Evans - The Grammar of Predestination

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    G. Morin's discovery of texts of Godescalc of Orbais's

    writings in 1930, the reports of his friends and opponents were

    the principal source of our knowledge of his teaching. The

    collection of Godescalc's works in MS. Berne 83 (s. X ex.) proved to

    include material which adds substantially to the evidence not only about certain technical developments of the day in the study of the

    liberal arts, but also for their application in the resolution of theological

    problems. The debate about predestination was concerned primarily with Godescalc's doctrine of a two-fold or double predestination: of

    the elect to eternal life and of the rest of mankind to perdition. There

    was widespread pastoral concern, too, that Godescalc would lead the

    faithful into lives of spiritual idleness by making them believe that

    they could do nothing by their own efforts to make themselves more

    acceptable in the sight of God; and there was anxiety about the serious

    doctrinal implication that if God was the author of the sins of the

    wicked, he was, by extension, the author of evil. But it was over the

    matter of the gemina praedestinatio that the study of grammar and

    dialectic proved most helpful; here we can see their incipient theolo

    gical colouring.1 MS. Berne 83 contains some works of Godescalc on grammar which

    are, in the main, straightforward enough. They deal with points which

    have come up in the reading of Priscian and Donatus. Other problems involve the text of Holy Scripture and general theological questions. The mixture is not unlike that found in Abbo of Fleury's Grammatical

    Questions Questions for the monks of Ramsey a century and a half later.2 Similar

    items occur in a letter from one Ermenric to Grimald, abbot of St.

    Gall, written between 850 and 853.3 Ermenric was one of Rabanus

    Maurus's pupils at the monastic school of Fulda, at about the same time

    1 G. Morin, 'Gottschalk retrouve', Revue benedictine, xliii (1931), pp. 302-12; the contents of the Berne MS. are published by C. Lambot, CEuvres theologiques etet grammaticales de Godescalc d'Orbais, Spicilegium Sacrum Lovaniense, xx (Louvain, 194s). On Godescalc and double predestination, see J. Pelikan, The The Growth of Mediaeval Theology (600-1300) (Chicago, 1978), pp. 80-95 and Isidore, Sententiae II. 6. 1 (PL 83. 606a).

    2 H. Bradley, 'On the Text of Abbo of Fleury's Quaestiones Grammaticales', Proceedings Proceedings of the British Academy, (London, 1927).

    3 Lambot prints extracts, pp. 504-8, from E. Duemmler's edition of the EpistolaeEpistolae karolini Aevi, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, iii (Berlin, 1895), pp 536-79

    [Journal of Theological Studies, N.S., Vol. XXXIII, Pt. 1, April 1982

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    as Walafrid Strabo and Lupus of Ferrieres and Godescalc himself.

    His work as a grammarian, like that of Godescalc, bears the marks of a

    school which, like those at St. Gall, Reichenau, Tours, Mainz, Corbie,

    Reims, and elsewhere, was able to provide an impressively high level

    of teaching. There seems, too, to have been a ready interchange of

    books and masters and pupils.1 The bulk of the teaching is likely to

    have been plain grammatical instruction. Rabanus's Exceptio de Arte

    GrammaticiGrammatici Prisciani consists principally of a discussion of endings and of the length of syllables.2 But at Laon, for example, Greek studies

    and exegesis, history and geography, computation and chronology, medicine, law, letter-writing were taught.3 And several of the scholars

    who took part in the controversy over predestination had a sophisti cated understanding of the nature and functioning of language which

    foreshadows that of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and which goes far beyond a mastery of the elements of grammar.

    It began with the comparison of differences in the rules which govern Greek and Latin respectively. Godescalc speaks several times of

    'the Greek way' (more Graeco), of putting, for instance, the genitive in

    Greek for the ablative in Latin, or of prepositions which take one case

    in Greek and another in Latin.4 There was already an awareness of the

    principle that grammatical laws are positivae, imposed ad hoc and not

    reducible to self-evident first principles whose truth is apparent to

    everyone; Gilbert of Poitiers was to suggest in the first half of the

    twelfth century that this sets grammar apart from all other arts and

    sciences.5 Its rules are not absolute even for human language; how much less shall we expect them to be so when we apply them to the language we use to talk about God.

