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Title: Rozważania nad statusem teologii : analiza "Prologu" z "Reportatio Parisiensis" Jana Dunsa Szkota
Authors: Surzyn, Jacek
Keywords: Jan Duns Szkot; teologia
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: The work deals with the issue of theology understood as science according to John Duns Scotus. The first chapter discusses the problem opening Scotus’s deliberations on theology, namely, the problem of confirming what science is in general and what is its first subject. Scotus considers here the question of the status of science as such, within the frames of confrontation between the traditional Christian model, deriving from Saint Augustus, in which knowledge-science is treated as wisdom, and the perypathetic model, which is important for scholasticism. The goal of the study is to show the importance of science and academic knowledge (academic cognition) in the context of four Aristotle’s conditions that science has to fulfill. Scotus broadens the very issue by the problem of the status of theology as knowledge-science of God. Aiming at presenting the essence of theology and examining whether it fulfills the conditions of the academic knowledge, one has to above all establish what in general the knowledge-science is. Finally, according to Scotus, theology meets the conditions of being a science given by Aristotle, though not all of them. The fourth condition is not fulfilled, which, in Scotus’s opinion, is not necessary to formally consider theology as science. The second, equally important, issue is defining the first subject of science. Scotus emphasizes here, above all, a subjective nature of the subject of knowledge which, as the first subject of cognition, must virtually contain all that can be learned in a given science. Only after establishing the status of science as such and defining its first object does Scotus refer to the issue of theology, demonstrating in what sense it is science (whether it meets the conditions of scientificity), as well as what its first object is (must be). The condition of the first object for theology is met only by God understood fully in Its nature, that is God as God. Theology understood in this way is absolute knowledge and possible only for intellect proportionate to its object — God as God. Thus, Scotus limits theology understood sensu stricto to the highest intellect, that is God’s intellect, because only His intellect can learn the nature of God alone. Such theology is called by Scotus theology in itself (in se). The second chapter considers whather God can be learned in the sense of academic cognition within the contents different from those under which He is labeled in His nature. Scotus contemplates on the existence of another knowledge of God available for man’s intellect which would be beyond theology in itself available only for God. The very question is important because it refers to a human being and cognitive abilities of his/her intellect. Theology in itself is not available for a human being, which in consequence, however, does not mean that it is impossible for a human being to learn God. Scotus did not want and could not negate the existence of theology available for human thought, theology that bases on revelation. On the other hand, however, he wanted to show that theology as human knowledge on God does not fully concern the nature of God because a human being pro statu isto is restricted and unable to learn God as God. So, in final, the object of theology available for a human being, that is, as Scotus claims, theology for us (pro nobis) is not God understood fully in His nature but God labeled under a certain aspect, perceived in qualities Him deserves. The consequence of the considerations is chapter three in which I discuss Scotus’s thoughts referring to learning God. Therefore, Scotus defines conditions of theology in itself and, at the same time, theology for us, that is, theology revealed that is available for a human being — a pilgrim. If, however, God can be understood here fully in His nature, and from the angle of the qualities ascribed to Him, Scotus ponders how it is possible. The possibility of such cognition is consolidated in two ways. Above all, the possibility of learning God in any aspect must comprise of both the intellect which learns God as God and the one that does not fully understand God in His nature. Thus, such cognition is subjectively based — on the part of the learning subject. However, learning God must also be subjectively conditioned, which means that God as the subject of intellect cognition must contain order in Himself, according to which any cognition of God is possible no matter if it is perfect cognition of God fully in His divinity or restricted and imperfect cognition available for human intellect. Chapter four includes considerations on the possibility of learning God by a human in his earthly state of being. This chapter is the longest in this work because it covers several broad issues, above all concentrating on natural and extra-natural cognition. Theology available for man bases on revelation and possibility of intellectual analysis of its contents. By definition, human intellect is limited, whereas revelation constitutes the basis for getting the knowledge of God. In Scotus’s times the very problem was widely discussed as two opinions clashed here; one based on Aristotle’s conception on the autonomicity of human intellect, the other deriving from Saint Augustus which pointed to the necessity of illuminating-enlightening human intellect by God in the act of grace, illumination constituting the basis of extra-natural cognition. Thus, Scotus asks to what an extent human intellect is able to learn the messages transmitted by means of revelation. The very problem characterizes scholastic considerations on the connections of faith with reason, which comes from Anselm’s maxim of “faith seeking understanding” (fides quaerens intellectum). In Scotus’s times two important standpoints were revealed in this context: one represented by Thomas of Aquinas, the other by Henry of Ghent, a distinguished Master of Parisian University and Scotus’s teacher (Scotus probably listened to his lectures during his student stay in Paris). The problem boiled down to the following question: Is mind enlightenment by means of some extra-natural cognition necessary for man’s current earthly state of being or is he able to possess science of God without this factor,using the message from revelation. A heated debate took place as regards the issue concentrated on Augustus’s conception of illumination which was modified by Henry of Ghent at that time. It resolved the status of theology as science. On the one hand, it was the knowledge based on reason-based premises, that is intuitive cognition placed within the limits of the abilities of human intellect — theology understood in this way would be a true philosophy answering the ultimate questions on the reason of reality. On the other hand, theology based on revelation, that is extra-natural gift received from God, could exist. Henry of Ghent resolved this dilemma accepting in reference to God a certain type of extra-natural cognition which would locate itself between what the human cognition is capable of in mortal life and the knowledge that is ascribed to the saved ones. Scotus rejects such a kind of indirect enlightenment. He also disagrees with the opinion of Thomas Aquinas who pointed to the mutual completion of inherent and revealed truths. Scotus thought that the real knowledge of God, if it is to be science, must be based on truths received by means of faith though carefully reasoned. It allowed Scotus to work out the conception of human theology deriving from revealed truths which can be considered and learned by human intellect pro statu isto. The possibilities of learning God in a natural way are discussed in chapter five. It presents Scotus’s meditations on the problem of the relation between theology and metaphysics (philosophy), namely the question which knowledge: theology or metaphysics is a proper science of God. The very discussion boils down to the opinions presented by two Arabic philosophers: Avicenna and Averroes. Avicenna claimed that God is not the subject of metaphysics, whereas Averroes, on the contrary, believed that it is metaphysics as the highest knowledge available for man is the science on God. Finally, Scotus is in favour of Avicenna’s position as he accepts the fact that metaphysics is the highest knowledge available for a human in the earthly state of his being, whereas its object is not God but being perceived as alone in itself, that is as being (ens inquantum ens). Only being as being meets the condition of the first object adequate for human intellect, and thus, is the borderline object — simpliciter simplex beyond which man pro statu isto cannot learn anything any more. God is perceived by man from the being perspective — substantially and, above all, God is being (an infinite being — this is the aspect of learning God which human intellect is capable of). Thus, the scope of theology available for man is subjectively restricted to metaphysics. Human theology derives from metaphysics (philosophy) and therefore, the notion of an infinite being reached at metaphysical level covers for theology available for a human in the earthly state of being with the message taken from revelation. Chapter six presents in brief a series of issues with the substantial problem of the unity of theology. Basing on the principle of the unity of theology, Scotus raises important issue connected with a practical or theoretical understanding of theology.
ISBN: 9788322619681
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (WNS)

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