You are on page 1of 56

Mediaeval Commentaries on the

Sentences of Peter Lombard

Volume 3

Edited by

Philipp W. Rosemann


This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV

List of Figures  vii
Abbreviations  ix

Introduction: Three Avenues for Studying the Tradition

of the Sentences  1
Philipp W. Rosemann

1 Filiae Magistri: Peter Lombard’s Sentences and Medieval Theological

Education “On the Ground”  26
Franklin T. Harkins

2 Les listes des opiniones Magistri Sententiarum quae communiter

non tenentur: forme et usage dans la lectio des Sentences  79
Claire Angotti

3 Henry of Gorkum’s Conclusiones Super IV Libros Sententiarum:

Studying the Lombard in the First Decades of the
Fifteenth Century  145
John T. Slotemaker

4 The Past, Present, and Future of Late Medieval Theology:

The Commentary on the Sentences by Nicholas of Dinkelsbühl,
Vienna, ca. 1400  174
Monica Brinzei and Chris Schabel

5 Easy-Going Scholars Lecturing Secundum Alium? Notes on

Some French Franciscan Sentences Commentaries of the
Fifteenth Century  267
Ueli Zahnd

6 The Concept of Beatifijic Enjoyment (Fruitio Beatifijica) in the

Sentences Commentaries of Some Pre-Reformation Erfurt
Theologians  315
Severin V. Kitanov

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
vi Contents

7 John Major’s (Mair’s) Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard:

Scholastic Philosophy and Theology in the Early Sixteenth
Century  369
Severin V. Kitanov, John T. Slotemaker, and Jefffrey C. Witt

8 The Sentences in Sixteenth-Century Iberian Scholasticism  416

Lidia Lanza and Marco Toste

9 Texts, Media, and Re-Mediation: The Digital Future of the Sentences

Commentary Tradition  504
Jefffrey C. Witt

Bibliography  517
Figures  533
Index of Manuscripts  546
Index of Names  552

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
CHAPter 1

Filiae Magistri: Peter Lombard’s Sentences and

Medieval Theological Education “On the Ground”

Franklin T. Harkins*


The utility of Peter Lombard’s book as a pedagogical tool is conspicuously

attested by the fact that from the thirteenth until the sixteenth century the
Sentences became the standard university text on which all aspiring mas-
ters of theology were required to lecture publicly. Indeed, there is no piece
of Christian literature, save the Bible, that has been commented on more
frequently: Friedrich Stegmüller’s 1947 Repertorium lists 1,407 commentar-
ies on the Lombard’s book, and a number of others have been uncovered in
the six decades since this publication.1 Despite the great fame that both Peter
Lombard and the Sentences enjoyed throughout the high and late Middle Ages,
most modern scholars (even scholars of scholastic theology and philosophy)
have tended until very recently either to disparage or to completely overlook
the man and his achievement. Peter has been generally viewed as little more
than an uncreative compiler of ancient texts, rather than an innovative author
or an original thinker.2 Simply put, the Lombard’s purpose and method in this
work do not comport with the modern scholarly assumptions concerning
great thinkers and good books: in fact, they run contrary to them.3

*  I am most grateful for the following fellowships and grants which supported this research:
a Mellon Fellowship at the Pontifijical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto (academic
year 2010–11); a Fordham University Faculty Fellowship (academic year 2010–11); a Faculty
Research Grant from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham (2008–09); and
an Ames Grant for Junior Faculty from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham
(2007). I would also like to thank Michèle Mulchahey, Greti Dinkova-Bruun, Joseph Goering,
Philipp Rosemann, and an anonymous reviewer at Brill for their expert advice on earlier ver-
sions of this essay.
1  See Rosemann, Peter Lombard, 3.
2  See Colish, Peter Lombard, 1.4–11.
3  Giulio Silano explains: “We tend to like authors who self-assertively speak in the fijirst per-
son singular and who tell us with some degree of brazenness how original they are. If this
becomes what we require in the books we read, then what were regarded as the virtues of

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2015 | doi 10.1163/9789004283046_003

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 27

Lesley Smith has recently provided a much-needed corrective to our mod-

ern, anachronistic assumptions about and valuation of medieval literary pro-
duction. By looking at the collaborative context at Saint-Jacques in which
Hugh of Saint-Cher and his Dominican confreres produced the Postilla in
totam Bibliam, itself an updating of the Glossa ordinaria, Smith demonstrates
that “the way we have studied the thinkers and writings of the early schools
has done violence to a fuller understanding of what the participants them-
selves thought they were doing—and so to our historical picture of the time.”4
Particularly in the case of authorship, Smith notes, modern scholars have the
tendency to wear Romantic spectacles, employing the notion of the author—
whether it be of a text, a picture, a sculpture, or any other piece of creative
work—as an individual (and preferably tortured) genius. This perspective is
inimical to the medieval view of authorship, which was focused strongly on pur-
pose rather than on a sense of authorial originality or even creation for its own
sake.5 Indeed, as Alain Boureau has noted in a study of Hugh of Saint-Cher’s
Sentences commentary, the concern with originality, singularity, and individual
variation had virtually no place in the theological culture of the Middle Ages.6
Boureau estimates that eighty percent of the questions that constitute Hugh’s
Scriptum represent more or less literal rewritings of material from William of
Auxerre, Alexander of Hales, and other contemporaries.7 And it must be kept
in mind that the texts of Augustine constitute approximately ninety percent
of the Sentences themselves. Furthermore, Peter Lombard did not individually
peruse and uniquely excerpt from the late antique bishop’s writings; rather,
he mined the collections of his own contemporaries (most notably, Abelard’s
Sic et non and Gratian’s Decretum) in producing his compilation.8 It is surely
signifijicant that at several points throughout his work, Peter apologizes to the
reader if his own voice, his own opinion as distinct from that of the auctoritas

works like Peter’s . . . become vices” (Peter Lombard, The Sentences, Book 1: The Mystery of the
Trinity, trans. Giulio Silano [Toronto, 2007], xxx [hereafter: Sentences, trans. Silano, Book 1]).
4  Lesley Smith, “Hugh of St. Cher and Medieval Collaboration,” in Transforming Relations:
Essays on Jews and Christians throughout History in Honor of Michael A. Signer, ed. Franklin T.
Harkins (Notre Dame, Ind., 2010), 241–64, at 241.
5  See ibid., 255.
6  See Alain Boureau, “Hugues de Saint-Cher, commentateur des Sentences: le cas du sacre-
ment du mariage,” in Hugues de Saint-Cher († 1263), bibliste et théologien, ed. Louis-Jacques
Bataillon, O.P., Gilbert Dahan, and Pierre-Marie Gy, O.P. (Turnhout, 2004), 427–64, at 429.
7  See ibid., 429. See also Kilian F. Lynch, “Some Fontes of the Commentary of Hugh de Saint-
Cher: William of Auxerre, Guy d’Orchelles, Alexander of Hales,” Franciscan Studies 13 (1953):
8  See Sentences, trans. Silano, Book 1, xxvii.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
28 Harkins

at hand, rings out too loudly.9 In considering and evaluating Filiae magistri,
which may be described as a family of abbreviations of the Lombard’s abbre-
viation of his contemporaries’ abbreviations of Augustine, we will do well to
(try to) see it not through our usual modern scholarly spectacles, but rather
through the lens of prevailing medieval notions of expedient modes and pur-
poses of literary production.
Marcia Colish has argued that twelfth-century sentence collections aimed
at a twofold purpose, or at least actually had a twofold use in the scholastic
context.10 First, these texts sought to train their readers to think theologi-
cally, that is, how to appraise, analyze, and criticize the tradition of Christian
thought that had been handed down on a wide spectrum of topics and ques-
tions, and to use it to grapple with the theological problems of the day. Secondly,
sentence collections were used in the construction of a theological curriculum,
that is, they served as syllabi of pertinent topics treated in a particular order
and included (at least implicitly) a general rationale for their decisions concern-
ing what was to be included and in what order. “Once we take the trouble to
crack the hermeneutic code of the sentence collection and learn how to read it,”
Colish explains, “we will be able to see that the theologians who used this genre
were, indeed, advancing the state of theology in both substance and method
and were actually producing the century’s most innovative tool for the educa-
tion of professional theologians.”11 As we will see, in abridging and updating the
Sentences in the thirteenth through fijifteenth centuries, Filiae magistri further
advanced the state of theology in both substance and method.
Within approximately a decade of Peter Lombard’s having completed the
Sentences, scholastic masters such as Peter Comestor, Paganus of Corbeil, and
Pseudo-Peter of Poitiers began to compose glosses or commentaries on the
work.12 During the same period, others, such as a certain Master Bandinus,
began abbreviating the work in an efffort to make it more manageable for
their students.13 As time passed and masters found themselves increasingly
at a distance from Peter Lombard and his mid-twelfth-century intellectual

9  See, for example, prol. to Book i, no. 4 (Silano 1, 4); and Book i, dist. 26, chap. 3, no. 6
(Silano 1, 139).
10  See Marcia Colish, “The Sentence Collection and the Education of Professional Theologians
in the Twelfth Century,” in The Intellectual Climate of the Early University: Essays in Honor of
Otto Gründler, ed. Nancy Van Deusen (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1997), 1–26, at 2.
11  Ibid.
12  See Marcia L. Colish, “The Pseudo-Peter of Poitiers Gloss,” in Mediaeval Commentaries,
vol. 2, 1–33.
13  See Rosemann, Great Medieval Book, 27–51, who includes the gloss of Pseudo-Peter of
Poitiers among the early abbreviations.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 29

milieu, their abbreviations acquired a secondary purpose, namely, to update

the theology of the Sentences both conceptually and linguistically in light of
contemporary understanding. One such signifijicant “updated abbreviation,”
dating from the thirteenth century and attested in manuscript Manchester,
John Rylands University Library, Latin 203 (fols. 75r–256r; hereafter designated
as M), is known as Filia magistri, “the Daughter of the Master.” Despite its wide
use throughout the Middle Ages (its manuscript tradition extends well into
the fijifteenth century), Filia magistri has never been edited or printed.14 And,
to my knowledge, only one scholarly article has been devoted exclusively to
the work, namely, the brief note of Raymond Martin published in the Bulletin
of the John Rylands Library exactly a century ago.15 Here Martin summarily
describes a beautiful thirteenth-century manuscript that the John Rylands
Library acquired in February, 1913, from the collection of the British bibliophile
George Dunn of Woolley Hall near Maidenhead. Martin’s study of this manu-
script revealed that its principal text was the compendium of the Sentences
that in 1885 the Dominican scholar Henri Denifle had attributed to Hugh of
Saint-Cher.16 Although the work as preserved in M bears no title, Raymond
Martin gave it the title that is found in some of the manuscript witnesses iden-
tifijied by Denifle, Filia magistri.17
As we will see, more than thirty extant manuscripts attest to this work
and considerable textual fluidity exists among the manuscript witnesses, indi-
cating the circulation of multiple Filiae in the high and late Middle Ages rather
than the straightforward copying and transmission of a single text. Both because
M was the fijirst manuscript witness discovered and the one that has attracted
the most scholarly attention and because of particularly noteworthy features
of the text as attested here (e.g., what I will call “block notes,” that is, “magiste-
rial notes” that appear as blocks embedded in the body of the text rather than
in the margins), this manuscript will be the focus of our analysis. The pres-
ent essay aims to provide an introduction to the Filia magistri by considering:
(1) the scholarly status quaestionis; (2) the manuscripts and their high and
late medieval educational milieux; (3) the fluidity of the text as attested in
the manuscripts and our proposal that it is more accurate to speak of Filiae

14  See ibid., 33.

15  See Raymond M. Martin, O.P., “Filia Magistri. Un abregé des Sentences de Pierre Lombard.
Notes sur un manuscrit latin conservé à la bibliothèque John Rylands à Manchester,”
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 2 (1914–15): 370–9.
16  See ibid., 370–1.
17  See ibid. Other titles found in the manuscripts are Liber sententiarum abbreviatus and
Sententie abbreviate.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
30 Harkins

magistri than a single Filia; (4) the literary genre and putative pedagogical
purpose of this family of texts; and (5) the working method and theological
content of the Filia attested in M.

1 Status Quaestionis

One of the principal concerns of the earliest scholarship on the Filia was iden-
tifying the author of the work and the date of composition. Raymond Martin
rightly noted that the text of the abbreviation indicates dependence on the
Sentences commentary of the Dominican Hugh of Saint-Cher, who taught
theology at Paris from 1230 to 1235 and probably penned his commentary at the
very beginning of the 1230s.18 Despite literary dependence, however, Martin
declines to attribute the Filia to Hugh on account of two words that appear
in the prologue: “magisterial notes” (notas or notulas magistrales). The author
of the work, as we will see in greater detail below, maintains that he will
add some “magisterial notes” throughout his abbreviation of the Lombard’s
Sentences. Martin maintains that it would be “absurd” to suppose that in repro-
ducing his own comments Hugh would have been so pedantic as to describe
them as “magisterial.” It is far more likely, he argues, that one of Hugh’s stu-
dents would have both drawn from his master’s commentary and described
notes taken from it as “magisterial.”19 In dating the work, Martin sets the termi-
nus a quo at 1232, supposing that Hugh produced his commentary during the
period 1230–1232. He establishes the terminus ad quem at 1245 with the arrival
of Albert the Great in Paris. Observing that “the fame of his [i.e., Albert’s]
teaching necessarily eclipsed the glory of Hugh of Saint-Cher,” Martin seems
convinced that no student would have desired to abridge the Sentences based
on Hugh’s commentary with the new master in their midst.20 A pupil of Hugh,
then, must have produced the Filia sometime between 1232 and 1245.
Considering the question in 1934, Artur Landgraf remained unconvinced
by Martin’s arguments against Hugonian authorship, based on two diffferent
discoveries he had made in looking at the manuscripts. First, in ms. Munich,
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 21048 the text of the Filia opens thus (fol. 204r):

18  See ibid., 378. For a recent discussion of the dating of Hugh’s commentary, see Magdalena
Bieniak, “The Sentences Commentary of Hugh of St.-Cher,” in Mediaeval Commentaries,
vol. 2, 111–47, at 112–13.
19  Martin, “Filia Magistri,” 378. Martin states that he does not know which of Hugh’s students
might have produced the Filia.
20  Ibid., 378.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 31