    1 On the work of some of the outstanding schools of the day, see J. M. Clark, The The Abbey of St. Gall as a Centre of Literature and Art (Cambridge, 1936); L. M. de Rijk, 'On the Curriculum of the Arts of the Trivium at St. Gall from c.c. 850-c. 1000', Vivarium, i (1963), pp. 35-86; J. J. Contreni, The Cathedral School School of Laon from 850-930; its Manuscripts and its Masters (Munich, 1978); E. Pellegrin, 'Les manuscrits de Loup de Ferriferes', Bibliotheque de I'ecole des Chartes,Chartes, cxv (1957), pp. 5-31; A. Van de Vyver's much-quoted study 'Les

    etapes du developpement philosophique du haut moyen-age', Revue beige de

    philologiephilologie et d'histoire, viii (1929), pp. 425-52 assembles some of the textbooks studied in these schools, and see J. Jolivet, Godescalc d'Orbais et la Trinite (Paris, 1958); M. Cappuyns, Jean Scot Brigene (Louvain, 1933); J. Marenbon, From the the Circle of Alcuin to the School of Auxerre (Cambridge, 1981), contains an

    up-to-date bibliography. 2 PL III. 614-70, and compare the texts in H. Hagen, Anecdota Helvetica,

    ed. H. Keil, Grammatici Latini, Supplementum (Leipzig, 1870). 3 Contreni, op. cit., p. 75. * Lambot, pp. 354. 12-14, 4^3 7 464 !7 5 Gilbert of Poitiers, Commentaries on Boethius, ed. . M. Haring (Toronto,

    1966), p. 189.

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  • 136 G. R. EVANS

    The special cases presented by Scripture were readily apparent. It

    was usual for these grammarians to juxtapose classical and Scriptural

    examples in their discussion.1 Virgil, Horace, and the Psalms are

    taken, apparently indiscriminately, for the convenient way in which

    each text illustrates the way in which one case may stand for another.2

    But it soon became clear that Scripture contains grammatical devices

    of many kinds which are not common in the secular authors. Gode

    scale discusses prepositions in an attempt to enlarge upon what Donatus

    has to say in his chapter on prepositions in the Ars Minor. Donatus

    explains that in takes the accusative when it signifies motion towards

    and the ablative when it signifies the situation or place 'in which'.3

    Godescalc proposes additional rules which make a finer discrimination

    possible, and he shows by his choice of examples that it is in reading the Bible that these are most often needed. In is used in the Bible for

    usque,usque, iuxta, per, super, inter, intra, and many other prepositions.

    Exactly the same discovery was made by Petrus Helias, one of the

    most influential grammar-masters of the twelfth century,4 and by Peter

    the Chanter, who brought together a list of the Bible's prepositions in

    his De Tropis Loquendi a generation later.5 The Scriptural examples, as Godescalc and his successors found, differ from the classical in one

    significant respect: they often present exceptions beyond anything found in Donatus and Priscian. Scriptural language is different from

    ordinary language even at the level of the simplest rules of grammar. The same is true of examples taken from the liturgyeverywhere, in

    fact, that language is used of God and may be described (loosely) as

    'theological language'. Godescalc takes as one of his examples the puzzling fact that in a

    certain hymn in is consistently used with the accusative (as it should

    be to show that an endless succession of ages is meant) except once, when it is used with the ablative, apparently in exactly the same con

    nection. 'Here', says Godescalc, 'is the solution to this knotty ques tion': when in is used either with an adjective on its own, or with a

    'fixed noun' (nomen fixum) it takes the accusative. Dominus regnabit in

    aeternum,aeternum, for instance, has the adjective standing for the noun aeter

    nitas,nitas, it is used on its own. When two nouns are combined, as in

    omnibus saeculis, the ablative is used. (Adjectives fall into the category

    1 Lambot, pp. 353-4. 2 Ibid., pp. 393-6. 3 Ibid., p. 360. 7-8, cf. Donatus, Ars Minor, De Praepositione, ed. H. Keil,

    GrammaticiGrammatici Latini, iv. 365. 4 Petrus Helias on prepositions is in Lambot, pp. 499 and 501-3. 5 On the De Tropis Loquendi, see my article, 'Peter the Chanter's De Tropis

    Loquendi.Loquendi. the Problem of the Text', The New Scholasticism, lv (1981 ),pp. 85-103; Bodleian MS. Rawl. C. 161, f. 171 has the passage on in.

