Wednesday, January 30, 2008


from his Prologus generalis in opus tripartitum (recension L):

Advertendum autem est quod nunnulla in sequentibus propositionibus, quaestionibus et expositionibus primo aspectu monstruosa, dubia aut falsa apparebunt, secus autem si sollerter et studiosius pertractentur. Luculenter enim invenietur dictis attestari veritas et auctoritas ipsius sacra canonis seu alicuius sanctorum aut doctorum famosorum.


Esse est Deus. Patet haec propositio primo, quia si esse est aliud ab ipso Deo, Deus nec est nec Deus est. Quomodo enim est aut aliquid est, a quo esse aliud, alienum et distinctum est? Aut si est Deus, alio utique est, cum esse sit aliud ab ipso. Eus igitur et esse idem, aut Deus ab alio habet esse. Et sic non ipse Deus, ut praemissum est, sed aliud ab ipso, prius ipso, est et est sibi causa, ut sit.

Ontotheology? What would Marion, Boulnois or de Libera say about this?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Festum Sanctae Thomae Aquinatis

Deus, qui beatum Thomam sanctitatis zelo ac sacrae doctrinae studio conspicuum effecisti, da nobis, quaesumus, et quae docuit intellectu conspicere, et quae gessit imitatione complere. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum.

Happy Feast Day

Happy feast day of St Thomas Aquinas. Distinguished metaphysical competition, pray for us.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Alexander of Hales on the Angels and the Growth of Metaphysics

“What we have seen as the most salient weakness of William of Auxerre’s angelology emerges as the most noteworthy strength of the angelology of Alexander of Hales. His focus on the metaphysical status of angels is what gives his teaching its special character. In addition, that teaching makes it clear that, by the time Alexander had written his Glossa on the Sentences of Peter Lombard (1220-25), Aristotelian metaphysics has settled in for the duration and was informing the thought of scholastic theologicans not hitherto regarded as hospitable to this new philosophy. . . . Given their nature as purely spiritual beings, he asks, how can angels be understood as created substances? How can such beings be distinguished from the deity? And how can they have location? In answering these questions, Alexander shows his awareness of the fact that the term substantia is defined differently by different schools of philosophy. At the same time, the definition that clearly sets the terms of the debate, for him, is the Aristotelian one. He acknowledges the fact that angels, understood as simple and spiritual beings, simply do not square with the Aristotelian notion of creatures as substances made up of matter and form. He sees, and poses, this problem quite clearly. Given the philosophy of Aristotle, which he refuses to fudge, angels are a metaphysical anomaly; from an Aristotelian perspective, simplicity and pure spirituality would appear to be attributable to the deity alone. Alexander’s solution to this dilemma—and it is a solution that forecasts the essence-existence distinction applied to angels later in the century by Thomas Aquinas—is to invoke the distinction made by Boethius between the quo est, or essential character of being, and its quod est, or current manifestation of its being, which can differ in actuality from its quo est. This possibility extends to angels, and to all other creatures, while it does not apply to God . . .”

--Colish, M. “Early Scholastic Angelology,” Recherches de théologie et philosophie médiévales 62 (1995), 106-107.

Friday, January 25, 2008

More Bonaventure on Satisfaction

Here's another passage, from IV Sent. Dist. XV. Pars I. Art. Un. Q. I:

de omni eo quod est in peccato non fit satisfactio, quoniam hoc est impossibile. Unde et Deus non exigit satisfactionem de omni eo quod est in culpa, sed aliquid condonat per misericordiam, de aliquo requirit satisfactionem per iustitiam, ut simul sit his "misericordia et veritas"; nec unquam est satisfactio, nisi praecedat condonatio, sicut nunquam est meritum nisi praecedat donum gratuitum.

Unde notandum est quod in peccato duo sunt, scilicet offensa Dei et libido deordinata. Offensa Dei est infinita, et pro illa non fit satisfactio, sed Dei misericordia illa remittit suam dando gratiam. Libido autem perversa finita est; et quia Deus iustus est, non totum remittit, sed pro illa exigit poenam condignam; et quantum ad hoc possibile est Deo satisfacere.