Incipit prologus Hugonis Cardinalis super quatuor libros sententiarum.21

Although this manuscript dates to the fijifteenth century, Landgraf does not
question the authenticity of its authorial attribution. Secondly, Landgraf fijinds
evidence in a manuscript of Peter the Chanter’s Gloss on the Gospels (namely,
Paris, Bibliothèque mazarine, Cod. lat. 279, fol. 201v) that the phrase notas
magistrales is a technical term (rather than a personal pedanticism) that Hugh
very well may have used simply to designate himself as author as distinct from,
and in relation to, his students.22
Dissatisfijied with this scholarly stalemate, Heinrich Weisweiler sought in
1936 to defijinitely settle the question by “a more meticulous examination of the
abridgment.”23 By conducting a close comparison of the “magisterial notes”
and the commentary by Hugh of Saint-Cher, Weisweiler was the fijirst to notice
that the author of the Filia makes use of Hugh throughout. In fact, Weisweiler
located six passages where the notes explicitly mention Hugh by name, lead-
ing him to conclude that Hugh’s commentary is “the essential source” for the
Filia.24 And although the work also reveals dependence on the Summa aurea
of William of Auxerre, Weisweiler has little doubt that it is a product of the
circle of Hugh of Saint-Cher. Lastly, he also agrees fundamentally with Martin’s
dating of the Filia. Although he questions how Martin could date the terminus
ad quem so precisely at 1245, he concurs that the abridgment could not have
been produced much later than that because it contains none of the “nouvelle
théologie” that Albert introduced.25 Surely based on the pattern of manuscript
transmission, Weisweiler signifijicantly observes that the Filia served to promul-
gate the theology of the circle of Hugh of Saint-Cher well into the fijifteenth
century.26 The related reality that neither he nor the other twentieth-century
scholars working on the Filia seem to have noticed, however, is its rather high
degree of textual fluidity among the manuscripts, to which we will return

21  See Artur Landgraf, “Mitteilungen zum Sentenzenkommentar Hugos a S. Charo,” Zeit-
schrift für katholische Theologie 58 (1934): 391–400, at 391–2. In this manuscript Book ii
similarly begins: Incipit 2us liber Hugonis Cardinalis de creatione.
22  See ibid., 392–3.
23  H. Weisweiler, “Théologiens de l’entourage d’Hugues de Saint-Cher,” rtam 8 (1936): 389–
407, at 389–90.
24  Ibid., 390 and 406.
25  Ibid., 401–02.
26  See ibid., 406–07.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
32 Harkins

2 The Manuscripts and their Medieval Milieux

In his 1947 Repertorium of Sentences commentaries, Friedrich Stegmüller iden-

tifijied thirty-four manuscripts of the Filia, variously dating from the thirteenth
to the fijifteenth century, suggesting the work’s popularity well into the late
Middle Ages.27 Thirteen years earlier, Palémon Glorieux had identifijied nine-
teen manuscripts containing the Filia, only one of which would not be included
in Stegmüller’s list, namely, ms. Vatican City, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana,
lat. 1174.28 The catalog description of this thirteenth-century manuscript now
housed in the Vatican Library reveals that it does not, in fact, contain the Filia;
rather, its contents include the Summa theologica of Praepositinus of Cremona
(with anonymous glosses), brief excerpts from various works of Augustine, two
letters from Archbishop Hildebert of Tours, and—most importantly for our
purposes—Hugh of Saint-Cher’s commentary on Book iv of the Sentences.29
Glorieux’s inclusion of this manuscript among the witnesses to the Filia sug-
gests the view of some early scholars that the abridgment was the work of
Hugh, perhaps even a short form of his own commentary.30
My own research has uncovered what may be an additional manuscript
witness to the Filia that neither Glorieux nor Stegmüller records, namely,
ms. Prague, Nárondi knihovna České republiky, 784 (iv h 20), a manuscript of
Bohemian provenance produced around 1375–1425. Whereas Joseph Truhlář’s
description of this manuscript identifijies its opening text (fols. 1–103) as the
Conclusiones Sententiarum of the fourteenth-century Viennese theologian
Henry of Oyta, the incipit of this work is that of the Filia’s prologue.31 It may be,
as is the case with the variously divergent versions of the Filia attested in other
manuscripts, that Henry—for purposes of authorization—simply afffijixed the
Filia prologue to his own, more independent commentary on the Lombard’s
book. Only an examination of the manuscript will reveal whether it does, in
fact, witness to the Filia (perhaps offfering Henry’s abridged and updated ver-

27  Stegmüller, Repertorium, 1: 175–6.

28  See Palémon Glorieux, Répertoire des maîtres en théologie de Paris au xiiie siècle (Paris,
1933), 1: 50–1.
29  See Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae codices manu scripti, vol. 2, pt. 2: Codices Vaticani
latini, ed. M.-H. Laurent (Rome, 1958), 54–7. Cf. Barbara Faes de Mottoni, “Les manuscrits
du commentaire des Sentences d’Hugues de Saint-Cher,” in Hugues de Saint-Cher, ed.
Bataillon et al., 273–98, who lists this manuscript in her inventory (275, no. 13).
30  See Landgraf, “Mitteilungen,” 391, who quotes N. Paulus’s conviction, published in 1923,
that Hugh left a shorter and a longer commentary on the Sentences.
31  For a brief description, see Joseph Truhlář, Catalogus codicum manu scriptorum latinorum
qui in C.R. Bibliotheca Publica atque Universitatis Pragensis asservantur (Prague, 1905), 319,
no. 784.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 33

sion of the Lombard’s text), or whether it contains some sort of free-standing

The subsequent discussion will make reference to the following manuscript
witnesses to the Filia:

Bo Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, lat. 808 (1572), saec. 14.

Br Bruges, Openbare Bibliotheek, 80 (fols. 133–173), saec. 13.
C Cambridge, Trinity College Library, B.14.6 (292) (fols. 167r–247b), saec.
Ga Graz, Universitätsbibliothek, 361 (fols. 1r–57r), saec. 143–4.
Gb Graz, Universitätsbibliothek, 751 (fols. 85r–147v), saec. 151–2.
L Leipzig, Universitätsbibliothek, 152 (fols. 27–92), saec. 14.
La Laon, Bibliothèque municipale, 321, saec. 14.32
M Manchester, John Rylands University Library, Latin 203 (fols. 75r–256r),
saec. 133–4.33
N Nürnberg, Stadtbibliothek, Cent. iv 48 (fols. 1r–54v), 1479.
O Oxford, Bodleian Library, Canon. Pat. Lat. 208 (fols. 1r–54r), saec. 15.
Pa Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 3423 (fols. 1r–95v), saec. 15.
Pb Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 16412 (fols. 39r–109v), saec. 13.
Ra Prague, Národní knihovna České republiky, 784 (iv h 20) (fols. 1r–103v),
saec. 14ex–15in.
Rb Prague, Národní knihovna České republiky, 1546 (viii e 21) (fols. 1r–47v),
saec. 15.
Va Vorau, Stiftsbibliothek, 176 (fols. 1r–99v), saec. 141–2.
Vb Vorau, Stiftsbibliothek, 212 (fols. 1r–69r), saec. 133–4.
Wo Wolfenbüttel, Herzog-August-Bibliothek, 1275 (Helmst. 1167) (fols. 1v–81r),
saec. 13–14.
Wz Würzburg, Universitätsbibliothek, M. ch. q. 17 (fols. 2r–183r), saec. 153–4.

Although more work remains to be done with regard to the manuscripts, a few
noteworthy observations can be made at this preliminary stage. First, a num-
ber of the manuscripts were produced, used, and housed in various locales

32  Stegmüller incorrectly records the number of this manuscript as 231 rather than 321
(Repertorium, 1: 176).
33  In an unpublished catalog entry, Professor Neil Ker dated the text of the Filia found in M
to the second half of the thirteenth century, although he placed the fijive other texts in
this manuscript in the second half of the twelfth century. I am very grateful to Professor
Richard Sharpe of Oxford University, Professor Ker’s literary executor, for granting me
access to this description, and to Mr. John Hodgson of the John Rylands University Library
for his assistance in this regard.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
34 Harkins

throughout western Europe from the thirteenth through the fijifteenth centu-
ries, including the Cistercian abbey of St. Mary at Cambron in Belgium (M), the
Dominican convent in Nürnberg (N), the community of Augustinian Canons
Regular at Vorau in Austria (Va, Vb), the Parisian abbey of Saint-Victor (Pa, Pb),
the Premonstratensian abbey of Cuissy in Picardy (La), the Cistercian abbey
of Ebrach in Bavaria (Wz), and the Cistercian abbey of Neuberg in Austria
(Ga, Gb). Furthermore, explicits, marginal additions, and colophons indicate
that the Filia attracted a wide range of readers, from students and scholars of
theology and the arts, to Dominican preachers, to monks, to Canons Regular.
For example, a note in the bottom margin of fol. 1r of Va reads: Iste liber est
monasterii beate virginis marie sanctique Thome Apostoli Canonicorum regular-
ium in vorano.34 A colophon in the manuscript explains how it arrived at the
monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Thomas the Apostle in Vorau
around the middle of the fijifteenth century: “In the year of our Lord 1446, Lord
[Peter] Pranpekch, a layman in the church of Peham, gave this book to our
monastery [asking us] to pray faithfully to the Lord God for his own salvation.”35
A similar marginal note on the opening folio of Pa identifijies this manuscript
as belonging to the Parisian abbey of Saint-Victor.36 That the Victorine canons
made good use of the Filia in Pa, the manuscript’s only text, in the fijifteenth
century and beyond may be suggested by the two signatures—of “Vincent the
monk” and “Hubelot”—adorning the fijinal verso.37 The Cistercians of St. Mary
at Cambron claimed M as their own by noting at the bottom of fol. 1r, in what
appears to be a fourteenth-century hand, Liber sancte marie de Camberone,
and by inscribing the shortened de Camberone at the foot of many subsequent
The manuscripts clearly indicate that this abridgment of the Sentences, in
terms of interest and usage throughout the high and late Middle Ages, was far
more than simply a university “textbook.” In fact, the manuscript evidence sug-
gests that the Filia was not used for the professional training of the theological

34  Vb contains a nearly identical note at the bottom of fol. 2r.

35  “Hunc librum obtulit monasterio nostro dominus [Petrus] pranpekch plebanus in peham-
kirchen Anno domini Millesimo quadringentesimo quadragesimo sexto orate dominum
deum pro ipsius salute fijideliter” (quoted in Pius Fank, Catalogus Voraviensis seu codices
manuscripti bibliothecae canoniae in Vorau [Graz, 1936], 98, no. 176).
36  Pa, fol. 1r: “Iste liber est Sancti Victoris Parisiensis.”
37  On fol. 95v there appear in two diffferent hands: “Liber Vincentii monachi. Registrum. Deo
gratia. Amen” and, in a much larger script, “Hubelot.”
38  The following rectos carry “de Camberone” at their foot: 81, 85, 89, 93, 96, 99, 102, 106, 109,
114, 118, 122, 125, 130, 136, 140, 143, 146, 149, 153, 157, 160, 165, 170, 174, 177, 181, 185, 189, 194, 197,
201, 205, 208, 212, 215, 219, 223, 227, 230, 234, 238, 241, 245, 249, and 253.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 35

high-flyers at the medieval universities, but rather for the more basic educa-
tion and pastoral formation of friars, canons, and monks “on the ground” in
various religious houses and schools across Europe. Indeed, the Filia circulated
together with Latin and vernacular (sometimes bilingual) penitential manu-
als (L, R), treatises and sermons on the vices and virtues (M, R, Wo), collatio-
nes and homilies on various feast days (M, O, W), contemporary sacerdotal
letters concerning practical pastoral matters (O), bestiaries (M), exegeses of
and reflections on select scriptural passages (Br, L, M), treatises on the body
of Christ (O), short scholastic questions (quaestiunculae) on such fundamental
issues as “whether there is a mediator between God and man” and “whether
the blessed virgin, the mother of God, was sanctifijied in the womb before her
birth” (G), expositions of the Hail Mary (R), and poems on the Our Father
and the Apostles’ Creed (Vb). This pattern of textual transmission intimates
that the Filia was used by Canons Regular, mendicants, and other religious as
a tool for basic theological and moral instruction with an eye to such pastoral
duties as preaching and hearing confessions. Even when the Filia circulated
alone, paleographical evidence sometimes points to this pattern of use: the
Victorine manuscript Pa, for example, appears to have been the codex of a
certain “Vincent the monk,” who presumably understood the work contained
therein (whether he penned the inscription or not) as a summa theologica, an
enchiridion containing the fundamentals of the Church’s doctrinal tradition.
Likewise, in manuscript C, dated to the thirteenth or early fourteenth century,
the Filia circulated with a number of other short works, notes, and distinc-
tions on the arts and sciences, Scripture, and basic theological topics such as
the nature and existence of God, the soul and the virtues, and predestination.
Similarly, in Wo the Filia is followed, inter alia opera, by theological notes, ser-
mons on the Gospels, a treatise on contemplation, and a miscellaneous trac-
tatus with chapters on, for example, the articles of faith, justice and its utility,
obedience and its efffects, mercy, temptations, humility, and love. Finally, with
the order and concision characteristic of teaching and learning at the abbey of
Saint-Victor from the time of its foundation, the texts found in the thirteenth-
century Victorine manuscript Pb illustrate the basic contours of contemporary
religious education and pastoral formation, with its focus on Sacred Scripture
and the Lombard’s Sentences. The complete contents of Pb are as follows:
(1) de articulis fijidei, de vii petitionibus, de x preceptis, de vii sacramentis, de vii
virtutibus, de vii donis, de viii beatitudinis, de vii viciis; (2) Summa theologica,
iv libris [i.e., Filia magistri]; (3) Summa questionum sacre scripture; and (4) De
sacra scriptura. This collection of texts reflects the pedagogical perspective
of Hugh of Saint-Victor, that the twofold aim of sacred reading is to instruct
the mind with knowledge and adorn it with morals, and that the student of

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
36 Harkins

theology should never look down upon what seem to be the simplest and least
important things.39
That manuscripts of the Filia were housed in the Cistercian abbey of
St. Mary at Cambron in Belgium (M), the Dominican convent in Nürnberg
(N), the community of Augustinian Canons Regular at Vorau in Austria (Va,
Vb), the Parisian abbey of Saint-Victor (Pa, Pb), the Premonstratensian abbey
of Cuissy in Picardy (La), the Cistercian abbey of Ebrach in Bavaria (Wz), and
the Cistercian abbey of Neuberg in Austria (Ga, Gb) further suggests the practi-
cal purposes and pastoral uses to which various religious orders and particular
communities throughout Europe put this abbreviation—purposes and uses
for which, indeed, the members of these orders likely even produced versions
of it.40 It is also worthy of note in this regard that the Filia does not appear,
so far as I can tell, to have been part of the pecia system at the University of
Paris. I have identifijied no pecia marks in any of the manuscripts that I have
consulted,41 and the Filia is absent from both of the stationers’ taxation lists of
theological and philosophical texts at Paris that have come down to us. The fijirst
list, dated between 1272 and 1276 and containing 177 distinct works, includes an
exemplar of the Sentences as well as the full commentaries of Thomas Aquinas
and Peter of Tarentaise on the Lombard’s book. The second list, that of the
stationer André de Sens—which bears the date 25 February 1304, and contains
156 diffferent items—includes Aquinas’s Scriptum on Books ii–iv, the com-
mentary on Book i of the Augustinian Giles of Rome, and the full commen-
tary of the Franciscan Richard of Mediavilla.42 In light of the presence of these

