Thursday, July 26, 2007

Condemnations of 1277

I had always been under the impression that though the condemnations of 1277 were in someways a "watershed" event in medieval philosophy, they were quickly dismissed by the thinkers affected by them or working in the aftermath. Apparently this is not true. Though Ockham reports some Thomists in Britain claiming that they don't pass over the sea, and Godfrey of Fontaines claims that they are only in effect on the Ile de France, they were considered serious enough that the condemnations pertaining to Thomistic doctrine had to be formally lifted in 1323 prior to Aquinas's canonization. Yesterday I was reading a question on the place of the angels (one of those scholastic disputes highly relevant to contemporary analytic philosophy) and came across Aquinas's position that an angel is in place via its operation around a place. Scotus criticizes this, with a series of arguments and authorities, but, interestingly, begins his critique of the position with an appeal to the Parisian Condemnations; here it is in latlish:

"Against this is that that was condemned just as a certain article, condemned and excommunicated by the bishop of Paris. But if should be said that 'excommunication does not pass over the ocean or diocese,' - if, nevertheless, the article was condemned as an heretical article, it seems to be condemned just as heretical not only by the diocesan authority but also by the authority of the lord Pope [there follows a reference to the Decretales of Gregory IX]. Or at least the opinion is suspect, because in some university it was solemnly condemned."

This may explain some of the character of Scotus's theology, what with the rare comment that he only asserts something without prejudice to another opinion (cf. the formal distinction in the trinity, the "absolute" consitution of the Persons, etc.), and the high view of Church authority (making explicit appeals to determinations of the Church as arbiters of acceptable opinion, which may be in the background of other thinkers like Aquinas or Bonaventure, but Scotus makes it quite clear what he is up to). The Condemnations of 1277, then, were taken pretty seriously by some, it would seem. Of course, Godfrey of Fontaines and the Thomists naturally would want to minimize its influence, while Scotus and Ockham, sometime opponents of Thomistic doctrine, would naturally want to rely on its censure of Thomism. Stay tuned for more FACTS OF INTeREST!


Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

Worst. Entry. Ever.

How could you make a Futurama reference the day before the Simpsons movie? Where's your loyalty?

Seriously, though, interesting reflections. Scotus' explicit desire to take into account and be faithful to the "ordinary" magesterium is in ironic contrast to the destroyer of worlds he's so often made out to be.

Simpsons! Whoo-hoo!

[this is the same as the deleted comment, but edited to correct an embarrassing solecism]

E said...

Okay, given Scotus' love of the Church's ordinary magisterium, and its ability to give precise answers to theological questions--even those in the philosophic sphere involvoing how angels act in place--what would he think of the 24 Thomistic Theses, which seem to have more authority than that of the 1277 Paris Condemnations, or previous Canon Law, which declared that all Catholic teachers must adhere to Thomas' "doctrine, principles, and method"?

Michael said...


Canon law is disciplinary, not dogmatic, and the 24 theses are not binding on the intellects or consciences of the faithful. They are "sure norms" and guidelines which are guaranteed not to lead one into heterodoxy. But they were proposed as an antidote and counterbalance to modernist philosophies, not to scholastic philosophies such as Scotism or Bonaventurianism which might disagree with Thomism at some points of metaphysics or psychology. Indeed the Franciscan school is just as effective at combating modernism as Thomism is. In my opinion Thomas has been exalted by the Magesterium as much for pedagogical reasons as for strictly philosophical reasons, i.e. Thomas is much easier to read and understand than Scotus or Bonaventure or other scholastics, and unlike them one can find in his voluminous writings a complete and thorough course of study from simple Aristotelian principles to subtle theological discussions. Most other profound medieval theologians require much more expertise to comprehend than Thomas does, and for the Popes to propose, say, Scotus as a model would bear little fruit compared to Thomas, due to the extremelhy difficult nature of his writings much more than to the quality of his thought.

As its prologue says, the Summa is a work for beginners and is quite simplistic compared to the equivalent discussions in some of the great Sentences Commentaries or disputations. The Compendium Theologiae is much more simplistic still; the Contra Gentiles is more of an apologetic preambulum to theology than theology proper, and so forth. This is not at all a slight on the great St Thomas. As an undergraduate I derived enormous benefit from these works, as well as many of Thomas' commentaries on Aristotle, which provided me with a solid grounding in medieval thought, whereas if I had first tried reading the Ordinatio--presuming I could find much of it in English, which I couldn't, and my Latin was scanty back then--it would have done me no good at all.