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    of nouns in the eight parts of speech used by Roman grammarians, with participles making the eighth category.) The same thing is found

    in Isaiah xxvi. 4: in saeculis aeternis. In Ezekiel, however, we have:

    VisioVisioVisio quam hie videt in dies longos et in tempore, longa iste prophetat

    (Ezekiel xii. 27). Here we have in with an adjective and noun together

    taking the accusative. That is because, says Godescalc, there is some

    incertitudo.incertitude. The same adjective is used in both cases. It is proper that

    the accusative should be employed here.1 He returns to the point in a

    later discussion of the way in which adjectival nouns are to be defined.2

    Godescalc, and a number of his contemporaries, were, then, engaged in

    the taskpedestrian enough at this levelof working out in detail how

    grammatical rules were to be made to accommodate the apparent anomalies of Scriptural usage.

    The fact that such discussions were necessary raised a larger ques tion about the nature of Scriptural language, and, by extension, of

    theological language, and the rules it might be expected to obey. The question presented itself as, in many respects, one of 'usage'.

    There is a usual way of speaking (usitativus modus loquendi).3 It may be

    usual in different ways: usual in the Latin language (in usu Latini

    eloquii),4eloquii),4 or usual in secular authors: ipse usitatissimus etiam in litteratis

    quihusquequihusque loquendi modus p for example. To refer to 'usage' is to turn to

    an established pattern, something everyone will recognize. Augustine had done so, and Anselm was to do so in the future.

    There remains, over and above usage, a set of more explicit rules by which language may be used; Godescalc cites the Psalmist: sicut regu lariterlariter . . . dicuntur a psalmista.6 Or he remarks on the way in which

    'the outstanding orator Augustine' says 'properly enough' (satis pro

    prie).7 prie).7 In the later eleventh and twelfth centuries this distinction

    between usus loquendi, common usage of various sorts, and proprietas, technical exactitude of usage, was to become an indispensable means

    of distinguishing between the loose practices of ordinary talk and the

    technically precise expression which had to be achieved if arguments were to stand up to examination by trained logicians.

    But there is another sense still in which language may be said to be

    used 'properly' or 'improperly', and that is when it is employed liter

    ally or figuratively, in a sense which is 'improper' because it is 'bor rowed' or 'transferred'. This was proving already in the ninth century

    1 Lambot, pp. 373. 23-374. 29, and Respons. domin. Sec. Quadrag. (PL 78. 753D). 2 Lambot, pp. 393-6.

    3 Ibid., p. 474. * * De Trina Deitate, Lambot, p. 84. 26. 5 Prudentius, De Praedestinatione contra Johannem Scotum, PL 115. 1123. 6 Lambot, p. 474. 18. 7 Ibid., p. 475. 1.

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  • 138 G. R. EVANS

    to be a most helpful approach to the problems posed by the Bible's

    use of language. Augustine and other Fathers had suggested that the

    Holy Spirit had deliberately varied the level of difficulty of the text of

    Scripture so that simple men and beginners in the faith could read

    some parts of it while other parts would present profounder aspects in

    a language appropriate to such matters. But the Bible's variations of

    usage could be explained perhaps even more satisfactorily, not in terms

    of itsus loquendi and proprietas, but as a series of figurative or 'trans

    ferred' modes of expression. If I say 'that is a lion', I may be pointing to a large yellow beast or I may be pointing to a man who is brave as a

    lion and describing him metaphorically. In the same way, the 'Lion of

    Judah' might be an actual lion, but in the Bible we understand it to

    refer to God. In a transferred usage the words of comparison are left

    out. The term is used as if literally, and it is left to the reader to take it

    figuratively. The possibilities of this device for explaining away the anomalies of the Bible's language are clear at once.