39  See Hugh of Saint-Victor, Didascalicon de studio legendi v.6 and vi.3, ed. Charles Henry
Buttimer (Washington, D.C., 1939), 104–05 and 113–17 (trans. Franklin T. Harkins, in
Interpretation of Scripture: Theory, ed. Franklin T. Harkins and Frans van Liere [Turnhout,
2012], 157 and 164–7).
40  On the fundamental practical and pastoral thrust of Dominican education in the Middle
Ages, see M. Michèle Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study . . .”: Dominican Education
before 1350 (Toronto, 1998), esp. 130–218.
41  To date I have consulted nine manuscripts, namely, B, C, Gb, M, O, Pa, Pb, Va, and Vb.
42  See Chartularium Universitatis Parisiensis, ed. Henri Denifle and Émile Chatelain, 4 vols.
(Paris: Ex typis fratrum Delalain, 1889–1897), 1: 644–50 (no. 530) and 2: 107–12 (no. 642).
In arriving at the item counts given here for these taxation lists, I have considered a col-
lection of letters and sermons only one item; similarly, a Sentences commentary, whether
partial or complete, has been counted only once. See also Louis Jacques Bataillon, “Les
textes théologiques et philosophiques difffusés a Paris par exemplar et pecia,” in La produc-
tion du livre universitaire au moyen âge: exemplar et pecia, Actes du symposium tenu au
Collegio San Bonaventura de Grottaferrata en mai 1983, ed. Louis J. Bataillon, Bertrand G.
Guyot, and Richard H. Rouse (Paris, 1988), 155–63.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 37

Sentences-related texts on the Parisian taxation lists and given the centrality of
the Lombard’s book to theological training at the university, the absence of the
Filia seems particularly conspicuous. It points to the intriguing and very real
possibility that precisely during the period when the Lombard’s book assumed
and enjoyed a central place in the training of theologians at Paris, the princi-
pal context and purpose of this abbreviation of the Sentences lay outside the
A brief look at the role and nature of lecturing on the Sentences in the con-
ventual schools of the Dominican order in the high Middle Ages will suggest
one context in which the Filia—or, more properly, Filiae—may well have been
produced and used for basic theological education and pastoral formation
“on the ground.”43 Against some modern scholarship maintaining that lectures
on Scripture and the Sentences would have proven too sophisticated and dif-
fijicult for Dominicans just beginning their theological studies in the conventual
scholae, meetings of the order’s general chapter in the thirteenth and four-
teenth centuries promulgated documents strongly encouraging precisely such
students to attend lectures on both texts.44 The general chapter of 1271, for
example, admonished students to “exercise themselves diligently in the study
of theology by carefully listening to ordinary lectures [on Scripture] and on the
Sentences.”45 In 1300, the general chapter urged lectors to read the Lombard’s
“entire text as a whole” (totus textus legatur integre), and warned students
that if they should miss class while the lector is reading this text they would
be punished severely.46 Michèle Mulchahey interprets the chapter’s phrase
totus textus legatur integre as mandating that the lector read all four books of
the Sentences, rather than only one or two of its books, not that he provide a
detailed lecture on each distinction in the Lombard.47 That this was, in fact, the
chapter’s intention is supported by: (1) the fact that some conventual schools,

43  For an overview of early Dominican education in the order’s scholae and studia, see chap-
ters 3–5 of Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” on which the following discussion
depends. Our focus will be on the fijirst level of the order’s educational system, that of the
conventual schola.
44  See, for example, Angelus Walz, “S. Raymundi de Penyafort auctoritas in re penitentiali,”
Angelicum 12 (1935): 346–96, who claims that lectures in the scholae were limited to prac-
tical, as opposed to doctrinal, theology.
45  My translation; for the Latin, see Acta capitulorum generalium ordinis Praedicatorum,
vol. 1: ab anno 1120 usque ad annum 1303, ed. B.M. Reichert (Rome, 1898), 159–60; and
Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 135 n. 14.
46  Acta capitulorum generalium ordinis Praedicatorum, 1: 297; cf. Mulchahey, “First the Bow is
Bent in Study,” 136 n. 18.
47  See Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 135.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
38 Harkins

instead of having two lectors (one on Scripture, the other on the Sentences),
used a cursor Sententiarum to provide an annual introduction to the Lombard
alongside the lector principalis, who offfered ordinary lectures on Scripture; and
(2) the description of the Dominican lector found in the Instructiones de offfijiciis
ordinis of Humbert of Romans. Humbert makes clear that a good lector will
“conform himself to the capacity of his hearers” and “lecture with ease and
clarity on things that are useful and expedient for them.”48 The lector should
remain close to his text, avoiding unnecessary tangents. He should be careful
not to subdivide his text superfluously, and not to offfer too many arguments in
support of each of his points, as such practices will surely confuse listeners.
In short, he should not wander far from what is contained in the expositions of
the saints and the authoritative glosses.49
Our subsequent treatment of the method of the Filia as attested in M will
hone in on features of this updated abridgment of the Sentences that would
have made it an ideal pedagogical tool in conventual schools and other reli-
gious educational contexts in the high and late Middle Ages. Here let us simply
note that, in line with the Dominican general chapter’s admonitions to lec-
tors and the order’s pedagogical practice, the Filia provides an abbreviation of
all four of the Lombard’s books that a conventual lector or cursor could have
easily covered in one year. It seems signifijicant in this regard that manuscript
Vb, which was surely used by the Augustinian canons at Vorau, contains this
note at the bottom of the recto of its flyleaf: In hoc volumine continetur tex-
tus quatuor librorum magistri sententiarum. Interestingly, the scribe does not
call the text contained here a compendium or an abbreviatio, as the pro-
logue to the text itself does; rather, he describes the Filia simply as “the text
of the four books of Sentences of the Master,” suggesting that this was likely
the only format in which he and his fellow canons heard, read, and learned the
Lombard’s great book.50 As we will see in greater detail below, this abridged
format also comports well with the requirements of the lector and his teaching
in religious houses set forth by Humbert of Romans, presenting the Sentences

48  Instructiones de offfijiciis ordinis, chap. 11.1 (my translation of the Latin found in Mulchahey,
“First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 137 n. 21).
49  See Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 137–8.
50  It also makes sense that the scribe of Vb would not call the Filia a compendium, as the
text’s prologue does, because the prologue is missing from the manuscript as it has come
down to us, and may also have been lost from the manuscript in the fijifteenth century
when this note seems to have been written. The text as it is currently found in Vb begins
abruptly in the middle of dist. 2 (fol. 2r). It is worthy of note, however, that manuscript Va,
which was also at the monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Thomas the Apostle
in Vorau and may have been read by the scribe of Vb, does carry the text’s prologue.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 39

in a simpler and more accessible way to newcomers to the theological science.

In short, the Filia seems to have been the means whereby religious-in-training
“on the ground” gained access, albeit in a more rudimentary way, to the same
text of the Lombard which more advanced students heard lectures on and read
at higher-level studia and the universities. The diffference was in the mode of
teaching and learning, not in the essential content of what was learned.51
Among the manuscripts for which I have located catalogue descriptions, N,
in particular, presents some intriguing questions concerning the production
and use of the Filia or, more properly, Filiae. The abbreviation of the Sentences
found here (whose prologue, division of books, and incipits are identical with
other Filia manuscripts) is attributed to a certain Henricus de Frimaria, presum-
ably prior provincial of the Augustinian Hermits in Thuringia and Saxony, who
lectured on the Sentences at the University of Paris in 1300 and became master
of theology there in 1308.52 The historical picture is complicated, however,
by the fact that during the period 1265–1384 there lived three scholars known
as Henry of Frimaria (referred to in the scholarship simply as “Henry the Elder,”
“Henry the Younger,” and “Henry the Youngest”), one of whom appears to have
made additions to excerpts of at least Book iv of the Sentences.53 The colophon
of N muddies the water further in its suggestion that the compendium in this
codex was produced or written “in Halle, a city in Saxony under the venerable
master of the arts Leo [or Leon] of Mening from France in the year of Our
Lord 1479 by his student John of Novoforo, who is 17 years old.”54 So who actu-
ally produced the abridgment, where, and why? Was Henry (whichever one)
responsible for creating an abridgment that Leo then summarized further? If
so, why was Leo, a “master of the arts,” studying the Sentences or an abridgment
thereof? Does “master of the arts” here indicate that Leo was a member of an
arts faculty, or simply that this was the highest degree he had earned? Does the
fact that he had a pupil, John, suggest the former? And why was John copying

51  See Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 137–40.

52  See Clemens Stroick, O.M.I., Heinrich von Friemar. Leben, Werke, philosophisch-theolo-
gische Stellung in der Scholastik (Freiburg, 1954), esp. 12–20 for a biographical chronology
of three diffferent scholars with the name Henricus de Frimaria.
53  See ibid., 12 and 31–3. For an edition of three of the works of Henry the Elder, see Henrici
de Frimaria O.S.A. tractatus ascetico-mystici, vol. 1, ed. Adolar Zumkeller (Würzburg, 1975).
54  See Karin Schneider, Die Handschriften der Stadtbibliothek Nürnberg, vol. 2: Die latein-
ischen mittelalterlichen Handschriften, Part 1: Die theologische Handschriften (Wiesbaden,
1967), 270, who records the colophon thus: “Finiunt excerpta libri sentenciarum com-
pendiosa in Hallis civitate Saxonie sub venerabili magistro arcium Leone de Mening
francone anno domini 1479 per Johannem de Novoforo scholarem anno etatis sue 17mo
completo. . . .”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
40 Harkins

the Filia? Was this for him a study text, a reportatio of his master’s lecture, or
was his copying it simply some sort of punishment imposed by his master?
Manuscript Bo seems to corroborate the view that Henry (whichever one) did,
in fact, produce a version of the Filia. Did Henry’s lectures on the Sentences,
and perhaps even his magisterial abridgment of them, give rise to other abridg-
ments among his students?
If so, our current scholarly “evolutionary” model of Sentences commentating
and Sentences literature needs to be revised. Scholars still tend to assume—as
Martin, Landgraf, and Weisweiler did early last century—that once Albert and
Thomas arrived at Paris and began producing what we now think of as “full-
blown” Sentences commentaries, the glossing and abridging of the Lombard’s
text was forever eclipsed. To be sure, such high scholastic masters-in-training
did break new ground in the burgeoning tradition of commenting on the
Sentences; but it seems to me, based on preliminary analyses of the Filia’s
“magisterial notes,” that this diffference was fijirst and foremost formal. That
is, around the middle of the thirteenth century, commentaries began to pose
quaestiones that were related to and grew out of the Lombard’s excerpts, but
that no longer shared parchment space with these excerpts. Such self-standing
Sentences commentaries were able to pose many more questions than their
annotated-abridgment counterparts, to arrange these questions systematically
according to logics other than that determined by the particular order of the
Lombard’s discussion, and to answer them much more thoroughly.55 But sub-
stantially many of the basic questions taken up by Albert, Thomas, and other
theologians after them—and even the philosophical terminology and catego-
ries that they use to answer these questions—are found in the Filia, as we will
see below. For now let us simply note the signifijicance of the historical fact
that copies of the Filia continued to be produced throughout the thirteenth,
fourteenth, and fijifteenth centuries, clear evidence that medieval scholars and
religious saw Peter Lombard’s book quite diffferently than have their modern

55  Noteworthy here is Stephen Langton’s Sentences commentary, which represents an inter-
mediate stage of sorts in this structural evolution. Produced sometime between 1197
and 1206/1207, Langton’s commentary is what Landgraf described as a “catchword gloss”
(Stichwortglosse), that is, one structured according to lemmas in the Lombard’s text but
not containing this text in full, wherein Langton often comments in the form of quaestio-
nes (see Riccardo Quinto, “Stephen Langton,” in Mediaeval Commentaries, vol. 2, 35–77, at
56  Marcia Colish makes a similar point in her study of the Pseudo-Peter of Poitiers gloss,
about which she concludes: “Altogether, the message conveyed by the gloss and its
later fortunes is that there remained a market for an older, less adventurous, and more
conservative approach to scholastic theology well into the thirteenth century and

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 41

3 Textual Fluidity and Filiae magistri

Another noteworthy feature of the Filia is the fluidity of the text found in the
manuscripts, a feature that hitherto has not attracted scholarly attention. Here
I will sketch a few of the broad patterns of textual divergence among manu-
scripts C, M, and O in an efffort to provide a basic sense of this fluidity. The text
of C is substantially diffferent from that of M, whereas O is generally closer to
M. Neither C nor O tends to contain the same block notes (i.e., “magisterial
notes” appearing as a block embedded in the body of the text rather than in
the margins) and interlinear glosses found in M. Sometimes, however, M and
C have block notes in common.57 O has no block notes at all and far fewer
interlinear glosses than M; and the interlinear glosses found in O are not found
in M. Furthermore, immediately following the prologue and division of books,
the text of C diverges noticeably from that of M (and O). The following table
compares the opening lines of Book i, dist. 1 in M and C.58 Here and subse-
quently I enclose interlinear glosses in M in angle brackets.
In describing the signs and things treated in Scripture, the author or scribe
of C not only quotes Augustine’s De doctrina i.2.2 at greater length than M, but
also (following the Lombard) further distinguishes between signs that merely
signify and those that both signify and justify. The author of C undoubtedly
knew that this distinction, exemplifijied by the sacraments of the Old Law and
those of the New Law, respectively, is central to Book iv, and he seems to have
wanted to highlight it for his reader at this initial stage of his work. As the author
of C continues his abridgment, his excerpts and emphases remain diffferent
from those of M. Still in distinction 1, for example, whereas the author of M’s
emphasis is on defijining frui and uti (he only provides brief examples in mar-
ginal glosses), C omits the defijinitions altogether, simply offfering Augustine’s
examples of things to be enjoyed and used.59 Here we see M’s and C’s divergent
approaches to abbreviating Peter Lombard, whose own text defijines frui and uti
before providing examples of things to be loved in each way.60

beyond, even as this subject underwent major changes both generic and methodological,
and even as new philosophical and scientifijic materials enriched the curriculum” (Colish,
“The Pseudo-Peter of Poitiers Gloss,” 33).
57  As, for example, in M, fol. 79v, and C, fol. 169r.
58  In addition to variations in textual content, M and C have diffferent orthographic conven-
tions, which are reflected in the following table. The edited text of M that appears here
and subsequently throughout this essay is diplomatic, reproducing this particular manu-
script’s orthography.
59  See M, fol. 76v; C, fol. 167r.
60  Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book i, dist. 1, chap. 2, nos. 3–4 (1: 56–7).