"Satisfaction cannot be made for everything that is in sin, because this is impossible. Whence God does not demand satisfaction for everything that is [involved] in guilt, but he lets something go through mercy, and requires satisfaction for something through justice, that there may be at once both "mercy and truth"; nor is there ever satisfaction unless it preceded by something being let go, just as there is never merit without it being preceded by a gratuitous gift.

Whence it must be noted that there are two things [involved] in sin, namely the offense against God and the disordered desire. An offense against God is infinite, and there can be no satisfaction for it, but the mercy of God remits it by giving his grace. But a perverse desire is finite; and because God is just, he does not [simply] remit the whole, but exacts for that [the perverse will] an appropriate punishment, and according to this it is possible to make satisfaction to God."

As for how suffering accomplishes this, the old patristic idea of spiritual discipline or exercise makes sense to me. If we've gotten lazy and our muscles have atrophied, we have to put down the chips, get off the couch, and do some exercise. Our past laziness might be forgiven freely but that won't by itself reduce my craving for chips, my hatred of greens, or the pains of working out necessary to correct the damage I've done. If God expects our souls to be "fit" according to our capacity, he might forgive the offense to him and the neglect of our duty to ourselves and others in letting ourselves go, but he won't wave his hand and restore us to our former spiritual capacities without us doing some exercise of our own. If we confess our sins we'll be forgiven, but if we want our temptations to go away and to enjoy permissible things, we have to actually resist temptation and do the laudable things.

Bonaventure on Satisfaction and Guilt in Purgatory

A prominent clerical member of the Catholic blogophere asked me a question today about a passage in St Bonaventure's Breviloquium in which he mentions making satisfaction in Purgatory. Since my answer involved doing a bit of research I thought I should make the fruits of it available for all to see who care.

Most of the time when you want St B to clarify or expand on something you need to go to his Sentences Commentary. I've just done so, and here's what I find: In IV Sent. Dist. XV. Pars II. Art. I Q.I St Bonaventure asks what satisfaction is. After a discussion of various definitions he says the following:

ad satisfactionem completam duo requiruntur, scilicet emenda praesens pro culpa praeterita et propositum firmum invitando futuram; et ista duo tangit in hac notificatione. Quantum ad emendam pro culpa perpetrata dicit: peccatorum causas excidere. Non enim potest pro culpa melius emenda fieri quam ea a se cum dolore et poena praecidendo removere, qua cum amore sequendo peccavit. Quantum ad firmum propositum de futuro dicit: et suggestionibus aditum non indulgere.

My hasty translation:

"For complete satisfaction two things are required, namely to correct (or repair) one's present state on account of past guilt, and to summon up a firm intention for the future. The first means to root out the causes of sin. For one can repair one's past guilts in no better way than by removing them with sorrow and punishment, by cutting out those things which, by following them with [inordinate] love, caused one to sin. The second means not to indulge in suggestions which arise [to repeat the sin]."

In purgatory, of course, one is punished with both sorrow and pain for past guilt. The second condition may not be as relevant since the will is fixed after death, i.e. I don't think Bonaventure would admit that a soul in purgatory would be capable of further sin, so the intention to avoid sin may or may not be superfluous.

Also, perhaps, of interest on the matter: IV Sent. Dist. XXI. Pars. I. Art. II. Q. I: Whether in purgatory after this life there is accomplished some purgation from some sin or only from punishment. That is, are sins actually remitted in purgatory or is it only that we make satisfaction for already-forgiven sins there? In the article St Bonaventure admits that it's a very common opinion that sins are not forgiven after death, "that sins are remitted only according to their status or [unfulfilled] punishment and are purified (*purgantur*) only according to the dross [that is, the nasty effects left behind in the soul by sin] or aftereffects (*sequela*)." According to St B many theologians of his day thought this; but he says, "But although this opinion is very reasonable (*multum rationi consona*), nevertheless the authorities of the Saints seem to expressly contradict it." Especially, St Gregory the Great in his "Dialogue" says that some sins are forgiven after this life, and St Isidore explicitly says that some sins committed after baptism are forgiven through purgatorial fire. Bonaventure also cites Matthew 12:32. St B concludes from their words that in purgatory some sins are remitted, not merely according to punishment, but also according to guilt.

