Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Analogia Entis as Nigromantical Principle

For various reasons I was poking about in contemporary theological writing on analogy of being and Duns Scotus. The usual wasteland of wild claims, textual misinterpretation, and historical inaccuracy abounds now as ever (the belief that Scotus taught in Cambridge is impervious to all argument), but I did come across an interesting discussion of analogy in John Betz's article (which does not mention Scotus) "The Analogia entis as a Standard of Catholic Engagement..." in Modern Theology 2018. The following paragraph caught my eye:

Nevertheless, Barth was right that Przywara did not invent the analogia entis and that it has long been part of the Catholic tradition. Not only is it found in Augustine, specifically in Book XV of De Trinitate, which appears to have been the basis for the decision of the IV Lateran Council. It is also the implicit (but obvious) teaching of Aquinas, whom Przywara calls the teacher of the analogia entis, especially on account of Thomas’s teaching on secondary causes (since this teaching underscores, more so than NeoPlatonic models of exemplarism, including Augustine’s, the difference between God and creation). It is also, for that matter, the implicit teaching of Gregory of Nyssa, as is evident from Gregory’s reading of Exodus 3:14 and his corresponding understanding of the relation between Being and non-being. But it remained for centuries more of an implicit than an explicit teaching and thus stood in need of theological explication (precisely in keeping with Newman’s understanding of the development of doctrine, but here in terms of the Church’s understanding of creation). In fact, it does not appear as a terminus technicus until Cajetan and John of St. Thomas, and only thereafter, by way of Su├írez’s Disputationes Metaphysicae, made its way into the Jesuit manuals in which Przywara first encountered it

Two thoughts arise from considering this passage:

First.  As I and probably many other specialists writing on Scotus have pointed out, there are multiple senses of the "analogy being". There is a 'thick' sense, much like what is described in the passage quoted here, which involves dissimilarity-similarity, participation, causality, basically a whole cluster of metphysical notions. There is also a 'thin' sense, which is about the relations between terms and concepts. The thick sense includes the thin sense of analogy. Modern critics of Scotus generally don't distinguish these senses, and, without distinguishing where Henry's theory of analogy falls that Scotus rejects (and to be fair to modern theologians, many now seem to be aware that Scotus attacked Henry's theory of analogy and not Thomas'), assume Scotus rejects the analogia entis, simpliciter et totaliter, that is, that he throws out the thick sense of analogy.

Second. The claim here, backed by an article from 1970 (though, interestingly enough, the article is not by an author who is a medievalist, but apparently by another Przywara scholar) is that the usage of Analogia entis as a technical term is first found in Cajetan. Interestingly enough, the 17th c. Scotist theologian and philosopher Mastri made a similar claim, asserting that "the ancient scholastics wrote little about analogy" and that the debate over analogy began with Cajetan's book on the topic. One sees here the so-called tyranny of print: there was much discussion of analogy by authors such as Petrus Thomae who were never printed in the early days of the press, and so works such as the Quaestiones de ente (which dwarfs Cajetan's De nominum analogia) were lost to later ages. But John Betz and Mastri are both wrong. The usage of 'analogia entis' in both the thick and thin senses is found in the aforementioned Quaestiones de ente of Petrus Thomae, first printed in its entirety last year but written at Barcelona in 1325. This work also contains the first known mention of the Scotist school (Schola scotica). So the first professedly Scotist author is also the coiner of the Analogia entis? Given the widespread belief that Scotus himself and thus all his "progeny" rejected analogy, this is quite the historical irony. Moreover, given that Peter Thomae died in prison under charges of necromancy, perhaps the Analogy of Being is tainted, some attempted spell cast by Peter Thomae from across the ages; in the end perhaps it is, to paraphrase the (Latin) trial documents, a Nigromantical Principle.