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
42 Harkins

ms. M (fols. 75v–76r) ms. C (fol. 167r)

Ueteris ac noue legis continentiam Ueteris ac noue legis continenciam

considerantibus nobis innotuit sacre considerantibus nobis innotuit sacre
pagine tractatum, circa res uel signa pagine tractatum, circa res uel signa
<id est essentias et sacramenta> precipue versari. Vt enim ait augustinus
precipue uersari. Ut enim ait de doctrina Christiana: “Omnis doctrina
augustinus <in doctrina Christiana>: uel rerum est uel singnorum [sic]. sed
“Omnis doctrina uel rerum est uel res etiam per signa discuntur. proprie
signorum. Omne etiam signum res autem hic res appellantur quae non ad
aliqua est.” Quod enim nulla res est, singifijicandum [sic] aliquid adhibentur;
ut ait augustinus, omnino nihil est. signa vero quorum usus est in singifijicando
“Primum de rebus, postea de signis [sic].” Signorum aliqua sunt quorum
disseremus.” vsus omnis est in signifijicando non in
iustifijicando, ut sunt sacramenta legalia.
Alia quae non solum singifijicant [sic],
sed conferunt quod intus adiuuet sicut
euangelica sacramenta. “Omne igitur
signum res aliqua est; non autem e
converso,” quia non adhibetur ad
signifijicandum aliquid.

In distinction 4 of Book i, C again has material from the Lombard that M

does not include. Here the Lombard treats the threeness and oneness of God,
attempting to reconcile the two. In both M and O, distinction 4 consists of a
brief discussion of the opinion of some thinkers (“adversaries of the truth”)
according to which the three persons are one divine essence but the one God is
not three persons.61 C, on the other hand, does not include this discussion, but
rather includes only an earlier portion of distinction 4 as found in the critical
edition of the Sentences, namely, a treatment of the question of whether it is
to be conceded that God generates Himself.62 This, after all, is the more basic
question, which Peter Lombard himself describes as satis necessaria.63 C fol-
lows the Lombard’s text closely before reaching the same general conclusion to
which M and O come by a diffferent route, namely, that “it must be held that the
one God is a Trinity, and that one substance is three Persons. Now conversely

61  M, fol. 79r; O, fol. 2r.

62  See C, fols. 168v–169r, and Sentences, Book i, dist. 4, chap. 1, nos. 1–2 (1: 77–8).
63  Sentences, Book i, dist. 4, chap. 1, no. 1 (1: 77).

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 43

the Trinity is said to be one God.”64 Aside from the content of this conclusion, C
and M share only one short “magisterial note” explaining how the gender end-
ings of adjectives predicated of God variously describe a person or the divine
essence.65 Whereas C and M seem to diverge mainly in their modes of abbrevi-
ating the Lombard (and hence in the material that constitutes their base texts),
what marks offf O from M, at least in the initial distinctions of Book i, are their
notes. While the abbreviated texts found in the two manuscripts is very similar,
O appears to share none of the interlinear or block notes found in M.
This brief, preliminary comparison of M, C, and O points to a considerable
degree of textual fluidity among manuscripts witnessing to the Filia. Such flu-
idity suggests that a noteworthy demand for abbreviations of the Sentences
existed throughout western Europe in the high and late Middle Ages, and that
diffferent masters, lectors, and students at diffferent times and places abbrevi-
ated and annotated the Lombard’s text diffferently. We might well imagine, for
example, a mid-fourteenth-century Dominican conventual lector or cursor
Sententiarum lecturing from his copy of the Lombard’s book, perhaps anno-
tated with more recent magisterial opinions—like those of Thomas Aquinas—
on various distinctions. We know, after all, that in 1313 the general chapter of
the Dominican order formally introduced Aquinas into the conventual cur-
riculum by instructing its lectors to expound the Sentences according to the
mind of Brother Thomas.66 In the Roman province, and surely elsewhere as
well, the Dominican fratres communes were required to bring their own copies
of the Sentences to the lectures.67 Although it was used among the Augustinian
canons at Vorau and not among the Dominicans, manuscript Vb, whose flyleaf
note we mentioned above, suggests that the copies of the Lombard that begin-
ning students in their religious houses brought to class were highly abridged
versions, much like the base text of the Filia found in our manuscripts. As the
student listened to simple, straightforward lectures on the Sentences, he likely
jotted down in the margins and between the lines of his base text explana-
tions of particular theological points and noteworthy comments made by the
lector. Manuscript Vb, on numerous folios of which we fijind a base text written

64  C, fol. 169r: “Item tenendum est quod unus deus est trinitas, et vna substantia tres per-
sone. Nunc e converso trinitas dicitur esse vnus deus.”
65  See M, fol. 79v, and C, fol. 169r.
66  See Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 141 and 155 n. 76. This decision followed
from the 1286 determination of the capitular fathers at Paris, in the wake of the condem-
nation of March 7, 1277, to the efffect that every Dominican—whether master, bachelor,
lector, or friar—was to promote the teachings of Aquinas (James A. Weisheipl, O.P., Friar
Thomas d’Aquino: His Life, Thought, and Works [Oxford, 1974], 342–3).
67  See Mulchahey, “First the Bow is Bent in Study,” 136.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
44 Harkins

in a thirteenth-century Gothic book script surrounded by marginal notes in

a fijifteenth-century cursive script, may be the product of just such an educa-
tional process at the Augustinian house at Vorau.68 Those manuscripts, like M,
where the “magisterial notes” (understood to be notes conveying contempo-
rary authoritative opinions rather than the lecturing master’s own opinions)
are fully integrated into the page layout and—together with the interlinear
notes—are written in the same hand as the base text, are explainable as prod-
ucts of this teaching and learning process at a later stage. That is, we might
imagine a student somehow inheriting a manuscript like Vb and producing his
own copy in which, for the sake of utility and order, he more fully integrates
the former student’s marginal notes with the base text, while maintaining the
visual distinction between the two. Or a text such as that found in M, consid-
ering the obvious care taken in its production, may be the lector’s or cursor’s
clean lecture copy, which he himself produced from his own earlier copies on
which he had added notations even as he lectured. Whatever the exact circum-
stances of production, we can easily imagine the use of the Lombard’s book
by lectors and students in the schools of religious houses across Europe giving
rise to myriad, divergent iterations of abbreviated and glossed Sentences texts.
The handful of scholars who have studied the Filia have assumed that the
various manuscripts witness to a single text, in no small part because Stegmüller
identifijied this text in the manuscripts according to the incipits (particularly
that of the prologue). And interestingly, most if not all of the manuscripts he
lists do have the same prologue; this is certainly the case with nearly all of
the manuscripts that I have consulted. That these otherwise often divergent
texts share the same prologue intimates some literary relationship among the
manuscripts; but how is it to be explained? Did a particularly early or impor-
tant abridgment contain this prologue with which, as an authorizing strategy,
subsequent abbreviators prefaced their own versions? Can it be that until late
in the fijifteenth century teachers and students were at work producing new and
diffferent annotated abbreviations of the Sentences rather than simply copying
and using one or a few that were produced in the thirteenth century? Both the
manuscript evidence and the religious educational contexts that we have sug-
gested as having given rise to these texts strongly suggest so. It is surely more
proper and accurate, then, to speak of Filiae magistri, “Daughters of the Master,”
rather than a single Filia magistri. That the diffferent “daughters” manifest such

68  See, for example, Vb, fols. 37v–38r, where a fijifteenth-century scribe has added many mar-
ginal annotations to the base text of Book iii, dist. 15–19, which treat such salient theo-
logical topics as which human defects Christ assumed, the will of Christ, the merit of
Christ, and the liberation of the human race.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 45

variation, both in their base texts and their “magisterial notes,” highlights what
a popular, living, and malleable tool of teaching and learning the Lombard’s
book was in religious houses and schools across medieval Europe. Diffferent
teachers lectured on diffferent parts of the Sentences and introduced difffer-
ent supplemental authorities and arguments in diffferent ways given their par-
ticular educational purposes, theological interests, formational goals, and time
constraints. And diffferent students heard these diffferent lectures diffferently
and annotated their texts diffferently based on their own theological knowl-
edge and interest, intellectual sophistication, spiritual maturity, formational
needs, and pastoral goals.
Let us now turn from the variegated reality of religious education and of
updated abridgments of the Sentences to a consideration of the literary genre
and general purpose (if we are able to speak generally of a single purpose) of
these Filiae magistri. For the sake of consistency and clarity, I will most often
follow the scholarly convention of speaking of the Filia (in the singular); it
must be understood, though, that by Filia I intend a family of more or less tex-
tually divergent abbreviations of the Sentences.

4 Literary Genre and Pedagogical Purpose

In terms of genre, the Filia is what I have called an “updated abbreviation” of

the Sentences. In his article on manuscript M, Raymond Martin offfers a cur-
sory classifijication of the various types of abbreviations of Peter Lombard’s
work.69 In general, they are divided into versifijied and prose formats. Among
prose abbreviations, some are of only one or two of the Lombard’s books;
most of them, however, provide summaries of the work as a whole. The Filia is
of this “complete” prose variety. I use “complete” loosely in this context because
the work is, in fact, an abbreviation: what this means, of course, is not only
that material within a particular unit—book, chapter, distinction—of the
Lombard’s text is summarized, but also that some units are omitted altogether
from the abbreviation, as we have seen in our manuscript comparison. For
example, the author of M has simply passed over approximately ten percent of
the distinctions in Books i and iii. And he devotes widely varying degrees
of attention to diffferent theological themes. One may be surprised to fijind, for
example, that the abbreviation of the Augustinian uti-frui distinction at the
outset of Book i fijills three and a half folios, whereas distinction 11 of Book iii—

69  See Martin, “Filia Magistri,” 373–4; cf. Rosemann, Great Medieval Book, 27–8.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
46 Harkins

which treats the crucial but thorny question of whether Christ ought to be
called “made” and “created”—is reduced to seven short lines.70
Martin divides what I have called “complete” prose abbreviations into
“simple summaries” and “mixed summaries.”71 Simple summaries are those
in which the abbreviator adds nothing to the words of the Lombard, whether
explanatory notes of his own or texts of other authors. In mixed summaries, by
contrast, the abbreviator inserts certain opinions of which the Lombard did
not make mention. Often these additional opinions represent contemporary
updates to the Sentences. Furthermore, sometimes these additional opinions
are embedded in the abbreviated text itself at the appropriate places; that
is, the master or the scribe gives the reader no formal signal indicating extra
material. At other times, however, the manuscripts set offf this extra material
by means of page layout. They do so in two ways, namely, by means of inter-
linear glosses and through “magisterial notes” that appear in block format. In
M, both interlinear glosses and block notes are written in a script smaller than
that used for the main abbreviated text of the Sentences, and block notes are
embedded in the body of the text itself rather than in the margins (see fijigs. 1
and 2). In C, although the script of “magisterial notes” is about the same size as
that of the main text, the scribe has tightened their line-spacing and (usually)
enclosed them within visible margins.
The author of the Filia in M describes the purpose of his notulae magistrales,
and of his abbreviation more generally, in the opening lines of the prologue:

Since, just like the four rivers of paradise [Gen. 2:10–14], the books of
Sentences water the garden of the Church copiously, it is expedient,
doubtless for the sake of those who rejoice in brevity, that the abundant
flow of those [books] be restrained by a compendium. Through a com-
pendium, the mother of disgust, prolixity of words, might be avoided, yet
the order and contents of the books might somehow be made known to
those who are unfamiliar with them. Therefore, in undertaking the fol-
lowing work in the name of Jesus Christ, I will add some magisterial notes
so that the excerpts might shine forth more clearly.72

70  See M, fols. 75v–77r and 172r–v. In Brady’s edition of the Sentences, Book i, dist. 1 and
Book iii, dist. 11 are of comparable length, running to six and four pages, respectively.
71  Martin, “Filia Magistri,” 374–5.
72  M, fol. 75r: “Quoniam uelut quatuor paradisi flumina libri sententiarum ortum irrigant
ecclesie copiose, nimirium propter eos qui breuitate gaudent, expedit ut illorum difffu-
sio compendio temperetur, per quod euitetur mater fastidii prolixitas dictorum tamen
ordo librorum et continentia nescientibus aliqualiter innotescat. Igitur opus subsequens

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 47

The vivid image of the Sentences here is that of a powerful irrigation system
or water hose whose vigor must be held in check. Through his compendium,
the abbreviator seeks to moderate the flow of the wisdom contained in the
Sentences for those who not only rejoice in brevity but also are unacquainted
with the Lombard’s book, most certainly beginners in the study of theology
(whether in the religious schools or elsewhere). His words indicate that he is
most concerned to convey to his readers the order of books and essential points
or basic arguments (ordo librorum et contenentia) found in the Sentences. So
that the nescientes might not be waterlogged by, even drown in, the copious
excerpts Peter Lombard has gathered for the purpose of refreshing and nour-
ishing the Church, the author or producer of the Filia has added “magisterial
notes” throughout in an attempt to highlight and further elucidate certain fea-
tures of the Sentences in light of contemporary thought.
The author’s language here seems signifijicant, particularly in light of our
foregoing discussion of medieval authorship and purpose: “I will add some
magisterial notes so that the excerpts might shine forth more clearly.”73
Notice that he does not say, “I will add my own thoughts or opinions on select
topics”; that is, he makes no claims to originality on his own part with regard to
these notes, nor does he even generally identify their sources in the vast major-
ity of cases. Furthermore, the purpose of these notes is not to shed light on the
teachings of Peter Lombard, but rather to underscore and explain what both
the Lombard and he have received, namely, excerpts from ancient authorities
on the gamut of theological topics. It may be said, then, that the author under-
stands his purpose—in good Lombardian methodological fashion—as eluci-
dating and updating the theological tradition, while drawing as little attention
to himself and his own views as possible. He appears profoundly aware that it
is the Sentences, that is, the authoritative statements themselves, that do and
should continue to abundantly refresh the garden of the Church.
It is surely also signifijicant in this regard that—assuming our proposal that
diffferent teachers or students produced diffferent annotated abbreviations of
the Sentences reflects the historical reality—nearly all of these teachers or
students seem to have taken the prologue unchanged for their own use. That
is, they did not attempt to preface their particular abridgments with an origi-
nal and creative preface of their own. Furthermore, one of the distinguishing
marks of O is that throughout the abridgment the author appears not even to

aggrediens in nomine Iesu Christi, notulas magistrales apponam aliquas, ut exce[r]pta

clarius elucescant.”
73  M, fol. 75r: “Igitur opus subsequens aggrediens in nomine Iesu Christi, notulas magistrales
apponam aliquas, ut exe[r]pta clarius elucescant.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
48 Harkins

attribute the patristic and early medieval excerpts of which he makes use, as M
does most often in interlinear glosses and C usually does within parentheses in
the body of the text itself. Does the author or scribe of O, by the time he is writ-
ing in the late fijifteenth century, simply assume that every reader would know
that the vast majority of excerpts in the Sentences are from Augustine and that
the exact work and book from which they come are not necessary to specify
or even for his readers to know? Or is it part of his pedagogical plan—even his
own way of thinking as a scholar and author—to deemphasize authorship and
attribution so that his students and other potential readers might focus instead
on the theological content being conveyed?
Finally, let us turn to the working method and theological content of the
Filia magistri as attested in M.

5 Method and Theological Content

When considering the working method of the master or student who pro-
duced the Filia that we have preserved in M, we might profijitably distinguish
between his method as an abbreviator and glossator, on the one hand, and as
a theologian, on the other. The two are not separate modes of work, of course,
and our larger purpose here will be to shed further light on exactly what the
Filia is and what its general medieval purpose (again, if we can narrow it to
one) might have been. Let us turn, fijirst, then to the author’s work as abbrevia-
tor and glossator.

