Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peter of Trabes

I have lately been pouring over the small number of edited questions of Peter of Trabes, a student of Olivi who died ca. 1300; the most striking thing about his doctrine is how Scotistic it is; whether Scotus read him or not, their views are extremely similiar. Scotus' are just more spelled out. In particular he has the separability criterion for real distinction, real or formal rationes in divinis that are present outside the operation of the created intellect, and the list goes on. I'll post a bit on divine simplicty below, which is not at all like Scotus. Indeed, they disagree on the relation of essence and existence. Scotus seems to think they are only notionally distinct, or even, following Avicenna, that existence is an accident of essence. Peter of Trabes thinks they are really distinct, and employs the separability criterion, though it's hard to see if he means it as proof, or if he has devoted a question to the issue elsewhere. As for the divine attributes, my dissertation topic, he thinks that the attributes are real diverse rationes, or formal rationes, but not really diverse natures or forms. They are diverse in creatures because creatures only participate in the rationes that are united in God (Scotus completely drops participation from his metaphysics, and at one point thinks it is only useful if understood as efficient causality). Any way, here is a bit on divine simplicity, which is quite extraordinary, and, ULTIMATELY, not like anything else I have run across:

I Sent. d.8 a.4 q.1:

"Dicendum quod Deus est summe simplex, in fine simplicitatis, nec aliquam compositionem habet, tum quia omne compositum secundum quodlibet genus compositionis habet in se essentiarum pluralitatem in potentia vel in actu, quod non contingit in Deo; tum quia omne compositum secundum omne genus compositionis habet esse indigens et dependens; tum quia omne compositum habet aliquam potentialitatem et non est pure actuale; tum quia omne compositum habet aliquam posterioritatem et non simpliciter primum, quae omnia esse divino repugnant. manifestum est quod in Deo non potest aliqua compositio esse; nec repugnat huic pluralitas personarum, nec pluralitas attributorum, quoniam pluralitas personarum non est pluralitas essentiarum sed exsistentiarum, quae non repugnat, immo maxime concordat summae simplicitati plures existentias habere; pluralitas vero attributorum non dicit pluralitatem rerum, sed ratio connotatorum, sicut fuit prius dictum."

One essence, 3 existences. maybe its a scribal error for subsistentes, but book I only has one mss. which is probably in Peter's own hand.


Michael Sullivan said...

If existence is an accident of essence, how could they be notionally distinct? An accident is really distinct from both substance and essence, practically by definition. Source? It seems more likely to me that Scotus, like other Franciscans around the same, would have said that Thomas' theory could not be true precisely because it makes existence an accident.

Lee Faber said...

Well, Scotus didn't leave an extended discussion; I have seen him argue at lengh that creatures are simple, with no distinction between essence and existence (in I sent. d.8 in the lectura and ordinatio) and seen him also once or twice say that existence is an accident of essence. So take that as you will.

Michael Sullivan said...

I don't know how to take it.

Lee Faber said...

neither do I. Too bad he died before he could finish A SINGLE WORK!

Bartholomew Masters said...

A bit late in the day, but I was wondering if something like the list of disjunctive transcendentals, which appears in Bonaventure's Quaest. Disp. de Ss Myst Trin., q. 1, a. 1 appear anywhere in Peter.


Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post, but it would be interesting to have the references of the text in which Peter of Trabes claims that existence and essence are really distinct, because in one question edited in La theologie naturelle de Pierre de Trabibus, ed. by Di Noto, he rather seems to defend the view that there is no distinction at all between them.