Friday, May 27, 2011

Points of Disagreement between Scotists and Thomists

In 1320 there was a debate between two bachelors of theology at Paris, the Franciscan Francis of Meyronnes and the Cistercian Peter Roger, later Pope Clement V.  These two bachelors acted as the representatives of the nascent schools of Thomism and Scotism, and their debate was about the formal distinction and the instants/signa of origin and nature. For those interested in reading more, the dispute has been edited (mostly; at least one ms. was missed) and published by J. Vrin for a reasonable price under the title of Disputatio.  The section I translate here is from Francis of Meyronnes list of four points about the formal distinction that were commonly attacked at the time.

Francois de Meyronnes - Pierre Roger, Disputio (1320-1321), ed. J. Barbet, p. 102:

From those statements follow four conclusions in which our school is accustomed to be attacked.

The first is that one must grant some middle distinction between a real distinction and a distinction of reason fabricated by the soul, because that is a medium between some things that is related by the denial of each extreme; that distinction, however, is not posited as being real nor fabricated by the soul.

The second conclusion: that not every distinction outside the soul is real, since those distinctions are posited, with every act of the intellect circumscribed, and nevertheless they are called real. [Perhaps the "those" is a reference to the distinction between essence and relation in God].

The third conclusion: that in one reality can be found many formal rationes, because a formal ratio and a definitive [ratio] are the same and from this part, although there is only one thing [res], there are many formal or definitive rationes.

The fourth conclusion is that formal rationes are able to agree in one distinctly without any composition, because that one [Petrus Rogerius] concedes that a [combination of] likeness with whiteness causes no composition, although they have distinct quidditative rationes.


Bubba said...

Hello again. Always enjoy these posts, even if I rarely weigh in.

A question and some remarks.

First, what manuscript did Barbet miss?

Second (and this is just because I cited the same passage recently), most of the disputation is in the Vatican, but this part comes from a Troyes MS. While Barbet presents this text as a reply to Pierre Roger, Anneliese Maier ([i]Ausgenhendes Mittelalter[/i] II, 503) argues that here Francis is replying to a Dominican. Maier buried this point, but wants to insist that P.R. was not a Thomist, and the opposing school in this passage was the Dominican one.

Oh, and of course you meant Clement VI.

Lee Faber said...

Hi Bubba.

The ms. I had in mind was Marseilles BM 256. I looked this up in Duba's 'continental franciscan quodlibeta' article and found that he describes the text as another redaction of part of the Disputatio. Barbet says the same, that it is a 'primitive redaction', but for some reason also takes it to as evidence that the Disputatio didn't solve the dispute between thomists and scotists and seems to date it to 1323-1328 (but how could this be if it is 'primitive'?).

Also, Clement was apparently Benedictine, not Cistercian, as I claimed in the post.

I'll have to think about the Maier comment. I haven't read the whole thing yet.

Bubba said...

I read that and said to myself "that's gotta be wrong", and there it is on pages 616-617!

In that Continental Quodlibeta article, the Latin copied from Rossmann is wrong, of course. It should be occurebant (as Rossmann has it) and not occurebat as Duba transcribes it in note 112. Incidentally, that Latin text in Rossmann has a gloss:
Quia tamen incidentaliter circa istam materiam occurrebant duae replicationes, quarum una erat de concordia (mit dem Dominikaner-Baccalar bzw. der Thomistenschule) et altera de collocutione (mit Petrus Rogerii), idcirco circa earum considerationem prolixius intendendo....

The reference to there being two "replicationes" points to this text being a revision. Moreover, Rossmann argues that the revision was authorial, and continuous with the seventeen questions preceding it. Since those questions constitute Meyronnes' Parisian Quodlibet, which could not have occurred before he was master (1323), Rossmann's argument is that we have a later revision of the replicationes and an early version of the Quodlibet.
In the quotation, by glossing the Dominican and Pierre Roger, Rossmann implicitly adopts Maier's position, and interprets these two replicationes as addressing different authors.

Maier is one of the few authors I consider right until proven wrong, and even then she's probably right. There's another consequence of her being right that needs to be better explored. If she's right, then Meyronnes authored (incidentaliter) two replicationes on this material. At that point, principia are not the same as replicationes, and the author of a replicatio may not even be reading the Sentences that year. As a result, the (solid) dating of Pierre Roger's principia cannot be used as definitive proof that Meyronnes was also reading the Sentences in 1320-1321, and, by extension, that he read the Sentences for only one year. Now the whole chronology of Franciscans reading the Sentences after Auriol gets threatened. So it's better to hide such details in footnotes and forget about them.

Regardless, Meyronnes himself says that a "fortissima controversia" arose in 1320 Paris over the formal or merely rational distinction of the personal properties of the Trinity.

Clement VI was very much a Benedictine. His predecessor was a Cistercian, so he's the guy who showed the world that theologians know how to party. His buddy Annibald of Ceccano (Thomas Wylton's student) threw him one such feast that lasted a week, complete with wine-fountains, hidden choirs of boys, and a fake bridge to dump gatecrashers into the Rhone.

Lee Faber said...

This little exchange reinforces my desire to avoid Francis of Meyronnes at all cost, save for a little leisure reading or something.