    The technical term translatio is sometimes employed by Godescalc

    and his contemporaries.1 The thinking behind its use is perhaps most

    clearly set out by John Scotus Eriugena in the treatise On Predestina

    tiontion he wrote about 850-1 against Godescalc. Eriugena was one of a

    number of Irishmen working on the Continent in the ninth century;

    despite his position as protege of Charles the Bald and head of the

    cathedral school at Paris, which kept him, as recent scholarship has

    shown, at the centre of things academic, in many respects he was some

    thing of an isolated thinker. He had interests beyond those of his

    contemporaries: in aspects of Neoplatonic thought which were for the

    moment in abeyance among would-be philosophers. But in his grasp of

    technicalities of argument and in his theory of language, his interests

    were very much those of his contemporaries. He addresses himself to the question in terms not dissimilar from

    those of Aquinas four centuries later.2 He asks whether words which

    signify the limitations inseparable from created things can be used

    literally of God, or only by way of comparison. He considers, in other

    words, the problem of analogy. Can we say anything about God as he

    is, or must we always talk in terms of what he is 'like' amongst the

    things we are capable of understanding? The words 'foreknow' and

    'predestine' imply time. To foreknow is to know earlier in time what is

    to happen later in time. To predestine is to cause to happen in the

    1 e.g. Lambot, p. 440. 13 and Quaestiones Grammaticae in MS. Berne 83, ed. H. Hagen, Anecdota Helvetica, p. 18r. 37.

    2 Aquinas examines the problem of analogy in Summa Theologiae ia q. 13 a. 5; Contra Gentiles i, 34; De Veritate q. 2 a. nc,

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    future. But it was common doctrine since Piotinus (Ennead vi, 1-2),

    Augustine, and Boethius that none of Aristotle's categories can apply to God, except that of substance and perhaps relation, as when we

    speak of the divine Fatherhood or Sonship.1 There is no quality or

    quantity or condition or situation or place about God, and equally, no

    time. 'Now the text of the first question requires us to consider whether

    [in the Bible or the Fathers] God is properly (proprie) or improperly (abusive)(abusive) said to have foreknown or to have predestined.'2 Eriugena's contention is that nothing can be worthily (digne) or properly (proprie) said of God, but that God provides signs (signa) so that the laboriosa

    egestasegestas of human reasoning (incompetent as it has been since the Fall

    of Adam clouded men's minds with sin) may use them, and in that

    way 'somehow the rich sublimity of the Creator' (copiosa conditoris

    sublimitas)sublimitas) may be in some way believed and hinted at.3 As to the

    actual words of human language, if they are not natural signs (secun dam dam naturam), but invented at the whim of men (ex complacito hominum

    inventa),inventa), it is not surprising that they are unable to express that nature

    which alone is truly said to 'be'.4

    Nothing said of God, then, can be taken quite literally. Everything involves translatio. Eriugena thinks that this may take place, broadly

    speaking, in three ways. Here he seems to be drawing directly or in

    directly on Cicero's Topics, or perhaps on Boethius' commentary on

    Cicero's Topics. Cicero describes topics as 'seats of argument' (sedes

    argumentorum).sargumentorum).s The Roman orator was taught to collect material for

    his speeches, in the form of examples and illustrations on the one hand, and condensed or 'pattern' arguments on the other. The former came

    to be thought of as 'rhetorical' topoi or loci, and the latter as 'dialec

    tical'. Boethius composed a monograph on the difference (De Differen tiistiis Topicis).6 The orator built up his argument by drawing from these

    stores the 'seats' or 'starting points' he wanted. Cicero lists a number

    of standard patterns for arguments, amongst them arguments from

    likeness (a similitudine), from contrariety (a contraria), and from differ

    ence (a differentia).1 When Job said 'your hands made me' (Manus tuae

    Boethius gives the main points in his discussion in De Trinitate, iv, Theological Theological Tractates, ed. H. F. Stewart, . K. Rand, and S. J. Tester (London, 1973)1 PP !7-25, and see J. Marenbon, op. cit., pp. 25-8 and passim.

    22 Johannis Scotti: De Divina Praedestinatione Liber, ed. G. Madec, Corpus ChristianorumChristianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis, 50 (Turnholt, 1978), 9. 1, p. 55. 5-8.