Here is a pretty good piece on the 24 theses and the Church's stance on Thomism. It's defending a philosophy which is not my own, but I think its principles are sound:,3,3-12-1996/Gordon.htm

Lee Faber said...

One might add, that back when the 24 theses were published, the general of the Jesuits asked if this was binding and the Holy Office replied that they were merely proposed, not imposed.

Honestly, I don't see how the church could have any authority to impose doctrines like the real distinction between essence and existence, etc. on the consciences of the faithful. church authority concernes faith and morals, not metaphysics (unless one's metaphysics contradicts a tenet of the faith).

One might also say that the thomistic period as it lasted barely a hundred years, does not constitute an expression of the ordinary magisterium. obviously now we don't live in a thomistic church. and prior to that the popes had always recommended Bonaventure and Scotus.

Lee Faber said...

It is somewhat instructive to read some of the articles floating around from back then (thomistic triumphalist days); I was looking at one by Pelster from the 1930's who was responding to two spanish dominicans who were claiming that one could only dissent from a teaching of st. thomas if the commentary tradition itself did not agree on the interpretation of a certain point. they supported their claims by appealing to papal comments made in various public forums and published in official and quasi-official vehicles of the holy see. In the end it all looks as much as an attempt to seize power by thomists and impose on the church doctrines that had long been opposed by various other schools than it does an attempt to save the church from modernism.

Michael said...

One might also add that at the time of the Thomistic revival Scotism, Bonaventurianism et al were very little known even to the medieval scholarship of the day. They were not in the 1890s and 1910s genuine competitors of Thomism, if for no other reasons there weren't the books. The Quarracchi Bonaventure was only just out, Scotus was only around in the bad editions, and there was little secondary literature. The alternative to Thomas at the time was what? Malebranchian Cartesiansim? Suarez? NeoKantianism? Hegel or positivism? Of course Thomism would be recommended as an antidote to these, and rightly so. But that doesn't mean, I think, that I have to hold to the real distiction of being and essence, or should regard my own orthodoxy with suspicion because I don't believe that matter can be the principle of individuation. That seems crazy.

I'm also glad you pointed out that the Triumph of Thomism in the Church (to the exclusion of the other schools) didn't last all that long and is not really representative of the Church's intellectual tradition, either in the middle ages or the intervening centuries.

Lee Faber said...

I've been meaning to mention to ya, "buddy", that a friend of mine sent me a pdf of a lecture weishapl gave once, in which he details the state of catholic philosophy prior to the thomistic revival (various attempts to synthesize cartesianism, kantianism, etc.) and then predicts what would happen if the church abandoned its thomistic education. its on the dominican website somewhere. he basically predicts the fallout after vat2, which adds to my suspicion that we're still in somesense dealing with the same problem. the manualist thomism didn't work as a solution (me here, not weishapl), we tried to run after secular philosohy again, and here we are again, an age of confusion.

e said...

I am not trying to defend Thomism per se, but responding to a specific comment of Michael's, concerning Scotus' "explicit desire to be faithful to the 'ordinary' magisterium', and the general attitude of suspicion toward Thomistic theologians and the popes who love them. L.F. questions whether or not the 24 Theses and 1917 Canon law constitute "an expression of the ordinary magisterium". One might say the same thing about the 1277 condemnations and get no further in the discussion.
Michael pointed out that the Code is disciplinary, not dogmatic. This is a false dichotomy, as one can see by reading the new Code, which, even more than the past one, has explicit canons that are summary doctrinal formulas. You will find such formulas in all codes--Orthodox law is even more rife with such examples. Further, my interest was not so much in the content of the Theses or the Code as in the fact that they legislated a particular sort of theology. Again, one can argue that such legislation is more an abberation than ordinary, but there are too many anathemas and doctrinal statements from Trent and Vatican I--taken nearly verbatim from Thomas--for one to seriously argue, if he's done the comparisons, that Thomistic theology and philosophy, more than any other, has been incorporated into the dogma of the Church. In this light, the 24 Theses and the 1917 Code could be seen as developments, not abberations.

LF's comment sounds strikingly similar to those of certain ebattled Protestant minorities who worry about an impending series of laws dictating the days on which a person must worship: it is a political argument that might have some weight, but doesn't adequately take into account the heart of the situation. He said,

"In the end it all looks as much as an attempt to seize power by thomists and impose on the church doctrines that had long been opposed by various other schools than it does an attempt to save the church from modernism." His own last comment, about the lecture warning of impeding moral misunderstandings, belies his first claim.

