Sunday, September 16, 2007

varia

Ord. III d.1 pars 2 q. unica n. 210:

“...nihil, quod non est expresse articulus fidei, tenendum est tamquam simpliciter credendum, nisi sequatur ex aliquo simpliciter credendo.”

"...nothing, which is not expressly an article of faith, should be held as to be believed absolutely, unless it follows from something that must be believed absolutely."

I rather like that one. The editors refer to several other passages where he says something similar. The context is the question in book III (obviously) where he is asking what it is that terminates the relation of dependence of the assumed nature..is it the divine essence, the word, etc. It is rather an interesting question as Scotus takes it as an opportunity to revisit the question from book I about whether the persons are consituted by something absolute. He ultimately opts for the authority of tradition, even though he thinks the arguments are not very good; they do not 'conclude'. So he still thinks his theory is better, and can be held as the constitution of divine persons is not an article of faith nor follows directly from one.
It is somewhat surprising to read something like this, as we tend to think of the medievals as being rather unsophisiticated in most areas. Scotus in general, however, as I have tried to show in other posts, has a very developed sense of the uses of theology, quite apart from the whole faith-reason thing for which he is often maligned (by Thomists, and their bastard children Radical Orthodoxy). The statement seems true to me, however. It is one of those unexpressed and unknown truths in the background of my conversion to the Church, I suspect. The doctrinal chaos of much of protestantism has nothing to compare. Some things really are fundamental and settled, leaving whole new vistas of theology open for investigation and private opinion (bracketing, of course, the whole problem of making past dogma relevant in the present...to me medieval theology is probably more present and alive than is that of Rahner, von Balthasar, or the latest pomo trend). It is also a justification for my denial of most Thomist doctrines (mainly philosophical...the theological ones I object to are the explanations, not the articuli fidei themselves) as well as the arguments of those Thomists of the Strict Observance who claim on the basis of papal opinions and encyclicals dating from the days of the Neo-thomistic revival (1879-1965 are contentious dates I would assign for the institutional side of things) that the faithful are obligated to give religious assent to things like the 25 Thomistic theses. I've read some pretty crazy stuff on that topic (such as, Pelzer or Pelster's article from the early days of Franciscan Studies responding to Spanish Dominicans claiming that one is obligated to hold with religious assent everything Thomas said except in an area where the commentary tradition itself is in doubt as to the mentem Thomae. But I could go on all day about such things, and would probably get less charitable as I went due to the fact that I am in a fell mood today (sept. 14 has come and gone, and the promised tlm chapel was cold and dark).
To return to the 14th s., here is a bit on relations and will, from the same question as above.

ord. III d. 1 pars 2 q. unica n.241
“I say that every real relation is between extremes really distinct, but sometimes by a distinction preceding the relations, sometimes not, but only formally caused by those relations; and this not only among the divine persons but among creatures and also in accidental relations. For the will moves itself and is moved by itself, and not only is there a real relation of the will to volition, but also the will as active to itself as passive.... And nevertheless the will, which is the foundation of those opposed relations ‘of moving and moved’, and is denominated (denominatur) by each of them, itself is not distinguished by a distinction of those relations, but only by the distinction made by them.”

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