Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Scotistic Flair

It only works in latin.

Ordinatio IV d.3 q.3 n.100 (XI 192):

"Et ideo non urget nos illa dubitatio, Decretum 1, quaestione 1, "Detrahe", ne forte asinus bibat sacramentum, quae vere est dubitatio asinina, quia illa ablutio non durat nisi in fieri, et quantumcumque posset aqua bibi vel huc vel illuc transfundi, ipsa ablutio non."

Also, a few pages later he said beer and mead were not proper matters for baptism.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Warm and Fuzzy Syllogism

I have not read much in medieval sacramental theology, so I do not know if this position is common or not. It came up when I was reading a series of questions on the efficacy of circumcision; the question I have quoted from below is from one dealing with whether there was some remedy for original sin prior to the institution of circumcision.

Duns Scotus, Ordinatio IV d.1 pars 4 incidentalis q.2 n.389 (XI 138):

"Nullo tempore dimisit Deus cultores suos sine remedio necessario ad salutem; sed omni tempore-post lapsum-fuit necessaria ad salutem deletio originalis; ergo quocumque tempore erat aliquod remedium efficax ad deletionem illius peccati"

At no time did God leave his worshippers without a remedy necessary for salvation; but at every time after the fall the removal of original [sin] was necessary for salvation; therefore at every time there was some efficacious remedy for the removal of that sin.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Peter Thomae Contra Scotus

After reading William of Alnwick and the huge amount of space he devotes to criticizing Scotus, Peter Thomae turns out to be a bit of a disappointment in his treatise of the same name as William's. He is much more concerned with Auriol (Ledoux didn't allege any Auriol in his fontes, but maybe it hadn't occurred to him to look). Peter does have some brief comments which I have posted below. He does mention Scotus's Oxford position with the four instants of nature but hasn't directly criticized it (yet; I have only read the first two questions), and seems to be on the whole defending Scotus's Parisian position. On the whole is rather mild compared to Alnwick.

Peter Thomae, Quaestiones de esse intelligibili, q. 2 a. 3 (from mss. NP1W):

"Tertium dubium circa dicta videtur esse quia Scotus, cuius doctrinam sequor ut plurimum, videtur dicere quod intellectus divinus producat creabilium quidditates in esse cognito. Hoc enim ipse dicit distinctione 35 Primi in responsione ad unum argumentum ubi enim dicit quod divinus intellectus in primo instanti intelligit essentiam suam sub ratione mere absoluta. In secunda autem instanti producit quidditates creabilium in esse intelligibili.

Ad tertium dubium, si Scotus velit dicere quod divinus intellectus ut ab essentia distinctus producat quidditatem in esse intelligibili, loquendo proprie de productione, non teneo cum ipso. Si tamen dicatur quod ista productio est mere equivoca et metaphorica ut ipse etiam videtur dicere, detur sibi, licet improprie dicatur."


The third doubt seems to be because Scotus, whose doctrine I follow as do many, seems to say that the divine intellect produces the quiddities of creatable things in 'the act of being thought'. For this he says in distinction 35 of the first Book [of the Sentences] in response to an argument where he says that the divine intellect in the first instant understands his own essence under an aspect merely absolute. In the second however he produces the quiddities of creatable things in intelligibile being.

To the third doubt, if Scotus meant to say that the divine intellect as distinct from the essence produces a quiddity in intelligibile being, speaking properly about production, I do not hold this with him. If however it is said that that production is merely equivocal and metaphorical as he himself seems to say, let it be granted him, althought he spoke improperly."