    Ibid., p. 56. 20. 4 Ibid., p. 56. 22-3. 5 Cicero, Topics, ii. 7-8. G. Madec finds Eriugena using Cicero's Topics in

    Chapters 3 and 9 of the De Praedestinatione, and Boethius on the Topics in

    Chapter 3; PL 64. 1039-1174. 6 PL 64. 1173-1222. Cicero's Topics has these forms; it seems unlikely that Isidore, commonly

    used in the ninth century as a source of the elements of logic, can have been

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  • 140 G. R. EVANS

    feceruntfecerunt me), for example (Job x. 8), he spoke a similitudine. God does

    not make things with his hands as human craftsmen do.

    The topic used in speaking of God's 'foreknowledge' or 'predestina tion' to evil is the argument a contrario, as in 'the wisdom of this world

    is foolishness before God' (sapientia huius 7nundi stultitia est apud Deum,Deum, 1 Cor. iii. 19). There we perceive dimly the greatness of God's

    wisdom by placing the best of worldly wisdom beside it and seeing that it is folly. Thus, if we recognize that a comparison is being made

    between temporal things and the divine, we can see clearly a contrario

    how great is the difference between 'eternity' and 'time'.1 'Foreknow

    ledge', 'predestination', 'prevision' and all such terms are 'predicated of God in a transferred manner' (translative de Deo predicari)2 and

    that is how we must understand them when we hear that God 'pre destines' or 'has predestined' or 'has prepared' sin and death or any other evil; we must understand what is said entirely a contrario, other

    wise a heretical wickedness will carry us away.3 In this way Eriugena is able to distinguish between statements that

    God has predestined the elect to salvation (where 'predestine' is a

    temporal usage a similitudine), and statements that he has predestined the wicked to damnation (where 'predestine' is a temporal usage a

    contrario).contrario). Then he moves on to arguments a differentia, which enable

    us to distinguish between predestination and foreknowledgefor God

    foreknows everything which he predestines, but he does not predestine

    everything which he foreknows, says Eriugena.4 In his reply to Eriugena in defence of Godescalc, Prudentius of

    Troyes discusses the problem of differentiating between one form and

    another of praeparatio and praevisio, foreknowledge and predestination. When Godescalc subdivides them, he says, he claims that there are two

    'seats of meaning' (sedes significationum) used in a transferred way

    (translatae).5(translatae).5 The scholars of the ninth century lacked the vocabulary to

    make a technical distinction found useful in the second half of the twelfth

    century and beyond: between supposition and signification. If we look

    a word up in a dictionary we may find that it has several meanings

    Eriugena's source here. Isidore has a simile, a differentia, a contrariis(Etymologiae, ed. W. M. Lindsay, Oxford, 1911, n. xxx. 7-8) while Cicero has Eriugena's form of words. Martianus Capella has per similitudinem, per contrarium, per differen tiam,tiam, and he is likely to be the source of Eriugena's use of aliena, in the intro

    ductory passage to this discussion: quaedam vera aliena, hoc est translata, quae trihustrihus sedibus venire solent, a similitudine videlicet, a contrario, a differentia (Madec, ed. cit., p. 57. 36-8); see Martianus Capella, De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, iv. 359-60, ed. A. Dick (Stuttgart, revised ed. 1978), pp. 164-5.

    1 G. Madec, ed. cit., p. 58. 70 ff. 2 Ibid., p. 62. 10-11. 3 Ibid., p. 63. 30-3. 4 Ibid., Chapter 10, pp. 62-6. 5 PL 115. 1124.