5.1 Modes of Abbreviation and Glossing

The fijirst observation to be made concerns simply the extent to which the
author of our Filia abbreviates his source text. The entire Filia—including
the abridged text, magisterial notes in block format, and interlinear glosses—
is only about one tenth the length of the Lombard’s four books of Sentences.
Whereas Ignatius Brady’s critical edition of the Sentences runs to over 1,000
printed pages, my complete transcription of the Filia as attested in M will
probably occupy slightly more than 100 single-spaced pages. In fact, Brady’s
Book i comprises 272 published pages, whereas my transcription of the open-
ing book of the Filia is about 25 single-spaced pages long. The complete text of
the Filia occupies 181 folios in ms. M, whose small pages contain a single col-
umn of 17 lines with very generous margins. As two points of comparison, the
thirteenth-century ms. Vb records the entire Filia on 69 larger single-column
folios of 25 lines each, and the text fijills only 54 single-column folios of 32 lines
each in the fijifteenth-century ms. O. Admittedly, the text as found in Vb and O

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 49

contains fewer and briefer magisterial notes than does M and, in fact, no mar-
ginal notes at all, but the Filia rarely occupies more than one hundred folios in
any of its manuscripts. By contrast, nearly all of the twelve manuscripts that
served as the basis for Brady’s edition of the Sentences preserve this text on
between 150 and 250 larger bi-columnar folios, with one manuscript running
to 382 folios!74
Given that his work abridges his source text so radically, it should come as
no surprise that the author of our Filia abbreviates the Sentences selectively;
that is, he does not offfer a concise version of the Lombard’s entire book, but
actually skips over some distinctions altogether. Of the 48 distinctions in Book
i of the Sentences, for example, the Filia abbreviates 40, which means that one
sixth of them are completely omitted.75 Most often the distinctions that the
abbreviator omits are places where Peter Lombard provides a more in-depth
treatment of the topic of the foregoing distinction. For example, after abridg-
ing the Lombard’s general consideration in distinction 5 of what exactly hap-
pened when the Father generated the Son (did the Father generate a divine
essence, did an essence generate the Son, did an essence generate an essence,
or did a person generate a person?), the author of the Filia omits distinction
6 (where the Lombard asks whether the Father begot the Son by His own will
or by necessity) and distinction 7 (where it is asked whether, if the Father was
able or willed to beget the Son, He was able to do or willed something that the
Son neither was able to do nor willed). Although the abbreviator likely recog-
nized the theological import of the questions raised in distinctions 6 and 7, he
obviously deems them too difffijicult or involved for his intended audience or too
tangential to the basic question in distinction 5, which he considers under the
rubricated heading “On the simplicity and immutability of the divine nature.”76
This too is quite interesting and suggestive of the abbreviator’s pedagogical
approach: that he subsumes under this particular heading the Lombard’s dis-
cussion of who or what gave rise to whom or what when the Father generated
the Son. The implication is that simply knowing that the divine nature is sim-
ple and immutable would enable readers or hearers of the Filia to recognize
that afffijirming generation by or of God’s essence is theologically problematic.
Furthermore, the abbreviator reduces the lengthy fijirst chapter of distinction 5
in the Sentences—consisting of 17 sections wherein the Lombard adduces and

74  See Peter Lombard, Sentences, ed. Brady, 131*–136*. The lengthiest manuscript is Vatican
City, Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 688, described on p. 135*.
75  The distinctions that the Filia as found in M does not abbreviate or comment on at all are
6, 7, 12, 13, 17, 21, 29, and 47.
76  M, fols. 79v–81r: “De simplicitate et incommutabilitate nature diuine.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
50 Harkins

discusses 28 scriptural and patristic authorities in support of one position or

another—to a single concise magisterial note: “There are, then, four proposi-
tions, namely: an essence generates an essence, a person generates an essence,
an essence generates a person, a person generates a person. Only the last of
these is true.”77
In nearly all cases the scribe of M marks offf each separate distinction in
the abbreviated text with a short rubricated heading: De generatione eterna for
distinction 4, De spiritu sancto for distinction 10, and De uoluntate dei for dis-
tinction 45, for example. The same or similar headings are found in most other
Filia manuscripts that I have consulted, which suggests that these headings
likely originated with those who produced the texts rather than simply with
those who copied them. Relatively rarely, the material that constitutes a dis-
tinction in the Sentences is found abbreviated only in a magisterial note in the
Filia, as is the case with distinction 46. In the Lombard’s book, distinction 46
follows on a more general discussion of the will of God in distinction 45, treat-
ing several scriptural passages that would seem to contradict the already estab-
lished sentence afffijirming that God’s will can never be made void. One such
passage, 1 Tim. 2:4, “God wills all humans to be saved,” becomes the centerpiece
of a brief block note that the master of our Filia embeds in his larger abbre-
viation of distinction 45. “For God wills in this way,” he explains, “namely, He
teaches and advises all humans to be saved, and however many perish, perish
contrary to His counsel. Likewise, as it is said in Ezekiel, ‘I do not will the death’
of a sinner, that is, I neither advise nor cause [his death].”78 This magisterial
note exemplifijies the pedagogical method of the Filia: here the abbreviator uses
one of several authorities found in the Lombard to illustrate the question or
problem at hand (namely, 1 Tim. 2:4), but he provides a much more succinct and
straightforward solution than is found in the Sentences. Whereas the Lombard
himself invokes Augustine’s explanation in the Enchiridion according to which
this scriptural verse does not mean that there is no person whom God does
not will to be saved but rather that there is none who is saved except whom
God wills to be saved, the author of the Filia simply explains that spiritual death

77  M, fol. 79v: “Sunt ergo quatuor propositiones, scilicet: essentia generat essentiam, persona
generat essentiam, essentia generat personam, persona generat personam; quorum tan-
tum ultima uera est.”
78  M, fol. 106v: “Nota quod illud apostolus: uult omnes homines saluos fijieri. sic intelligitur id
est quodquot saluantur per ipsum saluantur uel potest dici. quod ibi accipitur uult pro
uoluntate signifijicari. Uult enim deus hoc modo id est precipit uel consulit omnes homi-
nes saluos fijieri, et quotquot pereunt contra consilium eius pereunt. Item cum dicitur eze-
chiel: Nolo mortem peccatoris id est non consulo, uel non operor.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 51

is against divine instruction and counsel.79 And he draws on two authoritative

words from Ezekiel, Nolo mortem (words not found in the Lombard himself ),
to drive this point home with his readers.
In treating our author’s general method of abbreviating, it may prove help-
ful to construct a basic typology of glossing in the Filia. As a glossator, he pro-
duces both interlinear glosses and magisterial notes, the latter appearing in
block format in M. The interlinear glosses are of three basic types (what I will
call “orienting notes,” “source-reference notes” or simply “reference notes,” and
“explanatory notes”), all of which seem intended for beginning students in the-
ology and/or religious novices. (1) First, the master uses some interlinear notes
to orient the reader of the abbreviation and the arguments in it. The most com-
mon “orienting notes” are soluit and solutio, clearly signaling that what follows
is the solution by Peter Lombard, Augustine, or some other auctoritas to the
question posed. The master also sometimes orients the reader by using inter-
linear glosses such as primum, secundum, and tercium to enumerate arguments
or points within an argument.80 Finally, when presenting a certain opinion or
quotation, the master may insert such glosses as “but wrongly” or “better” in an
efffort to provide his reader or auditor with guidance concerning how to think
rightly about a particular question.81
(2) The second type of interlinear note provides brief source references for
sentences or authoritative statements presented in the abbreviation. Before
quotations from Augustine, for example, the glossator usually identifijies the
work from which it comes with interlinear glosses such as in libro de doctrina
christiana, often also providing the book number, as in primo libro de trinitate.
Or he introduces a scriptural quotation with “as the Apostle says.” Such “refer-
ence notes” can be quite helpful in orienting the reader, particularly when the
abbreviation sets forth multiple quotations from diffferent authors in series, as
for example in Book iii, dist. 23. The student who reads here about the order
of the virtues would have little or no way of knowing the sources of two back-
to-back quotes (or even that the fijirst was an authoritative sentence) were it
not for one interlinear gloss that reads “as Augustine says on John” and another
after the words “Gregory says, however” that specifijies “on Ezekiel.”82 Such ref-
erence notes provide guidance for the beginning student who may not have a
mastery of traditional theological sources or who may be interested in reading
more on a certain topic.

79  See Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book i, dist. 46, chap. 2, no. 3 (1: 313–14).
80  See, for example, dist. 19 (M, fol. 85v).
81  See sed male and ergo melius at Book i, dist. 1 and 9, respectively (M, fols. 77r and 81v).
82  M, fol. 181r.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
52 Harkins

(3) The third basic type of interlinear gloss, and the most frequently occur-
ring, is the “explanatory note.” Some of these notes very briefly defijine or explain
a word or phrase in the abbreviation, often in the updated philosophical lan-
guage of the thirteenth century. Glossing the phrase “things and signs” in the
opening distinction of Book i, for example, the master inserts above the line
“that is, essences and sacraments.”83 Other explanatory notes make something
in the abbreviation explicit or elucidate how an authority that is cited teaches
a particular doctrine. In abbreviating the Lombard’s treatment of the twofold
nativity of Christ in Book iii, dist. 8, for example, the author of the Filia quotes
John Damascene and explains with interlinear glosses (which I enclose in
angle brackets) the precise meanings of John’s phrases propter nos, secundum
nos, and super nos: “We honor the two nativities of Christ: one from the Father
before the world beyond cause and reason and time and nature; and the other
that is in these last [days] because of us <that is, for our salvation>, and accord-
ing to us <because he was born of a woman after nine months>, and beyond
us <because not from [human] seed but from a virgin and the Holy Spirit>.”84
Similarly, the master of the Filia sometimes uses explanatory interlinear notes
to show the reader how a particular authoritative statement teaches a certain
doctrine. In offfering scriptural testimonies to the Trinity, he writes: “David also
says: ‘May God <the Father> bless us, our God <the Son>, may God <the Holy
Spirit> bless us, and may all the ends of the earth fear Him <behold, the unity of
essence!>.’ Likewise, Isaiah says: ‘Holy <the Father>, holy <the Son>, holy <the
Spirit>, Lord God <here is the unity of essence>.’ ”85 Such glossing suggests that
the master intended his work for the basic doctrinal or theological instruction
of beginning students or religious novices, who may not—without such assis-
tance—understand Psalm 66:7–8 and Isaiah 6:3 as revealing the triune God.
Finally, some explanatory interlinear notes summarize points previously made
or serve as reminders of a foregoing discussion. Near the end of his abbrevia-
tion of Book i, dist. 1, the master reminds his hearer or reader that some things
are to be enjoyed, where he inserts the note “such as God,” other things are to

83  M, fol. 75v: “id est essentias et sacramenta.”

84  M, fol. 171r: “vnde Ioannes damascenus: ‘Duas Christi natiuitates ueneramur: unam ex
patre ante secula super causam et rationem et tempus et naturam; et unam quae in ulti-
mis propter nos <id est salutem nostram> et secundum nos <quia de muliere post ix men-
ses> et super nos <quia non de semine sed de uirgine et spiritu sancto>.’ ”
85  M, fol. 78r: “Item Dauid dicit: ‘Benedicat nos deus <pater>, deus noster <fijilius>, benedicat
nos deus <spiritus sanctus>, et metuant eum <ecce unitas essentie> omnes fijines terre.’
Isaias quoque dicit: ‘Sanctus <pater>, sanctus <fijilius>, sanctus <spiritus>, dominus deus
<hic unitas essentie>.’ ”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 53

be used, inserting the note “such as creatures,” and still other things are both
used and enjoyed, “such as humans and angels.”86
Like this last type of interlinear gloss, the magisterial notes in the Filia mag-
istri also aim to explain or clarify the Lombard’s teaching or questions that
might arise from it. They do so in three general ways: namely, by making dis-
tinctions (I will call these “distinguishing notes”), by offfering contemporary
opinions (these I will call “updating notes”), and by providing summary lists
or arbores ramifijicatae (these I will call “summary notes”). As with the types of
interlinear notes, there is obviously some overlap among these three catego-
ries, as for example when contemporary opinions serve as the source for a dis-
tinction that is made. An example of a distinguishing note appears in Book i,
dist. 3, which treats the question of how vestiges of the Trinity appear in cre-
ated things (see fijig. 1). After recording in the abbreviated text the Lombard’s
teaching that no Trinitarian vestiges in creatures are able to be known with-
out instruction or the revelation of interior inspiration, the master explains
in a block note: “Now I know in part [1 Cor. 13:12]. God is known in four ways:
internally through inspiration and through reasoning; externally through the
contemplation of creatures and through instruction.”87 The master composes
a second distinguishing note at the end of distinction 3 in an efffort to explain
why we say that the Father is a diffferent alius than the Son, but not a diffferent
aliud: “Adjectives predicated of God in the masculine designate a person, in
the feminine a concept, and in the neuter the essence.”88 An interesting and
related example of a magisterial note that is simultaneously a distinguishing
and an updating note occurs in Book i, dist. 22 on the names predicated of
God. Here the master of the Filia provides a very lengthy note distinguishing
among the classes of names that are predicated essentially of God and giv-
ing examples of each. Essential predications are bifurcated into substantival
(such as “God,” “creator,” etc.) and adjectival (such as “sublime,” “eternal,” etc.).
Within substantival essential predicates, some are concrete (such as “God” and
“creator”), whereas others are abstract (“deity,” “power,” “essence”). The distinc-
tions continue. What is suggestive about this note is that—although the master
makes no mention of it source—it shares identical contents (down to the very
examples) with an arbor ramifijicata from prologue I of Hugh of Saint-Cher’s

86  M, fol. 77r.

87  M, fol. 78v: “Nunc cognosco ex parte [1 Cor. 13:12]. Quatuor modis cognoscitur deus: intus
per inspirationem, et ratiocinationem; extra per creaturarum contemplationem, et per
88  M, fol. 79r: “Adiectiua dicta de deo in masculine supponunt personam, in feminino notio-
nem, in neutro uero genere essentiam.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
54 Harkins

