The goal of this series is to make accessible once again to the general public, particularly that public interested in the study of Bl. John Duns Scotus, the now virtually inaccessible published works of those disciples of Scotus in times past, before the suppression of the many and influential university centres dedicated to the study and promotion of Scotus in the Church and in the world. These works, in fact, constitute a kind of on-going witness to the mind of the historic Scotus and not a Scotus recycled according to the exigencies of current intellectual fashions. Hence, these ancient works are in fact the only adequate objective standard for discerning in modern reconstructions of Scotus' thought what is historically valid, and what is merely reinterpretation to adapt the subtte Doctor to current intellectual fashions and so make him once again "acceptable" in the halls of academe.
These works are for the most part fruit of the systematic, intense, continuous and in large part interacting scholastic activities of those many centres of scotistic study throughout all parts of Europe up to the Protestant reformation, and thereafter to the French Revolution and its aftermath in the 19th century throughout most of Catholic Europe. The first components of these studia scotistica were present even before the premature death of Bl. John in Cologne, Nov. 8, 1308. Through the efforts of the first disciples formed by the Master himself by the middle of the 14th century Franciscan friaries linked to the Universities of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge, and of Cologne, where Scotus himself either studied and/or taught, and shortly thereafter to that of Naples, and later still to those of Salamanca, Erfurt, Padua, and Bologna, [and Barcelona!!!] to mention only a few of the better known, had become major scotistic centers. There the study and promotion of the via Scoti in theology, philosophy and science, and in the practical order: spirituality, moral theology, jurisprudence and what is today called aesthetics, made Scotus one of the major influences in European thought even to the present days, outside the Church as well as within. Often enough the scotistic provenance of key aspects of this thought are no longer expressly recognized or their original meaning and implications correctly understood and appreciated.
Reading and interpreting these stupendous contributions to the theological-philosophical tradition of the Church, however, involves something more than availability of a good text (and perhaps a good dictionary). Without a living tradition made up of masters whose ability to provide the hermaneutic key to these writings derives in unbroken fashion from Scotus himself, there exists in practice no sure and reasonably easy to apply neutral criterion for discerning in current reconstructions of his thought what is the sense of Scotus himself and what is merely an accommodation to current intellectual fashion."