the founders of the conciliar movement of the late fourteenth century....

, he urges still more strongly the necessity of a general council and severely criticises the many abuses that were permitted to go on within the Church.

These two treatises of Henry, and the Epistola Concordiæ of Conrad, formed the basis of a discourse delivered by Cardinal Pietro Philargi, the future Alexander V, at the first session of the Council of Pisa
Council of Pisa
The Council of Pisa was an unrecognized ecumenical council of the Catholic Church held in 1409 that attempted to end the Western Schism by deposing Benedict XIII and Gregory XII...

 (26 March 1409; see Bliemetzrieder in Historisches Jahrbuch (Munich, 1904), XXV, 536-541). Henry's Epistola concilii pacis is printed in von der Hardt's Concilium Constantiense, II, 1, 3-60, with the exception of the first and the second chapter, which were afterwards published by the same author in Discrepantia mss. et editionum (Helmstadt, 1715), 9-11.

When in 1382 the French court compelled the professors of the Sorbonne
The Sorbonne is an edifice of the Latin Quarter, in Paris, France, which has been the historical house of the former University of Paris...

 to acknowledge the antipope Clement VII, Henry left the university and spent some time at Eberbach Abbey
Eberbach Abbey
Eberbach Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery near Eltville am Rhein in the Rheingau, Germany. On account of its impressive Romanesque and early Gothic buildings it is considered one of the most significant architectural heritage sites in Hesse, Germany...

, a Cistercian monastery near Wiesbaden
Wiesbaden is a city in southwest Germany and the capital of the federal state of Hesse. It has about 275,400 inhabitants, plus approximately 10,000 United States citizens...

. A letter which he wrote here to Bishop Eckard of Worms
Worms, Germany
Worms is a city in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, on the Rhine River. At the end of 2004, it had 85,829 inhabitants.Established by the Celts, who called it Borbetomagus, Worms today remains embattled with the cities Trier and Cologne over the title of "Oldest City in Germany." Worms is the only...

, and which bears the title De scismate was edited by Sommerfeldt in Historisches Jahrbuch (Munich, 1909), XXX, 46-61. Another letter which he wrote here to the same bishop, on the occasion of the death of the bishop's brother, is entitled De contemptu mundi (edited by Sommerfeldt in Zeitschrift für kath. Theologie (Innsbruck,1905), XXIX, 406-412). A second letter of condolence, written about 1384, was edited by Sommerfeldt in "Hist. Jahrbuch" (Munich, 1909), XXX, 298-307.

Following the invitation of Albert III, Duke of Austria
Albert III, Duke of Austria
Albert III of Austria , known as Albert with the Pigtail , was a duke of Austria and a member of the House of Habsburg.-Life:...

, he came to the University of Vienna
University of Vienna
The University of Vienna is a public university located in Vienna, Austria. It was founded by Duke Rudolph IV in 1365 and is the oldest university in the German-speaking world...

 in 1384, and assisted in the foundation of a theological faculty. Here he spent the remainder of his life, teaching dogmatic theology
Dogmatic theology
Dogmatic theology is that part of theology dealing with the theoretical truths of faith concerning God and his works, especially the official theology recognized by an organized Church body, such as the Roman Catholic Church, Dutch Reformed Church, etc...

, exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

, and Canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, and writing numerous treatises.

In 1384 Heinrich von Langenstein, together with his colleague and friend Heinrich Totting von Oytha (who descended from the Northern German town now known as Friesoythe
Friesoythe, in Saterland Frisian language Ait or Äit, is a town in the district of Cloppenburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Soeste, approximately 25 km northwest of Cloppenburg, and 30 km southwest of Oldenburg....

), took up teaching and administrative duties at the newly established University of Vienna (founded 1365, first students subscribed 1385). In 2008 the University of Vienna attched a third memorial plaque to Heinrich von Langenstein and Heinrich Totting in the University Church - St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna (first: 1397 upon their burial in the Apostelchoir, second: upon re-burial of the two friends in the Katharinenkapelle 1510) near the Apostelchoir, acknowledging the two teachers the "founding professors" of the University of Vienna.
He refused an episcopal see
Episcopal See
An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

 which was offered him by Urban VI.


Roth (see below) ascribes to him seven works on astronomy, eighteen historico-political treatises on the schism, seventeen polemics, fifty ascetical treatises, and twelve epistles, sermons and pamphlets. Among his printed works are:
  • De conceptione, a defence of the Immaculate Conception
    Immaculate Conception
    The Immaculate Conception of Mary is a dogma of the Roman Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin Mary was conceived without any stain of original sin. It is one of the four dogmata in Roman Catholic Mariology...

     (Strasburg, 1500)
  • Contra disceptationes et prædicationes contrarias fratrum Mendicantium, another defence of the Immaculate Conception against some of the Mendicants (Milan, 1480; Basle, 1500; Strasburg, 1516)
  • Speculum animæ or mirror of the soul, an ascetic treatise edited by Wimpfeling (Strasburg, 1507)
  • Secreta Sacerdotum, treating of certain abuses in the celebration of Mass, edited by Michael Lochmayer (Heidelberg, 1489), and often thereafter
  • De contractibus emotionis et venditionis, an important work on the politico-economical views of his times, published among the works of Gerson
    Gerson may refer to:*Gérson or Gérson de Oliveira Nunes , Brazilian football player*Dora Gerson , German Jewish actress and cabaret singer killed at Auschwitz...

    (Cologne, 1483), IV, 185-224.
  • Summa de republica, a work on public law
  • Cathedra Petri, a work on ecclesiastical policy.
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