Oh yes; if you don't know who Peter Thomae is, consult Bert Roest's website for a list of literature. Basically, he was born in Galicia (no one knows when), and ended up at the franciscun studium in Barcelona, later served as Papal penitentiary and abbreviator for John XXII, and seems to have fallen out of favor under Benedict XII as he was jailed on charges of sorcery. He died in prison in Noves, in the spring of 1340.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Alnwick contra Scotus

For all of you just dying to know what went on in the 14th century after Scotus came up with his controversial views on the production of the quiddities of creatures by the divine intellect (see the previous post, the only one listed under the "intelligible being" rubric), here's some relief. Apparently, according to the 17th century Scotist Mastrius (and even this info is second hand, though T. Hoffmann has written a book on this), the 15th and 16th century Scotists accept Scotus's view of the production of creatures in intelligible being and the instants of nature theory that this requires. But the 14th century boys I've looked at are pretty incensed by it. Here is Alnwick, from his Quaestiones de esse intelligibili (ed.Ledoux, p. 136). This is from q.5, which is devoted to analyzing the basic position that Scotus adopts, though Alnwick says it is common to many "moderni". In the first excerpt he is responding to Scotus and refuting him on his own terms.

"Again, second, I prove the same by means of another principle of one holding the opposite, namely that the divine essence, compared to no other, represents all other things, and not by a relation of reason. Then so: whatever befalls the divine essence according to itself and not by the comparison of the intellect, befalls itself prior according to reason than other things are understood. But the divine essence, according to its absolute and infinite perfection, represents all other secondary objects, and not by a relation of reason; therefore other things are first represented by the essence than they are understood by the divine intellect, therefore other things are not instituted by God in intelligibile being by an act of divine understanding. Hence John Dons [sic], who says that creatures are instituted in intelligible being by an act of divine understanding, and nevertheless that the essence according to its absolute perfection represents all other things, says expressly the opposite, because if the divine essence according to its absolute perfection represents all other things, then first they are repsresented to the intellect than they are understood by the divine intellect, and so first they are intelligible before they are understood by the divine intellect."

Here is another argument, one from the beginning where he is also directly criticizing Scotus's position (Ledoux 125):

"Again, third thus: a creature is first intelligible before it is understood by God, therefore it is not constituted by an act of divine understanding. The consequence is clear, because nothing is constituted by an act posterior to it. I prove the antecedent, becase every other intelligible in act that is understood by God is represented by the divine essence, because the essence is the means of understanding all other things. But the essence first represents all intelligibiles before the intellect understands them, because it has the capacity to represent from it itself and not from the intellect. For the intellect does not grant the power of representing other intelligibiles to the essence, because to represent all intelligibiles is a pure perfection (perfectionem simpliciter), because in anything it is better to be something than not to be. But the intellect does not grant a pure perfection to the essence. Therefore a creature first is an intelligible represented by the divine essence than the intellect understands, thefore, etc.

The argument is confirmed: to represent many in act is of greater perfection than to represent fewer; therefore to represent infinite intelligibiles in act is of infinite perfection, but the divine essence, since it is an infinite sea, does not have infinite perfection from the divine intellect, therefore neither does it have from the intellect that it can represent infinite intelligibiles in act. Since therefore the essence distinctly represents infinite intelligibiles, it follows that the essence, as preceding the act of understanding, represents in act infinite intelligibiles, and as a consequence creatures have intelligibile being before God understands them."

According to Tim Noone's article where he edits Scotus's Reportatio account of the divine ideas, Scotus is reviving the opinion of Bonaventure. One question one might ask as well in this context (I think Alnwick dismissed it as not directly germain to the question but said he'd discuss it elsewhere) is how all this relates to the procession of the other two Trinitarian persons. Are persons and creatures understood by the divine intellect in the same instant of nature as creatures? That seems inconveniens somehow.

Perhaps I should mention, the person in question here is William of Alnwick, Scotus' socius at Paris, who is responsible for the Additiones magnae, a sentence commentary, the questions I've translated here, a Quodlibet and some sermons (including one on the beatific vision). He was made a bishop in Italy, and died around 1333.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Realm of Spells and Fairies

Stump, Aquinas, 61:

"Aquinas's account of the virtues is rich and complex, and his discussion them is situated in an intricate network of medieval lore. This lore includes the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, at least three of which are twins of the intellectual virtues: courage, piety, fear, counsel (consilium), wisdom, scientia (generally translated as 'knowledge'), and understanding. In addition, Aquinas also weaves into his account the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit...and the seven beatitudes."