So, he says, although some people think otherwise, this is the opinion of Peter Lombard and of "multitudinous" authoritative Saints. "It should be said therefore that some sins, namely venial ones, can be and are remitted not only in this life (*in hoc saeculo*), but also in purgatory, when someone passes over with venial sins [unconfessed or unrepented], when the final grace given at death had not deleted them, and therefore he needs help." For instance, if someone dies without receiving the sacraments just before death and has not made a perfect act of contrition for the venial sins since his last confession, he can die with venial sins on his conscience and these still need to be forgiven. Since the soul is dead and the time of merit has passed, he cannot ask for further grace and therefore needs external help. Since there are no sacraments after death, the purgatorial fire can act in their place to not only remove the dross and aftereffects of various sins from the soul, but also to remove the guilt of unrepented venial ones. "And this is possible because, as it was shown in the preceding problem, for the removal of venial sins it suffices that free choice conform itself with grace, nor is it necessary that it help it [i.e. no actual effort of the will or positive contrition is required, but only not to provide an obstacle]." If you die with unrepented mortal sins, though, it's too late.

Sorry for no Latin passages on that last question, but I need to get back to work.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Grajewksi on the Formal Distinction

a propos certain remarks made yesterday by someone known to me to the effect that Scotus invented the formal distinction out of nothing and that it is a monstrous, horrible doctrine, I offer the following comments of M. Grajewski from p.123 of his book on the said distinction. They come at the end of a chapter entitled "The Traditional Formal Distinction" in which he details thinkers from the fathers to others of Scotus's own time who held similar views.

"Undoubtedly further research will reveal other proponents of the formal distinction before the time of Duns Scotus. With the publishing of more works of authors belonging to the Augstino-bonaventurian tradition in philosophy and theology, a more complete list of these Formalists will be an obvious consequence. Unil that is done, it is hoped that the present survey adequately substantiates the assertion of the existence of such a pre-Scotistic tendency and totally exonerates Duns Scotus from the abusive title: "Innovator!"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dietrich of Freiberg on Univocity

Here are some remarks of Dietrich's I came across, though their actual status (what he himself thinks of them) is unclear to me. The first paragraph appears to be a position he himself rejects.

De visione beatifica, 4.2.1 (Opera omnia I, 109)

positions of "others"

"Quamvis autem uniquicque enti determinato correspondeat aliqua determinata et propria ratio apud intellectum agentem sive ex prioribus rei secundum naturam sive ex posterioribus confecta, in qua unumquodque entium intelligitur, totalitati tamen seu universitati entium non respondet aliqua una communis ratio univoca, quae adaequet totam entium universitatem, sed sola universalitas talis intellectus, quae attenditur in essentia sua, correspondet universitati seu totalitati entium.

Cuius causa est, quoniam propria ratio rei dicens quid est seu ipsae partes formales, ex quibus huiusmodi ratio conficitur, habent rationem principii respectu rei, cuius est propria ratio, principii, inquam, et secundum rationem essendi et secundum rationem innotescendi seu intelligendi. Ratio autem concepta virtute intellectus agentis de entibus separatis, si qua sunt puri intellectus, non habet ratinem principii respectu eorum. Esset enim intellectus agens talibus entibus separatis et principium intelligendi et principium essendi in genere intelligibilium, quod est impossibile."

Dietrich responds with some statements based on the De anima that the agent intellect does make all things to be in the soul.

Translation [a painful one]:

"Although there corresponds some determinate and proper ratio in the agent intellect to any determinate being, or from something prior of the thing acccording to nature or gathered from posteriors, in which any being is understood, nevertheless some one common univocal notion does not correspond to the totality or university of beings, a notion which is adequate to the total universe of beings, but only the universality of such an intellect, which is noted in its own essence, does there correspond to the totality or universality of beings.

