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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2020

Pontifical University Antonianum, Rome
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The present article presents the theory of the Franciscan master John Duns Scotus (1265/66–1308) on the so-called “state of innocence,” namely the condition in which human beings lived before the first sin. The state of innocence is characterized by the gift of original justice, guaranteeing harmony between the soul's powers and immortality. Derived from traditional Christian anthropology, Scotus's description offers a chance for dialogue with the masters of the second half of the thirteenth century, among them Henry of Ghent, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure. Because of the theological orientation of Scotus's explanation, human beings as outlined by him are simultaneously naturally good and in need of divine gifts to reach their very end. Through a new interpretation of modality, Scotus's position is better able to express certain conditions related to power/possibility within the state of innocence.

Research Article
Copyright © Fordham University 2020

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I am extremely grateful to many people who contributed to this article: to Professors Timothy Noone and Tobias Hoffmann of the Catholic University of America for their kind assistance in my research; to my confreres in Washington, DC, and in Rome, for their patience in correcting my English; and to the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions for improving the accuracy of this article.


1 See McFarland, Ian, “The Fall and Sin,” in The Oxford Handbook of Systematic Theology, ed. Webster, John, Tanner, Kathryn, and Torrance, Iain (Oxford, 2009), 140Google Scholar: “The fall . . . refers very specifically to the first sin committed by the first human beings. This primordial sin is understood to have altered the condition of human existence (rendering it ʻfallen') in such a way as to make death the destiny of every human being.” More precisely, only humans committed a sin (“the sin of Adam,” “the first sin”), whereas the Fall is intended to explain the condition of both angels and humans. For more on the fall of angels, see Hoffmann, Tobias, Free Will and the Rebel Angels in Medieval Philosophy (Cambridge, 2021)Google Scholar.

2 Vos, Antonie, The Philosophy of John Duns Scotus (Edinburgh, 2006), 134CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

3 Dumont, Stephen D., “John Duns Scotus's Reportatio Parisiensis Examinata: A Mystery Solved,” Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales 85 (2018): 377438, at 379Google Scholar: “Scotus lectured on the Sentences of Peter Lombard as a bachelor of theology at both the universities of Oxford and Paris. He thus produced two distinct, massive commentaries, one from each of his courses of studies. Moreover, both survive in multiple versions. His Sentences from Oxford exist in two forms: an earlier, more brief Lectura and a later, immense Ordinatio generally considered his magnum opus.” For a reconstruction of Scotus's life and works, see Vos, The Philosophy of John Duns Scotus, 15–147.

4 In the Ordinatio, distinctions 15 to 25 are lacking.

5 The only study directly devoted to this topic is Bruno Korošak, “De homine ante et post lapsum doctrina Ioannis Duns Scoti,” in Deus et Homo ad mentem I. Duns Scoti: Acta Tertii Congressus Scotistici Internationalis, Vindebonae, 28 sept. – 2 oct. 1970, ed. Societas Internationalis Scotistica (Rome, 1972), 551–56. See also Franić, Franciscus, “De peccato originali secundum Duns Scotum et recentiores theorias,” in De doctrina Ioannis Duns Scoti: Acta Congressus Scotistici Internationalis Oxonii et Edimburgi 11–17 sept. 1966 celebrati, ed. Scotistica, Commissio (Rome, 1968), 3:439–48Google Scholar; Cross, Richard, Duns Scotus (New York and Oxford, 1999), 96100Google Scholar; Osborne, Kenan, A Theology of the Church for the Third Millennium: A Franciscan Approach (Leiden and Boston, 2009), 346–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Fiorentino, Francesco, “Peccato originale, incarnazione e redenzione in Giovanni Duns Scoto,” Syzetesis 6 (2019): 405–32Google Scholar.

6 John Duns Scotus, Lect. II, d. 30–32, q. 1–4, n. 48 (XIX, 305): “Peccatum originale est carentia iustitiae originalis cum debito habendi eam.” In his presentation of the doctrine, Scotus refutes Peter Lombard's explanation and opts for Anselm's, who debates it in his De conceptu virginali et de originali peccato. See Anselm, De conceptu virginali et de originali peccato 7, 15 and 23, in Anselmi Cantuariensis Opera Omnia, ed. Franciscus Salesius Schmitt (Seckau, Rome, and Edinburgh, 1938–1961), 2:147–49, 157, and 162–66.

