Intellectual context (The) of later medieval philosophy: universities, Aristotle, arts, theology
- The intellectual context of later medieval philosophy: universities, Aristotle, arts, theology Stephen Brown ORIGIN OF THE UNIVERSITIES A number of medieval towns in the twelfth century owed a large portion of their renown to their schools. Chartres was both respected and criticized for its efforts to reconcile Plato and Aristotle. Reims was a centre for the study of Scripture and the Fathers. Anselm of Laon brought fame to his home as a centre of developing theology. Paris was a magnet attracting famous teachers: Abelard, the dialectician and theologian; Hugh, Richard, and Andrew of St Victor, who brought to their Parisian abbey a justly respected name in the study of Scripture and a reverential awe for its level of mysticism; and Peter Lombard, whose Sentences became, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, the ordinary textbook of theology. Toledo’s cathedral school became a place of contact between the Christian and Muslim intellectual worlds and offered a home for translators and commentators. In that school Dominic Gundissalinus, Gerard of Cremona, the Scotsman Michael Scotus, and the Englishman Alfred of Sareschal provided translations of Aristotle and his Islamic commentators that would later serve as key curriculum texts in the nascent universities.1 Bologna grew famous for the study of law, owing mainly to the stature of the legal advisers of Frederick Barbarossa and to the masters who explained Gratian’s great canonical collection, the Decretum. Salerno drew students for medicine owing to the fame of Constantine the African, translator of the Articelli or Art of Medicine, a collection of texts that became the heart of the medical curriculum. Under the leadership of Bartholomew of Salerno, Maurus and Urso of Calabria, Salerno stood as the centre for the study of medicine from 1050 to 1200 before yielding its place of primacy to Montpellier and Paris ([8.22] 65–88). At the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth centuries great consolidations occurred. If we limit ourselves to the consideration of theology, Paris led the way on the Continent. With the support of Popes Innocent III and Gregory IX, the University of Paris became the theological stronghold of the Christian world. The cathedral school of Notre Dame, the abbey of St Victor, the houses of the newly arrived Dominicans and Franciscans, formed an intellectual guild or corporation of masters and students, a universitas magistorum et scholarium. In the pursuit of their common interests they became a unified and autonomous community. This guild took the title ‘University of Paris’. Across the Channel, Oxford outstripped the other English schools, owing mainly to the influence of Robert Grosseteste, student of scriptural wisdom, translator of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, commentator on the Greek philosopher’s Posterior Analytics, bishop of Lincoln, and chancellor of the young university ([8.21] 3–48). THE AUGUSTINIAN MODEL OF STUDY The programme of study for the cathedral, monastery and palace schools of the twelfth century, and for the early universities of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, was inspired by St Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine. Book II of Augustine’s work viewed traditional pagan studies, if approached prudently, as helpful to those seeking understanding of the divine wisdom found in the sacred Scriptures. The seven liberal arts (the trivium of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic and the quadrivium of arithmetic, astronomy, geometry and music), along with geography, botany, geology and the mechanical arts all could assist those who read the Scriptures to attain a fuller grasp of the divine message. The twelfth-century schools of liberal arts became the faculties of arts in the universities of the thirteenth century. The arts faculty was a preparatory faculty, training students for further studies in law, medicine, and especially theology. Richard Fishacre, in a sermon that he preached on the first day of class at Oxford in 1246, tells us that there is a threefold wisdom. The first kind of wisdom is that which is written in the book of life. This form of wisdom is the wisdom of God himself. To see God’s meaning and plan for everything, to the degree that is possible for man, is the goal that all studies should strive to achieve. The way of attaining this goal is by carefully studying the two other books that manifest the divine wisdom found in the book of life: the book of the Scriptures and the book of nature. The Scriptures provide God’s revelation to humankind of the riches of his own wisdom. The Bible is, thus, the principal help in coming to some understanding of divine wisdom. The Scriptures also give us a view of the book of nature that differs from the portraits of nature given by philosophers who are unaided by divine revelation. The Scriptures tell us that the natural world is a world created by and cared