University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006
Beatific Enjoyment in Scholastic Philosophy and Theology: 1240-1335
Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
This dissertation examines the concept of beatific enjoyment (fruitio beatifica) in scholastic theology and philosophy in the thirteenth and early fourteenth century. The aim of the study is to explain what is enjoyment and to show why scholastic thinkers were interested in discussing it. The dissertation consists of five chapters. The first chapter deals with Aurelius Augustine's distinction between enjoyment and use and the place of enjoyment in the framework of Augustine's view of the passions and the human will. The first chapter also focuses upon the importance of Peter Lombard's Sentences for the transmission of Augustine's treatment of enjoyment in scholastic thought as well as upon Lombard's understanding of enjoyment. The second chapter treats thirteenth-century conceptions of the object and psychology of enjoyment. Material for this chapter is provided by the writings-mostly Sentences commentaries-of Alexander of Hales, Albert the Great, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Peter of Tarentaise, Robert Kilwardby, William de la Mare, Giles of Rome, and Richard of Middleton. The third chapter inspects early fourteenth-century views of the object and psychology of enjoyment. The fourth chapter focuses upon discussions of the enjoyment of the Holy Trinity. The fifth chapter discusses the contingency of beatific enjoyment. The main writers studied in the third, fourth and fifth chapters are John Duns Scotus, Peter Aureoli, Durandus of Saint Pourçain, William of Ockham, Walter Chatton, Robert Holcot, and Adam Wodeham.
Historians of medieval intellectual history have emphasized the significance of the concept of beatific enjoyment for understanding the character and aims of scholastic theology and philosophy. The concept of beatific enjoyment was developed by Augustine on the basis of the insight that only God can satisfy our heart's desire. The possibility of satisfying this desire requires a right ordering of the human mind and a detachment of the will from the relative goals of earthly existence. Augustine placed this insight at the very foundation of the notion of Christian learning and education in his treatise On Christian Doctrine. Following Augustine, the twelfth-century scholastic theologian Peter Lombard made the concept of enjoyment the first topic in his plan of systematic theology. The official inclusion of Lombard's Sentences in the curriculum of theological studies in the early universities stimulated vigorous discussions of enjoyment. Enjoyment was understood as a volition and was analyzed in relation to cognition and other psychic features such as rest and pleasure. This study shows that early fourteenth-century authors deepened the analysis of enjoyment by concentrating upon the relationship between enjoyment and mental pleasure, the relationship between cognition and volition, and the relationship between the will and the beatific object (i.e., the Holy Trinity). The study also demonstrates the way in which the idea of enjoyment was affected by changes in the method of theological analysis-the application of Aristotelian logic in a Trinitarian context and the shift from virtue ethics to normative ethics.
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Last updated 08.11.2006