7 See Anselm, De conceptu virginali 1, ed. Schmitt, 2:140–41. Some theologians debated whether original justice was given to the first human beings from the very beginning or only after a period in which they lived in the state of pure nature. For example, Thomas Aquinas maintains that the first human beings were imbued immediately with the righteousness of original justice; see Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 95, a. 1, in corp. in Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia, ed. Commissio Leonina (Rome and Paris, 1882–), 5:420b. Bonaventure, instead, considers the opinion of those who think that the first human beings lived in two periods before the Fall to be more common and more likely (communior et probabilior): “Unde secundum hanc opinionem in statu innocentiae distinguuntur duo tempora: quoddam enim fuit tempus, in quo habuit tantum naturalia; quoddam vero, in quo habuit et naturalia et gratuita.” Bonaventure, Commentaria in Quatuor Libros Sententiarum Magistri Petri Lombardi [= In Sent.] II, d. 29, a. 2, q. 2, in corp. in Bonaventurae Opera Omnia, ed. the Fathers of Collegio S. Bonaventura (Quaracchi, 1885) 2:703b. For Bonaventure's explanation, see Jones, Kevin E., “Bonaventure on Habitual Grace in Adam: A Change of Heart on Nature and Grace?Franciscan Studies 76 (2018): 3966CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Cullen, Christopher, “Bonaventure on Nature before Grace: A Historical Moment Reconsidered,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 85 (2011): 161–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

8 Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 7 (XIX, 282–83): “Opinantur quod iustitia naturalis et originalis non est donum supernaturale, sicut nec rectitudo naturalis virgae; et tamen potest amitti voluntate curvante se (sicut et recta virga potest curvari, et tunc amittit talem qualitatem naturalem), et tunc rebellio virium. Dicunt igitur quod iustitia originalis est qualitas quaedam naturalis, complantata voluntati; et si alia ponatur ultra, haec semper debet poni et includi.” See Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, in corp., ed. Gordon A. Wilson, in Henrici de Gandavo Opera Omnia X: Quodlibet VI (Leuven, 1987), 134–36. Henry explains this difference between justice and human nature as a rectitude for a line: it is a quality of some quantity. The line could be straight or curved, so human nature could be just or unjust. Scotus will not take long to show the contradiction of such an explanation, given that injustice is not merely natural, but rather caused by the first sin.

9 See Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, in corp., ed. Wilson, 134–35: “Talis enim rectitudo est aliquid praeter substantiam et essentiam voluntatis . . . , ut qualitas quaedam in quantitate spirituali, quemadmodum rectitudo in linea est qualitas quaedam in quantitate corporali, et incurvatio est praeternaturalis, quemadmodum in virga pullulante de radice rectitudo est ei naturalis, quia omnes naturaliter crescunt in directum superius, incurvatio autem est ei praeternaturalis.”

10 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 7 (XIX, 282–83). In the Ordinatio, Scotus is more precise in distinguishing original justice as being a natural gift and the essence of human nature, adding: “Non tamen ita quod sit de essentia eius.” Ord. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 6 (VIII, 307).

11 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 8 (XIX, 283).

12 See Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, in corp., ed. Wilson, 135.

13 In a parallel passage of the Ordinatio, Scotus states more clearly that the human will is free, thus it can sin. But if original justice was just a natural habit of the human soul, it is hard to understand how the first humans were able to sin. Whatever they did, naturally speaking, was according to their nature, and therefore would have been quite correct. It is impossible to make a difference between good and evil if we think about our first parents in puris naturalibus. See Ord. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 8 (VIII, 308).

14 These two characteristics, namely the balance of internal human powers and the gift of immortality, also support the strongest reasons against the idea of justice as a supernatural gift, as presented in the first argument at the start of the question. See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 2 (XIX, 281). The same in Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, arg. 1 (n. 8 above), 127–28: “Circa primum arguitur quod originalis iustitia non includebat donum, quoniam nulla poena debetur homini sine peccato. Mors, carnis rebellio, et huiusmodi poenae sunt; ergo non fuissent in homine ante peccatum. Sed in puris naturalibus fuisset sine peccato; ergo stans in puris naturalibus mori non potuit neque pati rebellionem. Ista erant effectus originalis iustitiae; erat ergo in puris naturalibus et sine dono.”

15 This was the common opinion among the theology masters. See Peter Lombard, Sententiae in Quatuor Libris Distinctae [= Sententiae] II, d. 24, ch. 1, n. 2, in Spicilegium Bonaventurianum [= SB], ed. the Fathers of Collegio S. Bonaventura, 3rd ed. (Grottaferrata, 1981), 4:450–51; Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 95, a. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 5:420b; and Richard of Middleton, Commentaria in Sententias [= In Sent.] II, d. 24, princ. 1, q. 1, in corp., in Ricardi de Mediavilla Commentaria in Sententias (Venice, 1509), 2:95va.

16 See Godfrey of Fontaines, Quodlibet X, q. 15, in corp., in Les Quodlibet VIII, IX, X de Godefroid des Fontaines, ed. Jean Hoffmans (Louvain, 1924), 385–86.

17 With this expression, Scotus intends to signify that such a gift is not just apposed from the exterior, rather it involves the whole human being who is endowed by it, like another form. In fact, like a form, original justice maintains the order of all the parts making up the human composition, beginning with the will and finishing with the body. On the other hand, original sin is also formally the lack of original justice. For a similar explanation, yet with a different vocabulary, see Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I–II (n. 7 above), q. 83, a. 2, ad 2 et 3 (7:102ab); and q. 85, a. 5, in corp. (7:115a).

18 Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 10 (XIX, 284): “Dico tunc quod attribuitur primo homini concordia virium, – et hoc per donum supernaturale, vel per operationem specialem Dei (et sic per novum miraculum); sed melius est hoc ponere per formam datam.”