The cause of which is, since the proper notion of a thing means the what it is or its formal parts, from which a notion of this kind is constructed, it has the notion of a principle with respect to the thing, of which it is the proper notion; principle, I say, and according to the notion of being and according to the notion of coming to know or understanding. But a notion conceived by the power of the agent intellect of separate beings, if they are of the intellect alone, does not have the notion of principle with respect to them. For the agent intellect would be a principle of understanding and of being for such separate beings in the genus of intelligibiles, which is impossible.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Predestination II: On the Possibility of Predestination

Here is a second installment on predestination, from the Ordinatio. Note that twice he refers to his treatment of synchronic contingency in the preceding distinction, which is a much much longer treatment of related issues. I won't translate it due to its length and the fact that Vos already has an English translation out there with commentary (though, being from Kluwer, it is prohibitively expensive for a measly translation), and there is an extensive body of literature on this topic in Scotus. enjoy

Distinction 40, single question: Whether the Predestined can be Damned [VI 309-12]

Concerning distinction forty I ask whether the predestined can be damned.

That he cannot:

Everything past is of absolute necessity, because – according to the Philosopher in VI Ethics – “God is deprived of this alone, to make ungenerated those things which are made”; but the predestination of this one having been predestinated has passed into the past, because God predestined him from eternity; therefore it is of absolute necessity. Therefore God is not able not to predestine, and consequently that one cannot be condemned.

Furthermore, if the predestined can be damned, this would not be unless by his own act; therefore through an actof the created will the act of the divine will could be impeded, which is impossible.


If not, then there would not be any care taken by anyone about the observence of the precepts and counsels, because howsoever one acted, he would be saved if he was predestined – and howsoever one acted, if he was foreknown he would be damned. Therefore the entire divine law would be posited in vain!

[To the question...Scotus’s own opinion]

To that question. “Predestination” properly means [dicit] an act of divine will, namely an ordering of the election of some intellectual or rational creature by the divine will to grace and glory, although it can be understood for the act of the intellect accompanying that election. Therefore just as it is said in general about the liberty and contingency of the divine will with respect to any special secondary object, so it must said in respect of this secondary object, that is ‘to will this one to grace and glory’.

And from this I say (on account of those things which are said in the preceding question [i.e. regarding synchronic contingency, which the vatican editors have placed in an appendex due to the marginal notation in MS A that the Liber Scoti is blank]) that God contingently predestines that one whom predestined, and is able not to predestine – not both at the same time nor successively, but each dividedly, in the instant of eternity.

In a similar manner I say to the question in itself that that one who is predestined, is able to be damned: for not, on account of his predestination, is his will confirmed – and so he is able to sin, and so for the same reason to remain in sin finally and so justly to be damned; but just as he can be damned, so he is able not to be predestined.

As far as the logic of the current question, one must distinguish between composition and division: and in the sense of composition per se, an extreme is man or the predestined person, under that determination ‘predestinated’, - and that sense is false; and in the sense also of division are two categories, and are enunciated of some person able to be beatified in one category ‘to be predestined’ and in another, ‘to be damned’, - and those two are true of the same subject. Neither are they true because they cam be opposted at the same time, nor also because one can suceed the other (because both are in eternity), but it is true at the same time insofar as the divine volition is considered as prior naturally in the process [transitu] over that object which is ‘the glory of that man’; it is not naturally repugnant to itself in that prior to be of the opposite object, rather it can equally be of the oppoiste, although not simultaneously of both.

[II. To the principal arguments]

To the first argument I say that it proceeds from a false imagination, the understanding of this imagination aids for understanding the truth of the proposed quesiton. For if per impossibile we would understand God still not to have determined his will to the other part, but to quasi deliberate whetehr wh should will to predestine that one or not, our intellect would well seize that he would predestine or not predestine him contingently, just as appears in an act of our will; but because we always recurr to the act of divine will as if it is past, therefore it is as if we do not conceive liberty in that will to the act as if it is now posited by the will. But that imagination is false: for that ‘now’ of eternity, in which there is that act, is alwasy present; and so it must be understood about the divine will or his volition as it is of this object, just as if per impossible now God would begin to have to will in that ‘now’ – and so freely God is able to will what he wills in the ‘now’ of eternity, just as if his will was determinaed to nothing.

