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Nach der Verurteilung von 1277: Philosophie und Theologie an der Universitat von Paris im letzten Viertel des 13. Jahrhunderts; Studien und Texte (review)
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Reviewed by
Timothy B. Noone, Ph.D., M.S.L.
Jan A. Aertsen, Kent Emery, Jr., and Andreas Speer, editors. Nach der Verurteilung von 1277: Philosophie und Theologie an der Universität von Paris im letzten Viertel des 13. Jahrhunderts; Studien und Texte. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2001. Pp. x + 1033. Cloth, DM 498.00

In this masterful volume of essays, we have one of the most thorough examinations of the Parisian condemnation of 1277 since the appearance of the groundbreaking study by Roland Hissette (Enquête sur les 219 articles condamnés à Paris le 7 mars 1277) in 1977. Presenting the work of some 38 contributors, the volume allows the reader to have access to a wide variety [End Page 339] of interpretations of the condemnation as well as studies devoted to its context and impact upon later thought. Indeed, the studies range from assessing the character of the period around the condemnation by comparing it with the thought of the early Scholastic author William of Auvergne to detailing rememberances of the condemnation among sixteenth century authors.

Though no radically new approaches to the condemnation emerge from the volume, many of the new research findings presented modify and amplify the standard interpretations. For example, Prof. Marrone's article indicates that the period just prior to the condemnation may well be one that, on balance, was surprisingly receptive to Aristotelian learning, even in the case of an "Augustinian" author such as St. Bonaventure; consequently, Marrone argues, there may well be some truth in the now mainly discarded Duhemian thesis that the Church restored a more non-Aristotelian manner of thinking through the condemnation (297-98). Prof. Courtenay's study, moreover, suggests that the Parisian theological faculty may well have reached its institutional zenith, at least in terms of the independence of its judgments and the reverence shown its opinions, in the period just prior to the condemnation, inasmuch as in the succeeding period the faculty became increasingly an instrument in the hands of royal authority.

Of the many fine studies included in the volume, the following especially deserve mention. Prof. Emery's detailed analysis of the image of God in the recesses of the mind (abditum mentis) in the teaching of Henry of Ghent gives an overarching and convincing account for Henry's eventual rejection of intelligible species and the continuity of his illuminationist theory from his earlier to his later writings. Prof. Pini shows in his study of Giles of Rome how Giles avoided explicit discussion of the eternity of the world following his 'exile' from Paris, but managed to advance his own metaphysical ideas on the nature of creatures as a result, a possibly happy, though doubtless unintended, consquence of the condemnation. Prof. Aertsen analyzes the thought of Thomas Aquinas and Henry of Ghent regarding their views on whether God's essence may be an object of knowledge and their respective doctrines of the distinction between essence and existence. Prof. Dumont's study of the textual history of Scotus's doctrine of the will and his demonstration that the Subtle Doctor's later writings veer back towards a more voluntaristic position is a landmark contribution to Scotistic scholarship as well as a solid indication of how the autonomy of the will, a matter of tremendous concern in the condemnatory documents, remained a sensitive topic into the early fourteenth century at Paris.

Significant additions to our knowledge of medieval authors and their works are also found in the volume. Profs. Goris and Pickavé present a partial edition of the anonymous Commentary on the Sentences found in Bruge, Stadtbibliothek, MS 491, showing how its discussion of angelic knowledge continued the earlier discussion of Henry of Ghent and Godfrey of Fontaines, while itself serving as a principal source for William Peter Godinus's influential Lectura Thomasina. Prof. Brown's edition and study of the part of Prosper of Reggio's prologue to his Commentary on the Sentences also points to the importance of Henry of Ghent and Godfrey of Fontaines, but this time apropos of one of their points of sharp disagreement, namely, the epistemological and psychological foundations for the discipline of theology. Finally, Prof. Ebbesen's detailed list of the...