19 Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 16 (XIX, 287): “Nec erat immortalis sic quod non poterat corrumpi, sed non-moriturus, propter causas intrinsecas. Sed nulla causa intrinseca fuit quare anima non potuit separari, nisi causa aliqua impedivisset. Unde donum illud non potuit praeservare a morte extrinsece, sed tantum potuit impedire rebellionem.”

20 See Ord. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 13 (VIII, 310).

21 In the Ordinatio, Scotus gives the example of the conflict between sensitive and rational powers, which inhere in the human soul with the same strength, so that when one of them is acting to its highest degree, the other one is impeded to work. See Avicenna, De Anima, part 4, ch. 2, in Latinus, Avicenna, Liber De Anima seu Sextus de Naturalibus. Partes IV–V, ed. van Riet, Simone and Verbeke, Gérard (Leiden, 1968), 1234Google Scholar.

22 See n. 7 above.

23 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un, n. 11 (XIX, 285). In the Ordinatio, Scotus clarifies that: “The will, indeed, joined to the sensitive appetite, is made to feel pleasure with it, as the intellect joined to sense is made to intend the objects of senses.” Ord. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 14 (VIII, 311): “Voluntas enim, coniuncta appetitui sensitivo, nata est condelectari sibi, sicut intellectus coniunctus sensui natus est intelligere sensibilia.”

24 This natural fulfillment is different from the perfect conjunction, which human beings can reach only through the divine grace. See Lect., Prologus, pars 1, q.un. (XVI, 1–21) and Ord., Prologus, pars 1, q.un. (I, 1–58) about the necessity of supernatural revelation for knowing God; and Lect. I. d. 1, pars 1, q. 1 (XVI, 63–69), about the non-natural characteristic of human free will, especially n. 8: “Voluntas non determinatur ad actum certum; igitur frui, quod est actus eius rectus, in minus est quam actus voluntatis,” (XVI, 64). See also Ord. IV, d. 49, pars 1, q. 5, n. 271 (XIV, 357) about the difference between a simple natural pleasure (fruitio) of the final end and the beatific pleasure of the blessed (fruitio beatifica). For an analysis of these passages in the fourth book, see Ernesto Dezza, La teoria modale di Giovanni Duns Scoto: Il caso della relazione tra creatura e creatore e la condizione di beatitudine (Rome, 2018), 624–32. For a commentary on the Prologus of the Ordinatio, see Boulnois, Olivier, La rigueur de la charité (Paris, 1998)Google Scholar. For the difference between natural knowledge of God and fruition of the divine essence, see Noone, Timothy B., “John Duns Scotus on Intuitive Cognition, Abstractive Cognition, Scientific Knowledge, and our Knowledge of God,” in The Newman-Scotus Reader: Contexts and Commonalities, ed. Ondrako, Edward J. (New Bedford, MA, 2015), 97–108, at 106–107Google Scholar.

25 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un, n. 12 (XIX, 285–86). Returning to this explanation in the Ordinatio, Scotus affirms that in this case we can also imagine a supernatural gift for every inferior power. Since the will had been created to feel the same joy as the inferior powers, when diverted from them, it would leave them in affliction and pain. So, if powers in human nature did not feel pain because of diversion of the will from them, it was thanks to the effect of original justice on them. See Ord. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 16 (VIII, 312–13).

26 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un, n. 13 (XIX, 286).

27 See Lect. II, d. 29, q.un., n. 14–15 (XIX, 287). For the same reason, it is not true that the first human persons could not commit venial sin, as Scotus explained in d. 21–22, and repeats here. The reason is quite clear: the conjunction of human persons with their final end in statu innocentiae did not have the same steadiness of the condition of the blessed and was even weaker than the grace in perfect persons in this life. And, since even the perfect can have some lesser “curvature” in their will, a fortiori the first persons, provided only with original justice, could have committed some venial sin, such as telling a joke. See Lect. II, d. 21–22, q. 1–2, n. 11 (XIX, 201).

28 For example, Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 94, a. 1–4 (n. 7 above), 5:413–9; and Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 23, a. 2, q. 1–3 (n. 7 above), 2:537a–549b.

29 See Ord. I, d. 3, pars 1, q. 3, n. 187 (III, 113–4). See Giorgio Pini, “Scotus on Doing Metaphysics in statu isto,” in John Duns Scotus, Philosopher: Proceedings of “The Quadruple Congress” on John Duns Scotus, part 1, ed. Mary Beth Ingham and Oleg Bychkov (St. Bonaventure, NY, and Münster, 2010), 29–55.

30 Ord. III, d. 37, q.un., n. 42 (X, 290): “In statu etiam innocentiae tenebantur omnes ad ista praecepta, quae erant praescripta interius in corde cuiuslibet, — vel forte per aliquam doctrinam exteriorem datam a Deo descenderunt a patribus ad filios, licet non essent tunc scripta in libro, nec oportuit quia potuerunt faciliter memorialiter retineri, et populus illius temporis erat maioris vitae et dispositionis melioris in naturalibus quam populus temporis posterioris, quo tempore infirmitas populi requirebat Legem dari et scribi.”

