Bonaventure, Scotus, Newman

newman-scotus-readerThis lengthy passage is taken from The Newman-Scotus Reader, contained in the essay titled, Scotus and Newman in Dialogue by Peter Damian Fehlner:

“Frequent reference in this conference to theological-metaphysical views of St. Bonaventure as a basis for understanding those of Scotus and the many parallel patterns of thought in Scotus and Newman, obviously implies that Bonaventure and Scotus, whatever their differences, represents a single, coherent school of theological and philosophical reflection inspired by St. Francis of Assisi. The over all vision illuminating this school of thought found its first, definitive formulation in the Seraphic Doctor, particularly in such works as the Itinerarium mentis in Deum, the Quaestiones Disputatae de Scientia Christi, the Quastiones Disputatae de Mysterio Trinitatis, the Collationes de septem Donis Spiritus Sancti, and the Collationes in Hexaemeron. This vision is, in fact, a presupposition for the distinctive contribution of Scotus: identification and logical reformulation of the key insights governing that synthesis in view of the absolute primacy of Christ or ‘joint predestination of Jesus and Mary.’ A full exposition of this point would have gone far beyond the limits of this study. Nonetheless, it would be worth undertaking, since the ‘accepted view’ today claims that Bonaventure and Scotus represent, in the first instance, two quite different schools of Franciscan theology: the old school of Bonaventure representing Thomism before Thomas at a half-way house, and the new school of Scotus proceeding on quite different assumptions.

In the meantime, to facilitate reading of this study, this table of parallel thought patterns in Bonaventure, Scotus and Newman, notwithstanding differences of terminology, is placed here as a handy guide to the development of this theme.”

St. Bonaventure Bl. John Duns Scotus Bl. John Henry Newman
First-Memory-Origen First-Memory-Origin First-Memory-Origin
Contuition (in speculo) Intuitive cognition Real apprehension
Discursive knowledge (per speculum) Discursive knowledge Inference
Abstraction Abstractive cognition; word Notional apprehension
Dijudicatio Understanding Illative sense
Illumination Univocity of being Unity of knowledge
Ratio essendi Formalitates a parte rei Perfections; Ideas; Notions
Esse: in fuga a non-esse Ens cui non repugnant esse Being or nothing
Liberum orbitrium (discretion-choice) Will: essentially rational (core of personal life) Will: power to be good (core of holiness)
Amor complacentiae Affectus justitiae Love of justice, purity, liberality
Amor concupiscentiae Affectus commadi Benevolence, usefulness
Vestige (prope nihil) Perfectio simplex Physical
Image (prope deum) Perfectio simpliciter simplex Natural; Anthropological
Similitude Supernatural Supernatural
God: in full flight from nothing Ens infinitum Infinite being
God: necessary, independent being; incommunicable existence of intellectual nature God: personal being Incommunicable, etc. God: personal Incommunicable…


– Lucas G. Westman

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