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Monday, August 25, 2014

0367: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (IV)

Entry 0367: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (IV)

Aquinas uses the expression “actus essendi” in the Summa theologiae only once in part I, question 3, article 4, ad 2.

Concerning the dating of the Prima Pars, there seems to be very little doubt that Aquinas wrote it in Rome in the period between 1266 and 1268.

Wippel writes that “Thomas returned to Italy in 1259 and served there at various Dominican houses of study as Lecturer or as Regent Master, continuing to teach and to write at a rapid pace. During this period he completed his Commentary on the De anima, thereby commencing a series of intensive studies of Aristotle which would eventually result in partial or total commentaries on twelve works by the Stagirite. He completed his Summa contra Gentiles (1259-1265) and the Prima Pars of the Summa theologiae (1266-1268). Also dating from this period are his Exposition on the Divine Names (of Pseudo-Dionysius), Disputed Questions on the Power of God (De potentia), Disputed Questions on Spiritual Creatures, Disputed Questions on the Soul, and many other works of a theological or religious nature” (John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000], xiv).

In 1259 Aquinas took part in the General Chapter of the Dominicans in Valenciennes, France, where he was a member of a commission that established the Dominican Order's program of studies.

Soon after that, Aquinas returned to Italy. From 1261 to 1265, he was in Orvieto, where Pope Urban IV, who had high esteem for Aquinas, commissioned him to compose the liturgical texts for the Feast of Corpus Christi, the feast which, in addition to Holy Thursday, commemorates the institution of the Eucharist.

From 1265 until 1268 Thomas Aquinas lived in Rome where he directed the Study House of the Dominican Order. And in 1269 he was recalled to Paris for a second cycle of lectures.

Franklin T. Harkins reports more precisely that “From his inception at Paris in the Spring of 1256 until he stopped writing in Naples on 6 December 1273, Thomas Aquinas was—above all else—a teacher of sacred doctrine, a master of theology. (See Josef Pieper, Guide to Thomas Aquinas, trans. Richard and Clara Winston [Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987], 89-102.)

“On 8 September 1265, not quite a decade into his teaching career, Thomas was charged by his Dominican provincial chapter at Anagni ‘for the remission of his sins’ with establishing and directing a studium at Rome for the education of select friars. (See Leonard E. Boyle, The Setting of the Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas [Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1982], 8-15; Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas, vol. 1: The Person and His Work, rev. ed., trans. Robert Royal [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005], 142-59; and M. Michèle Mulchahey, 'First the Bow is Bent in Study….' Dominican Education before 1350 [Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998), 278-306.])

“Having served the previous four years as conventual lector at Orvieto where he was responsible for the pastoral formation of the fratres communes, Aquinas had by this time become quite well aware of the deficiencies then characterizing Dominican education, particularly its narrow emphasis on applied and moral theology. (See Mulchahey, ‘First the Bow is Bent in Study…. ‘, 184-203; Boyle, The Setting of the Summa theologiae, 1-8; and Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas 1, 117-20.)

“As head of his studium at Santa Sabina in Rome Master Thomas took terrific advantage of the opportunity to devise a new, more comprehensive theological curriculum for his young Dominican students by beginning to compose—and presumably teach—the Summa theologiae. (See Boyle, The Setting of the Summa theologiae.)”

This passage is from Franklin T. Harkins, “Primus doctor Iudaeorum: Moses as Theological Master in the Summa Theologiae of Thomas Aquinas,” The Thomist 75 (2011): 91-92.

And Torrell points out that “It seems certain that during the time he was at Rome [from 1265] until September 1268, Thomas composed the Prima Pars in its entirety and that this portion [of the Summa theologiae] was in circulation in Italy even before his return to Paris [in 1269]” (Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work - Volume 1, trans. Robert Royal [Washington. D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005], 146). 

Monday, August 18, 2014

0366: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (III)

Entry 0366: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (III)

There seems to be very little doubt that Aquinas wrote the Quaestiones disputatae De veritate in the period between 1256 and 1259.

In his doctoral dissertation, The Philosophical Vocabulary of St. Thomas Aquinas in De Veritate, James E. Royce explores in greater detail the evidence that substantiate the assigned date of composition of De veritate. Royce relies on the work of Henry Denifle (1844-1905) who collected and edited documents referring to the history of the University of Paris during the time of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Here is the entire section “De Veritate: Circumstances and Date of Its Composition” from Royce’s dissertation.