for by God. They likewise tell us that the created world provides vestiges and images of its Creator. The Bible uses natural things and the events of history to lead us to deeper understandings of God’s wisdom. We must therefore study the Scriptures to learn what they themselves say of God; but we must also, guided by the Bible, study the natural world to see how richly it tells us about the God who creates and cares for it, and whose imprint it bears. Both the Bible and creation thus help us to discover ‘the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God’ (Rom. 11:33) ([8.11] 23–36 and [8.20]). This sermon of Richard Fishacre at Oxford, following the Augustinian model of study, shows the way of investigation in the early medieval universities. The final goal of all study is to come to a greater understanding of God’s view of reality, by taking as primary source the sacred Scriptures, which reveal the divine wisdom. The secondary instrument for discovering divine wisdom is found in the created world, which provides all the analogies for coming to a fuller understanding of God. They are the analogies used in the Scriptures: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed’; ‘You are the salt of the earth’; ‘Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world’; ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ All other studies serve as helps in pursuing the divine wisdom that lies hidden in such scriptural declarations and that is manifested in some way in the created images of mustard seeds, salt, lamb, and earthly kingdoms that the Scriptures employ to speak of the hidden things of God. All the human disciplines, principally those of grammar, rhetoric, dialectic, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music—and philosophy, in the more technical sense of the term—are handmaids to be put at the service of the mistress, the wisdom of the Scriptures ([8.11] 26–32). THE STUDY OF ARISTOTLE At the beginning of the universities, only in the area of dialectic (logic) did Aristotle fit into the traditional curriculum of studies that prepared students for the study of the sacred Scriptures. What became known as the logica vetus, or old logic, included Aristotle’s Categories and On Interpretation. This old logic, available in Latin to the schools since the time of Boethius (480–525), also included the introduction to the Categories made by Porphyry and the commentaries on these two works of Aristotle done by Boethius himself. Before the middle of the twelfth century the logica nova, or new logic (the Prior Analytics, Posterior Analytics, Topics and On Sophistical Refutations) was also in use. Some of these works derived from the translation efforts of Boethius, but had been lost or neglected; others, by 1150, had been newly translated by James of Venice.2 Thus the whole of Aristotle’s Organon or logic was available and had an ever deepening influence, transforming medieval Christian thinking from a sacramental or symbolic form of knowledge to a more scientific discipline through the study of various causal connections. As the more properly philosophical works of Aristotle (e.g. On the Soul, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics and Politics) were translated and began to be studied, more than the style or character of Christian knowledge was changed. The contents of Aristotle’s works, his natural philosophy, slowly but surely also began to have their influence: his view of man, his teaching on the eternity of the world, his portrait of the unmoved Mover or supreme Being, his doctrine of virtues, his focus on the natural fulfilment or end of man. For the first time since the patristic era, Christian thinkers encountered a pagan philosopher directly. Many were struck by the brilliance of his intelligence and the strength of his argumentation; others were troubled by those of his teachings that seemed incompatible with those of the Christian faith.3 DIFFICULTIES WITH ARISTOTLE’S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY Attempts at moderating the disturbing influence that Aristotle’s philosophy might have were made a number of times. The first intervention came in 1210 from the Provincial Council of Sens, presided over by Peter of Corbeil; it forbade the reading of Aristotle’s ‘natural philosophy’ at Paris. Five years later, the papal legate Robert de Courçon also prohibited the reading of Aristotle’s ‘natural philosophy’. In 1231, Pope Gregory IX appointed a commission of William of Auxerre, Simon of Authie and Stephen of Provins to correct the prohibited books. Since William of Auxerre died shortly thereafter, the commission never met. Furthermore, this effort made by Gregory to correct Aristotle gradually became viewed as an admission that Aristotle was not necessarily wrong, but only wrong on certain issues. Little by little the prohibition against his natural philosophy was ignored. By 1255, all the known works of Aristotle, at least at an introductory level of understanding, were required in the arts faculty of the University of Paris ([8.26] 