31 For a broader explanation of the moral law and Scotus's peculiar position on the law of nature, see Duns Scotus on the Will and Morality, ed. Alan B. Wolter and William A. Frank (Washington, DC, 1997), esp. 60–64.

32 See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un. (XIX, 207–18).

33 The Summa Fratris Alexandri or Summa Halensis (so called because it was traditionally attributed to Alexander of Hales) emphasizes that the impeccability of human beings would contradict both their origin and their end. They would not be created, but equal to God (as regards the origin) and they would not be human persons but just some ordinary objects, which necessarily tend towards their natural place (as regards the end). In this case, since the good would not be chosen but attained by a natural tendency, there would be no merit and therefore no glory. See Summa theologica I–II, n. 508, in corp. in Summa Fratris Alexandri [= Summa theologica], ed. the Fathers of Collegio S. Bonaventura (Quaracchi, 1928), 2:740ab. See also Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 24, pars 1, a. 1, q. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 2:555ab; Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 63, a. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 5:121ab; idem, In Sententiarum II, d. 23, q. 1, a. 1, in corp. in Thomae Aquinatis Opera Omnia, ed. Pietro Fiaccadori (Parma, 1856), 6:585a; and Richard of Middleton, In Sent. II, d. 23, princ. 1, q. 1, in corp. (n. 15 above), 2:91va.

34 In my view, such an explanation could offer the opportunity to explain the very human condition of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, whose wills never gave way to evil, because the possibility of non-sinning is potentially rooted in the human person.

35 For example, Lect. I, d. 39, q. 1–5, n. 47–51 (XVII, 494–96); Lect. I, d. 43, q. un., n. 12 (XVII, 532); and Ord. I, d. 43, q.,un., n. 5 (VI, 353–54).

36 See Simo Knuuttila, “Duns Scotus and the Foundation of Logical Modalities,” in John Duns Scotus: Metaphysics and Ethics, ed. Ludger Honnefelder, Rega Wood, and Mechtild Dreyer (Leiden, New York, Cologne, 1996), 127–43; Calvin G. Normore, “Scotus, Modality, Instants of Nature and the Contingency of the Present,” in John Duns Scotus, 161–74; and Mondadori, Fabrizio, “The Independence of the Possible According to Scotus,” in Duns Scot à Paris 1302–2002: Actes du Colloque de Paris, 2–4 septembre 2002, ed. Boulnois, Olivier, Solère, Jean-Luc, Karger, Elisabeth, and Sondag, Gérard (Turnhout, 2004), 313–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

37 Anselm, De libertate arbitrii 1 (see n. 6 above), 1:209: “Libertatem arbitrii non puto esset potentiam peccandi et non peccandi. Quippe si haec eius esset definitio: nec deus nec angeli qui peccare nequeunt liberum haberent arbitrium; quod nefas est dicere.”

38 See Lect. II, d. 7, q.un., n. 40 (XIX, 13); and Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 39 (XIX, 216). See also Lect. II, d. 44, q.un. (XIX, 405–6), where Scotus asks whether the capacity of sinning comes from God (utrum potestas peccandi sit a Deo). Maintaining that the human will is that which is used by humans when they sin, Scotus affirms that the capacity of sinning can be considered either as the capacity before an action (potentia ante actum) or as the capacity as a principle and the mode of the principle (potentia pro principio et modo principii). The latter is from God and corresponds to the human free will, while the former does not belong to freedom, and has to be considered privatively as a lack of acting.

39 A similar statement is already present in Augustine: “Quapropter, bina ista quid inter se differant, diligenter et vigilanter intuendum est: posse non peccare et non posse peccare, posse non mori et non posse mori, bonum posse non deserere et bonum non posse deserere. Potuit enim non peccare primus homo, potuit non mori, potuit bonum non deserere.” Augustine, De correptione et gratia 12.33, ed. Georges Folliet, CSEL 92 (Vienna, 2000), 259. See also Hoffmann, Tobias, “Freedom without Choice: Medieval Theories of the Essence of Freedom,” in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Ethics, ed. Williams, Thomas (Cambridge, 2019), 194–96Google Scholar.

40 Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 39 (XIX, 216): “Libertas, unde libertas, potest esse sine illo, quia libertas in communi, ut quae est in Deo.” Scotus affirms it also in Lect. I, d. 3, pars 1, q. 1–2, n. 33 (XVI, 237), where he offers his rationale to understand the univocity of the concepts whereby we know God and His creatures: “Item, Anselmus De libero arbitrio cap. 1: ‘Potestas peccandi non est potestas libertatis, alioquin Deus non haberet libertatem’; sed hoc non sequeretur nisi libertas secundum se univoce conveniret nobis et Deo.” This quotation harkens back to Anselm, De libertate arbitrii 1 (n. 6 above), 1:207.

41 See Lect. I, d. 39, q. 1–5, n. 45 (XVII, 493). When speaking of “divine freedom” and “divine will,” we mean those actions of God “outside of Himself” (ad extra), that is, towards His creatures. The divine will is a pure perfection (perfectio simpliciter), whose notion is the same in God and in His creatures. What differentiates them is the deficiency in the will of the creature that fails to act according to righteousness. See Hoffmann, Free Will and the Rebel Angels (n. 1 above), 191–92; and Cruz Gonzáles-Ayesta, “A Paradox in Scotus's Account of Freedom of the Will,” Itinerarium: Revista Quadrimestral de Cultura 55 (2009): 457–79.