This is precisely where I think JP2's Fides et Ratio is helpful. He specifically states that the Church holds no particular philosophy as her own; nevertheless, he continues, her dogmatic teachings--in various forms requiring various levels of assent--uses the language and the thinking of particular philosophies. He also points to Thomas, not just as a practical introduction to theology, but as a sure norm of Catholic thinking.
We cannot hold philosophic principles that lead to conclusions that contradict the faith. Therefore, if a philosopher teaches something that contradicts the faith, and his reasoning is sound and his definitions are not vague, then his principles must be questioned. On the other side, though, just because a fellow had true conclusions, it does not mean his philosophy was correct (this could be Thomas at any number of points). My question, then, is this (and only those who know better can answer it): Did Scotus teach things contradictory to the faith? If so, did they come from his principles? From what I've read (and again, this is little), the answer to both questions is yes.

Michael said...


I hope you can see the difference between proposing Thomism as a sure norm, to be taught in seminaries--i.e. having a guarantee of orthodoxy in its principles--and mandating religious assent to its specific principles. The Holy See is perfectly able to do the former. But the latter I don't think it can do, and don't think it has done. The Church proposed Thomism as its "sure norm" and legislated its teaching for a few decades: this is not the same as giving expression to a constant irreformable tradition. The condemndations of 1277, whatever their scope or force, did indeed attempt, not to propose a philosophy to be held by all Catholic thinkers, but to condemn propositions which were incompatible with the Faith. Are the 24 theses supposed to be a magisterial condemnation of any philosophical principle at odds which them? I can't imagine so. Take a moment to recall the other great Catholic philosophers that the Church has also praised in the highest terms, if not, maybe, as frequently. There are many Doctors of the Church, and many of them have philosophical notions intrinsic to their theologies but incompatible with the 24 theses.

I wonder if you can give us specific examples of texts from Trent or Vatican I really taken verbatim from Thomas and expressing concepts dependent on specifically Thomistic philosophy, as opposed to more general aristotelian-scholastic principles. I would be very interested to them if you can produce them. To people who've read Thomas and few or no other scholastics--a position many "Thomists" seem to be in now and in previous generations--something might sound Thomistic but really be common to any number of thinkers in the medieval latin tradition who might disagree with Thomas on specific metaphysical, logical, or ethical points.

I wonder what you've read indicating that Scotus taught things contrary to the Faith. I don't know of anything. I'm pretty sure, in fact, that no Scotistic teaching or principle has ever been condemned or repudiated or reversed by the Church, which is not true of Thomas.

e said...

Your claim is difficult to evaluate because, taken as it stands, it requires 1) that are familiar with everything Scotus ever said, and 2) that you have checked those things against the various anathemas and condemnations of the Church. Perhaps you mean that the Church has never named Scotus in her condemnations?
Most of the information I have at hand concerning Thomas comes from Richard Cross' book Duns Scotus. Whether or not he interprets Scotus correctly, he quotes him, as I will below. Again, you can attack the source of the quotations, and even if they are correct, you could attack the translation. But I don't have a huge library with me and I'm not a Scotus scholar. So here is what I have for now--some examples of teachings condemned by the Church (though Scotus wasn't directly named):
1) philosophy: p. 81 “The soul is united not to matter directly but to an already formed body”
2) morals: p. 109 “Penance does not…cause a real change in the sinner; it is merely a requirement contingently made by God for the remission of post-baptismal sin.” “The remission of sins does not involve the removal of any quality or real relation in the sinner. It consists merely of a divine decision not to punish the sinner.” These were specifically condemned by Trent.
3) Morals: p. 130 “The offense caused by Adam’s sin—and indeed all subsequent sin—is finite.”

Cross also sums up many of Scotus' arguments, which, if he does so accurately, fall short of orthodoxy. If you really want to redeem Scotus, I suggest you counter the likes of such scholars as Cross, who, if wrong, perpetuate the myth that Scotus--in his theology at least--was a proto-Protestant.

As for quotations nearly verbatim from Thomas, there are two issues. One is the historical issue: the Church could be quoting Thomas who is in turn quoting someone else. This could mean that she is not relying on Thomas, but the other authors. It could also mean that she is relying on Thomas' authoritative reading of those other authors. The other issue is when she quotes Thomas who says something similar to another medieval author: was she quoting Thomas on purpose, or just a general idea common to many others? This question can only be answered in the concrete circumstance, with a look at the debates surrounding (for instance) the Trent documents or the footnotes to such texts.