132–81). Aristotle’s works were read at many different levels. There was the introductory or beginner’s level, where a first approach was made to one of his texts. In this beginning lectio, or reading, the Aristotelian text was read aloud and the basic direction and outline of the work was indicated. In a more advanced lectio, the text was explained in detail. In commentaries on the philosopher’s works, the text was sometimes evaluated and on certain points questions were posed and answered. At the more advanced level of study, ‘questions’ concerning a text usually involved a deeper examination of the philosophical issues raised. In such a questioning approach, both sides of a debate were presented, and then a solution to the conflict was offered by the master. As teachers and students became more and more familiar with Aristotle’s texts and philosophical positions, more specific conflicts between what he seemed to teach and what were matters of Christian belief became more evident. Some points of Aristotelian teaching that caused problems for Christians had been passed down from the patristic era. St Augustine, for instance, had attributed to Aristotle the position that the world was eternal and therefore was not created in time. This was one of the grounds for the prohibitions at Paris against the public reading, before correction, of the natural philosophy of Aristotle in the early thirteenth century. Teachers who saw benefits for Christian theology that might come from the study of Aristotle, argued, however, that Aristotle never dealt with the question of creation. Aristotle, according to their reading of his texts, was simply giving a physical explanation, claiming that time did not exist before the world itself came to exist. Philip the Chancellor and Alexander of Hales, for instance, claimed that metaphysics dealt with the issue of creation and that Aristotle did not pass metaphysical judgements on the nature of the world. According to their interpretation, Aristotle was only speaking as a physicist or natural philosopher: describing the world as it actually exists, not taking a position on whether it was created or not (see [8.16] 57–70). Other problems concerning Aristotle’s teachings none the less gradually came to the fore as Christian thinkers became more familiar with his positions and with the commentaries made on them by earlier authors, especially the often conflicting commentaries of the Arabic philosophers, Avicenna and Averroes. St Bonaventure, in his Lenten sermons at Paris in the late 1260s and early 1270s, pointed out a number of problems in Aristotelian teaching at the university. The disturbing views at times might not clearly be positions of Aristotle himself, but rather positions of those in the arts faculty who show the strong influence of Averroes’ interpretations of the Greek philosopher. The principal difficulties were: (1) the unicity of man’s intellect, implying no personal immortality, and thus undermining individual moral responsibility; (2) the eternity of the world, entailing its independence from divine creation and a denial of divine concern or providence; (3) the independent study of philosophy—pretending to be a supreme and definitive wisdom separated from Christian wisdom.4 The most detailed catalogue of the difficulties raised by the teaching of certain heterodox or radical Aristotelians in the arts faculty, however, is found in the list of 216 propositions condemned at Paris in 1277. They might be divided into two basic groups: (1) propositions concerned with the nature of philosophy and its relation to divinely revealed truths; (2) propositions of a specific kind that challenge particular truths of the faith. Among the first type of propositions we can find these condemned statements: (a) there is no more excellent state than to dedicate oneself to philosophy; (b) the only wise men of the world are the philosophers; (c) for a man to have any certitude about a conclusion, it is necessary for him to base his argument on self-evident principles; (d) nothing should be admitted as true unless it can be proved by a self-evident principle or by something based on self-evident principles; (e) man should not be content merely with authority if he is to achieve absolute certitude in regard to any question; (f) the Christian faith impedes learning; (g) there are fables and false things in the Christian religion just as in other faiths. Among the specific positions condemned we find the propositions: (a) God does not know anything but himself; (b) the world, including all the species that are contained in it, is eternal; (c) it is impossible to refute the reasons of the philosopher concerning the eternity of the world without admitting that the will of God contains incompatibles; (d) the intellect is numerically one for all men; (e) happiness is had in this life, not in another. There were, then, in the late 1260s and throughout the 1270s– 1280s signs of a real challenge to the Augustinian model of study, which stressed the unity of Christian wisdom. This challenge, of