42 Their statements are presented as opposing arguments at the start of the question. See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 7–8 (XIX, 208). It is noticeable that the same Anselm is stating here the contrary, namely, that the supposed impeccability of human will would make the human persons similar to God. It is an opinion to refute. I think Scotus's explanation provides a better solution in showing the difference between the impossibility of sinning and the possibility of not sinning. See Anselm, Cur Deus homo II, 10 (n. 6 above), 2:108; Peter Lombard, Sententiae I, d. 8, ch. 2, n. 3; and SB (n. 15 above), 4:98, who quotes Augustine, Contra Maximinum 2.12.2, PL 42.768.

43 See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 22–30 (XIX, 213–14).

44 Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 23 (XIX, 213): “Verumtamen consentiendo illis auctoritatibus et aliquibus rationibus, cum auctoritatibus dico quod Deus non potest facere aliquam voluntatem creatam impeccabilem per naturam.”

45 See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un. (XIX, 213): “Sed quaestio intelligenda est de voluntate perfecta, quae habet usum liberi arbitrii, quo excluditur hypothesis Anselmi.” Since Anselm is mentioned two more times (in the third initial argument and in the first on the contrary), one could ask which of the two citations is the reference to Scotus's comment or is it instead a reference to another argument. The suggestion offered by the Editio Vaticana's editors, referring to Rep. II, d. 23, q.un., is very useful. It is a quotation ad sensum of Anselm, De casu diaboli 12 (n. 6 above), 1:252: “Sicut materia, quantum est ex se, aequaliter est sub omni forma, tunc est simile, nisi imaginetur unus Angelus, sicut fingit Anselmus de Casu diaboli, quod primo esset quaedam natura, et deinde tantum daretur sibi affectio commodi sine ratione; illa voluntas non esset capax peccati, quousque daretur sibi plus, sicut accidit in phreneticis, et non habentibus usum rationis, sed impeditum perpetuo; talis voluntas non est capax peccati cum talibus circumstantiis, nec etiam est capax actus meritorii, ideo solum debet intelligi de habente voluntatem, et simul usum rationis.” See Reportata Parisiensia II, d. 23, q.un., in Joannis Duns Scoti Opera Omnia, ed. Luis Vivès (Paris, 1894), 23:109b.

46 The antithetical pair commodum / iustum comes from Anselm, De casu diaboli 12 (n. 6 above), 1:255: “Excepto namque hoc quod omnis natura bona dicitur, duo bona et duo his contraria mala usu dicuntur. Unum bonum est quod dicitur iustitia, cui contrarium est malum iniustitia. Alterum bonum est quod mihi videtur posse dici commodum, et huic malum opponitur incommodum.” For the debate about the two will's affections, namely affectio iustitiae and affectio commodi, see Williams, Thomas, “How Scotus Separates Morality from Happiness,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 69 (1995): 425–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar; King, Peter, “Scotus's Rejection of Anselm: The Two-Wills Theory,” in Johannes Duns Scotus 1308–2008: Die philosophischen Perspektiven seines Werkes. Proceedings of “The Quadruple Congress” on John Duns Scotus, part 3, ed. Honnefelder, Ludger et al. (Münster, 2010), 359–78Google Scholar; Trego, Kristell, “Habitus or Affectio: The Will and Its Orientation in Augustine, Anselm, and Duns Scotus,” in The Ontology, Psychology and Axiology of Habits (Habitus) in Medieval Philosophy, ed. Faucher, Nicolas and Roques, Magali (Basel, 2018), 87106CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Hoffmann, Free Will and the Rebel Angels (n. 1 above), 232–33.

47 See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 25 (XIX, 213).

48 See Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 28 (XIX, 214). It is interesting to note that, according to Scotus, this search for the useful did not bring as a consequence a fight between the first human beings to subtract something from somebody, because all they possessed was held in common. See Ord. IV, d. 15, q. 2, n. 79–82 (XIII, 78–79).

49 Lect. II, d. 23, q.un., n. 30 (XIX, 214): “[Voluntas creata] in se non potest esse infinita, et non satiatur nisi in aliquo infinito.”

50 The statement that God does not act in a necessary way ad extra is of considerable importance, because it definitively frees the Christian God from any residue of classical metaphysics, for which perfection in acting (namely, necessity) has to belong to the most perfect Being. It was Knuuttila who highlighted this epochal passage in the history of philosophy. See Simo Knuuttila, “Duns Scotus's Criticism of the Statistical Interpretation of Modality,” in Sprache und Erkenntnis im Mittelalter: Akten des VI. Internationalen Kongresses für mittelalterliche Philosophie der Société / Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Bonn 29 August–3 September 1977, ed. Wolfgang Kluxen et al. (Berlin and New York, 1981), 1:441–50. Among the texts where Scotus states the contingency of God's acting ad extra, see Lect. I, d. 20, q.un., n. 22–23 (XVII, 289–90); Lect. I, d. 39, q. 1–5, n. 41 (XVII, 492); and Lect. II, d. 1, q. 1, n. 23 (XVIII, 8).