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    [significationes).[significationes). If we use it in a sentence we select one of those meanings and place it in context (suppositio). Lacking this advanced signification

    theory, which might have helped them in their differentiation of mean

    ings, our scholars could speak only of significatio, and Prudentius

    claims that in his attempts to distinguish meanings, Eriugena has been led

    astray. 'In this, while you follow the dialecticians and rhetoricians, you wander far from the truth', he accuses him. 'You wish to understand

    that God foreknows and predestines only what is good, and that he

    neither knows nor predestines what is evil; no one before you has been

    found to have presumed to this perversity.'1 Thus, in a way which

    makes it plain that he understood the technicalities perfectly, he refers

    to Eriugena's distinction between cases where we are to read state

    ments about divine predestination a similitudine, by analogy, and cases

    where we are to read them a contrario, as meaning the opposite of what

    they say. Godescalc himself speaks of the 'transferred' use of one term for

    another. 'Foreknowledge' is sometimes used for 'predestination', he

    says,2 citing Augustine's De Bono Perseverantiae. Hincmar, writing

    against him, quotes the same work of Augustine. Ele defines predes tination in terms of praescientia and praeparatio: 'haec est praedestinatio

    sanctorum, nihil aliud, praescientia scilicet et praeparatio beneficio

    rum Dei, quibus certissime liberantur quicunque liberantur.'3 Hincmar

    was not a technician of the order of Eriugena. Nevertheless, he displays a grammarian's habits. His concern was to refute Godescalc's con

    tention that predestination is twofold (gemina). He tries to make a

    close study of the word itself, its rectus sensus, or correct meaning

    according to the Catholic faith, with careful comparisons of apparent

    'pluralities' which are intended to be no such thing, in the Fathers.4

    Godescalc had not, he protests, been saying what Hincmar claimed.

    He defends himself indignantly. To say that predestination is twofold

    is not to say that there are two predestinations ('perish the thought');5 it is like saying that a man is twofold and yet one. His body (exterior

    homo)homo) and his soul (interior homo)6 are not two men but one. In a simi

    lar way the predestination of God in the mercy by which the elect are

    freed and saved and the truth by which the wicked are justly judged

    and condemned is twofold, but still one.6 Godescalc, too, can quote

    cases where the Fathers have said that something is gemina or indeed

    quadripartitaquadripartita or quinquepartita.7 We are dealing simply with a case of

    usage, a genus locutionis usitatissimum.8

    1 PL 115. 1124-5. 1 Lambot, p. 471. 5-7. 3 PL 125. 110. 4 PL 125. 170-81 et al. 5 Lambot, p. 339. 8-9. 6 Ibid., p. 342. 15. 7 Ibid., p. 67.

    8 Ibid., p. 67. 22.

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  • 142 G. R. EVANS

    In adducing material from Cicero's Topics, Eriugena brought us

    from grammar to dialectic. This was an age when logic was beginning to come into its own.1 In the classical world it had been regarded with

    some suspicion by Roman orators. Cicero is disparaging about the

    fondness of dialecticians for syllogistic argumentation; he thinks it

    proper for the rhetorician to clothe the bare bones of his technical

    skills and to display a gentlemanly mastery of a range of methods of

    presenting a case cogently.2 With the fall of the Empire the study of

    rhetoric had gradually declined, until grammar was as far as most

    students got. Out of the study of grammar came the concern with the

    nature and functioning of language which we have seen. We have

    traced one of the roots by which that interest led to a revival of the

    study of logic. John Marenbon has provided a wide range of back

    ground material in his recent book.3

    Godescalc was proud of his skill with syllogisms. The elementary rules of the syllogism are to be found in Aristotle's De Interpretations; in addition there were Boethius' monographs On Categorical Syllo

    gismsgisms and On Hypothetical Syllogisms. Godescalc has a special liking for the more advanced hypothetical syllogism. He can handle a counter

    factual conditional as well as any of his successors of the eleventh or

    twelfth century. '1 prove by reason that the deity is threefold (trina)', he says in one of his later works, 'that is, by proposing, assuming, and

    concluding according to rule' (proponendo regulariter adsumendo vera

    citerciter concludendo), giving a major premiss, a minor premiss, and a

    conclusion. 'If the divinity is not, as I say it is, threefold, then humanity was assumed not by the Son alone, but by the Father and the Holy

    Spirit too.' But that is a counter-factual conditional. It was not so

    assumed, but only by the Son. Therefore divinity is threefold.4 Another

    syllogism runs along the same lines:

    'If the deity is not threefold as I say, each Person of the Trinity is one thing and his deity another. There would then be six not three

    Persons in the Trinity. But there are only three.

    Therefore the deity is threefold.'