Then I say to the form of the argument that predestination of this sort does not pass into the past. For although it coexists with the past, which has passed away, nevetheless it itself has not passed away – but the other has passed away, which coexisted with it. Hence, just as was said in distinction 9, words of diverse tenses said of God – inasmuch as most truly they are suited to him – do not signify parts of time measuring that act, but they co-signify the ‘now’ of eternity quasi measruing that act, insoffar as coexisting to those many parts; and therefore it is the same for God to predestine and to have predestined, and to be about to predestine, and so one is contingent just like the other, because nothing except the ‘now’ of eternity measuring that act, - which neither is present nor past nor future, but coexists with all those.

To the second I say that the created will cannot impded the ordering of the divine will, for ‘to impede’ would not be unless the proposition of the divine will would remain and the opposite come about by another will; but this is impossible, because just as the created will can merit damnation, so also it can concomitantly follow that the divine will does not preorder him to glory. Hence it was said in the preceding distinction (in the solution of the first argument to the second question) that God cannot be mistaken, because his intellection with respect to another cannot stand with the opposite of it; so also his will cannot be impeded, because an ordering of it cannot stand with the opposite of that which he ordained.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Henry of Ghent on Species and the Mental Word

In studying for exams (my Emery list on the beatific vision), I came across the following passage from Henry of Ghent, where he helpfully explains what he thinks intelligible species and the mental verbum are. As I am a newbie to Henrician studies, I make no claims as to whether this is what he thinks for his whole career. It is at least representative of what he thought in 1276, which is when his first Quodlibet was held, from which the following text is taken. Quodlibet III q. 1 actually has a lot more interesting remarks on this, but, well, it's not edited, and I don't own the Badius ed., and I'm at home. So enjoy this earlier discussion. Next time, maybe I'll post some crazy remarks from Dietrich of Freiberg.

Q. 12 et 13: Utrum anima separate itnelligat se per speciem editam a se

p.82 lin.10: Quod arbuebatur, quod intelligit se per speciem editam a se, quia in verbo suo, dicendum quod aliud est verbum de re apud animam, aliud species eius. Species enim est imago vel idolum rei qua anima informatur, ut determinatum verbum de ipsa re concipiat et formet de illa, quod nullo modo posset facere sine illa. Verbum autem est ipsa notitia mentis quae est veritas quidditatis rei apud animam, in qua formaliter rem intelligit quam per speciem intelligit tamquam potentia et vi formativa verbi in potentia animae existente, immo, quod verius est, tamquam dispositione determinante potentiam ad verbum determinatum formandum, quae de se indeterminata est...Unde est verbum sicut forma quaedam in anima generata potentia animae, sicut naturalis calor activus in semine, species vero in anima sicut virtus agentis principalis in calore. Unde, licet verbum sit quaedam similitude rei in anima, alia tamen est et alterius rationis quam sit species, sicut est species quaedam forma gtenerantis et virtus eius in semine, et forma generata, alterius tamen at alterius rationis. [...] dico quod species illa quae proprie appellatur species, a phantasmate et lumine intellectus agentis editur in toto intellectu possibili naturaliter, sicut naturaliter editur species coloris in organo per actum lucis.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Scotus on Predestination Ia

Ordinatio I d. 41 q. unica n. 40-51 [VI 332-36]:

It can be said otherwise that there is no reason for predestination [praedestinationis nulla est ratio] from the part of the predestined, in some way prior to that predestination. Nevertheless there is something prior to reprobation, not indeed on account of which God effectively reprobates insofar as this is an action of God (just as was argued in the preceding opinion, because "then God would be passive"), but on account of which that action so terminates to this object and not to that.

The first is proved, because one ordinately willing the end and those things which are to the end, first wills the end than something of beings to the end, and account of that end wills other things. Therefore when in the total process by which beatifiable creatures are led to the perfect end, the ultimate end is perfect beatitude, God - willing something of that order to somone - first wills an end for this beatifiable creature, and quasi posterior wills other things for him, which are in the order of those which pertain to that end. But grace, faith, merit, and the good use of free choice, all those are to that end (although certain of them more remotely, others more closely). Therefore God first wills the beatitude of that one than something of these other things. And first he wills for him whatsoever of those which he foresees him to have in the future [habiturum], therefore on account of none of them foreseen does he will beatitude to him.

