Doctor (Lat., a teacher), a person who has taken all the degrees of a faculty, and is empowered to teach and practise it. It is bestowed by universities and colleges as an honorary distinction. The doctorate and the degrees which conduct to it were instituted early in the 12th century. The first ceremonious installation of a doctor was at the university of Bologna, when Bulgarus was promoted to the doctorate of the civil and canon law. The learned Irnerius, one of the revivers of the Roman law at that time, composed the formulary which has been followed since, and which gives great solemnity to the reception of the degree. The usage was immediately adopted by the university of Paris, which in 1145 conferred the degree of doctor upon Peter Lombard and Gilbert de la Porree. The title and degree of doctor were in use in England under King John, about 1207. In Germany during the middle ages a doctor of law enjoyed the same privileges as knights and prelates. The first doctors were only of law and theology; medicine was afterward added; and in 1340 in the university of Paris the four faculties of law, theology, medicine, and the arts or letters were organized as they are now.
At Oxford and Cambridge, and recently also in some of the German and American universities, diplomas of doctor of music have been given. The title of doctor has occasionally been bestowed upon women. In 1787 the university of Got-tingen decreed the title of doctor of philosophy to Dorothea Schlozer; in 1817 the university of Giessen gave the title of doctor of medicine to Mariane Charlotte von Siebold; in 1827 the university of Marburg pronounced Johanna Wyttenbach doctor of philosophy. Still more recently women have received the title of doctor of medicine from foreign and from American schools. In the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and in most of the continental universities, a student who is to receive the degree of doctor has to prepare one or more theses, which in Germany are called the inaugural theses. In the United States the title is conferred upon those of eminent learning or ability in their profession, without demanding from them any learned exercise in return, excepting in the medical profession, where it is bestowed at the end of a course of study. The title had an existence outside of the universi ties during the middle ages, and was bestowed upon every one of singular learning.
Thus Alexander of Hales was called the irrefragable doctor; Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor, Bonaventura, the seraphic doctor; Duns Sco tus, the subtle doctor; Roger Bacon, the admirable doctor; William Occam, the singular doctor; Denys le Chartreux, the ecstatic doc tor; and Alain de Lille, the universal doctor. The title of doctor has been given to some of the fathers of the church whose teachings have the highest authority. At an early period there were accounted four doctors of the Greek church, St. Athanasius, St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. John Chrysostom; and also of the Latin church, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory the Great, and St. Ambrose. Pope Pius V. assigned the fifth place among the Latin doctors to St. Thomas Aquinas, and Sixtus V. gave the sixth place to St. Bonaventura. St. Bernard was added to the series by Pius VIII. The title of doctor of the law existed among the ancient Jews. Those who figure in the Talmud are called doctors of the Talmud, or distinctively doctors of the Mishnah (tanaim) and of the Gemara (amo-raim), according to the divisions of that book in which they appear.
They were also called rabbis. - In England, Germany, and the United States the title doctor of divinity (D. D.) or doctor of sacred theology (S. T. D.) is conferred, generally as an honorary degree, upon distinguished teachers of Christianity. The degrees of doctor of philosophy (Ph. D.) and doctor of civil and canon law (J. U. D., juris utriusqae doctor) are conferred by German universities for proficiency in studies. In England and the United States, the title of doctor of laws (LL. D.) is conferred as an honorary degree upon those who have acquired distinction in any department of learning or public affairs. In place of this the university of Oxford confers the corresponding degree of doctor of civil law (D. C. L.).