Sentences commentary, which is preserved in only one extant manuscript of

that work.89 In the production of his commentary, however, Hugh drew heavily
on the Summa aurea of William of Auxerre, which makes tracing lines of influ-
ence an inexact science at best.90
Another interesting example of what I have dubbed an “updating note”
appears in distinction 15 of Book iii, which treats the defects that Christ
assumed in his human nature, including passibility and mortality (see fijig. 2).
Here the master of our Filia includes a magisterial note discussing whether the
human race could have been liberated other than through the death of Christ.
After explaining that “certain people” deem that it was possible per se but not
per accidens on account of the promises made to the prophets, he reports that
“Hugh” says that liberation could have happened otherwise with regard to
mercy but not with regard to justice; thus, the death of Christ was the means
of liberation “with the greatest mercy for us” and “with the greatest justice for
the Father.”91 The comparative work of Weisweiler has demonstrated that this
opinion is found exactly as the master of our Filia reports it in the commen-
tary of Hugh of Saint-Cher.92 A similar updating note occurs in distinction 23
of Book i, where the author of the Filia brings the opinions of Master Simon of
Corbie and Master G., among others, to bear on the question of what precisely
the term persona means as applied to God.93 We might observe, in passing,
that in neither of these two updating notes does the author of our Filia offfer his
own solution in light of the contemporary opinions he presents. This may sug-
gest that scholars have misread the abbreviator’s methodological statement in
the prologue, where he promises to offfer some magisterial notes to elucidate

89  See Bieniak, “The Sentences Commentary of Hugh of St.-Cher,” esp. 121, which reproduces
the arbor ramifijicata from ms. B on which the Filia’s magisterial note is based.
90  See ibid., 112–13.
91  M, fol. 174v: “Quaeritur humanum genus potuit aliter liberari quam pro morte Christi.
quidam dignat quod possibile fuit per se sed non per accidens, scilicet propter prom-
issionem factam in prophetis. uel dici potuit aliter liberari sed non aliter redimi, id est
dari solutio iusti precii. hugo dicit quod de misericordia potuit aliter liberari sed non de
iusticia, sed liberatio per mortem fuerit maxima misericordia quoad nos et maxima ius-
ticia quoad patrem.” Interestingly, Weisweiler notes that three manuscripts of the Filia
(namely, Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 5307, Clm 17243, and Clm 18582) read
“Willelmus dicit quod . . .” instead of “uel dici . . .” in this note, thereby revealing the source
of this opinion as William of Auxerre (Weisweiler, “Théologiens de l’entourage d’Hugues
de Saint-Cher,” 390). Perhaps the scribe of M misread the abbreviation for “Willelmus”
and copied “uel” instead.
92  See Weisweiler, “Théologiens de l’entourage d’Hugues de Saint-Cher,” 390.
93  See M, fol. 88v.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 55

the Lombard’s text. Perhaps the phrase “magisterial notes” is not intention-
ally self-descriptive or self-referential at all, that is, as penned it did not aim to
reveal the identity of the producer of the Filia as either Hugh of Saint-Cher, a
student of Hugh’s who used the master’s notes, or another master in his circle
at Paris. Rather, many of the block notes in the Filia are “magisterial” in the
sense that they simply bring the teachings of various contemporary masters
into conversation with one another on the myriad questions raised by the
Lombard’s book.
The fijinal type of magisterial note summarizes often detailed and complex
subjects or teachings by means of a list or arbor ramifijicata. In distinction 34
of Book i, for example, the master provides an arbor of the nouns or notio-
nes proper to each of the three divine persons (though they can be predicated
communally or substantially as well). Proper to the Father are “authority,”
“origin,” “unity,” “beginning,” and “eternity.” Proper to the Son are “wisdom,”
“beauty,” “truth,” “form,” “word,” and “likeness.” And proper to the Holy Spirit
are “love,” “goodness,” “gift,” “peace,” and “grace.”94 Similarly, at distinction 37
the master provides an extensive arbor (fijilling roughly half of fol. 99r) that
explains the twenty diffferent ways in which God is “in things” (through nature,
through grace, through union, through bodily presence, through hidden rev-
elation, through vestiges, and through the identity of nature). Such visually
memorable summary notes would surely have been pedagogically efffective in
helping readers to comprehend and retain what is presented in much more
extensive prose in the Lombard’s book.

5.2 Theology and Pedagogy

Our foregoing consideration of the modes of abbreviation and glossing in M
suggests that the master intended his updated abridgment for the instruction
of beginning theology students and/or religious novices, and the pattern of
manuscript difffusion confijirms that numerous Filiae were, in fact, used in this
way. In an attempt to shed light on how the Lombard’s book was understood,
taught, and used “on the ground” in the thirteenth century and beyond, let us
consider our Filia’s theological teaching as compared to the instruction given
in roughly contemporary commentaries produced by masters-in-training at
the University of Paris for students there. We will confijine our comparative
analysis to two major theological issues and the distinctions in the Sentences
from which they arise, namely, divine omnipotence in Book i, dist. 44, and the
mode of the Incarnation in Book iii, dist. 6. We will see that the teaching of
the Filia attested in M on these two theological loci aligns essentially with the

94  See M, fol. 97r.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
56 Harkins

parallel presentations of William of Auxerre, Albert the Great, Bonaventure,

and Thomas Aquinas, although it is offfered in a much more condensed and
simpler form. Indeed, as is the case in Book i, dist. 44, the more detailed
and nuanced teachings of these thirteenth-century masters help to elucidate
the excessively concise, and sometimes even cryptic, notes of our Filia. What
this suggests, I propose, is that whoever produced this Filia integrated the very
latest early-to-mid-thirteenth-century theological insights and interpretations
into his abridgment, the very same body of teaching that Albert, Bonaventure,
and Aquinas drew on but developed in greater detail and with greater preci-
sion in the subsequent decades.

5.2.1 Book i, dist. 44

In distinctions 42–44 of Book i, Peter Lombard treats a series of ques-
tions related to the power—or, more properly, the omnipotence—of God.
Distinction 44 asks whether God can do or make anything “better” than He has
actually done or made it. The Filia magistri as found in M provides an answer
to this important question in two magisterial notes. In the fijirst, the abbreviator
explains that the word “better” (melius) can act either as a noun (by which he
means a substantivized adjective: “a better thing” or “something better”) or as
an adverb (“He made it in a better way”). If “better” is used as a substantivized
adjective or each thing is considered in itself absolutely, our Filia teaches that
“God was able to make each thing better.”95 Although this note is quite ellip-
tic, the master of the Filia draws on the creation account in Genesis 1 in what
seems to be an attempt to demonstrate that there can be and, in fact, are difffer-
ent levels of goodness in God’s work. Quoting Genesis 1:31, “God saw everything
that He had made, and indeed it was very good,” the master teaches: “Each
individual thing is indeed good in itself, but all of them mutually ordered are
very good.” This magisterial note relies, of course, on the reader calling to mind
that after God had created particular things on each day, the text of Genesis

95  The entire magisterial note reads: “Dicas ergo quod hec est duplex: deus potest aliud
facere melius quam facit quia hoc ‘melius’ potest esse nomen uel aduerbium. si nomen
aut res consideratur secundum se absolute, et sic deus unamquamque rem potuit facere
meliorem. aut in comparatione ad alias et sic unaquoque optimum habet esse in genere
suo. terra enim in genere suo optime est, celum in genere suo optime est. Diabolus in min-
isterio optime sedet. Genesis: Uidit deus cuncta que fecerat et cetera. Singula quidem bona
in se, sed omnia adinuicem ordinate ualde bona. Si uero est aduerbium, ad hoc duplex est
quia potest referri: ad [vacat] et sic falsa sub hoc sensu. deus melius, id est meliori sapi-
entia, potest facere aliquid. uel potest referri ad accusatiuam, et sic Ysaia considerate re
absolute ut dictum est” (M, fol. 105v). The word vacat in square brackets indicates a blank
space at the end of a line where there seems to have been a scribal erasure.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 57

repeatedly afffijirms: “And God saw that it was good.” If, by contrast, the word
“better” is used as an adverb, it points not to the what of divine making, but
rather to the how. In this way, the Filia maintains, saying that God is able to do
something better implies “by a better wisdom”—that is, more wisely—and is
therefore false.
It must be noted at the outset that, like others, this highly abbreviated mag-
isterial note in the Filia presupposes on the part of the reader a basic familiar-
ity with early- to mid-thirteenth-century discussions on the question at hand.
Indeed, a consideration of some of these contemporary treatments of distinc-
tion 44 of the Lombard’s fijirst book suggests that the Filia captured the most
recent theological thinking of its day and provided it for its readers in a radi-
cally shortened summary form, a kind of scholastic “SparkNotes,” as it were.
As a point of comparison, let us examine several contemporary readings of
distinction 44.
In his Summa aurea, posing the question of whether God can make any-
thing better than He made it, William of Auxerre provides an answer that is
quite similar to (albeit more straightforward than) what we fijind in the Filia.
In asking “whether God is able to make anything better than He has made it,”
William explains that if the adverb “better” modifijies the verb in relation to the
subject (namely, God), then the answer must be negative “because God makes
whatever He makes according to an eternal plan, and He is not able to make
anything according to a better plan.” If, however, the adverb “better” modi-
fijies the verb in relation to the object (namely, the creature), then the answer
must be afffijirmative “because He is able to make a better thing.”96 In offfering
this answer, William is reporting the view of “some” on this question. As the
Summa aurea was composed sometime in the period 1215–1229 and seems to
have served as a source for our Filia, William’s treatment here suggests that our
abbreviator is updating the Lombard’s text with the very latest theological and
semantic insights.
The Filia’s second magisterial note on distinction 44 provides further con-
fijirmation of this point by introducing a quintessential scholastic distinction
into the Lombard’s discussion of actual limitations on God’s omnipotence. The
precise question that the Lombard asks here is “whether God is always able

96  William of Auxerre, Summa aurea, Book i, tract. 11, chap. 7, sol. (ed. Jean Ribaillier [Rome,
1980], 216): “Ad primum dicunt quidam quod hec est duplex: Deus non potest facere
melius aliquid quam facit, quia si hoc adverbium ‘melius’ determinet verbum in compa-
ratione ad rem nominative, vera est, quia Deus eterna ratione facit quicquid facit, et non
potest meliori ratione falsa est, quia meliorem rem potest facere.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
58 Harkins

to do what He was once able to do.”97 The master of the Filia comments: “The
power of God is twofold, that is, it is spoken of in a twofold way: [as] absolute
and conditional. By [His] absolute power God can do all things, even damn
Peter, become incarnate, etc. But with regard to His conditional and ordained
power God was not able to do all things.”98 While the master’s words here sug-
gest that the language of the absolute and ordained power of God was com-
mon parlance at the time of his abridgment, this distinction had likely been
in use among theologians for only about two decades. Indeed, both William
Courtenay and Lawrence Moonan have identifijied the fijirst use of the power
distinction, in the way that would become standard, in the Summa theologiae
of Geofffrey of Poitiers, a student of Stephen Langton who flourished in the
second decade of the thirteenth century as a secular master in the faculty of
theology at Paris.99 It was at Paris that the distinction entered the thought
of Dominican and Franciscan theologians through the works of such masters
as Roland of Cremona, Hugh of Saint-Cher, and Alexander of Hales. Albert the
Great and Thomas Aquinas inherited it around mid-century, and it eventually
made its way to Oxford, where it became more well-known in the hands of
John Duns Scotus, William of Ockham, and their followers.100
Geofffrey’s Summa, written around 1210–1215, not only depends on the work
of his master, Stephen Langton, but also shares close textual afffijinities with
parts of the Summa fratris Alexandri and the Summa aurea. Moonan observes:
“It can be seen that no great originality is intended in the work, but that it
is something of a paradigm of the vehicles in which the dialectical teachings
of the Masters might be registered, modifijied, and transmitted.”101 In light of
the Parisian origin and early trajectory of the power distinction, that this Filia
witnesses quite early to this distinction may bolster the theory advanced by

97  Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book i, dist. 44, chap. 2 (1: 305).
98  M, fols. 105v–106r: “Potentia dei duplex est, id est duplicitur dicitur: absoluta et condi-
tionata. potentia absoluta deus omnia potest, etiam petrum dampnare et incarnari et
cetera. sed de potentia conditionata et ordinate non posset et sic de aliis.”
99  See William J. Courtenay, Capacity and Volition: A History of the Distinction of Absolute and
Ordained Power (Bergamo, 1990), 72 (also 14, where he notes that it was Artur Landgraf
who uncovered in Godfrey’s Summa what appears to be the earliest use of the techni-
cal terms de potestate absoluta and de potentia conditionali); Lawrence Moonan, Divine
Power: The Medieval Power Distinction up to its Adoption by Albert, Bonaventure and
Aquinas (Oxford, 1994), 57–61; and Francis Oakley, “The Absolute and Ordained Power of
God in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Theology,” Journal of the History of Ideas 59
(1998): 437–61, at 440.
100  See Oakley, “The Absolute and Ordained Power of God,” 440.
101  Moonan, Divine Power, 57.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 59

Raymond Martin and Heinrich Weisweiler according to which it was produced

by a student of, or a member of the circle of, Hugh of Saint-Cher at Paris.
Additionally, the use of the absolute/ordained power distinction here may
situate the Filia among those paradigmatic vehicles for conveying magisterial
teaching in the fijirst several decades of the thirteenth century.102 Furthermore,
despite the fact that the Filia makes no explicit claims to originality, its master
shows himself to have been in the theological vanguard of his day. It is note-
worthy in this regard that William of Auxerre, also a master of theology at Paris
in these years, makes no mention of the absolute/ordained power distinction,
even when he treats the very question to which the master of the Filia alludes
in making this distinction, namely, “whether God was able to damn Peter and
save Judas.”103
If we return to the Filia’s fijirst magisterial note on distinction 44, comparing
how contemporary theologians framed and answered the question of whether
God can make something better than He made it may help to illumine the
abridgment’s pedagogical method and theological content. Albert the Great,
who lectured on the Sentences before becoming a master of theology at Paris
in the spring of 1245, begins his comments here, as elsewhere, by dividing the
Lombard’s text in order to nail down precisely what he is asking and how he
is answering.104 Albert makes clear in his divisio textus that in distinction 44
Peter Lombard is actually posing three diffferent questions related to the man-
ner of divine omnipotence vis-à-vis creation, namely: (1) whether God was
able to make the world better than He made it; (2) whether God was able to
make what He made in a better way; and (3) whether God is now able to make
what He was once able to make.105 The distinction indicated in the fijirst two
questions here is precisely that made by the master of our Filia in semantic
terms, namely, that between the what and the how of God’s creative power.
In treating the quiddity of God’s creative power, Albert makes another cru-
cial distinction intimated in the Filia and subsequently explained in greater

