PULLEYN (PULLEIN), ROBERT: A noteworthy representative of the dogmaticians of the twelfth century who sought to collect the opinions of distinguished teachers on various points of doctrine (the so-called "sentence writers"); b. in England of good parentage perhaps c. 1080 or earlier; d. in Rome (?) c. 1150. His name appears as Polenius, Pullan, and Pully, as well as in the two forms given in the title. After studying in England he went to Paris, where William of Champeaux and Abelard were his teachers and where in due time he himself taught. About 1133 he appears in England, lecturing on the Scriptures at Oxford and also as archdeacon of Rochester. King Henry I. showed him favor and offered him a bishopric, which he declined. The disturbances after Henry's death (1135) drove him again to Paris. A letter from Bernard of Clairvaux (Robert's warm friend) to the bishop of Rochester, written about 1140, shows that the bishop had appealed to Pope Innocent II. in an attempt to induce him to return to his benefice. Innocent, however, probably influenced by Bernard, decided in Robert's favor and called him to the papal court. He became cardinal under Celestine II., chancellor under Lucius II., and probably died during the reign of Eugenius III. (1145-53) as his signature is not found later.
Writings by Robert of varied character (commentaries, treatises, sermons, etc.) are extant in manuscript, but nothing has been published except the Sententiarum librii viii (ed. H. Mathoud, Paris, 1655, reproduced in MPL, clxxxvi.; excerpts are in Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, xiv. 392 sqq.), which was strongly influenced by Abelard's Sic et non. Abelard, however, made no attempt to reconcile conflicting opinions. Robert goes farther and tries to unify contradictions by the dialectical method and the Aristotelian philosophy. He begins (book i.) with the doctrine of God and finds his dialectics applicable and sufficient to prove that God exists, that he can have had no beginning, and that there can not be more gods than one. When he comes to the Trinity, however, he quotes I John v. 7, as the ultimate proof; and all his fine-spun reasoning merely confirms the truth of an incidental remark at the beginning-that the dialectician accomplishes nothing, since he explains "the obscure by the obscure and that which is to be believed by the incredible." The omnipresence of God Robert illustrates by the soul in the body. God's relation to evil is not explained as purely permissive, and thus God is not the originator of evil in the world; to be able to do evil is not evil, but actually to do evil. Predestination is expounded in Augustinian fashion. The discussion of limits upon the divine omnipotence is characteristic of Robert's method. Abelard had asserted that God can do no more than he does and wills; others that everything is included in the omnipotence of God. Robert explains that what would be against reason and evil if it were done, God can not do, since if he could it would be impotence, the ability to do evil would eclipse the ability to do good. Nevertheless God could do much which he does not because he does not purpose it, although it could be done without injury to his goodness. Book ii. proceeds to the creation of the world, with many curious speculations. The doctrine of angels is expounded minutely, a subject to which Robert returns in the sixth book. Books iii; and iv. treat in the main of Christology. The succeeding books are much less systematic. Book v. takes up the resurrection, and then the treatment of the sacraments begins and lasts into the eighth book, with much discursive material. Like Alger of Liege Robert knows of five sacraments. The treatment of marriage and divorce (book vii.) is of much importance for the history of the canon law before Gratian. Book viii. opens with the Lord's Supper and closes with the last things. All elect heathen will be converted and all Jews by Enoch and Elias, and then Antichrist will come. For three and a half years he will rule and oppress the elect, will seduce many from the Roman Church, rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, will be worshiped by many as God, but finally will be killed by the archangel Michael on the Mount of Olives. Then the elect who have been misled by Antichrist will be given forty days for repentance. A great fire will break out and consume the world, burning till all believers are purified. The general resurrection will follow, at which all men will receive back all parts of the body, even the most minute. Finally the last trumpet will sound, the living will be caught up in the air, the judge will come, and the souls which still have need of purification will be cleansed by fire. Many fantastic ideas concerning the order in which the good and wicked will rise, the place of judgment, the separation of the pious from the godless, and the like, are interwoven, with curious and naive discussions.