necessity, also affected studies in the faculty of theology as teachers and students moved there after learning or teaching in the arts faculty.5 THEOLOGY AS A DEDUCTIVE SCIENCE The 1253 university statutes at Oxford, confirming actually existing practice, indicate that a student could attain his degree in theology (which was considered a higher degree, as opposed to the degree taken earlier in the arts) by one of three routes: (1) he could study the Bible, a practice that usually entailed writing commentaries, using earlier exegetical efforts, on at least one book of the Old Testament and one book of the New Testament; (2) he could present a commentary on Peter Comestor’s Scholastic History which presented a broader overview of all history, based primarily on the biblical account; (3) he could comment on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, a collection of doctrinal questions organized in four books according to logical principles. The same options in practice were available even earlier in Paris, as is clear not only from the statutes of the Dominican Order listing these three options, but also from the practices that were in vogue after Alexander of Hales made the Sentences of Lombard a course textbook. Generally, we can say that the third option, the commentary on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, was the one most frequently followed in the universities by the 1250s, if not earlier. Theology, through this instrument, thus became more and more a logically organized or scientific discipline (see [8.1] 112, [8.2] 49). The logical organization of doctrinal questions is evident in the many earlier authors, who followed Peter Lombard’s Sentences by commenting in the margins of his text. His text was their text. It is also evident in the Summae of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, which for the most part patterned themselves on his schema of questions. Explicit efforts to justify this procedure only come later. They can be found, for example, in the Summa quaestionum written by William of Auxerre in the 1220s, with its close structural correspondence to Lombard’s Sentences. Lombard (d. 1160) provides no discussion or justification of his method; nor do the people who gloss his Sentences or write summae quaestionum that slightly alter Lombard’s organization. William of Auxerre, living in a university world more strongly touched by Aristotle’s logical works, tries to give a methodological justification for writing such a work. For William, theology starts with certain principles or premisses and makes explicit, or deduces, the further knowledge implied in these premisses. The primary premisses in theology are the articles of the Christian faith. They are the starting points for theological reflection. They also set the boundaries for theological studies, in the sense that theology should not deviate from the articles of the faith nor pursue questions unrelated to basic Christian beliefs ([8.6] 17). Other theologians immediately following William of Auxerre more deliberately attempted to set up parallel structures between Aristotle’s model of science and their intellectual efforts in theology. Odo Rigaud, speaking of a ‘science of the faith’ maps out the correspondences and differences between the method he follows and the method sketched by Aristotle in the Posterior Analytics (see [8.23] II, 12–13). Thomas Aquinas set up a parallel between Aristotle’s description of a subalternated science, like optics, which used principles borrowed from a higher or subalternating science such as geometry, and the subalternated science of theology that uses principles borrowed from the higher science possessed by God and the blessed—principles that God has revealed in the Scriptures. Just as geometry, which studies lines, helps the student of optics, which studies lines of vision, come to an understanding of the lines of vision, so God’s knowledge of all that he has revealed provides the ultimate first principles which allow the student of theology to come to a knowledge or understanding of God and all things as they are related to him. Theology, then, is a science in the same way that optics is a science ([8.15] 67–92). CRITIQUES OF THEOLOGY AS A DEDUCTIVE SCIENCE As we have indicated, the intellectual atmosphere in the late 1260s and throughout the 1270s–1280s had altered. Argument had become more precise and hard-nosed. Godfrey of Fontaines, who was a student at Paris during most of Thomas Aquinas’ second teaching period there (1269–72) attacked, in question 10 of his Quodlibet IV (1287), Aquinas’ claim that theology was like a subaltern science. Godfrey distinguishes two kinds of certitude: the certitude based on evidence and the certitude based on faith. Technically, he calls them certitude of evidence and certitude of adherence. He then argues that if we start with principles or premisses that we hold because of faith, then no matter how sure we are that the conclusions are true, still they will never be science, since science is based on evidence. Of course, a correctly