102  This would comport with Martin’s dating of M to the period 1232–1245, although Ker dates
the Filia of M to the second half of the thirteenth century.
103  See William of Auxerre, Summa aurea, Book i, tract. 11, chap. 5, pp. 211–13.
104  On the dating of Albert’s Sentences commentary, see James A. Weisheipl, O.P., “The Life
and Works of St. Albert the Great,” in Albertus Magnus and the Sciences: Commemorative
Essays 1980, ed. James A. Weisheipl, O.P. (Toronto, 1980), 13–51, at 21–3. Although Albert
likely lectured on the Sentences upon his arrival in Paris around 1243–1244, the record
of those lectures that we have in the Borgnet edition is clearly an ordinatio that was not
completed until after March 25, 1249.
105  See Albert the Great, Commentaria in I Sententiarum, dist. 44, divisio textus, in B. Alberti
Magni Opera Omnia, ed. S.C.E. Borgnet, vol. 26 (Paris, 1893), 388.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
60 Harkins

detail by both Bonaventure and Aquinas, namely, that between the good-
ness of the individual creatures which God has made and the goodness of the
orderly arrangement of the whole world.106 Before turning to a consideration
of Bonaventure and Aquinas, one particularly noteworthy and explicit point of
contact between our Filia and Albert must be noted. Specifijically, in taking up
what Albert describes as the “very difffijicult question” of whether God was able
to make the goodness that results from the order of the entire world better, the
fijirst authority that he invokes in the sed contra is Genesis 1:31, “God saw every-
thing that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Immediately thereafter,
Albert teaches: “The Gloss says that each [created] thing was good in itself,
but taken all together they are the best: but the best cannot be made better.”107
When the Filia is read through the lens of Albert, we see more clearly that the
abbreviator is making use of a standard interpretation of Genesis 1:31 taken
from the Glossa ordinaria. The master of our Filia may well have known the
other three authoritative arguments enumerated by Albert in his sed contra
(and perhaps others as well), but his purpose of providing a concise and simple
theological updating of the Lombard surely demanded that he offfer only the
shortest and best of these to his auditors and readers.
In discussing this question at the level of the entire world (rather than of
the individual creatures in it), Bonaventure is concerned with whether God
could have made a better world (1) with regard to the substance, essence, or
being of its integral parts (what Aquinas will call its “essential goodness”) and
(2) with regard to the order of its parts.108 First, on the substance of the world’s
integral parts, Bonaventure explains that what he describes as “an excess of
substantial or essential goodness” in a thing (that is, what is meant by “better”
in the question at hand) can be understood in two ways: either with regard
to the nobility and status of the thing’s essence, or with regard to its being

106  Albert’s second article asks, of individual things, “whether God was able to make those
things that He made better,” whereas article 3 asks “whether God was able to make the
goodness that results from the order of the world better than He made it” (ibid., art. 2 and
3, pp. 391–4).
107  Ibid., art. 3, sed contra, p. 393: “Super illud Genes. 1, 31: Vidit Deus cuncta fecerat: et erant
valde bona: dicit Glossa, quod bona erant in se, sed in universo optima: optimo autem non
potest melius fijieri.”
108  Bonaventure treats these in question 1 and question 3, respectively, of article 1 of his
commentary on distinction 44. In his own lectures on the Sentences, Aquinas drew on
the commentaries of both Albert the Great and Bonaventure. Bonaventure began lec-
turing on the Sentences in 1250, two years prior to Aquinas. See Christopher M. Cullen,
Bonaventure (Oxford, 2006), 11; and Joseph P. Wawrykow, The Westminster Handbook to
Thomas Aquinas (Louisville, Ky., 2005), 135.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 61

as concerns addition or increase. To use Bonaventure’s own examples: we say

that a human is better than an ass because its essence is more noble; but we
say that eight ounces of gold are better than one ounce not because eight
ounces have a more noble form or essence than one, but rather because they
have more of the substance of gold and so more goodness and economic value.109
If one asks whether God was able to make a better world and one under-
stands an excess of essential good in the fijirst way (namely, that the world
would consist of better and more noble essences), Bonaventure answers nega-
tively. This is so because if the same world that now exists had been able to
be made better, it would not be this world but another. “Just as if this one
who was made a human had been made an ass, he would not be who he is,”
Bonaventure explains. Here the hypothetical created thing would, of course,
display a reduction of essential good with regard to the nobility of its essence,
but his point is the same. If one asks the question and understands an excess of
essential good in the second way, Bonaventure answers afffijirmatively. Indeed,
he teaches that God was able to make not only another world but even this
world better in the sense of an increase of being. If God had made a larger
or greater world, it would not have been another world, Bonaventure teaches,
“just as He could have made this boy as big as a giant, having more substance
and strength [than he now has], but he still would not have been a diffferent
person than he is.”110
When Bonaventure turns to consider this question from the perspective
of the order of the world’s parts, his opening objection quotes Genesis 1:31 and
the exact gloss on it that we have seen both in the Filia and in Albert the Great.

109  See Bonaventure, Commentaria in iv libros Sententiarum, Book i, dist. 44, art. 1, qu. 1, in
S. Bonaventurae Opera theologica selecta, vol. 1 (Quarrachi, 1934), p. 621: “Dicendum quod
excessus bonitatis substantialis in rebus potest attendi dupliciter: aut quantum ad essen-
tiarum nobilitatem et gradus, et sic dicitur, quod species hominis melior est et nobilior
specie asini; aut quantum ad esse, prout concernit additionem sive augmentum, sicut
dicitur, quod marca auri melior est uncial, non quia nobiliorem habet formam uel essen-
tiam, sed quia plus habet de auri substantia ac per hoc de bonitate et valore.”
110  Ibid.: “Quando ergo quaeritur, utrum Deus potuerit mundum facere meliorem quantum
ad substantiam partium; si tu intelligas de excessu quantum ad primum modum, quod
mundus constaret ex melioribus et nobilioribus essentiis, dico quod idem mundus, qui
est nunc, non potuit fijieri melior, quia non esset iste, sed alius; sicut, si iste qui factus est
homo, fuisset factus asinus, non esset ille qui est. Quia tamen posse eius non est arcta-
tum nec limitatum, non video quare non potuisset mundum facere meliorem hoc genere
melioritatis. Si autem intelligas quantum ad secundum modum, sic dico quod non solum
alium, verum etiam hunc potuit facere meliorem, sicut et maiorem. Et si fecisset non
esset alius; sicut posset facere quod iste puer esset ita magnus ut gigas, et plus haberet de
substantia et virtute, et tamen non esset alius quam est.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
62 Harkins

Like the Filia and Albert, Bonaventure invokes both the sacred text and its gloss
(telling us that the latter originates with Augustine) to support the claim that
God was not able to make a more perfectly ordered world than the one He
made.111 He proceeds to explain that both with regard to the order of parts
in the whole (in toto) and with regard to the order of parts toward their end
(in fijinem), God has ordered the things of this world in the best way. Bonaventure
explains the perfect ordering of things thus:

The whole world is, as it were, the most beautiful song, which flows along
with the best harmonies, with some parts following others until things
are perfectly ordained toward their end. . . . Thus, the order of things in
the whole world shows wisdom, and the order of things to their end
shows goodness, but in the relationship of one thing to another the great-
est wisdom and the greatest goodness are shown.112

In the opening article of the fijirst question of his Scriptum on distinction 44,
Thomas Aquinas frames the question in individual rather than universal
terms: “whether God was able to make any creature better than He made
it.”113 In article 2, he proceeds to inquire, as Bonaventure does, whether God
could have made the whole world better, but his initial concern is with the
individual things of creation. Whereas the Filia answers the question posed
by the Lombard by means of a linguistic or semantic distinction (namely,
between “better” used as an adjective and as an adverb), Thomas’s tack is,
like Bonaventure’s, more immediately philosophical: specifijically, his solution
hangs on the distinction, derived from Aristotle and borrowed from his teacher
Albert, between essential and accidental goodness.114 Because being is twofold
and because being and goodness are intimately linked, Thomas explains, each

111  See ibid., qu. 3, obj. a, p. 624.

112  Ibid., qu. 3, resp., p. 625: “Similiter optime ordinatae sunt res in fijinem, salvo ordine uni-
versi, quia universum est tamquam pulcherrimum carmem [sic], quod decurrit secun-
dum optimas consonantias, aliis partibus seccedentibus aliis, quousque res perfecte
ordinentur in fijinem. . . . sic ordo rerum in universe in se ostendit sapientiam, et ordo ad
fijinem bonitatem, sed in comparatione unius ad alterum ostenditur summa sapientia et
summa bonitas,. . . .”
113  Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libris Sententiarum, Book i, dist. 44, qu. 1, art. 1 (ed.
P. Mandonnet, O.P. [Paris, 1929]), p. 1015: “Utrum Deus potuerit facere aliquam creaturam
meliorem quam fecerit.” Aquinas delivered his lectures on the Sentences at Paris in 1252–
1256 (see Wawrykow, Westminster Handbook, 135).
114  Cf. Albert, Comm. in I Sent., dist. 44, art. 2, resp., p. 392, who distinguishes between “sub-
stantial goodness” and “accidental goodness.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 63

thing can be thought to possess an essential goodness and an accidental good-

ness. Rationality, for example, is constitutive of the essential goodness of the
human person, whereas health and knowledge are aspects of his or her acci-
dental goodness.115 If we have in mind a thing’s accidental goodness when we
ask whether God could have made that thing better than He made it, then
we must answer in the afffijirmative, Thomas maintains, as God was able to con-
fer greater goodness on each particular thing. If, on the other hand, we have in
mind a thing’s essential goodness, determining the question requires a further
distinction, namely, that between the thing in question (according to species)
and another or a diffferent thing (according to species). Aquinas explains:

Because if something is added to [a thing’s] essential goodness, it would

not be the same thing but another thing: since, according to the
Philosopher in Metaphysics viii.10, just as with numbers adding or sub-
tracting one changes the original fijigure, so too with the classifijication [of
creatures] adding or subtracting a distinguishing characteristic changes
the species. For example, if the ability to reason were added to the
description of a cow, it would no longer be a cow but another species,
namely a human; if the power of perception were taken away, it would
remain alive [but] in the way that trees live. Hence, just as God cannot
make something that is threefold remain threefold when a fourth ele-
ment is added—although He can thereby make a greater number—He
cannot make this [created] thing remain the same if it has more or less
essential goodness.116

In sum, Thomas teaches that God can make a creature better with regard to
its accidental goodness, but not with regard to its essential goodness without
making it a creature of a diffferent species. Although Aquinas’s explanation is
much more detailed and lucid, this appears to be essentially the same teaching
that we see in shorthand in our Filia. God has made each thing such that it is

115  See Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum, Book i, dist. 44, qu. 1, art. 1, resp., p. 1016.
116  Ibid.: “quia si adderetur ad bonitatem essentialem aliquid, non esset eadem res, sed alia:
quia, secundum Philosophum, in viii Metaph., text. 10, sicut in numeris unitas addita,
vel subtracta semper variat speciem; ita in defijinitionibus diffferentia addita vel subtracta;
verbi gratia, si defijinitioni bovis addatur rationale, jam non erit bos, sed alia species, scili-
cet homo; si subtrahatur sensibile, remanebit vivens vita arborum. Unde sicut Deus non
potest facere quod ternarius manens ternarius habeat quatuor unitates, quamvis quolibet
numero majorem numerum facere possit, ita non potest facere quod haec res maneat
eadem, et majorem bonitatem essentialem habeat, vel minorem.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
64 Harkins

the “best being” (optimum esse) in its genus or class, the abbreviator teaches:
“For the earth is the best in its class, heaven is the best in its class. The devil
remains the best in hell.”117 This teaching implies, as Aquinas makes explicit,
that God could not make the earth, heaven, or even the devil essentially better
without making them something else. This is true, the master of the Filia surely
wishes his reader to know, even in spite of the devil’s post-lapsarian status and
his ongoing work against God and the righteous. Furthermore, that both Albert
in the early 1240s and Bonaventure in the early 1250s invoke Genesis 1:31 and
the same Augustinian gloss on it that the Filia sets forth in support of the
claim that God could not order the world better than He has already done
highlights the Filia’s importance as a basic pedagogical tool for conveying
contemporary theological teaching. Albert, Bonaventure, and Aquinas obvi-
ously make more distinctions in order to make the teaching clearer, but the same
basic doctrine appears here in the Filia in a shorter, simpler form that would have
been accessible for many novices, mendicants, and monks who would never
receive a university education.

5.2.2 Book iii, dist. 6

In distinction 6 of Book iii, Peter Lombard sets forth three traditional opin-
ions on the mode of the union in the Incarnation of the Word. Scholars of the
Sentences consistently note the Lombard’s own refusal to make a fijinal deter-
mination among his three opinions. Philipp Rosemann, for example, afffijirms:
“From a reading of the Sentences themselves, it is not possible to determine
with certainty which of the theories Peter preferred.”118 Similarly, Marcia Colish
observes that even on this central doctrine of Christianity, “Peter really does
think that the three opinions he outlines can truly be maintained within the
orthodox consensus.”119 Such a holding together of difffering positions or expla-
nations within the bounds of acceptable belief, summarized in the phrase
diversi sed non adversi, became characteristic of twelfth-century theological
thought.120 Let us briefly consider each of the three opinions as set forth in the
Lombard’s work.

117  M, fol. 105v: “aut in comparatione ad alias et sic unaqueque optimum habet esse in genere
suo. terra enim in genere suo optime est, celum in genere suo optime est. Diabolus in
inferno optime sedet.”
118  Rosemann, Peter Lombard, 130.
119  Colish, Peter Lombard, 1: 399.
120  On this theme, see Henri de Lubac, “A propos de la formule: diversi sed non adversi,” in
Mélanges Jules Lebreton = Recherches de science religieuse 40 (1952): 27–40; and Hubert
Silvestre, “ ‘Diversi sed non adversi’,” rtam 31 (1964): 124–32.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 65

Peter describes the fijirst opinion, which has come to be dubbed “homo
assumptus theory,” in this way:

Some people say that in the very Incarnation of the Word, a certain man
was constituted from a rational soul and human flesh, from which two
every true man is constituted. And that man began to be God—not, how-
ever, the nature of God, but rather the person of the Word—and God
began to be that man. Indeed, they concede that that man was assumed
by the Word and united to the Word, and nevertheless was the
Word. . . . Not, however, by the movement of one nature into another, but
with the quality of both natures being preserved, it happened that God
was that substance and that substance was God. Hence, truly it is said
that God became man and man became God, and the Son of God became
the son of man and vice versa. And although they say that that man sub-
sists from a rational soul and human flesh, they do not, however, confess
that he is composed of two natures, divine and human; nor that the parts
of that one are two natures, but only soul and flesh.121

Two signifijicant points—points that modern scholars have often overlooked

when summarizing this position—must be made. First, the Lombard clearly
states that those holding this opinion say that a certain man was constituted
from a rational soul and human flesh “in the very Incarnation of the Word,”
not prior to it. Secondly, that man, having been constituted at the moment
of assumption, began to be the very person of the Word. He was not a sepa-
rate, fully constituted person either before or after the assumption.122 So in

121  Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book iii, dist. 6, chap. 2, no. 1 (2: 50): “Alii enim dicunt in ipsa
Verbi incarnatione hominem quendam ex anima rationali et humana carne constitutum:
ex quibus duobus omnis verus homo constituitur. Et ille homo coepit esse Deus, non qui-
dem natura Dei, sed persona Verbi; et Deus coepit esse homo ille. Concedunt etiam homi-
nem illum assumptum a Verbo et unitum Verbo, et tamen esse Verbum. . . . Non tamen
de migratione naturae in naturam, sed utriusque naturae servata proprietate, factum est
ut Deus esset illa substantia, et illa substantia esset Deus. Unde vere dicitur Deus factus
homo et homo factus Deus, et Deus esse homo et homo Deus, et Filius Dei fijilius hominis
et e converso. Cumque dicant illum hominem ex anima rationali et humana carne subsis-
tere, non tamen fatentur ex duabus naturis esse compositum, divina scilicet et humana;
nec illius partes esse duas naturas, sed animam tantum et carnem.” Unless otherwise
noted, all translations from the Sentences are my own.
122  Lauge Olaf Nielsen offfers a summary of what has become the characteristic modern
scholarly interpretation of this opinion when he writes: “According to this theory, a
human being, constituted of soul and body, just like other men, was united with the Word