Lore?! What is medieval lore? So anything that might come from a theological tradition such as the Bible and not from the fertile minds of analytic philosophers counts as lore. These days I am becoming increasingly aware that the study of medieval philosophy is considered at worst a waste of time by philosophy departments and at best a branch of history. With friends like Stump, "Medieval philosophy" doesn't need enemies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Letter of Pope Benedict XVI on Duns Scotus

From Giovanni Lauriola:

Venerabili Fratri
Archiepiscopo Co1othensi
cunctisque ex toto orbe terrarum participibus
congressus scientifici internationalis
DCC annis elapsis ab obitu beati Ioannis Duns Scoti

Laetare, Colonia urbs, quae doctissimum ac pientissimum virum Ioannem Duns Scotum intra tua moenia quondam recepisti, qui die VIII mensis Novembris anno MCCCVIII e vivis discessit et ad caelestem patriam profectus, eiusque magna admiratione ac vener servas exuvias.
Quem porro Venerabiles Servi Dei Paulus VI et Ioannes Paulus II, Decesores Nostri, amplissimis verbis, exaltarunt, illum Nos quoque nunc merita laude circumadare volumus eiusque patrocinia invocare.

Iure quidem meritoque septimum nunc ab eius pio transitu centenarium celebratur. Ac dum hac felici occasione in diversis mundi partibus in honorem beati Ioannis Duns Scoti acroases integraque opera publici iuris fiunt necnon conventus aguntur, inter quos sollemnis paratur ille Coloniensis, qui diebus V-IX proximi mensis Novembris evolvetur, muneris Nostri officium esse putamus hoc in ambitu quaedam dicere de tam eximio viro, qui bene meritus est de doctrina Ecclesiae et de scientia hominum amplianda.

Ipse enim pietatem cum intellectuali investigatione coniungens, iuxta illam sum precem: “Primum rerum Principium mihi ea credere, sapere ac proferre concedat, quae ipsius placeant maiestati et ad eius contemplationem elevent mentes nostras”1 , subtilissimo ingenio arcana veritatis tam naturalis quam revelatae ita profunde penetravit ac exinde talis generis doctrinam deprompsit, ut Doctor Ordinis, Doctor Subtilis et Doctor Marianus appellatus sit ac dux Scholae Franciscanae necnon lux et exemplar totius populi christiani evaserit.

Animos itaque doctorum virorum et omnium credentium ac non credentium convertere desideramus ad viam ac rationem quam Scotus secutus est in statuenda concordia inter fidem et rationem, in definienda tali modo natura theologiae, ut iugiter extulerit actionem operationem, praxim, amorem potius quam pura speculationem quo in opere exsequendo ductus fuit Magisterio Ecclesiae ac sano sensu critico circa incrementum notitiae veritatis, atque persuasum sibi habebat scientiam tantum valere quantum ipsa in praxim deduceretur.

In fide catholica confirmatus, veritates fidei lumine naturalis rationis conatus est inte1legere, illustrare et defendere. Quapropter nihil reliqui fecit quominus veritates omnes, et naturales et supernaturales, quam ex uno eodemque Fonte promanant, in consonantiam deduceret.

Prope Sacram Scripturam divinitus inspiratam, Ecclesiae auctoritas ponitur. Ipse videtur sequi sancti Augustini effatum: “Evange1io non credere, nisi Ecclesiae credidissem”2. Nam auctoritatem supremam Successoris beati Petri Doctor noster in peculiarem lucem haud raro ponit. Secundum sententiam eius “licet Papa non possit dispensare contra ius naturae vel divinum (quia sua potestas est utroque illo lure inferior), tamem cum sit

1-Duns Scotus, Tractatus de primo Principio, c.1,1(ed. Muller M.).
2 Idem, Ordinatio I d. 5, n. 26.

Successor Petri, Principis Aposto1orum habet eandem potestatem quam et Petrus”.

