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TRANSCENDENTAL UNITY IN PETRUS DE TRABIBUS Not without justification can the thirteenth be called the century of the friars. The Franciscans and their followers, from the majestic simplicity of the Poverello himself (f 1226), to the metaphysical subtleties of John Duns Scotus (f 1308), inundated every field in the medieval vineyard. But such was the difficulty of the Franciscan calling, that this flood tide, unlike the Dominican, could be no Nile, quietly slipping its banks to fecundate the surrounding countryside. It was, rather, an Arno such as Dante describes,1 after the spring rains, filled with cross and counter currents, which both worked against the main flow and gave the river its turbulence and power. Among those eddies in the last third of the century, Peter John Olivi (f 1298) stands out, spokesman and theoretician for the faction of the Order known as the Spirituals. And Olivi himself was not without his successors. Among them is to be found a current less dazzling than the master, but smoother, straighter, and more reliable, Petrus de Trabibus, O.F.M., who composed his commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, after many years of study and teaching (as he tells us in the prologue), sometime during the last decade of the century.2 1 Dante, Purgatorio, V, 125 and XIV, 16-66. 2 On the life of Petrus de Trabibus, see H. A. Huning, Die Stellung des Petrus de Trabibus zur Philosophie (Westfalen, 1965), p. 9-1 1. (Originally published in Franziskanische Studien, 46 [1964], 193-286, and 47 [1965], 1-43). On his works, see Huning, Die Stellung..., pp. 16-31. For an overview of his theological and philosophical doctrine, see A. Teetaert, "Pierre de Trabibus," Dictionnaire de Theologie Catholique, XII-2 (Paris, 1935), 2049-64. For a bibliography of Petrus de Trabibus, see Huning, Die Stellung..., pp. 139-47. To this list should be added: H. A. Huning, "Petrus de Trabibus: Ein Vorlaeufer des Johannes Duns Scotus in der Lehre vom Formalunterschied," De Doctrina Ioannis Duns Scott (Rome, 1968), I, 285-95. H. A. Huning, "The Plurality of Forms According to Petrus de Trabibus, O.F.M." Franciscan Studies, 28 (1968), 137-96. Gedeon Gal, "Petrus de Trabibus on the Absolute and Ordained Power of God," in Studies 50ROLLEN EDWARD HOUSER In that prologue, Petrus identifies himself, not with his own proper name, but as a teacher and follower of St. Francis, who, undaunted by the hatred of his rivals within the Order,3 has labored in the intellectual quarter of the vineyard. His intellectual patrimony is thus clear: as a teacher, he was a descendant of Peter Lombard; as a Franciscan, he was a son of Bonaventure, the master of his Order; and as a radical he found his spiritual father in Olivi. His thought must be considered in light of the teachings of these three men. Petrus' forebears, however, were by no means of one mind about many of the questions of metaphysics and theology, due in part to the influence of Aristotle, rediscovered during the thirteenth century while clothed in the robes of Arabic cosmology. One of the most fertile areas of the new metaphysics was the doctrine of the transcendentals, pre-eminently useful in the theology of the divine names. The Parisian masters of the thirteenth century extensively developed the metaphysical notions of being, the true, the good and the one. While the first three were quite compatible with the twelfth century textbook theology of Lombard, transcendental unity provided difficulties, because Lombard had said explicitly that unity is predicated privatively of God. This doctrine was rejected by most thirteenth century scholastics, Bonaventure and Olivi among them. Thus the stage was set for Petrus de Trabibus to attempt to explain the disagreement, and incorporate the truth found on each side into his own doctrine of transcendental unity. That doctrine is enunciated in his commentary on dists. 2, 8 and 24 of the first book of the Sentences, which is contained in MS Assisi Communale 154.4 Since the relevant texts from the commentary on dist. 24 have not been edited previously, the edition of the seven questions Petrus raises at that point constitutes the first part of...


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