51 Although the blessed do not, in fact, sin (anymore), nevertheless the perpetuity of their beatitude is not a characteristic of their nature, but rather a gift of grace. The blessed, even in the state of blessedness, retain the possibility (logical and real) of sinning, since the totally free nature of their will has not changed. See Ord. IV, d. 49, pars 1, q. 6, n. 348 (XIV, 376–77): “Dico igitur quod causa huius perpetuitatis nec est forma beatitudinis, quasi per ipsam beatitudo sit formaliter necessaria; nec natura potentiarum istarum, quasi circa obiectum necessario perpetuo operetur; nec habitus in potentiis, quasi necessario determinat potentias ad perpetue operandum; sed est ex sola voluntate divina, quae sicut perfecit talem naturam intensive, ita conservat eam in tali perfectione perpetuo.” See Dezza, La teoria modale (n. 24 above), 671–81.

52 The problem here is about the consequences of the first sin on the human body, not on the soul, whose immortality has not been affected by the Fall. For Bonaventure's demonstrations of the immortality of the soul, both quia and propter quid, see Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 19, a. 1, q. 1, ad opp. et in corp. (n. 7 above), 2:458a–460b. For Scotus, instead, there is not a strong metaphysical demonstration, but just some plausible arguments to explain the soul's immortality. See Cross, Duns Scotus (n. 5 above), 77–78; and Ross, James F. and Bates, Todd, “Duns Scotus on Natural Theology,” in The Cambridge Companion to Duns Scotus, ed. Williams, Thomas (Cambridge, 2003), 224–25Google Scholar.

53 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 3 (XIX, 181): “Per unum hominem mors intravit in mundum, et hoc fuit per peccatum.”

54 Henrik Lagerlund, “Medieval Theories of the Syllogism,” in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (published 2 February 2004; substantive revision 19 January 2016): (accessed 28 April 2020): “Medieval logicians preferred to use what they took to be Aristotle's terminology, talking about modal sentences in the composite sense (in sensu composito) and divided sense (in sensu diviso). The structure of a composite modal sentence can be represented as follows: (quantity/subject/copula, [quality]/predicate)mode. A composite modal sentence corresponds to a de dicto modal sentence. The word ‘composite’ is used because the mode is said to qualify the composition of the subject and the predicate. The structure of a divided modal sentence can be represented as follows: quantity/subject/copula, mode, [quality]/predicate. Here, the mode is thought to qualify the copula and thus to divide the sentence into two parts (hence the name, ‘divided modal sentence’). This type of modal sentence was characterized as de re because what is modified is how things (res) are related to each other, rather than the truth of what is said by the sentence (dictum).” See also Francesco Fiorentino, “Sensus Compositus and Sensus Divisus According to Duns Scotus,” in John Duns Scotus, Philosopher (n. 29 above), 175–89.

55 Genesis 2:17.

56 Genesis 3:19.

57 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 5 (XIX, 182): “Sed unde fuit ista immortalitas?”

58 Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, ad argg. (n. 8 above), 137: “Per se autem corpus in statu innocentiae habuit ab anima ut numquam corrumperetur, quia per naturalem rectitudinem naturalis iustitiae corpus erat in plena oboedientia ad animam quoad substantiam elementorum, et similiter vires inferiores respectu superiorum, ut vires inferiores ad nutum oboedissent superiori, nec recalcitrare potuissent si servasset et servare potuisset illam rectitudinem similiter.”

59 Peter Lombard, Sententiae II, d. 19, ch. 4, n. 2; SB (n. 15 above), 4:424: “Responsio qua dicitur alterum fuisse de conditione, scilicet posse mori, alterum ex gratiae dono, scilicet posse non mori. Ad quod dici potest quia alterum habeat in natura corporis, id est posse mori; alterum vero, scilicet posse non mori, erat ei ex ligno vitae, scilicet ex dono gratiae.”

60 See Summa theologica I–II, n. 492, in corp. (n. 33 above), 2:689a.

61 See Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 19, a. 3, q. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 2:470a.

62 Thomas considers that the incorruptibility of the body of the first human person was wanted by God (ex parte causae efficientis), so that such incorruptibility could better preserve the psychosomatic unity between rational soul and material body; see Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 97, in corp. et ad 3 (n. 7 above), 5:431b.

63 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 6 (XIX, 183): “Contra, — videtur quod fuit mortalis et potentiam habuit moriendi in statu innocentiae.”

64 The first example is already in Bonaventure: “Item, si Adam stetisset, aliquis de filiis eius poterat peccare. Ponatur ergo, quod peccasset; sed possibile est, virum iustum a peccatore insidiante interfici absque sua culpa, sicut Abel interfectus est a Cain: ergo possibile esset, Adam saltem dormientem ab eo iugulari ei iugulatus interire nulla culpa sua interveniente.” See Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 19, a. 2, q. 1, a. 5 (n. 7 above), 2:464b–465a. However, for Bonaventure this is an initial argument, which is then refuted, since the hypothetical violence committed by one of the sons of Adam on his father is not possible in the state of innocence. The case of violence (per extrinsecam laesionem) could have happened by beasts, but by a special divine providence they did not harm the first man nec in somno nec in vigilia. See Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 19, a. 3, q. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 2:470a.