The second is proved, because damnation does not seem good unless because it is just, for - according to Augustine Super Genesim IX - "God is not first an avenger before someone is a sinner" (for it seems cruel to punish someone with no fault pre-existing in him); therefore similarly, God does not first will to punish than he sees someone to be a sinner. Therefore the first act of the divine will, concerning Judas, is not to will to damn Judas inasmuch as Judas is offered in pure nature (because then he would seem to will to damn without fault), but it seems that it is necessary that Judas be offerred to the divine will under the aspect of a sinner before God wills to damn him. Therefore reprobation has a reason from the side of the object, namely the final sin foreseen.

This is confirmed by the authority of Augustine in the book De praedestinatione sanctorum and is in the text [of Peter Lombard's Sentences].

Against that. Peter and Judas are equal in nature [naturalibus], willed by God in the being of existence [esse exsistentiae], in that instant in which they are offered to the divine will in natural and equal existence: God - according to you [sc. Scotus] - first wills beatitude for Peter; I ask then what does he will for Judas? If damnation, I have what is argued, namely, "he reprobates without any reason", - if beatitude, therefore he predestines Judas.

[Scotus's response] It can be said that in that instant he wills nothing for Judas. There is only there the negation of the willing for glory. And likewise, as if in the second instant of nature, when he wills grace to Peter, still there is no positive act of the divine will concerning Judas, but only a negative one. In the third instant, when he wills to permit Pter to be of the mass of perdition or worthy of perdition (and this either on account of original sin or on account of actual sin), then he wills to permit Judas in a similar manner to be a son of perdition. And here is the first positive act - indeed uniform - around Peter and Judas, but from that act that is true, "Judas will be finally a sinner", with those negations posited, namely that he does not will to give him either grace or glory. Therefore in the fourth instant Judas is offered to the divine will as a sinning finally, and then he wills justly to punish and reprobate Judas.

Nor is it a cause for wonder that a similar process is not posited for predestination and reprobation, because all good things are attributed to God principally, evil however to us. And so it is fitting for God's goodness to "predestine without reason" but "to will to damn" does not seem immediately able to be attributed to him [God] with respect to the object as known in its pure nature, but only with respect to the object as known in final mortal sin.

That response can be confirmed similarly: let us posit two people, equally graced from the part of themselves, of which I love one and not the other. And him whom I love, I preorder to some good through which he may be able to please me; him however whom I do not love, I do not preorder to such good. If so it would be that in my power it would be [possible] to permit them to be able to offend, I might be able to will to permit each to offend - and from which I do not will to lead him to that through which it would be possible to please me, I foreknow his offense to be perpetual (and so I rightly punish him); I foreknow the offense of the other to which I will [him to be able to please me] that it is about be to remitted or commuted.

But against that it is objected:
Because God certitudinally does not foresee Judas to be evil, accoridng to that way - for the permission of some act and the certitude of permission do not make certitude about that act, because it is necessary to have some effective cause. Therefore from this alone that God foreknows himself to will to permitt Judas to sin, he is not certain that Judas will sin; or we can speak about a good or evil angel (which were not in original sin): from this alone I say it does not seem that he knows that Lucifer will sin, and from this it seems that Lucifer is not offerred to him as a sinner.

Furthermore, what is that "to will to permit Lucifer to sin"? If this is some positive act of the will with respect to sin, therefore it seems that he wills him to sin. If there is not a positive act with respect to the act of sin but with repsect to the act of permission, then it will be a reflex act - and then we will have to ask about that permission, whose act it is. If it is a positive act of the will, therefore it seems still that God would have a positive act with repsect to the sin which he permits.

[Scotus's response] The first of those is solved by this that God foreknows himself to be about to cooperate with Lucifer to the substance of that act which will be sin (he foreknows this, because he wills to cooperate with him, if it is a sin of commission), or he foreknows himself not to be about to cooperate to some act if he does not will it (and this, if that first act is a sin of omission); and by knowing himself to be about to cooperate to such substance of the act (not with the required circumstances), or not to be about to cooperate with him for a negative act (and consequently, which he omits), he knows that one to be about to sin: so that he knows "this one about to sin" no only because he knows himself to be about to permit this, but because he knows himself to be about to cooperate with this one for the substance of the act not to the circumstances [? circumstantionati], and consequently that one will commit it - or not to be about to cooperate with him for a negative act, and consequently that one will omit it.