Itaque Ecc1esia Catholica, quae tamquam Caput invisibile habet ipsum Christum, qui in beato Petro ac Successoribus eius suos Vicarios reliquit, a Spiritu veritatis directa, est authenticus custos depositi revelati et regula fidei. Ecclesia est firmum et stabile criterium canonicitatis Sacrae Scripturae. Ipsa enim “decrevit qui sunt libri habendi in auctoritatem in canone Bibliae”4

Alibi respondet quod “eo Spiritu expositae sunt Scripturae, quo conditae, et ita supponendum est quod Ecclesia catholica eo Spiritu exposuit quo tradita est nobis fides, Spiritu scilicet veritatis edocta”5

Postqum ex ratione theologica variis argumentis probaverat ipsum factum praeservationis Beatae Virginis Mariae a peccato originali, omnino paratus erat hanc sententiam reicere, si constaret quod repugnaret auctoritati Ecclesiae, dicendo: “Si auctoritati Ecc1esiae et auctoritati Scripturae non repugnet, videtur probabile, quod excellentius est, attribuere Mariae”6.

Primatus voluntatis in lucem ponit Deum ante omnia esse caritatem. Hanc caritatem huic amorem, Duns Scotus prae oculis habet cum theologiam vult reducere ad unum habitum, ad theologiam practicam. Ad eius menten, cum Deus sit “formaliter dilectio et formaliter caritas”7 , bonitatis suae et amoris radios liberalissime communi├žat extra se 8. Revera, ex amore Deus “elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem, ut essemus sancti et immacu1ati in

3 Idem, Rep. Par. IV d. 33, q. 2, n. 19.
4 Idem, Ordinatio I, d. 5, n. 26.
5 Ibid., IV, d. 11, q. 3, n. 15.
6 Ibid., IV d. 26, q. 1, n. 13.
7 Ibid., I d. 17, n. 173.
8 Cf ibidem, Tractatus de primo Principio, c. 4, n. 127 (ed. Muller M.)

conspectu eius in caritate, qui praedestinavit nos in adoptionem filiorum per Iesum Christum in ipsum” (Eph 1, 3 4).

Tamquam fidelis assecla sanctis Francisci Assisiensis beatus Ioannes assidue contemplatus est et praedicavit Filii Dei incarnationem et passionem salvificam. At caritas seu amor Christi ostenditur peculiari modo non solum in Calvariae loco, sed etiam in sanctissimo Eucharistiae sacramento, absque quo “periret omnis devotio in Ecclesia, nec exhiberetur actus latriae Deo nisi propter reverentiam huius”9 . Porro, hoc sacrametum est sacramentum unitatis et amoris, quo inducimur ut amemus ad invicem, et ut amemus Deum tam quam bonum commune et condiligendum ab aliis.

Et quemadmodum hic amori haec caritas, fuit initium omnium, ita etiam in amore, in caritate tantum erit nostra beatitudo: “volitio sive dilectio est simpliciter vita aeterna, beata et perfecta”10.

Cum vero Nos ab initio officii Nostri caritatem ante omnia praedicavimus, quae Deus ipse est, laetanter cernimus huius Beati doctrinam singularem locum huic praebere veritati, eandemque nostris temporibus censemus maxime pervestigandam et docendam. Quapropter perlibenter obsecundantes precibus Venerabilis Fratri Nostri Ioachimi S.R.E. Cardinalis Meisner, Archiepiscopi Coloniensis, damus hanc epistulam Apotolicatn qua beatum Ioannem Duns Scotum cupimus honorare eiusque Nobis caelestem intercessionem efflagitare. Denique iis, quod quolibet modo in hoc internationali congressu aliusque de hoc S. Francisci eximio filio inceptis promovendis intersunt, Apostolicam Nostram Benedictionem imo ex corde e1argimur

9 Idem, Rep. Par., IV d. 8, q. 1, n. 3
10 Ibid., IV d. 49, q. 2, n. 21.

Datum Romae, apud Sanctum Petrum, die XXVIII mensis Octobris, anno MMVIII, Pontificatus Nostri quarto.