65 See Lect. II, d. 20, q. 1, n. 6 (XIX, 188–89).

66 Lect. II, d. 19, q. un., n. 9 (XIX, 183): “Dico tunc quod primus homo in statu innocentiae potuit mori et non mori. Posse tamen mori de facto numquam fuisset reductum ad actum, nisi peccasset.”

67 Antonie Vos Jaczn, Henri Veldhuis, Aline H. Looman-Graaskamp, and Eef Dekker, John Duns Scotus. Contingency and Freedom. Lectura I 39. Introduction, Translation and Commentary (Dordrecht, Boston, and London, 1994), 28–29: “At this point, Scotus is able to make clear that the divine and human freedom of the will exist thanks to the contingent structure of reality. For, by the fact that there are alternative states of affairs on the level of the ‘possibilitas logica,’ it is possible for the will to will one thing at a certain moment, while it has the possibility of not-willing or willing otherwise for that same moment. The dimensions of the ‘possibilitas logica’ are structured by a logical-ontological matrix, in which a free will can unfold itself.” The instants of nature are to be considered as logical and metaphysical moments that occur in the same moment of time. For example, while I am seated, I have the real possibility to stand — if I am not impeded by some disease or by someone else. It means that in the same (chronological) moment in which I am seated, there are two (logical and metaphysical) instants, one contrary to the other: I can be seated and I can stand. See Normore, “Scotus, Modality” (n. 36 above); Guido Alliney, “Instant of Change and signa naturae: New Perspectives from an Unedited Question,” in Intellect et imagination dans la Philosophie Médiévale — Intellect and Imagination in Medieval Philosophy — Intelecto e imaginação na Filosofia Medieval: Actes du XIe Congrès International de Philosophie Médiévale de la Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale (S.I.E.P.M.), Porto, du 26 au 31 août 2002, ed. Maria Cândida Pacheco and José Francisco Meirinhos (Turnhout, 2006), 3:1835–49; and Dezza, Ernesto, “Giovanni Duns Scoto e gli instantia naturae,” in Divine Ideas in Franciscan Thought (XIIIth–XIVth century), ed. Falà, Jacopo Francesco and Zavattero, Irene (Rome, 2018), 135–59Google Scholar.

68 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 10 (XIX, 184). “Humidum radicale” is an expression used by the Latin translators of Avicenna, from his al-Qānūn fī al-Ṭibb (The Canon of Medicine), to indicate the natural condition of the human body, derived from the balance of its humors. This doctrine, indebted to Galen's medicine, was also corroborated by the indications given by Aristotle in his scientific writings. See McVaughn, Michael, “The ‘Humidum Radicale’ in Thirteenth-Century Medicine,” Traditio 30 (1974): 259–83, at 271CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

69 Lect. II, d. 19, q. un., n. 10 (XIX, 184): “Haec est causa essentialis et praecipua mortis in nobis.”

70 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 12 (XIX, 184).

71 Influenced by the biblical story and its theological interpretation, many legends developed around the Tree of Life and the river that flowed from Eden, which nourished the imagination of the first explorers of America in search of the Tree of Immortality and the Fountain of Youth. See Rosenblat, Angel, La primera visión de América y otros estudios (Caracas, 1965)Google Scholar; Olschki, Leonardo, Storia letteraria delle scoperte geografiche: Studi e ricerche (Firenze, 1937)Google Scholar; Elliott, John Huxtable, The Old World and the New, 1492–1650 (Cambridge, 1970)Google Scholar; and Baudet, Henri, Paradise on Earth: Some Thoughts on European Images of Non-European Man, trans. Wentholt, Elizabeth (New Haven, CT, 1965)Google Scholar.

72 The opinion that the Tree of Life provided a particular food different from all others is also supported by other theology masters. See Summa theologica I–II, n. 492, ad 1 (n. 33 above), 2:689b; and Bonaventure, In Sent. II, d. 19, a. 3, q. 1, in corp. (n. 7 above), 2:470a. For Thomas, the Tree of Life produced for Adam just the compensation of the moisture dispersed by heat, which is “the instrument of the soul” (animae instrumentum). See Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae I, q. 97, a. 4, in corp. (n. 7 above), 5:434a.

73 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 13 (XIX, 185).