At the moment, I will concede the point, though, since I cannot produce the parallels you are asking for. Lack of resources and time.

Again, I am not arguing that the Church requires us to accept Thomas' philosophy (however that might be understood), nor that the 24 Theses are the standard of orthodoxy or impeccable philosophy or even the fundaments of a "Catholic" philosophy (if there is such a thing).

e said...

The reason why I wrote in the first place was to raise a hypothetical (and perhaps for that reason unhelpful) question: Given Scotus' "explicit desire to be faithful to the 'ordinary' magisterium", what would he make of all the Thomas-pushing--insofar as it is a disciplinary matter? The possible answers given so far include:
1) Thomas-pushing is not part of the ordinary magisterium
2) The Church pushes Thomas only as a matter of prudence, not doctrine.
3) Only things not specific to Thomas are forwarded by the Church; when she exhorts people to follow Thomas, it is because he
a. is easy to understand
b. quotes many other authors who are trustworthy
c. happens to have many conclusions that are orthodox
4) The Church pushes only some of Thomas' theological conclusions, only those that do not rely on his specific philosophy; she pushes none of his philosophy to be taken as dogma.

There seem to be elements of truth and falsity in all of these claims. I have claimed, with no evidence, that the Church has taken some of Thomas' theological conclusions of her own. But you righly point out that if these conclusions are not dependent upon his particular theological princicples, then they are not specific to him per se. Again, we need to discuss positive examples in order get further in this issue.
The other issue is about Scotus' unblemished orthodoxy--which you uphold and I doubt. My evidence: quotations from Richard Cross. Your claim, which is very difficult to prove: "no Scotistic teaching or principle has ever been condemned or repudiated or reversed by the Church."
It seems to me that the furthest this discussion can go now is to discuss either the relation between philosophy and dogma or particular claims by Richard Cross.

Lee Faber said...

e, just come out and say it; i resemble the sda's.

regarding cross, I take him with a grain of salt. while one does not like to think he may be misrepresenting scotus (and given his own personal religious views which i've heard second hand he doesn't at all seem to be the type that engages in protestant hunting), the fact remains that he sometimes admits bias. if i understood the intro to his book on christology correctly, it was to prove that the incarnation entails divine mutability. i've haven't looked at it recently enough to see if by this he means that the medievals themselvs thought this (certaintly scotus didn't), or that he thinks they can't avoid it. but in any case, everything in his 'duns scotus' in the gmt series is so summarized that i wouldn't take it as a definive in any sense. Oberman has claimed that the decrees of trent were consciously framed as to leave room for scotistic theses, so that's all i have to say about that.

as for the plurality of forms, one should think the thomist leaning ott would suffice as an authority, who says the censuring of olivi by the council of vienne in 1311 does not affect the scotist camp (this was what you were alluding to).

Lee Faber said...

there is also a work, in french, entitled something like duns scotus and the holy see, detailing all of the papal recommendations throughout the centuries.

one also ought to point out that scotus is hard to understand. ott for example, thinks that the formal distinction violates divine simplicity. it doesn't, but it can appear that way because it posits a kind of real distinction in divinis. but we already have a real distinction between persons in the divinis, which was the common opinion in the 13th century (scotus, the thomists, henry, godfrey of fontaines)

Michael said...

Given Scotus' "explicit desire to be faithful to the 'ordinary' magisterium", what would he make of all the Thomas-pushing--insofar as it is a disciplinary matter?

In addition to what Mr Faber has said I would add that from what I've read of the history of the Thomistic revival at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, "Thomas-pushing" at that time was rather similar to the "Augustine-pushing" in the middle ages: Augustine's writings and doctrines were given pride of place, partly because of their excellence, number, and scope, but partly also because many of the Greek Fathers were not widely available in Latin translation or carefully studied. Medieval theology would have looked somewhat different if Athanasius and the Cappadocians had been available and read for centuries before the scholastic golden age. Just as with the early hard-core neoThomists there was an attitude that if Thomas said it that more or less settled it, so there was a similar attitude about Augustine with many of the scholastics. This often worked fine. But then again, sometimes Augustine was wrong, about metaphysics or about psychology or even about dogma. Then theologians had to adjust, and sometimes other Fathers had a better answer.

