- Adam of Dryburgh
region = Western Philosophy
color = #B0C4DE
name = Adam of Dryburgh
birth = c. 1140
death = c. 1212
Mysticism, Asceticism, Carthusianism, Premonstratensianism
Theology, Monastic discipline, Carthusian ideal
Hugh of St Victor, Ailred of Rievaulx, Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite, Anselm, Bernard of Clairvaux, Andrew of St Victor
influenced = Carthusian Order in Great Britain
notable_ideas = Various spiritual and monastic ideals
Adam of Dryburgh (c. 1140 – 1212) was a late 12th and early 13th century Anglo-Scottish theologian, writer and
Premonstratensianand Carthusianmonk. He entered Dryburgh Abbeyas a young man, rising to become abbot (1184-1188), before converting to Carthusianism and moving to Witham. His also somethimes known by various other later names, including Adam the Carthusian, Adam Anglicus and Adam Scotus.
He was born around 1140 in the Anglo-Scottish border area (
Northumberland& Scottish Borders) to parents whose names and identity are unknown. The details of his earliest education are not known either, but at some stage he may have studied under the great Hugh of St Victor. He is known to have rejected a clerical life in favour of monasticism, entering the Premonstratensian house of Dryburgh Abbeyand becoming a priest there in 1165 at the age of twenty five.
Adam served under the first two abbots, Roger and Gerard, before in 1184 Adam himself became abbot. It is not clear if Adam became a full abbot or if he was just acting abbot or
coadjutor. Abbot Gerard may have become incapacitated by illness, and Adam apparently refused to be blessed by a bishop while Abbot Gerard still lived. Adam got summonded to Prémontré, France, by its abbot the head of Adam's order. While in France Adam visited the Carthusian priory of Val St Pierre, which impressed him so much that he himself vowed to become a Carthusian, resigning his abbacy at Dryburgh. In this he was following in the footsteps of Abbot Roger, first head of Dryburgh Abbey, who had retired to Val St Pierre in 1177.
Adam returned to Britain and visited
Hugh of Lincoln, Bishop of Lincoln. After consulting with this senior Carthusian figure and future saint, Adam joined Hugh's old priory at Witham, Somerset. The Premonstratensians did not give up trying to get him back, however, and it was only after the intervention from Bishop Hugh that a letter of release was issued to Adam. Adam would remain at Witham until his death, perhaps in the year 1212. He had no children, was said to have been of medium height; he was noted for his cheerfulness, his skill as a preacher and his good memory.
Adam was also a prolific writer, which included many sermons as well as theological and other religious texts. Among his most famous works were "De tripartito tabernaculo", written at Dryburgh in 1180, and "Liber de quadripartito exercitio cellae"', written at Witham. His writings were first published by
Aegidius Gourmontin Parisin 1518. Later in that century the churchman John Balegave more writings to Adam by mistakenly attributing six works to Adam five of which he had no connection with.
* Bartlett, Robert, "England under the Norman and Angevan Kings, 1075—1225"Oxford University Press, 2000, p. 433
* Beckett, W. N. M., "Adam the Carthusian (supp. fl. 1340)", in "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/92 , accessed 7 Feb 2007]
* Bullock, James, "Adam of Dryburgh", (London, 1958)
* Holdsworth, Christopher, "Dryburgh, Adam of (c.1140–1212?)", in "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/97 , accessed 7 Feb 2007]
* Watt, D. E. R. & Shead, N. F. (eds.), "The Heads of Religious Houses in Scotland from the 12th to the 16th Centuries", The Scottish Records Society, New Series, Volume 24, (Edinburgh, 2001), p. 58-62
Abbot of Dryburgh
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