The second argument seeks a difficulty touching on the divine will which we do not discuss here but elsewhere.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I came across this interesting passage today, in Thomas. He is talking about whether the separated souls know about things going on here below. His answer is no, insofar as their natural cognition is concerned. He makes the following interesting remark about whether Samuel the prophet, when he appeared to Saul, was appearing by means of divine revelation or demonic deception. Note especially the canonical status of Ecclesiasticus.

Summa theologiae Ia q. 89 a. 8 ad 2:

Unde et de Samuele dici potest quod ipse apparuit per revelationem divinam; secundum hoc quod dicitur Eccli. 46 [23], quod dormivit, et notum fecit regi finem vitae suae. Vel illa apparitio fuit procurata per daemones: si tamen Ecclesiastici auctoritas non recipiatur, propter hoc quod inter canonicas scripturas apud Hebraeos non habetur.

Whence it can be said about Samuel that he appeared by means of divine revelation, according to what is said in Eclesiasticus 23, that "he slept, and made known to the king the end of his life." Or that apparition was procured by demons, if the authority of Ecclesiasticus should not be accpeted, accoridng to this that it is not held to be among the canonical scriptures by the Hebrews.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Scotus on Predestination I

Fr. Kimel has recently posted on the doctrine of predestination, in which he writes:

I do not believe God to be the absolute predestinarian of Augustine, Calvin, Beza, and Bañez. I do not believe God to be a God who has eternally decreed, before prevision of irrevocable rejection of divine love and forgiveness, the eternal salvation of some and the eternal reprobation of the rest.

I myself have not studied this issue in any detail in either Protestant or Catholic thought, but someone in Fr. Kimel's combox asked about Scotus's views, and Perry Robinson in his response to the pontificator's post made some remarks about Scotus as well. Hence this post.

I am going to restrict my translation to the Ordinatio, as the Reportatio has yet to be edited. I may bring in the Quodlibet. For secondary literature, I note that the contemporary treatments are generally short. The only secondary discussions I have noticed are in Richard Cross's Duns Scotus and Pelikans History of the Christian Doctrine vol. 4 I pass no judgment on their accuracy at this time. I don't think Scotus is particuarly known for his solution to the problem. According to Parthenius Menges' brief summary of the history of Scotism, Scotists took little part in the Molinist controversy.

To begin, we must note that the section of the Ordinatio which contains Scotus's remarks on predestination is problematic. There is a nest of interrelated (by Scotus himself, by means of internal citation) questions, one of which have been relegated to the appendix: d.39 of Book I. These questions are where Scotus develops his doctrine of synchronic contingency, but, due to the Vatican editor's reliance on the marginalia of Ms. Assisi 137 ("A" in the app crit) which says that Scotus left a blank space for d.39, the text is not considered genuine.

Distinction 40, which concerns whether someone who has been predestined can be dammed, I shall translate in full. The meat of Scotus's account is contained in d. 41, however, which treats of whether there is some merit resulting in predestination or reprobation. I shall translate only sections of this, but I do give a brief outline below. The section I intend to translate will appear in blue.

D. 41 q. unica: Utrum sit aliquod meritum praedestinationis vel reprobationis

I: arguments pro and con
II: To the question
IIa: An opinion proposed and then retracted by Augustine
IIb: The opinion of Peter Lombard
IIc: An opinion taken from Henry of Ghent's recitation of it, unclear whose it actually is...corresponds with Thomas in certain points
IIc 1: improbatio of IIc
IId: Henry of Ghent's attack of IIc, plus Henry's own view of the matter.
IId 1: improbatio Henrici
IIe: Scotus's own opinion
IIe 1: objections against Scotus's opinion and their solution
IIf: A conclusion about the five opinions
III: Response to the principal arguments (I)

Promises, Promises

In light of recent (internet) events, I have decided to do a series of posts on Scotus's views of the univocity of being and the transcendental concepts, as well as predestination. So stay tuned, my loyal reader. I make no promises as to the when. I have exams to study for, and a conference paper to research and then write should I pass said exams. So don't look for much before March.