- Quaestiones Disputatae “De productione rerum” “De imagine” et “De anima” e schola bonaventuriana (codex Conv. Soppr. D.4.27 Bibliothecae Nationalis Centralis Florentinae) by Mikołaj Olszewski
The question of whether there exist other quaestiones disputatae attributable to St. Bonaventure, beyond those contained within the definitive Quaracchi critical edition of his Opera Omnia, is a subject which has divided scholarly opinion for nearly a century. During the mid-twentieth-century, several newly discovered sets of quaestiones disputatae were claimed as authentic Bonaventurian works. Most notably, the Quaestiones de theologia transcribed by George Tavard and the Quaestiones de cari-tate et de novissimis edited by Palémon Glorieux. This is to say nothing, of the extensive and much discussed collection of draft quaestiones identified by François-Marie Henquinet in Assisi Bibl. Com. 186, which include the Quaestiones de prophetia, de raptu, and de nostra cognitione Dei. As those who follow the debate concerning Bonaventure’s literary corpus will know, Bonaventurian authorship of these quaestiones is by no means certain and was called into doubt by important figures such as Ignatius Brady and Henri-François Dondaine. More recently, it has been questioned by Jean-Pierre Torrell and Barbara Faes de Mottoni.
Since the mid-twentieth century, however, little research has been devoted to identifying and critically engaging with other potentially authentic Bonaventurian quaestiones disputatae. One promising collection of quaestiones, with a strong claim to Bonaventurian authorship, is the Quaestiones de productione rerum, de imagine, and de anima, contained in a thirteenth-century Florentine manuscript (Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Conv. Soppr. D.4.27). Scholarship has been aware of these quaestiones since the rediscovery of the manuscript by the Quaracchi fathers during the nineteenth-century, and they have, in turn, been claimed as genuine works of Bonaventure by no less eminent Bonaventurian scholars than Jacques Guy Bougerol and Balduinus Distelbrink. Having said this, they have remained, for the most part, unedited and neglected. Recently, [End Page 389] however, the Florentine quaestiones have been transcribed in full by Mikołaj Olszewski and form the basis of his latest monograph: Quaestiones disputatae De productione rerum, De imagine et De anima e schola bonaventuriana (Rome: Istituto Storico Dei Cappuccini, 2014). Here Olszewski presents a critical edition of the quaestiones, along with an extensive, well-researched, and highly informative introductory discussion of their historical, theological, and philosophical context.
Whilst highlighting the various points of overlap between the Florentine quaestiones and other authentic Bonaventurian works, most notably the Sentence Commentary and the three sets of quaestiones disputatae contained within the Quaracchi edition, Olszewski refrains from deciding definitively in favour or against Bonaventure’s authorship, stating that there is no conclusive evidence to either prove or disprove a direct link to the Seraphic Doctor’s hand. Given the strong opposition which was raised against the inclusion of the Quaestiones de theologia and Quaestiones de novissimis et de caritate into the authentic Bonaventurian corpus, this seems a sensible decision on Olszewski’s behalf. Beyond the discovery of another manuscript which contains a transcription of the same quaestiones and which specifically attributes them to Bonaventure no definitive statement on their authorship can be given. Having said this, the evidence presented by Olszewski, suggests to this author at least, that Bonaventurian authorship of most, if not all, of the Florentine quaestiones, is more likely than not. As Olszewski himself notes, having dismissed the possibility of attributing the quaestiones to other authors, ‘if Bonaventure didn’t write them, then who?’
Following an introductory chapter outlining much of the history of the debate surrounding Bonaventure’s literary corpus, and the possible existence of other authentic quaestiones disputatae, Olszewski proceeds in his second chapter to offer a detailed discussion of each of the three sets of Florentine quaestiones, focusing particularly upon their relationship to Bonaventure’s Sentence Commentary. In turn, he considers their relationship to Bonaventure’s later works, specifically the Breviloquium, Collationes in Hexaemeron...