argued conclusion can be a certain conclusion. Yet, since it still is based on faith, it is not an evident conclusion, and thus is not science. We might want to speak of the necessary way in which a faith conclusion flows from faith premisses and argue that there is a science of the consequence. Yet this in no way supplies evidence for the consequent or conclusion. Godfrey also contested the example given by Aquinas. He argues that where a subaltern science must rely on principles received from an expert in a higher science which, within the subaltern science, are believed but cannot be known, then the subaltern science is not truly a science at all. Yet this is the case in theology as Aquinas presents it: the principles of theology, in so far as they are revealed by God, are believed. Just as human authority begets opinion which is a state of mind lacking both kinds of certitude, so divine authority produces faith which is a state of mind that only has the certitude of adherence. Of what advantage is it, asks Godfrey, for a theologian who is relying on such principles, which he cannot know but must accept as a matter of faith, that they are known evidently and with certitude to the blessed and that, in themselves, they are evident and certain? This does not bring the believing theologian evidence. He remains essentially a believer, without evidence. Theology is not a science, at least in the sense that it brings evidence for theological truths (see [8.3] 260–4; cf. [8.25] 120–31). Henry of Ghent (d. 1293) was also a critic of Thomas Aquinas. Whereas Godfrey of Fontaines criticized Aquinas from an Aristotelian viewpoint, Henry criticized him from an Augustinian one. One of Henry’s main efforts in his approach to philosophy and theology was to show that Aristotle had a limited vision of reality, that he was deprived of the riches of Christian revelation, and that his philosophy was too pretentious in presenting itself as a complete human wisdom. In his discussion of the nature of theology, Henry gave the strictest literal analysis of Aristotle’s theory of subalternation, as found in the Posterior Analytics. Then he declared that none of the philosopher’s types exactly fit what Thomas tried to make them fit. In effect, the philosopher never knew a case of subalternation of the kind that Thomas was speaking about (see [8.8] 52r–4r; cf. [8.12] 337–45, [8.14] 194–206). GODFREY’S AND HENRY’S ALTERNATIVES TO DEDUCTIVE THEOLOGY Godfrey’s critique of Aquinas argued that any conclusion deduced from premisses held on faith could only be a conclusion of faith. In proceeding to such a conclusion or consequent we gain no evidence. The only way in which one might speak of any scientific progress is in the logical realm: we can by correct logical procedure guarantee science of the consequence. This critical side of Godfrey moved at least one later author to place Godfrey in the camp of those who held that theology is a science of consequences (see [8.25] 108). For Godfrey, however, theology is, beyond a science of consequences, a science of Sacred Scripture. In a way that a layman does not, a theologian develops a habit whereby he can show in the texts of Sacred Scripture the justifications or warrants for the truths of the Christian faith. He knows, for instance, that the Trinity and the Incarnation are taught or anticipated in such and such texts of the Old and New Testament. He thus knows not only the truths of the faith as presented in the Creed; he knows the scriptural bases on which the Church supports herself in teaching them. And this knowledge is not just a habit based on memorization. A theologian comes to understand the Scriptures and sees that sense cannot be made of certain passages unless one admits a plurality of persons in God and a plurality of natures in Christ. Godfrey’s full position might even claim more of a role for a theologian than what we have stated so far, but most later portraits of his stance limit him to holding that theology is a science of Sacred Scripture (see [8.4] 69–82; 4. [8.25] 155–67). Theology as a science of Sacred Scripture was far too restrictive for Henry of Ghent, since it seemed to leave aside any knowledge of the realities of which Sacred Scripture speaks. It seemed to him that Godfrey’s position abandoned the study of reality to philosophers and awarded simply the study of the sacred texts to the theologians. In question 2 of Quodlibet XII (1288), Henry waged his attack on Godfrey: It is very striking that teachers in every other faculty do their best to praise their science. It is only certain theologians, in an effort to promote philosophy, who put down theology, saying that it is not properly a science and that it cannot make the realities we believe in truly intelligible in the present life. Such theologians block any way of knowing or understanding the things we believe in. They lead others to the point of having no hope of understanding these realities. Surely, this is pernicious, dangerous to those who hear it, and harmful to the Church. ([8.7] 485v, trans. SFB) It