Anyway it seems to me that Thomas' place in the Thomistic revival was rather like Augustine's place in scholaticism, especially towards the beginning. The 19th-early 20th-century neoThomists revived Thomism to combat modernism, and most of the differences between Thomas and Scotus or Bonaventure or Henry or Godfrey weren't on their radar screen for a long time because these latter guys were very little studied or understood. As Sertaillange says, Thomism became a haven for the thought of the Church against the vicissitudes of modern philosophies, which could be relied on not to lead us astray (most of the time--don't forget the Immaculate Conception). This seems to me the reason that Pius X for instance said that when he or Leo XIII recommended other scholastics and doctors in addition to St Thomas, this was always only insofar as they agreed with Thomas and never where they disagreed with him: if we stick to that method we know we won't get anything crazy, and this is a crazy time. But historically that just doesn't seem to be the mind of the Church's tradition towards the various Doctors. Never before had the theological schools followed that standard--in non-Dominican Orders students had studied the Summa as a textbook, because it's a great textbook, much better than the Sentences Comentaries, but they read it along with Correctoria to point out Thomas' errors or divergences from the Franciscan school or whoever. But when Thomas was resurrected in the 19th century knowledge of these other schools was mostly defunct.

I know from experience how brilliantly and obviously right about everything Thomas seems compared to modern philosophers and theologians. But read him alongside his contemporaries in some careful study and one begins to see that there is frequently more than one legitmate orthodox tradition-friendly way to approach many metaphysical or theological questions. Remember that during Thomas' life and for decades after he was seen as a radical because he was so much less traditional than someone like Bonaventure.

Augustine may be the greatest of the Fathers but we don't think we should have to read all the other Fathers with a correcting pen in hand for whenever they diverge from Augustine. Nor I think should we have to read every other Doctor of the Church with a correcting pen to warn away from any idea which diverges from St Thomas. This is just not the Church's tradition, although it was Her disciplinary practise for a relatively short period of time.

For this and other reasons Mr Faber's pointed out it doesn't seem to me that the 24 theses represent genuine magesterial teaching.

e said...

LF: I'm not familiar with Oberman, but his historical thesis looks intersting--where can I find it, because I would greatly benefit from beng able to read it?

Also, the three quotations I have are not from Richard Cross himself, but Cross quoting Scotus. I tried to distinguish between Cross' interpretations (none of which I quoted) and Scotus' actual words.

As for your other points, they are helpful and seem valid.

Michael: I think you were simply giving a fuller exposition of what I called the "practical" interpretation of the Magisterium's appropriation of Thomas.

In some ways we have discussed how binding the 24 Theses are; I brought them up as an example to which we could compare the 1277 condemnations. Are the latter more binding than the former? We could also compare various papal encyclicals with the 1277 condemnations: if they contradict, which are more binding? This question involves how we determine what is part of the "ordinary magisterium" and what is not. Perhaps they do not contradict, but have different objects (as Michael claims), the encyclicals being prudential, the condemnations doctrinal. It would probably be a useful exercise to compare the matter of the condmenations with that of the 24 theses.

e said...

Finally, in light of your comments, it seems that your answer to my question would be something like this: the Magisterial appropriation of Thomas would not make much of a difference to a Scotist's procedure today.

A Scotus could put a similar hypothetical question: What would Thomas have made of the 1277 condemnations? I can think of two answers to that: 1) he would defend Thomas' views, saying that none of them were included in that condemnation (this is what Albert the Great did), 2) he would proceed more carefully. But, given Scotus' emphasis on the will and--by your own admission--his "explicit desire to take into account" the "ordinary magisterium", I suspect he would be more concerned to comply with the Magisterium's adoption of Thomas than Thomas would be of the 1277 condemnations (given that Thomas uses Magisterial authority to bolster or formulate his arguments much less than Scotus).

Lee Faber said...

re: cross
the 1. quote. the prop. of olivi censured by vienne says that the intellective soul is not the per se form of the body; however you cash this out, I have seen scotus several times maintain that it is the per se form. your quote is a little ambiguous and i'm not sure if scotus would agree or not.

2. i think here cross is summarizing, not quoting. he gives a reference in a footnote which i'll try to look up when i have time, but from the context, i think the "penance" referred to as not causing a real change is that assigned by the priest, not "penance" as one of the seven sacraments considered in its entirety. otherwise this would seem to contradict other genuine scotistic theses.

3. you might point to where this was condemned. in any case, i couldn't find anything in Ott or the current CCC that implied this was de fide.

