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Doctrina pueril

The Doctrina pueril (1274-1276) is a catechetical work governed by Llull’s concern to secure the fundamental truths of the Christian faith in the minds of a lay public. The possession of the doctrinal minima condensed in the catechism had to assist in the correct valuation of other, more subtle, knowledge, which Llull did not wish to renounce. Faith played an important role in the process which led human reason, by means of a suitable use of knowledge, and in accordance with first intentions, to the truth. Two-thirds of the Doctrina pueril is organised around the different elements conforming to the rudiments of Christian doctrine, the rest is an amalgam of different subject matters, in which the natural sciences play a prominent role.

Works devoted to the teaching of doctrine to the laity of the 13th century were very simple and elementary. The first pedagogical sermons to have some depth were by Saint Thomas Aquinas and dated from 1273. The best-known example of this genre is the Somme le roi, which friar Laurent d’Orléans wrote in 1280 for Phillip the Bold of France. In this context, the Doctrina pueril shows a remarkably high degree of elaboration and complexity, not lacking in literary touches in the form of exempla and analogies. It was a work in which Llull had practically no resort to either the terminology or the structures of his Art, as if, in fact, he wished to write a suitable catechism with extended appendices on general culture.

The themes of the catechism are: the 14 articles of faith, the Ten Commandments, the seven sacraments, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the eight Beatitudes, the seven joys of Mary, the seven virtues, and the seven vices. The lengthy appendices contain information concerning the three religions (and concerning pagans), the seven liberal arts of the trivium (grammar, dialectic, rhetoric) and of the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy), the sciences of medieval universities (theology, law, and medicine) and a good measure of introductory information regarding Aristotelianism.

Source: Joan Santanach, “Cové que hom fassa apendre a son fill los ·XIII· articles: La Doctrina pueril com a tractast catequètic”, in Literatura i cultura a la Corona d’Aragó (s. XIII-XV), Lola Badia - Miriam Cabré - Sadurní Martí, eds., (Barcelona: Curial-Publicacions de l’Abadia de Montserrat, 2002), pp. 419-430. Badia, Lola, "La ciència a l'obra de Ramon Llull", La Ciència en la Història dels Països Catalans, ed. Joan Vernet i Ramon Parés, I. Dels àrabs al renaixement (Barcelona-València: Institut d'Estudis Catalans, Universitat de València, 2004), pp. 403-442.