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  • Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion x
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(1913-1922)
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Abstract

The legal value of the oath has been at the centre of the interest amongst historians of medieval legal thought. Focusing on the contents of both civil and canon law, scholars have stressed the relevance of the oath of loyalty as a cornerstone of medieval feudal society, and as a key element in both liturgical practice and the legal structure of the church. Due to its importance, the oath was not only an interest of lawyers: it also questioned the religious and theological discourse which based its approach upon Scripture and tried to understand the world through the divine word. In exegetical and theological texts dating from the late 12th and the early 13th centuries, it is possible to examine how theologians contributed to defining the role and value of the oath within the moral and cultural framework of medieval Latin Europe. In this same period, another concept became crucial for this kind of discussion, namely that of the vow. Focusing particularly on the Parisian theological production of the period, the paper will show how a veritable ‘theology of the oath and of the vow’ was created, which was deeply connected with the social and political systems of the time. The paper will examine the process of creating this doctrine, whose foremost clear presentation is offered in John of La Rochelle’s Quaestiones disputatae de legibus (1240-1245 ca.).

Abstract

The Trinitarian theology of the Summa Halensis is both a remarkable achievement in its own right (synthesizing a growing stream of traditional sources, including Augustine, Dionysius, John of Damascus, and Richard of St Victor), as well as a significant influence on later scholastic luminaries, especially St Bonaventure. Some of its signature features include the important role of innascibilitas in the understanding of the person of the Father, the emphasis on emanational modes of origin as constituting each of the divine Persons, the importance of self-diffusive goodness as the fundamental ground of Trinitarian plurality, and lastly, its comprehensiveness, its inclination to think trinitarianly about all of reality, from the divine nature itself, to divine activity in creation and salvation, to the transcendental properties of all being, including the human person, to its original theory of trinitarian beauty.

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Abstract

This article gives a clear presentation of the key contributions of the Summa Halensis at the outset of the 13th century debates over the reason for the incarnation (ratio incarnationis) among Franciscans at the University of Paris. Moving from Alexander of Hales to the Summa Halensis, the article shows the brothers’ two signal contributions: 1. the categories of necessity and fittingness, set out at the outset of their commentary on the Lombard’s third book of Sentences, set a frame for their discussion of the reason for the incarnation, and 2. an advanced appreciation for the problems counterfactual reflection presents for divine freedom. Finally, the brothers’ contributions are shown to recieve further development in Odo Rigaldus’ subsequent reflections on the reason for the incarnation.

Abstract

This study addresses the sacrament of penance as it is treated within the Summa Halensis, specifically focusing upon the role that contrition plays in relation to confession. In order to provide proper context for this treatment in the Summa Halensis, we will examine a range of discussions throughout the 12th and early 13th centuries, in addition to the section on penance in Alexander of Hales’ Gloss of Lombard’s Sentences. We would be confident in saying that the Summa Halensis, like the earlier Gloss, held that contrition on the part of the penitent is the determining factor in the forgiveness of sins apart from subsequent acts of confession and satisfaction. One central question, however, is precisely how the Summa Halensis explains contrition’s relationship to the duties of confession and satisfaction, which still remained vital components of the sacrament. A simple answer to this question is not forthcoming; there may even be a shift of position not only from the Gloss to the Summa Halensis, but even within the Summa Halensis itself.

Abstract

Aiming partially to fill a significant lacuna in the scholarship on scholastic understandings of predestination, this essay seeks to show that the doctrine set forth in the Summa Halensis, though dependent upon Augustine’s well-known definition, diverges essentially from the African bishop’s mature teaching. Specifically, the Summa teaches that predestination is God’s eternal ‘volitional knowledge’ of those humans who will, by their free wills, use grace well to attain finally to glory. In contradistinction to the popular modern perspective that sees predestination as arbitrary and irrational, the Summa understands God’s ‘volitional knowledge’ as perfectly ‘rational’ (rationabilis) precisely in that it carves out room for the human to will freely and to participate authentically in God’s salvific plan. In this way, the Summa served to defuse the theological dynamite of the late Augustine’s predestinarian teaching.