is in reaction to Godfrey’s main thesis, that theology is a science of Sacred Scripture, that Henry of Ghent was forced to pursue another route, which would admit a science of the realities spoken of in the Scriptures and presented by the Church for Christian belief. He claimed that theologians receive extra assistance from God to understand the realities of which the Scriptures speak. It is important to realize that, for Henry, any certain knowledge that man might attain requires at least God’s general assistance or illumination. A helpful analogy might be found by imagining a person inside a cathedral, looking at the colours and shapes of the stained glass windows. What that person immediately focuses on, of course, are the colours and shapes of the figures in the windows. When we reflect on the situation, however, we realize that this person could not see the colours or determine the shapes unless the sun, hidden from immediate perception, were present and active. Similarly, we would grasp nothing for certain, because of the darkness of the objects or the weakness of our sight, unless God, like the sun, were illuminating the objects and assisting our sight. For Henry, this is the general illumination required for any certain knowledge. In the case, however, when a theologian is dealing with the objects of faith, objects beyond man’s natural perception even when aided with the general assistance of God’s illumination, he needs a special assistance or illumination to grasp these supernatural objects of faith. Henry presents this special light as a middle light between the light of faith, which elevates men with faith to know, by hearing the authority of Scripture, things that are above anything Aristotle ever grasped. It is also a light below that possessed by the blessed who behold the realities that at one time they may have only believed. This middle light is a special illumination given to theologians, as distinct from laymen and the blessed, to grasp the realities they believe in. In regard to the divine world, by knowing the natures of the terms of faith, such as ‘Father’, ‘Son’, and ‘Holy Spirit’, he can, by the intellect’s search, with the aid of supernatural light [faith] and with special divine illumination [the middle light], come to know that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, and not from the Father alone. And the same holds for other realities that are proper to the science of theology and that pertain to faith. ([8.8] 94v–95r, trans. SFB) The science of theology as developed by Henry thus appeals to a middle light between the light of faith and the light of glory. Theology thereby is very definitely aimed beyond the study of the Scriptures as such to a study of the higher realities of which the Scriptures speak ([8.7] 485r–486v). THE DECLARATIVE THEOLOGY OF PETER AUREOLI Criticisms of Henry of Ghent’s position were strong. Godfrey thought that Henry was placing theologians beyond academic accountability. They could merely claim a superior light that others lacked ([8.4] 71). John Duns Scotus points to a predecessor who wondered why students and teachers spent so much time in the classroom sweating over theological arguments rather than in chapel praying for this theological light ([8.9] 43). In brief, to many theologians Henry seemed to be claiming more than he could warrant. Peter Aureoli (d. 1328) thought that the direction of theology had gone awry since the time of William of Auxerre, often acclaimed as the thirteenth-century apostle of deductive theology. Aureoli gives one of the most extensive discussions on the nature of theology that can be found among medieval authors. He presents in great detail the positions of Thomas, Godfrey, Henry and Duns Scotus, refutes each in terms of his own view of the character of theology, and then tells us what theology is really about. When we say that he presents and criticizes the opinions of these theologians, he does not simply repeat the critiques others have given of these opinions. It is from his own perspective concerning the nature of theology that he produces his critique. What is that perspective? It is this: theologians develop many cognitive habits when they study theology. Since they make many deductions, they develop strong logical skills. Since they use among their premisses, besides the premisses of faith, materials from physics and metaphysics, they become very able in Averroes’ philosophy of nature and Avicenna’s metaphysics. Since they trace revealed truths back to their biblical sources, they become very knowledgable in the texts of the Scriptures. Theologians thus develop cognitive abilities in many fields of learning. Yet none of the intellectual habits that we have mentioned are the proper habit of a theologian. Most recent theology, according to Aureoli, has been led astray from what it is really about. It has been led astray by the limping analogy that the articles of the faith are principles or quasi-principles in theology. Theology in the proper sense is surely about the articles of the faith, but