Royce writes:

“Henry Denifle, O.P., the great authority on documentary sources for the history of the history of the University of Paris during the time of St. Thomas Aquinas, makes the remark in a note in the Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis that the old lives of St. Thomas agree about one date if about nothing else: St. Thomas was made a magister in theology at the University of Paris in the year 1256” (Henrious Denifle et Aemilio Chatelain, Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, Delalain, Paris, 1889, I, 307, note 1).

“This is important, because it clinches beyond all doubt the dating of the Quaestiones Disputatae De Veritate. Biographers, historians, and critical scholars are in unanimous agreement that the work was the fruit of his first years of teaching at the University of Paris, immediately after he was advanced to the magisterium.

“The oldest sources for the life of St Thomas are in remarkable agreement on the facts of these years of St. Thomas's life and work. A study of the writings of William of Tocco, Bernard Guido, and Peter Calo reveals that St. Thomas was made licentiate in theology in the early months of 1256, and master later in that same year.” (See Friedrich Ueberweg, Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie [rev. Bernhard Geyer], Mittler and Son, Berlin 1928, II, 423. An excellent bibliography on the life of St. Thomas Aquinas is contained in P. Mandonnet and J. Destrez, Bibliographie Thomiste [Bibliotheque Thomiste, I], Le Saulchoir, Kain, Belgique, 1921, 1-7. More recent is the bibliography found in P. A. Waltz, O.P., ‘Chronotaxis Vitae et Operum s. Thomae de Aquino,’ Angelicum, 1939, XVI, 463-473. The Bollandists list the old sources and reproduce many of them, Acta Sanctorum: Martii, I, 655-657).

“Bartholomew, or Ptolemy, or Tolomey, of Lucca was a disciple of St. Thomas and a church historian who died in the year 1327. In his life of St. Thomas he says, ‘Post hoc, ipso magistrato, fecit Questiones de Veritate. Post tres annos magisterii sui redit in Italiam’” (Fide Pierre Mandonnet, O.P., Des Ecrits Authentiques de S. Thomas D'Aquin [2me edition], Saint-Paul, Fribourg, 1910, 59).

“Another early biographer, Bartholomew of Capua (Logotheta), a Sicilian who as a student followed the lectures of St. Thomas, dates the De Veritate as being written after St. Thomas was made master and during his first period of teaching· at Paris, before going to Italy in 1259” (Alexander Birkenmajer, ‘Kleinere Thomasfragen,’ Phi1osophisches Jahrbuch, 1921, XXXIV, 32).

“The English Dominican Nicholas Trevet, who died in 1328, made a catalogue of the works of St. Thomas between the years 1319 and 1323, in which he notes that St. Thomas ‘scripsit etiam primam partem de Quaestionibus disputatis de Veritate et ultra, quas Parisiis disputavit’” (Mandonnet, Des Ecrits Authentiques, 47-48).

“The older historians, following these sources, tell us that the young Thomas came to Paris in 1252 from the school of Albert the Great at Cologne, and spent the years 1252-1256 as a bachelor in theology in Paris. Although they agree that he was made master in 1256, there seems to be good evidence that the formal inceptio by which he was recognized as a master by the faculty of the University of Paris did not take place until October, 1257. This is the opinion of J. Echard in his life of St. Thomas. (See Echard-Quetif [Bibliothecae Scriptorum Ordinis Praedicatorum, Paris, 1719-. 1721, I, ad annum 1274], S. Thomae Aquinatis Opera, Simon Occhi, Venetiis, 1775, I, ix-xxv.) It is also the opinion of the church historian Fleury; of John Francis Bernard Maria de Rubeis (see Dissertationes Criticae etc. [Pasquali, Venetiis, 1750, Dissertatio XI, caput ii], S. Thomae Aquinatis Opera [ed. Leonina], Romae, 1882, I, clxxv); and of Ueberweg (see op. cit., 424). Since all agree that he left for Italy in 1259, Quaestio I of the De Veritate was almost certainly written in 1257. The editors of the Vives edition, however, say ‘1257 Parisiis… Laurea donatus, ab anno 1258 ad annum sequentem Questiones de Veritate … scripsit’” (Opera Omnia S. Thomae Aquinatis [ed. Stanislaus Edward Frette et Paul Mare], Apud Ludovicum Vives, Paris, 1871, I, xii).

