Sunday, September 2, 2007

De peccato actuali

I'm deep in fall semester now, but am trying to finish up vol. 8. At the moment I am wending my way through the discussion of actual sin, one of the most complicated questions, textually speaking, that I have encountered in the subtle doctor's writings; five interlaced questions. There is a lot of Anselm, Augustine, with ocassional references to arguements of Aquinas and Bonaventure, though it may not be direct "contra Thomam" argumentation, but borrowing arguments for a position from their writings. The editors give quotes from Aquinas, and point out a dual influence from Anselm and Augustine; Scotus discusses Augustine, but is much closer to Anselm's position, and even adopts it explicitly in the matter of original sin. It is a very different account of sin than what I have heard before, and I think I made some errors in my post on penance. Not that I think it falls afoul of Trent or anything. Even Ott points out a few places where Trent specifically left the scholastic dispute unresolved. Anyway, I will put up a few quotes.

Ord. II d. 34-37 qq.1-5, n. 46-47:
"Concedo ergo ... quod peccatum est corruptio rectitudinis in actu secundo... non autem naturalis, nec cuiuscumque habitualis, sed moralis actualis. Sed non intelligo de corruptione quae est mutatio ab esse ad non-esse (potest enim peccatum manere post talem mutationem iustitae ab esse ad non-esse, potest etiam inesse absque tali mutatione ab esse ad non-esse), sed intelligo corruptionem formaliter, sicut privatio dicitur formaliter corruptio sui habitus; hoc enim modo ratio peccati est formaliter corruptio rectitudinis in actu secundo, quia opponitur illi rectitudini ut privatio habitui: non quidem rectitudini quae inest (quia tunc duo opposita simul inessent), nec quae prius infuit isti actui (quia actus non manet ut alteretur ab opposito in oppositum), sed quae deberet inesse."
I grant, therefore, that sin is corruption of rectitude in second act [think of Aristotle's first and second acts here]; not however of a natural act, nor of any habitual one, but of a moral act. But I do not mean by 'corruption' a change from being to non-being (for sin can remain after such a change of justice from being to non-being, it is able also to inhere without such a change from being to non-being), but I use 'corruption' formally, just as a privation is called formally a corruption of its habit; for in this way the definition of sin is formally the corruption of rectitude in second act, because it is opposed to that rectitude as privation is opposed to its habit: not indeed to the rectitude which inheres (because then two opposites would inhere simultaneously), nor what first was present to that act (because act does not reman so that it might be changed from opposite into opposite), but what ought to inhere.

"Voluntas enim libera debitrix est ut omnem actum suum eliciat conformiter regulae superiori, videlicet secundum praeceptum divinum; et ideo quando agit difformiter ab ista regula, caret iustitia actuali debita (hoc est, iustitia quae deberet inesse actui et non inest): haec carentia, in quantum est actus voluntatis deficientis (sicut dicetur in aliqua solutione), est formaliter peccatum actuale."

Free will is a debtor, so that it elicits its every act in conformity to superior rules, namely, according to the divine commands. And therefore when it acts in a manner opposed to those rules, it lacks the actual requried justice (that is, the justice which ought to inhere or be present to the act and does not inhere). This lack, insofar as it as an act of the will turning aside is formally actual sin."
Bad, I know, but "debita" and "deficio" are always a nightmare to translate, almost as bad as "natum."

1 comment:

Michael said...

debita" and "deficio" are always a nightmare to translate, almost as bad as "natum."

What a wimp. Next you're going to start complaining that res and ratio are hard to translate. Get a dictionary, loser.