74 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 14 (XIX, 185). No further motivation is given in the Lectura and the parallel text in the Ordinatio is lacking. So, the only edited text we can refer to for reading Scotus's explanation is the Reportata Parisiensia II, d. 17, q. 2: Utrum Paradisus sit locus conveniens habitationi humanae naturae (n. 45 above), 23:80b–82b. We cannot rely on the parallel text in the Ordinatio edited by Wadding-Vivès because it is actually from William of Alnwick's Additiones Magnae. See Dumont, “Reportatio Examinata” (n. 3 above), 384: “Scotus never completed a span of ten distinctions (dd. 15–25) in the middle of Ordinatio II. Into this lacuna many — indeed most — of the manuscripts of Ordinatio II appended — or directly inserted — the corresponding distinctions of Additiones II compiled by Alnwick. Consequently, early editions, including Wadding, printed this Parisian material as part of the Oxford commentary.” For further explanation on the correlation between Alnwick's Additiones and the different versions of the Reportationes, see Dumont, “Reportatio Examinata” (n. 3 above), 417–21. For the rationale followed by the editors of the critical edition, see Ioannis Duns Scoti Opera Omnia, ed. Commissio Scotistica (Vatican City, 1993), 19:70*–71* [Prolegomena]. On the reconstruction of the dependence of the published texts on the manuscripts, see ibid., 8:92* [Prolegomena].

75 It is interesting to note that Scotus does not consider the possibility that it could be Eve who kills Adam!

76 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 15 (XIX, 185).

77 Lect. II. d. 19, q. un., n. 16 (XIX, 185): “Unde dico quod possibile est quod simul stent innocentia et mors in primo homine, ita quod fuisset mors in statu innocentiae; tamen de facto numquam simul stetissent.”

78 See Lect. II, d. 19, q.un., n. 18 (XIX, 186).

79 See Augustine, De libero arbitrio 3.5.42 [112], ed. W. M. Green, CCL 29 (Turnhout, 1970), 282: “[Dei] profecto largissima bonitas iustissime laudaretur, etiamsi aliquo inferiore creaturae gradu nos condidisset.”

80 See Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet VI, q. 11, in corp. (n. 8 above), 135: “[Iniustitia] necessario ponit in voluntate obliquationem contrariam naturali rectitudini, ut originalis iniustitia dicat spoliationem in gratuitis et vulnerationem in naturalibus.”

81 As Franić and Osborne note, Scotistic interpretation outlines a human prelapsarian condition more “natural” than other scholars tend to do, not imputing all torments and hardships of humanity only to the sin of Adam. See Franić, “De peccato originali” (n. 5 above), 441–42; and Osborne, A Theology of the Church (n. 5 above), 351. See also Korošak, “De homine” (n. 5 above).

82 See, for example, Boetius of Dacia, De summo bono, ed. Nicolas George Green-Pedersen (Copenhagen, 1976), 377: “Et quia quilibet delectatur in illo quod amat et maxime delectatur in illo quod maxime amat, et philosophus maximum amorem habet primi principii, sicut declaratum est, sequitur quod philosophus in primo principio maxime delectatur et in contemplatione bonitatis suae. Et haec sola est recta delectatio. Haec est vita philosophi, quam quicumque non habuerit non habet rectam vitam. Philosophum autem voco omnem hominem viventem secundum rectum ordinem naturae, et qui acquisivit optimum et ultimum finem vitae humanae.”

83 For Scotus, grace (gratia) and love (charitas) are one and the same thing: “Dico quod gratia est virtus, et est idem re quod ipsa charitas ut patet per multas praeeminentias, quas Sancti attribuunt aliquando charitati, aliquando gratiae.” Reportata Parisiensia II, d. 27, q.un., n. 3 (n. 45 above), 23:135a. See also Ord. IV, d. 6, pars 4, art. 2, q. 3, n. 371 (XI, 409).

84 Secondary literature agrees on this interpretation of Scotus's vision of humankind. See Ingham, Mary Elizabeth, “John Duns Scotus: An Integrated Vision,” in The History of Franciscan Theology, ed. Osborne, Kenan B., (St. Bonavenure, NY, 1994), 185–230, at 197Google Scholar; De Armellada, Bernardino, “El pecado original en lectura escotista,” Naturaleza y gracia 51 (2004): 745–77, at 764–65Google Scholar; Bonansea, Bernardine M., Man and his Approach to God in John Duns Scotus (Lanham, New York, and London, 1983), 3650Google Scholar; and Sani, Giulio Basetti, “Antropologia teologica in Giovanni Duns Scoto,” Studi medievali 34 (1993): 139–91, at 171Google Scholar. For a general point of view on Scotus's approach, see Efrem Bettoni, “Duns Scoto denuncia l'insufficienza dell'antropologia filosofica,” in Deus et Homo (n. 5 above), 245–57; and Pietro Scapin, “Capisaldi di un'antropologia scotista,” in Deus et Homo (n. 5 above), 269–91.

85 For further explanations about the novelty of John Duns Scotus's theory of modality, see Cruz González-Ayesta, “Duns Scotus on Synchronic Contingency and Free Will: The Originality and Importance of his Contribution,” in John Duns Scotus, Philosopher (n. 29 above), 157–74. On the roots of Scotus's theory in Peter of John Olivi's studies on free will, see Dumont, Stephen D., “The Origins of Scotus's Theory of Synchronic Contingency,” The Modern Schoolman 72 (1994–1995): 149–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar. On Henry of Ghent's explanations on relation between intellect and will, see idem, “Time, Contradiction and Freedom of the Will in the Late Thirteenth Century,” Documenti e Studi sulla Tradizione Filosofica Medievale 3 (1992): 561–97.

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