not as principles from which we deduce new truths. It is rather about the articles themselves. Properly speaking, theology is declarative: it brings light to these very articles of the faith. When Aureoli says that theology is declarative, he means first of all that the theologian, using analogies and probable reasons taken from other sciences, is able to gain and offer some understanding of the things he believes in, and is able to overcome doubts raised against them. He can, furthermore, make clear the meanings of terms that are used to express the truths of the Christian faith, and can appeal to and explain the scriptural bases that sustain these truths. In brief, he is ‘ready to render an account of those things that are in him by faith’ (I Peter 3:15). Now, none of these abilities makes him believe. His faith is the ground for accepting these truths. Theology is declarative: it is a habit that makes the theologian more clearly grasp with his mind the things that the Church believes in. In the words of St Augustine in Book XIV of On the Trinity, theology is the kind of ‘knowledge by which the most wholesome faith is begotten, nourished, defended, and strengthened’. According to Peter Aureoli, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas and all doctors of theology in their practice formed questions concerning the very articles of the faith. They asked: Is there only one God? Is there in God a trinity of persons? Is the incarnation possible? They tried to answer such questions in their summae or commentaries on Lombard’s Sentences. It is not that they doubted their truth. The question as a learning instrument was not developed to undermine the faith, nor to produce faith. It was a method designed to bring greater clarity to what they already believed. Instead of speaking of the articles of the faith as principles or premisses, as theologians have done since at least the time of William of Auxerre, Aureoli would have them speak of the articles of faith almost as conclusions. By responding to the quaestio, by clarifying the terms employed, by answering objections, by finding suitable analogies, and developing strong arguments, theologians not only make it clearer that there is one God, or that there are three persons in God, or that the incarnation is possible, but they make it clearer how these things are so ([8.10] 132–75; cf. [8.24] 20–78). GREGORY OF RIMINI’S CASE FOR DEDUCTIVE THEOLOGY In the opening question of the prologue to his Commentary on Book I of Lombard’s Sentences in 1342, Gregory of Rimini certainly had Peter Aureoli in mind when he tried to determine what is proper theological discourse. Proper theological discourse must focus, he contends, on the articles of the faith, not on the probable arguments that might be employed to bring some clarity to the articles of the faith. Probable arguments in themselves only beget opinion, and surely theology is not primarily a discipline aimed at producing opinion. Gregory’s own view of properly theological discourse is the type of argument made up of propositions contained in Sacred Scripture or propositions deduced from scriptural propositions. Everyone realizes, he argues, that something is proved theologically when it is proved from the words of Scripture. If a theologian proves that God is eternal and does so on the basis of the eternity of motion, as Aristotle does in Book XII of the Metaphysics, he is not involved in theological discourse. If he bases himself on John’s Gospel (‘In the beginning was the Word…’ [John 1:1]), then this is proper theological discourse. This is the kind of discourse that marks Augustine’s arguments in On the Trinity: he does not prove the Trinity by probable propositions, but rather by the authority of Scripture. Likewise, when the Church determined as a matter of Christian belief that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son, it did not declare this to be an article of faith because of analogies or probable arguments. It was because the Church saw that this truth followed necessarily from the statements of Sacred Scripture. The ultimate resolution of all theological discourse, according to Gregory, is the truth of the sacred canon of the Scriptures. It is from the truths of Scripture that all other theological truths are ultimately deduced. Theology, then, according to Gregory, properly is deductive, not declarative ([8.5] 13–23; [8.18] 610–44). THEOLOGY AS DECLARATIVE AND DEDUCTIVE Some theologians, such as Peter of Candia, who commented on Lombard’s Sentences at Paris in 1378–80, evaluated the declarative theology of Peter Aureoli and the deductive theology of Gregory of Rimini, and judged that both approaches were necessary. He argued that the articles of the faith can, in fact, be appreciated in themselves and also as premisses for extending the domain of faith by deducing further legitimate conclusions. The method followed when the articles of the faith are considered in themselves is a direct or immediate approach to revealed truth: all the truths are seen as parts of a cohesive whole and are affirmed in an equal manner. When the articles of the faith are viewed as premisses, then the theological conclusions drawn from them are not affirmed directly. The believer adheres to them as derived, and as due to his adherence to the premisses from which they are derived and to which he directly assents. In admitting that both declarative and deductive theology are proper theological habits, Peter of Candia claims that he was following in the footsteps of John Duns Scotus and William of Ockham. He also was imitating the actual practice of almost all medieval university theologians up to the time of Gregory of Rimini (see [8.13] 156–90). NOTES 1 For the beginnings of the translation movement, see above, Chapter 7, pp. 179– 80. 