Saturday, November 24, 2007

Peter Olivi on Aristotle

Not all scholastics, nor even Franciscans, had the same stance on how much authority or philosophical deference to give to the pagan philosophers. Scotus, Ockham, or Gonsalvus Hispanus, for instance, all of whom wrote commentaries on Aristotle, clearly held the Philosopher in very high regard, even while being willing to disagree with him. Olivi, on the other hand, although his positions on many subjects anticipate Scotus and are as a rule in line with the general Franciscan tradition, claims not to give a fig for Aristotle--even while quoting him and taking his arguments into consideration. The other day I came across these rather harsh remarks:

Aristoteles etiam non hic videtur ibi sentire, licet mihi non sit cura quid hic vel alibi senserit; cuius enim auctoritas et cuiuslibet infidelis et idolatrae mihi est nulla, et maximae in iis quae sunt fidei christianae aut multum ei propinquam.

"Aristotle also does not seem to think this way about this matter, although it's of no concern to me what he thought about this or anything else, whose authority (as that of any infidel and idolator) is nothing to me, and especially in those matters which belong to the Christian faith or touch nearly on it."

Ad decimum dicendum quod christiano viro sola scriptura sacra et fides catholica debet esse in robor et culmen auctoritatis; et ideo posito quod omnes pagani falso dicti philosophi contrarium senserint aut aliqui eorum, non est mihi cura.

"To the tenth argument it should be said that for a Christian man only the scriptures and the Catholic faith ought to be the core and summit of authority, and therefore even if all the pagan so-called philosophers thought the contrary, or some of them, it does not concern me."

--Peter John Olivi. Quastiones in secundum librum Sententiarum, ed. B. Jansen (Bibliotheca Franciscana Scholastica Medii Aevi 4-6), 3 vol. Quaracchi: Ad Claras Aquas, 1922, 1924, 1926. v. 1, Quaestio XVI.

1 comment:

Lee Faber said...

I wonder if the eastern orthodox would like him.