    1 J. Marenbon's recent study brings together the evidence for the study of the Categories in particular.

    2 Cicero, Topics, ii. 6 and xiii. 55. 3 Marenbon, op. cit. 4 Lambot, p. 85. 13-17. J. Jolivet makes the point that Godescalc's pride, and

    his care in introducing a syllogism by telling the reader what he is about to do, may indicate that the syllogism was a relatively unfamiliar device (op. cit., pp. 96 and 170). Nevertheless his ready and proficient use of it would suggest at least a reasonable competence.

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    Again, Godescalc proudly announces his 'triform syllogism' (triformis

    syllogismus),syllogismus), proposing, assuming, and concluding.1 When John the Scot felt 'compelled' to write against Godescalc's

    heresy2 he addressed himself to the question first by means of syllo

    gisms. He challenges Godescalc to show the necessity for his two pre

    destinations, of the good to salvation and of the wicked to hell. There

    is no necessity where there is will. The two are incompatible. There is

    will in God. Therefore there is no necessity in God. We can prove that God cannot be compelled by a further syllogism, a hypothetical one: If anything could compel God to do anything, it would be greater than God. That greater power would then be the supreme cause of

    everything, and it would be worshipped, not God, as the supreme cause of everything. But there is no such power, and so nothing can

    compel God.3 This talk of will and necessity foreshadows discussions

    in Anselm and in Bernard of Clairvaux4 and it demonstrates again how

    advanced a use these scholars were already making of the logical in

    struments available to them.

    This very ready and proficient use of syllogisms suggests that some

    scholars at least were reading the De Interpretatione and Boethius on

    categorical and hypothetical syllogisms. It is not without significance that Abbo of Fleury wrote a monograph on the subject only a century and a half later.5 Two more works of the logica vetus of which our

    authors seem to have had a thorough command are Boethius, De

    DivisioneDivisione and Marius Victorinus, De Definitionethis last being writ ten to remedy a deficiency in Cicero's Topics, where Cicero says that

    there are many kinds of definition and fails to enumerate them; Vic

    torinus finds fifteen.6 Remigius of Lyons is particularly fond of divisions.

    He classifies humanity into orders: those who are elect; those who

    are baptized but do not persevere in the faith; those who are called

    by the divine mercy while they are still among the unbelievers; the

    out-and-out unbelievers.7 Godescalc himself asks what is the difference

    between substantia and subsistentia, and answers himself with a lengthy

    1 Lambot, p. . 13 ff. 2 G. Madec, ed. cit., p. 4. 3 Ibid., pp. 9-15. Cf. Plotinus, Ennead, vi, 8, the ultimate source of the notion. 4 Anselmi Opera Omnia, ed. F. S. Schmitt (Rome/Edinburgh, 1938-68),

    11(1946), 11(1946),49.7-13, CurDeusHomo I. i, and De Concordia, passim. SanctiBernardi

    Opera,Opera, ed. J. Leclercq, H. Rochais, and C. Talbot (Rome, 1963), iii. 168-9. 3 Abbo of Fleury, Syllogismorum Categoricorum et Hypotheticorum Enodatio,

    ed. A. Van de Vyver (Bruges, 1966). 6 PL 64. 891910 and ed. T. Stangl (Munich, 1888), reprinted in P. Hadot,

    MariusMarius Victorinus (Paris, 1971). Victorinus' De Definitione was transmitted as Boethius' work. See, too, H. Chadwick, Boethius (Oxford, 1981), pp. 115-16.

    7 PL 121. 1012-13.

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  • 144 G R EVANS

    quotation from Boethius' account of the difference in his Contra Eu

    tychen.1 tychen.1 He explains in his grammatical treatises that there is a differ

    ence between intelligibilia (which pertain to the mind) and sensibilia

    (which involve the bodily senses), between anima (the principle of life in the body), animus, and ratio, which are that part of man which 'knows',

    and cor, the seat of understanding.2

    Perhaps the most notable device, technically speaking, to be found

    in the works of our authors is that used by Remigius of Lyons in his

    Liber Liber Liber de Tribus Epistolis. The theological tractates of Boethius were

