Saturday, January 30, 2010

Hervaeus Natalis on the Order of Divine Cognition

This is from (the Thomist) Hervaeus Natalis O.P.'s discussion of the divine ideas. Apparently William of Alnwick was right; the common opinion after Scotus did follow some version of his application of instants of nature to the order of divine understanding and the production of intelligilible being. Note however, that Hervaeus claims there are five stages, as opposed to Scotus' four.

Hervaus Natalis, I Sent. (Lectura, ca. 1303) d. 34 q. 1 a. 3 (ed. Paris 1647, p. 143):

"Secundo sciendum est quod talis videtur esse ordo in agnitione divina secundum quod procedit a cognitione sui, ad cognitionem creaturarum scilicet, quod primo intelligitur essentia divina ut obiectum primum, natum movere intellectum divinum quasi possibilem. Secundo intelligitur actus intelligendi causatus a tali obiecto movente. Tertio intelligitur dictus actus terminati ad essentiam divinam sicut ad primum obiectum et quia in essentia divina intellecta relucent omnia alia ab ea, intelligitur essentia divina, ut idea et exemplar ad cognitionem creaturae. Quarto accipitur ipsa creatura intellecta. Quinto est ipsum intelligi ideae ut idea est, ita quod intelligamus Deum prius idealitate sua, ut medio cognoscendi quo cognoscit creaturam, quam habeat ut obiectum cognitum, licet illud quod est idea sit prius cognitum quam creatura, sicut patuit in exemplo de cognitoine fumi, et de cognitione ignis per fumum, et de cognitione illius mediationis secundum quam fumus est causa cognoscendi ignem."


Second, is should be known that there is such an order in the divine recognition, which proceeds from the cognition of itself to the cognition of creatures. First, the divine essence is understood as first object, naturally suited to move the quasi divine possible intellect. Second, the act of understanding caused a such a moving object is understood. Third, the act terminating at the divine essence as to first object is understood, and because all other things than the divine essence shine forth from it, the divine essence is understood as idea and exemplar for the cognition of creatures. Fourth, the creatures themselves are received as understood. Fifth, the understanding of an idea as it is an idea, so that we understand God prior to his ideality, as a means of knowing by which he knows a creature, which he has as object known, although that which is the idea is known first than is the creature, as appears in the example of the cognition of smoke, and of the cognition of fire through smoke, and of the cognition of that means according to which smoke is the cause of knowing fire.

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