I also found kind of an outrageous error of fact on cross's part when i was skimming some of these sections earlier today. He claims that Scotus holds that the accidents after eucharistic conversion inhere in quantity and that this the common opinion. this is infact erroneous, being aquinas opinion. scotus doesn't have to deal with the same problem becuase of the difference in his theory of individuation. i think his accidents are all free floating. his whole notion of accident is constructed differently.

Lee Faber said...

as to what scotus would make of the ecclesial status of the neo thomistic revival, i don't think it a very useful question. But to offer a guess, I would say we have to keep in mind also that he was a franciscan and felt constrained by franciscan tradition as well (one thomist professor of mine has made the unsubstantiated claim to me that he thinks scotus would have held to certain thomistic theories if internal franciscan legislation had allowed it). So he probably would have been like the franciscans during the thomistic revival; researching franciscan history and writing articles maintaining the freedom to hold traditional franciscan doctrines.

Scotus himself goes on record as saying that only things explict in scripture or from explicit determination of the church and things necessarily entailed in them are binding on the indivual conscience.

perhaps i'm wrong here, but i don't see thomism as part of divine revelation, just a means of explaining that revelation. the endorsements thomism has received by the church may indeed be sure in the sense that they don't lead directly to heresy, or the doctrines of modernism that were worrisome in the 19th century but in light of the fact that the other schools were also mentioned in these documents i think implies that the church is settling all the ancient disputes on the thomist side.

that being said, if scotus does in fact maintain theses later condemned (and this has escaped all commentators for 700 years until richard cross brought them to light) all it means is that we have a situation similar ot thomas and the immaculate conception. obviously, both would submit to the authority of the church.

e would probably want to say to this that there might be something in scotus' philosophy that leads to these conclusions. all i can really say to that is i haven't come across anything in my reading of book I of the ordinatio, the qq. on porphyry, the qq. on the categories, the quodlibet, the qq. on the metaphysics, the de primo principio. probably the most far reaching and controversial of all his doctrines is that of the freedom of the will, but this is logically dependent of most of his other doctrines, viz. univocity, formal distinction, individuation and so on.

Lee Faber said...

oh yes. the oberman article is in the john duns scotus 1265-1965 volume, ed. by john k ryan

Michael said...

It would probably be a useful exercise to compare the matter of the condmenations with that of the 24 theses.

the 1277 condemnations were very largely concerned with the extreme Aristotelianism of the Latin Averroists. They were mostly aimed at the liberal arts faculty rather than at the theological factory, at people like Siger of Brabant and Boethius of Dacia. Major issues involved were things like the eternity of the world and the unicity of the intellect in all men--areas, of course, in which Thomas stauchly defended the orthodox view. Also such teachings as that the Scriptures were merely pious fables, or that the philosophical life was the best life. But a handful of Thomistic theses made their way into the condemnations as well, such as for instance that God can only create one angel per angelic species: this was an untraditional view and smacked of excessive Aristotelianism to the more conservative schools, but it does follow from Thomistic principles.

Anyway as I said earlier the condemnations were just that, they condemned certain opinions and certain metaphysical positions, but unlike the 24 theses they didn't lay out a series of metaphysical principles to be held by all.

As for the authority of the condemnations, they were promulgated by the Archbishop of Paris--Stephen Tempier, if I recall correctly--and not by the Holy See. They were binding on everyone in his jurisdiction, at least, which certainly included Scotus and would have included Thomas if the latter were still alive. Now I half-remember from reading I did for one of my courses some story such that these propositions and a lot of writings by various thinkers supposed to contain them were sent to Rome to be reviewed and for the condemnations to be officially ratified; but in typical Roman fashion the beurocracy never got very far and nothing on the matter was ever officially done by the Holy See. I could look up the details if anyone cared.

Lee Faber said...

The funny thing about them is that a lot of them cannot be traced to anyone and seem to have been made up.

the commission that drew them up was appointed by John xxi (=petrus hispanus of the summule logicales) and probably included henry of ghent among its members. the condemnations, or ones very similar, were promulgated in england by robert kilwardby, op, and upheld after his death by john peckham. the thomists took quite a beating politically (ie, power may indeed have been involved, not just the ravings of a crypto sda). aegidius romanus was exiled soon after for 12 years by another commission that apparently was working on a huge condemnation of aquinas which luckily never went through-again, politically motivated. Richard knapwell's career was completely destroyed in the 1280's for maintaining the unicity of the substantial form in the face of peckham's condemnation; he appealed to the pope, who i think might have been franciscan.

It is probably also significant that the original 1277 condemnations were promulated on march 7, the anniversary of aquinas' death.