    popular with these Carolingian scholars, amongst whom are the authors

    of some of the first commentaries.3 The most difficult of all the

    opusculaopuscula sacra is the De Hebdomadibus in which Boethius proposes to

    demonstrate a philosophical truth by means of a series of self-evident

    axioms or regulae. These are to be applied in the working-out of the

    problem where the intelligent reader sees fit.4 It is interesting to note

    that in the twelfth century commentators such as Thierry of Chartres,

    Gilbert of Poitiers, and Clarembald of Arras disagree as to the precise

    application of each axiom.5

    Remigius of Lyons draws up seven regulae. They do not have that

    superior force which resides in truths which are apparent at once to

    everyone, as Boethius claims his communes animi conceptiones to be.

    (John the Scot refers obliquely to this special quality of conceptiones

    mentis.)bmentis.)b Our author claims no more for his regulae than that they come

    from (evenientes) Fathers and Holy Scripture.7 Briefly summarized,

    they state: 1. That the predestination and foreknowledge of God, like

    God himself, are eternal and do not change. 2. That there can be

    nothing in the creation of an omnipotent God which is not foreknown

    and predestined by him. 3. That in all the works of God whatever is

    1 Contra Eutychen, III, Lambot, p. 133. 1-3. 2 Lambot, p. 358. 3-4, p. 358. 5. 3 Marenbon, op. cit., p. 19 and M. Gibson, 'The opuscula sacra', in Boethius,

    his his life, thought and influence, ed. M. Gibson (Oxford, 1981), pp. 214-34. A number of works of Remigius of Lyons, Amolo, and Agobard have been restored to Florus. See, on the background to the work at Lyons, R. McKitterick, The The Frankish Church and the Carolingian Reforms, 78g-8g5 (London, 1977), and on Florus, A. Wilmart, 'Une lettre sans adresse ecrite vers le milieu du 1xe

    siecle',siecle', Revue benedictine, xlii (1930), pp. 149-62 and C. Charlier, 'Les manu scrits personnels de Florus de Lyon et son activite litteraire', Melanges E. PodechardPodechardPodechard (Lyons, 194s), pp. 71-84; see, too, Cappuyns, op. cit., p. 117.

    * Theological Tractates, p. 40 (ed. Loeb). 5 Gilbert of Poitiers, ed. cit., and cf. Thierry of Chartres, Commentaries on

    Boethius,Boethius, ed. . M. Haring (Toronto, 1971), and Clarembald of Arras, Life and Works,Works, ed. . M. Haring (Toronto, 1965), ad 10c.

    6 Madec, ed. cit., pp. 57. 55-58. 62. 7 Liber de Tribus Epistolis, PL 121. 984.

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    foreknown is also predestined, and vice versa. 4. That in the works of

    men, and angels, God has foresight of but does not predestine what is

    bad, while he has not only foreseen but also predestined what is good,

    being himself the author of the good. 5. God's predestination imposes no compulsion to be wicked. 6. These principles are implied if not stated in the Bible. 7. None of the elect can perish and none of the

    condemned can be saved.'

    These technical experiments take us out of the schoolroom into a

    world where there was felt to be an urgent need to defend the faith;

    they take us from grammar to speculative theology; they show us

    Carolingian scholars at full stretch as philosophers of language, making use of the latest technical skills, just as their successors were to do in

    the schools of the twelfth century. John Scotus Eriugena was confident

    that God had given the liberal arts to man. Some of God's gifts are

    magna magna bona, he explains (prudence, temperance, fortitude, justice can

    not be used for evil); some are media bona or minima bona, and these

    can be used for good or ill. Amongst these lesser goods, dialectic may

    provide a means of clarifying confusion and discovering the truth, or,

    in the hands of those who misuse it, it may appear to prove false things

    true and lead men into error.2 Mutatis mutandis, the same is true for

    grammar. Our speculative theologians had begun to think in ways

    which were to be characteristic of the work of later medieval centuries.

    They had begun to use their technical skills in close analysis of lan

    guage and its functioning, as a means of answering the great questions

    of theology. They have left the ancient world behind not in the texts

    they use, but in the way they use them. G. R. Evans G. R. Evans

    1 PL 121. 989-98. 2 Madec, p. 45. 17-37.

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