For statements on analogy in PT, see Petrus Thomae, Quaestiones de ente q. 10 (thick analogy; see here). See also the same question for thin analogy, ed. me, p. 272: "Ad secundum et tertium et alias similes auctoritates dico quod explicant analogiam entis respectu substantiae et aliorum, sed haec analogia non repugnat verae univocationi."  The edition records no variants here, but one wonders whether "aliorum" shouldn't be "accidentium".

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

This discussion kind of reminds me of Ralph McInerny's claim that while Thomas Aquinas had a sense of analogy, he didn't write about the 'analogy of being.' Well, okay, maybe the phrase doesn't show up in Thomas's work, but I have found both 'analogia entis' and 'analogia essendi' in Albertus Magnus's Commentary on the Divine Names. In fact, Thomas Aquinas took the dictation of that text, so he would have very definitely been aware of the phrase in the thick sense, as you put it. Certainly, the idea has a provenance well before Suarez (whom many often enough accuse of univocity) even within his own Jesuit order. Pedro da Fonseca, for example, addresses analogy in his commentary on the Metaphysics and Antonio Rubio wrote an entire tract on analogy.
Best,
Victor

Lee Faber said...

Hi Victor,

Thanks for this. I did not know about the Albert. I had found Alexander of Alessandria using the phrase in his Metaphysics questions, which, though he was Franciscan, were heavily influenced by Aquinas. But the Albert is better.

Bubba said...

Yeah, I didn't know about Albert either. In fact, I have his DDN commentary open, and I can find one instance of analogia essendi at 17.71, as part of the divisio textus of the Pseudo-D., and the usage doesn't support much. I can't find analogia entis, but it's a big text. Certainly, he speaks of the proportio analogiae between creator and creatures, but I can't find the exact phrase.

About Aquinas taking dictation of the text: out of curiosity, do you have literature on this? The introduction to the edition supposes that N was copied by Aquinas either from his own notes or from those of Albert. Palaeographically, a script made from dictation looks very different from one made by direct copying, even for a cacograph like Thomas.

It's still witchcraft, I say.

Lee Faber said...

Bubba, I went to the e corpus and found the following in Met. IV:

Si igitur in analogia entis hoc primum est substantia, oportet primum Philosophum, qui de ente intendit habere scientiam substantiarum : et quia scientia non habetur nisi per causas et principia, oportet Philosophum habere causas et principia substantiarum. Adhuc quoniam omne analogum est in communitate quadam cujusdam generalitatis et ambitus multorum, et omnis generis unius est unus sensus et una scientia, sicut grammatica quae orthographia dicitur, una existens scientia omnes speculatur litteratas voces, ideo etiam unius et ejusdem scientiae est speculari entis in quantum est ens omnes species quascumque species habet ens, et species specierum, sive sint separata, ut Platoni placuit, sive sint in re, sive in anima, secundum quod ad ens referuntur. Sic enim unum genus vocamus, quod est unum et primum subjectum, ad quod alia quocumque modo omnia referuntur. Palam igitur est de ente omni esse scientiam unam ut de subjecto, quod multa habet essentialia praedicata, quae sequuntur ens in quantum est ens, sicut potentiam et actum, et idem et diversum, et hujusmodi : et haec eadem est de speciebus entis omnibus et specierum speciebus, secundum quod ad ens primum sicut ad unum subjectum quocumque modo referuntur.

Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry I misremembered the exact reference. Yes, the reference to 'analogia entis' is Metaphysics lib. 4, tr. 1, c. 3; the reference to 'analogia essendi' is in the Commentary on Divine Names, c. 1, n. 32.
Best,
Victor

Anonymous said...

Bubba, Jean-Pierre Torrell in his biography of Thomas (p. 21) has discussed the BN I.B.54 manuscript written in Thomas's hand, but, yes, you're right: it may or may not have been a dictation after all. Torrell also points to a number of other studies that address the that manuscript (viz., those of Gils, Thery, and Dondaine).

Best,
Victor