“(The fact mentioned by the Bollandists in the Acta Sanctorum [Martii, I, “Commentarius praevius,” 657b] that St. Thomas was made doctor of theology in the year 1253, must not be confused with his being made magister at the University of Paris, for the doctorate was always previous even to the licentiate in those days, and in this case was probably granted by the Dominican Order rather than by the University.)”

“The most recent investigations confirm these conclusions. Dr. Martin. Grabmann in his Thomas von Aquin (F. Pustet, Munchen, 1926, 3-5) states that St. Thomas received his licentiate in 1256 and left Paris in 1259, and in his latest work on Die Werke des Hl. Thomas von Aquin (Aschendorff, Munster, 1931, 276, 280) he makes these the outside dates for the writing of the De Veritate. Pierre Mandonnet in the latest expression of his mind on the subject dates the De Veritate I as somewhere in the year 1256-1257. (See S. Thomae Aquinatis Quaestiones Disputatae, Lethielleux, Paris, 1925, ‘Introduction,’ I, 19. He here summarizes his ‘Chronologie des questions disputes de saint Thomas d’Aquin,’ Revue Thomiste, 1918, XXIII, 266-287, 341-371.) A most recent summary (1939) of the investigations on the subject lays down the following chronology:

1252-1256 Parisiis, Baccalaureus
1256 Obtenta licentia, fit magister in theologia
1257 a collegiis magister agnoscitur
1259 in Italiam rediit

and states that the disputed questions De Veritate date at the outside from 1256 to 1259. (See Walz, op. cit., 470.) From all this we gather that it is quite safe to assign the year 1257 as the extremely probable date for the first question, for it is certain that St. Thomas was at work on them by that time and it is highly probable that he at least did not progress very far during 1256.”

“It must be noted that the controversies which raged for some time in the various European learned periodicals between Grabmann, J. Koch, Mandonnet, P. Synave, and others regarding the chronology of the disputed questions does not touch the date of the De Veritate at all, but centers rather around the dating of De Anima, De Spiritualibus Creaturis, and De Unione Verbi Incarnati. A good idea of these discussions can be obtained from the reviews in the Bulletin Thomiste for 1924 and 1926. (See Bulletin Thomiste, 1924, I, 58-61; III, 1-21 especially.) All the authorities, as well as all of the old catalogues, especially two ‘book lists’ of the University of Paris dating from 1275-1286 and 1292-1294 respectively, assure us that the De Veritate is the first of the disputed questions of St. Thomas. (See Denifle-Chatelain, Chart. Univ. Paris, I, 646.)”

“The historical facts being established, it remains to interpret them in terms of their setting. The De Veritate represents the work of St. Thomas during a relatively early period in his productive career. But he was by this time no novice in the realm of philosophy and theology. He had been commenting on Peter the Lombard's books of Sentences since 1252 and had committed the fruits of this teaching to writing. He had composed some seven or eight small philosophical works, including the De Ente et Essentia. He was by then a veteran of the battle which grew out of the antagonism which the secular clergy and laity of the University of Paris had shown toward the new Order of Preachers; as his own share in the controversy he had contributed the Contra Impugnantes Dei Cultum et Religionem. Now with William of St. Amour condemned and his own Order vindicated by the Pope, Aquinas began to teach as master of theology in one of the Dominican colleges which by that time had been incorporated into the University of Paris. (See J. Echard, Vita Santi Thomae, uses the expression, ‘Pacatis tandem rebus laurea donatus questiones de veritate disputavit …’ loc. cit., x.)”

“This meant a very active engagement in the public scholastic life of that violently intellectual atmosphere. For in the Paris of that day school meant more than dull classroom routine. In the twelfth century a question arising out of the interpretation of scripture or some author, usually Peter the Lombard, had formed the basis of the lecture of the master. This easily turned into a discussion or dispute. The dispute finally detached itself from the lesson and became a separate exercise in its own right, being known as the ‘ordinary disputation.’ Every master in theology at Paris had to put on several of these ordinary disputations a year. According to Mandonnet and Synave St. Thomas held them as often as twice a week. Pelster and Birkenmajer disagree with the methods used to arrive at that conclusion, but only, it would seem, in order to dispute about the chronology of some of the later Quaestiones Disputatae. At any rate, he certainly held them oftener than a few times a year” (see F. Pelster, review of P. Synave, ‘Le Probleme chronologique des questions disputees de S. Thomas d'Aquin,’ Scholastik, 1926, I, 587-590; and of Birkenmajer, see op. cit., 36-45).

