- Ioannis Duns Scoti Collationes Oxonienseseds. by Guido Alliney e Marina Fedeli
As the final volumes of John Duns Scotus's Opera Omniaare published by the International Scotistic Commission (Vatican), this volume of the Subtle Doctor's Oxford Collationesare a welcome addition to all the texts we now have at our disposal. Indeed, we can enumerate the corpus of critical works now available: the Opera Philosophica(Noone et al) along with the 'safe' texts of the ReportatioIA (Wolter/Bychkov) and, at this writing, the first seventeen distinctions of ReportatioIV (Bychkov/Pomplun). The Oxford and Parisian Collationesoffer the remaining pieces to the scholarly puzzle around Scotus, and a clearer portrait of his development as philosopher and theologian is slowly coming into view.
The scholarly debates around the Collationes(their authenticity as well as their dating) have been alive since the beginning of the 20 thcentury. While the Wadding (III: 339-430) and Vivès (V: 131-317) editions reproduce the Collationesunder one title ( Collationes Parisienses), there is textual evidence from Scotus himself that some of these belong to the period during which he was a student in Oxford, at the Franciscan house of studies. As early at 1927, Carlo Balić claimed that it was a mistake to consider all these as part of his Parisian years, and that, indeed, the greater part were from his earlier years in Oxford. It was later established that the Wadding/Vivès editions did not contain all the Collationes. Between 1927 and 1929 various additional Collationeswere discovered. As a result, the listing of (what would become) the first fourteen was established on the basis of Magdalen Codex 194 (discovered by Longpré) and the ordering of numbers fifteen to twenty-four were the result of the discovery of Merton Codex 65 and Balliol Codex 209 (Balić). To these we can add the discoveries of Merton Codex 90 and Peterborough Codex 241 (Cambridge), both by Balić.
Collationeswere student exercises, held outside of ordinary university work and most often in the houses of studies of the various religious orders. Ephrem Bettoni held them to be authentic but not important to our understanding of Scotus's teaching. Palémon Glorieux thought they [End Page 537]were a type of sermon or student exercise. Over the past twenty years, scholarly investigation and debate regarding Scotus's Collationeshas intensified, thanks to the electronic resources that enable deeper textual study and identification of sources and interlocutors. Recent studies by Stephen Dumont (Coll. 14), Richard Cross (Coll. 17), Olivier Boulnois (Coll. 24) and Guido Alliney (Coll. 18-23) frame the context for this present volume and its effort to contribute to the ongoing discussion around the role of these 'student exercises' in the development and clarification of Scotus's positions. Indeed, as the editors explain (p. xvi), their purpose is to provide a critical 'instrument de travail' for the future work that is still needed.
In their lengthy introduction (178 pp.), the editors explain the modalities that guided the work of the team of international scholars who have contributed to this project. They followed four axes of analysis: 1) study of manuscript traditions; 2) provisionary edition to identify the typology of genre of each Collatio; 3) thematic study of the diverse groupings; and 4) reconstruction of the doctrinal positions held by the protagonists in the debate. The debates themselves fall into groupings that range from student exercises (that follow the methodology of a medieval disputation) to critical analyses of a particular doctrinal position, studied according to a 'pro' and 'con' approach. A cluster of the texts focus on metaphysical and theological questions, particular in terms of the question of relationships. Several focus on questions relating to the human will. The editors agree with Anton Vos' dating the Oxford Collationesto 'no later than 1301.'
As a result of their work, and in light of the ongoing debate...