2 On the logica vetus and logica nova, see also above, Chapter 7, pp. 176–7. 3 See Dod [8.17] 45–79 and Lohr [8.19] 80–98. For a fuller account of the translations (and Arab commentaries), see below, Chapter 10, pp. 226–7. 4 See Van Steenberghen [8.27] 3–114. On Bonaventure, see also below, Chapter 10, pp. 227–30. 5 See Denifle-Chatelain [8.1] 543–60 for the relevant charters. BIBLIOGRAPHY Original Language Editions 8.1 Denifle, H.S. and Chatelain, A. Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, 4 vols, Paris, Delain, 1889–97. 8.2 Gibson, S. Statuta antiqua universitatis Oxoniensis, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1931. 8.3 Godfrey of Fontaines Les quatres premiers Quodlibets de Godefroid de Fontaines, M.De Wulf and A.Pelzer (eds) Les Philosophes belges, vol. 3, Louvain, Institut Supérieur de Philosophie de l’Université, 1904. 8.4 ——Le huitième Quodlibet, Le neuvième Quodlibet, Le dixième Quodlibet, J.Hoffmans (ed.) Les Philosophes belges, vol. 4, Louvain, Institut Supérieur de Philosophie de l’Université, 1924. 8.5 Gregory of Rimini Lectura super primum et secundum Sententiarum, ed. A.D. Trapp and V.Marcolino (Spätmittelalter und Reformation. Texte und Untersuchung 6), Berlin and New York, De Gruyter, 1981. 8.6 William of Auxerre Summa aurea, J.Ribaillier (ed.) Spicilegium Bonaventurianum, vol. 16, Paris and Grottaferrata, Editions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Editiones Collegii S.Bonaventurae ad Claras Aquas, 1980. 8.7 Henry of Ghent Quodlibeta, Paris, I.Badius Ascensius, 1518. 8.8 ——Summa quaestionum ordinariarum, Paris, I.Badius Ascensius, 1520. 8.9 John Duns Scotus Opera omnia, vol. XV, Paris, Vivès, 1893. 8.10 Peter Aureoli Scriptum super Primum Sententiarum, ed. E.M.Buytaert, St Bonaventure, NY, Louvain and Paderborn, Franciscan Institute, E.Nauwelaerts and F.Schöningh, 1952. Studies 8.11 Brown, S.F. ‘Richard Fishacre on the need for “philosophy”’, R.Link-Salinger, J.Hackett, M.S.Hyman, R.J.Long and C.H.Marekin (eds) A Straight Path: Studies in Medieval Philosophy and Culture, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 1988. 8.12 ——‘Henry of Ghent’s critique of Aquinas’ subalternation theory and the early Thomistic response’, R.Työrinoja, A.I.Lehtinen and D.Føllesdal (eds) Knowledge and the Sciences in Medieval Philosophy, Helsinki, Annals of the Finnish Society for Missiology and Ecumenics, vol. 55, 1990. 8.13 ——‘Peter of Candia’s hundred year “History” of the theologian’s role’, Medieval Philosophy and Theology 1 (1991): 156–90. 8.14 ——‘Henry of Ghent’s Reductio artium ad theologiam’, D.Gallagher (ed.) Thomas Aquinas and his Influence in the Middle Ages, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 1994. 8.15 Chenu, M.-D. La Théologie comme science au XIIIe siècle, Paris, Vrin, 1957. 8.16 Dales, R.C. Medieval Discussions of the Eternity of the World, Leiden, New York, Copenhagen and Cologne, E.J.Brill, 1990. 8.17 Dod, B.G. ‘Aristoteles Latinus’, in CHLMP. 8.18 Grassi, O. ‘La questione della teologia come scienza in Gregorio da Rimini’, Rivista di filosofia neo-scolastica 68 (1976): 610–44. 8.19 Lohr, C. ‘The medieval interpretation of Aristotle’, in CHLMP. 8.20 Long, R.J. ‘The science of theology according to Richard Fishacre: edition of the Prologue to his Commentary on the Sentences’, Mediaeval Studies 34 (1972): 71–98. 8.21 McEvoy, J. The Philosophy of Robert Grosseteste, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1982. 8.22 Montero-Cartelle, E. ‘Encuentro de culturas en Salerno: Constantino el Africano, Traductor’, J.Hamesse et al. (eds) Rencontres de cultures dans la philosophie médiévale, Louvain and Cassino, Publications de l’Institut d’Etudes médiévales, 1990. 8.23 Sileo, L. Teoria della scienza teologica, Rome, Pontificium Athenaeum Antonianum, 1984. 8.24 Streuer, S.R. Die theologische Einleitungslehre des Petrus Aureoli, Werl in Westphalia, Franziskanische Forschungen, 1968. 8.25 Tihon, P. Foi et théologie selon Godefroid de Fontaines, Paris and Bruges, Desclée de Brouwer, 1966. 8.26 Van Steenberghen, F. La Philosophie au XIIIe siècle, Louvain and Paris, Publications Universitaires and Béatrice-Nauwelaerts, 1966. 8.27 ——Thomas Aquinas and Radical Aristotelianism, Washington, DC, Catholic University of America Press, 1980.
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