"The subject was fixed in advance, and was usually confined to a single topic although more than one might be discussed if they were related. All the classes of the other bachelors and masters ceased for that morning, and we may imagine with what curiosity they flocked to the disputation hall of the brilliant young disciple of the Aristotelian Albert, already making a name for himself. At this session, however, the magister only presided; he might summarize and otherwise help, but the bachelors did the arguing. The next day, or the first day on which nothing prevented, there followed the magisterial ‘determination,’ the formal recapitulation and pronouncement of the master upon the subject of the previous disputation. Bachelors could not ‘determine,’ this being the sole right of the master, though the preliminary arguments which he presented were usually those proposed by the bachelors the day before. The Quaestiones Disputatae as we have them are the written form, then, not of the disputation but of the determinatio of the master. (See Hastings Rashdall, The Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages [new ed. Rev. F. M. Powicke], Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1936, I, 490-496; Mandonnet, Quaestiones Disputatae, ‘Introduction,’ I, 8-15.) Each article of the present form represents one such determination. We possess 510 of these written by St. Thomas, of which 253 are under the general title De Veritate, though only twelve are included under the first question which really forms the treatise bearing that name.

"These disputations with their magisterial determinations gave St. Thomas a chance to work out at great length and in a controversial atmosphere much of what he was later to set forth more positively and succinctly in the two Summas. They do not, it is true, represent his best period, namely that from 1268 (when he got hold of certain material in translation from the Greek) until his death in 1274. Yet they do form an important part of his writings being often his fullest treatment of a topic. The De Veritate shows a decisiveness and a firmness of touch not observed in the commentaries on the Sentences. The problems essayed are difficult, the manner of their treatment profound and skillful. Since in them historical background is more prominent than in the Summa Theologica, they reflect better the doctrinal milieu in which he was working."

See James E. Royce, “The De Veritate: Circumstances and Date of Its Composition,” chapter I in The Philosophical Vocabulary of St. Thomas Aquinas in De Veritate I, Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois, 1945, 1-7. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

0365: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (II)

Entry 0365: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression 
"Actus Essendi" (II) 

Aquinas uses the expression “actus essendi” in four passages in his Quaestiones disputatae De veritate:

1. De veritate, question 1, article 1, corpus
2. De veritate, question 1, article 1, ad 1
3. De veritate, question 1, article 1, ad sc 3
4. De veritate, question 10, article 8, ad 13

There seems to be very little doubt that Aquinas wrote the Quaestiones disputatae De veritate in the period between 1256 and 1259.

Jean-Pierre Torrell states simply that “The disputed questions De veritate date from the three years of Thomas’s first period teaching as a master in Paris, from 1256 to 1259” (Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work - Volume 1, trans. Robert Royal [Washington. D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005], 334).

And in agreement with this John F. Wippel writes: “From 1256 until 1259 Thomas carried out the functions of a Master (Professor) of Theology at the University of Paris. These duties included conducting formal disputed questions (resulting in his Quaestiones disputatae De veritate) and quodlibetal disputations (where any appropriate question could be raised by any member in the audience, and would ultimately have to be answered by the presiding Master). His Quodlibets 7-11 and his Commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius resulted from this period” (John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000], xiv).

Torrell elaborates further on the issue of the date of composition of De veritate by offering the following remarks: “To return to De veritate … its existence is attested very early. Well before the deposition during the canonization process at Naples by Bartholomew of Capua (Processus canonizationis S. Thomae, Neapoli, ed. M.-H Laurent, in Fontes, 85, p. 388), a catalogue of Thomas’s works published prior to 1293 mentions the questions De veritate ‘quas disputavit Parisius.’ (This is the list of the ms. Praha, Metr. kap. A 17/2, of which we can find a transcription in M. Grabmann, Die Werke des hl. Thomas von Aquin: Eine literarhistorische Untersuchung und Einfuhrung, in Beitrage zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 22 (1-2), pp. 97-98. …) But we have two other even earlier testimonies. Beginning in 1278, William de la Mare, Thomas’s Franciscan adversary, author of the famous Correctorium, dedicated a section of nine articles attacking the (in his eyes) faulty theses of the De veritate—an indisputable sign of Thomist authenticity. Thomas’s friends also evidently recognized this, since they came to his defense. (See some of the details of this subject in the Leon. ed., vol. 22/1, p. 6*. …) At a still earlier period, Vincent of Beauvais introduced (prior to 1264/65, the date of his death), in his second edition of the Speculum maius, important fragments from questions 11, 12, and 13 of the De veritate under the explicit name of their author. (See Leon., vol. 22, p. 7*, and p. 189* for a list of these borrowings by Vincent.) The use of the book was therefore practically contemporaneous with its completion, and this permits us to emphasize both the rapidity of its diffusion and the vitality of Parisian university circles at the time” (Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work, 63-64). 

Monday, August 4, 2014

0364: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression "Actus Essendi" (I)

Entry 0364: Dating of the Texts in which Aquinas
Uses the Expression 
"Actus Essendi" (I) 

Aquinas uses the expression “actus essendi” in four passages in his Commentary on the Sentences:

1. In I Sententiarum, distinction 8, question 1, article 1, corpus.
2. In I Sententiarum, distinction 8, question 4, article 2, ad 2.
3. In I Sententiarum, distinction 8, question 5, article 2, corpus.
4. In III Sententiarum, distinction 11, question 1, article 2, ad 2.

The Commentary on the Sentences seems to have been written between 1252-1256, and the date of composition has been framed within the following setting:

After some difficulties with his blood family concerning his vocation to the Dominican Order, and “since his resolve remained unbroken, he [Aquinas] was permitted to rejoin the Dominican confreres and made his way to Paris in 1245. At Paris he first came into contact with Albert the Great during the period 1245-1248, and in 1248 he accompanied Albert to Cologne in order to continue his theological formation there. In 1252 he was sent back to Paris to begin working for the highest degree offered by the University there, that of Magister in Theology, and pursued the rigorous academic program required for this until 1256. Not least among his duties during this period was his responsibility to comment on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard, and this resulted in the eventual publication of his first major theological writing, his Commentary on the Sentences” (John F. Wippel, The Metaphysical Thought of Thomas Aquinas [Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2000], xiii-xiv).

These comments are in agreement with what Jean-Pierre Torrell wrote on this subject:

“Upon his arrival in Cologne, after Naples and Paris (and whatever may have been the details about his years of study), Thomas already had seven or eight years of formation behind him, even without counting what he learned on his own during the imprisonment by his family. Some scholars (De Groot, Berthier, Pelster) even think that he was already a lecturer in theology and probably the biblical bachelor for Albert (Scheeben, Eschmann). Weisheipl takes up this hypothesis and suggests that Thomas taught cursorie on Jeremiah, Lamentations, and a part of Isaiah at Cologne. … Weisheipl’s arguments are not without weight. On the one hand, he reminds us that Thomas was sent to Paris to lecture on the Sentences, not the Bible. Besides, he emphasizes that, if he had begun by reading the Bible, Thomas would have been an exception, since none of the masters who had occupied the second Dominican chair up until then had begun their teaching as bachelors with a cursory reading of the Bible. All had begun with the Sentences. Furthermore, by the middle of the thirteenth century it was no longer an absolute rule that the bachelor of the Sentences would earlier have been a biblical bachelor. Weisheipl’s suggestion is, therefore, well founded and it has been well received by accomplished scholars” (Jean-Pierre Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas: The Person and His Work - Volume 1, trans. Robert Royal [Washington. D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2005], 27-28).

Torrell then adds:

 “The ampleness of this work [the Commentary on the Sentences] fits only with difficulty into the chronological framework that assigns the two first years in Paris to biblical teaching and the next two to the Sentences. But if we accept the solution that naturally suggests itself from the sources, we may spread out the composition of this immense, five-thousand-page commentary over a little more than four academic years (though the teaching, according to the university statutes, had to be completed within two years). All this accords with Tocco, who makes the time of composition spill over into the following period, not just the time of the ‘formed’ bachelor, but that of the master as well. [Footnote:] Ystoria 15, p. 236 (Tocco 14, p. 81): ‘Scripsit in baccellaria et principio sui magisterii super quatuor libros Sententiarum.’ We may thus understand Thomas’s achievement much better. He was far from thinking his work definitive, however, and, from all appearances, he modified it, trying to improve it, when he took it up again to deliver to his students at Santa Sabina almost a decade later” (Ibid., 45).

But Torrell makes clear that “it was not this return to the subject in Rome that came down to posterity, but the Paris lectura” (Ibid., 47).