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
66 Harkins

describing this fijirst opinion, it is safe to say that Peter does not have in mind
the Nestorian two-person Christological heresy.
The Lombard sets forth the second opinion, which modern scholars know
as “subsistence theory,” in this way:

There are others, however, who partially agree with these [proponents
of the fijirst opinion] but say that that man [Jesus Christ] consists not
only of a rational soul and flesh, but of a human and divine nature, that
is, of three substances: divinity, flesh, and soul. They confess that this
Christ is only one person, indeed merely simple before the Incarnation,
but in the Incarnation made composite from divinity and humanity.
He is not, therefore, another person than he was previously, but whereas
previously he was the person of God only, in the Incarnation he also
became the person of man: not so that there were two persons, but so
that one and the same was the person of God and man. Therefore, the
person who was previously simple and existed in only one nature [now]
subsists in two natures.123

It is signifijicant that the adherents of this position, as the Lombard describes

them, are in partial agreement with the fijirst position. This suggests, of course,
that the three positions were neither mutually exclusive nor as clearly delin-
eated as they would become in the following century and beyond.
Peter envisioned and intended his description of the third opinion also as
simply another way, again within the bounds of orthodoxy, of thinking about
the mode of the incarnational union. He sets forth the third opinion, known by
modern scholars as “habitus theory,” as follows:

of God” (“Logic and the Hypostatic Union: Two Late Twelfth-Century Responses to the
Papal Condemnation of 1177,” in Medieval Analyses in Language and Cognition: Acts of
the Symposium, the Copenhagen School of Medieval Philosophy, January 10–13, 1996, ed.
Sten Ebbesen and Russell L. Friedman [Copenhagen, 1999], 251–80, at 259).
123  Peter Lombard, Sentences, Book III, dist. 6, chap. 3, no. 1 (2: 52–3): “Sunt autem et alii, qui
istis in parte consentiunt, sed dicunt hominem illum non ex anima rationali et carne
tantum, sed ex humana et divina natura, id est ex tribus substantiis: divinitate, carne et
anima, constare; hunc Christum fatentur, et unam personam tantum esse, ante incarna-
tionem vero solummodo simplicem, sed in incarnatione factam compositam ex divini-
tate et humanitate. Nec est ideo alia persona quam prius, sed cum prius esset Dei tantum
persona, in incarnatione facta est etiam hominis persona: non ut duae essent personae,
sed ut una et eadem esset persona Dei et hominis. Persona ergo quae prius erat simplex
et in una tantum natura exsistens, in duabus et ex duabus subsistit naturis.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 67

There are also others who deny not only [the existence of ] a person com-
posed of natures in the Incarnation of the Word, but even that some man
or some substance was there composed or made from soul and flesh.
Rather, they say that these two things—namely, soul and flesh—were
united to the person or the nature of the Word not so that some sub-
stance or person was made or composed from these two or from these
three things, but so that the Word of God might be clothed with these two
as with a garment in order that He might suitably appear to the eyes of

A little more than a century after Peter Lombard defijined his three opinions
and toward the end of his own teaching career, Thomas Aquinas offfered in
the tertia pars of his Summa theologiae what was to become (at least for many
modern scholars) a defijinitive interpretation of these three ways of understand-
ing the mode of the union. In the sixth article of his second question, which
inquires “whether the human nature was united to the Word of God acciden-
tally,” Aquinas reviews the ancient Christological heresies of Eutychianism
and Nestorianism before explaining that “some more recent masters, think-
ing to avoid these heresies, through ignorance fell into them.”125 Summarizing
the Lombard’s fijirst position, Thomas continues: “For some of them conceded
one person of Christ, but proposed two hypostases or two supposita, saying
that a certain man, composed of soul and body, was from the beginning of
his conception assumed by the Word of God.”126 After briefly explaining the
Lombard’s second and third opinions, Thomas concludes: “Therefore, it is clear
that the second of the three opinions that the Master proposes, which afffijirms

124  Ibid., chap. 4, no. 1 (2: 55): “Sunt etiam et alii, qui in incarnatione Verbi non solum per-
sonam ex naturis compositam negant, verum etiam hominem aliquem, sive etiam ali-
quam substantiam, ibi ex anima et carne compositam vel factam difffijitentur; sed sic
illa duo, scilicet animam et carnem, Verbi personae vel naturae unita esse aiunt, ut non
ex illis duobus vel ex his tribus aliqua substantia vel persona fijieret sive componeretur,
sed illis duobus velut indumento Verbum Dei vestiretur ut mortalium oculis congruenter
125  Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae iii, qu. 2, art. 6, resp., in Sancti Thomae Aquinatis
Opera omnia iussu impensaque Leonis xiii P.M. (Rome, 1882–), xi: 36: “Quidam autem pos-
teriores magistri, putantes se has haereses declinare, in eas per ignorantiam inciderunt.”
Unless otherwise noted, the Latin of the st is according to the Leonine edition and the
translations are my own.
126  Ibid.: “Quidam enim eorum concesserunt unam Christi personam, sed posuerunt duas
hypostases, sive duo supposita; dicentes hominem quendam, compositum ex anima et
corpore, a principio suae conceptionis esse assumptum a Dei Verbo.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
68 Harkins

one hypostasis of God and man, should not be called an opinion, but an article
of Catholic faith. Similarly, the fijirst opinion which proposes two hypostases,
and the third which proposes an accidental union, should not be called opin-
ions, but heresies condemned by the Church in councils.”127
What is perhaps most striking here to the student of the Sentences is the
way in which Aquinas, writing a little more than a half century after the Fourth
Lateran Council, imposes the categories of orthodoxy and heresy on an earlier
Christological presentation from which such distinctions remained markedly
absent. It is perhaps also surprising that Thomas’s interpretation entails con-
siderably less nuance than does the Lombard’s original presentation. It may
very well be unfair to claim that Thomas misunderstood the three opinions
and the interrelationships among them as envisioned by Peter. Instead, we
might do well to assume that Aquinas’s rather flat-footed reading of the three
opinions in the Summa represents an accommodation of the Lombard’s com-
plex views to the capacity of the beginning students whom the Dominican
master aims to teach in his Summa. Indeed, we may view his interpretation of
the three opinions as in line with his intention “to pursue those things that per-
tain to sacred doctrine as briefly and clearly as the subject matter will allow.”128
Furthermore, Thomas’s concern to accommodate the Sentences’ three opin-
ions on the mode of the incarnational union to his own students was doubtless
determined largely by Pope Alexander iii’s condemnation, in 1170 and again in
1177, of the position, common in the Parisian schools at the time and attributed
by Alexander to Peter Lombard, that Christus secundum quod homo non est
aliquid. As Lauge Olaf Nielsen has shown, theologians working in the schools
of Paris in the years immediately after the papal condemnation strove vari-
ously and creatively to explain the defensibility of both the view that insofar as
He is human Christ is something (where aliquid is read as referring to a distinct
nature), and the position that insofar as He is human Christ is not something

127  Ibid., 37: “Sic igitur patet quod secunda trium opinionum quas Magister ponit, quae
asserit unam hypostasim Dei et hominis, non est dicenda opinio, sed sententia Catholicae
fijidei. Similiter etiam prima opinio, quae ponit duas hypostases; et tertia, quae ponit
unionem accidentalem; non sunt dicendae opiniones, sed haereses in Conciliis ab
Ecclesia damnatae.” For an overview of Aquinas’s theology of the hypostatic union as
it developed throughout his career and in relation to the Lombard’s three opinions, see
Joseph Wawrykow, “Hypostatic Union,” in The Theology of Thomas Aquinas, ed. Rik Van
Nieuwenhove and Joseph Wawrykow (Notre Dame, Ind., 2005), 222–51.
128  st, prooemium (Leonine ed., iv: 5): “Haec igitur et alia huiusmodi evitare studentes, tent-
abimus, cum confijidentia divini auxilii, ea quae ad sacram doctrinam pertinent, breviter
ac dilucide prosequi, secundum quod materia patietur.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 69

(where the referent of aliquid is taken to be a separate person, substance, or

essence).129 Such masters and students as Stephen Langton and the anony-
mous pupil of Peter the Chanter appear to have worked out their theologies of
Christ’s humanity in the context of oral classroom debates concerning certain
key sentences, such as: Utrum Christus sit duo; Homo assumptus est; Deus potest
assumere personam Petri; Christus potuit assumere Petrum; and even Filius Dei
potuit assumere te.130
These sorts of key sentences are indicative of disputation in the species of
positio impossibilis or positio de impossibili, wherein the respondent is given the
task of defending an impossible position or sentence. Such opinions as “A man
was assumed” and “The Son of God was able to assume you,” which are—when
taken at face value—naturally impossible, are in fact conceivable and thus are
not logically impossible. As such, an impossible assumption and whatever fol-
lows from it are to be granted by the respondent; he is, on the other hand, to
deny whatever is repugnant to it.131 By having recourse to current grammati-
cal and logical teaching in these disputations in the mode of positio impos-
sibilis, late twelfth-century Parisian masters and students explained how
precisely such controverted Christological key sentences as Homo assumptus
est could—and alternatively, could not—be defended.132
Like Thomas Aquinas, the master who produced the Filia magistri of M
wished to avoid prolixity in his pedagogy by restraining the abundant flow of
the four books of Sentences through a compendium and by adding some “mag-
isterial notes so that the excerpts [of the Lombard’s work] might shine forth
more clearly.”133 And yet, at least here in his teaching on the three opinions
on the mode of the incarnational union, the master of our Filia seems to cap-
ture and convey Peter Lombard’s intention—as well as the theological under-
standings of the twelfth century—more efffectively than does Aquinas. In this
regard, both how he abbreviates the Lombard’s text and what he adds by way
of interlinear and block notes are signifijicant. The Filia’s abbreviation of the
fijirst opinion reads as follows:

129  See Nielsen, “Logic and the Hypostatic Union.”

130  Ibid., 255–8.
131  See Mikko Yrjönsuuri, “The Trinity and Positio Impossibilis: Some Remarks on
Inconsistence,” in Medieval Philosophy and Modern Times, ed. Ghita Holmström-Hintikka
(Dordrecht, 2000), 59–68.
132  See Nielsen, “Logic and the Hypostatic Union,” esp. 255–77.
133  M, fol. 75r.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
70 Harkins

For some say <this opinion is not supported except by means of an

[impossible] position in the schools> that the Son assumed a man consti-
tuted of a rational soul and human flesh. And that man began to be God,
not that [he began to be] the nature of God but [rather] the person of the
Word, and God began to be that man. Hence Augustine <in the book On
the Predestination of the Saints> [says]: “From where did that man merit
this, that he might be assumed by the Word of God and be the Son of

Although these words at least imply that the eternal Son assumed a man already
constituted of soul and flesh prior to the assumption, they also make clear that
the assumed homo began to be the very person of the Word. Furthermore, if we
look at the larger discussion in Book i, chapter 15 of On the Predestination of the
Saints, from which this brief quotation of Augustine comes, it is obvious that
Augustine understands homo not as a fully constituted human person or man,
but rather as a human nature. Indeed, just previous to the words quoted here,
Augustine asks concerning the predestination of Christ: “And by what preced-
ing merits of its own, whether of works or of faith, did the human nature that is
in Him prepare itself [to be assumed by the eternal Word]?”135 Finally, and most
importantly, the abbreviator’s interlinear gloss teaches that the Lombard’s fijirst
opinion can be appropriately held or supported per positionem in scolis, that is,
through scholastic disputation in the species of positio impossibilis. Although
he provides no further explanation here, the abbreviator seems well aware of
how theologians of the preceding decades such as the pupil of the Chanter and
Stephen Langton were able to defend such putatively impossible sentences as
Filius assumpsit hominem. Indeed, they did so by reading homo as signifying a
human nature rather than a human person, just as certain theologians in the
decades before them, such as Hugh and Achard of Saint-Victor, had done.136
Hugh and Achard of Saint-Victor are usually among the fijirst names that mod-
ern scholars associate with the Lombard’s fijirst opinion. This is conspicuously

134  M, fols. 170r–v: “Alii enim dicunt <hec opinio non sustinetur nisi per positionem in scolis>
fijilium assumpsisse hominem ex anima rationali et humana carne constitutum. Et ille
homo cepit esse deus, non que natura dei sed persona uerbi et deus cepit esse homo
ille. Unde augustinus <in libro de predestinatione sanctorum>: ‘Ille homo ut a uerbo dei
assumptus fijilius dei esset, unde hoc meruit?’ ”
135  pl 44: 981: “Est etiam praeclarissimum lumen praedestinationis et gratiae, ipse Salvator,
ipse Mediator Dei et hominum homo Christus Jesus: qui ut hoc esset, quibus tandem suis
vel operum vel fijidei praecedentibus meritis natura humana quae in illo est comparavit?”
Translation mine.
136  Nielsen, “Logic and the Hypostatic Union,” esp. 268–75.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 71

evidenced by the footnote to Peter’s alii in Ignatius Brady’s critical edition,

which points the reader directly to Hugh’s De sacramentis, Book ii, Part i,
chapters 9 and 11. Almost immediately after the publication of Brady’s edition,
Lauge Olaf Nielsen, in his monograph on twelfth-century theologies of the
Incarnation, afffijirmed: “There can be little doubt that the source of the fijirst the-
ory in the Lombard’s survey was Hugh of St. Victor’s Christology.”137 About two
decades prior to Nielsen’s afffijirmation, Walter Principe listed both Hugh and
Achard of Saint-Victor as proponents of the Lombard’s fijirst position, which he
described in this way: “[T]his theory’s starting-point was that that which was
assumed into this personal identity with the Word was an individual human
substance, a ‘certain’ individual man fully constituted as a man from a rational
soul and human flesh: hence the frequently-used expression homo assumptus
or ‘assumed man.’ ”138 Principe drew on the seminal work of Nikolaus Häring,
who afffijirmed that “the fijirst theory . . . apparently originated in the mind of
Hugh of St. Victor.”139 Similarly, Everhard Poppenberg maintained that Hugh
“confessed to having a mindset close to [homo assumptus theory].”140 Finally,
Jean Châtillon afffijirms: “A quick examination of the Christological vocabulary
of the Sermones [of Achard of Saint-Victor] confijirms this general judgment.”141
As intimated by Principe’s description of the homo assumptus theory, mod-
ern scholars have tended to read the Christological writings of Hugh and Achard
through the lens of the interpretation of the Lombard’s fijirst opinion given in
Aquinas’s Summa. As such, based more or less on Châtillon’s “quick exami-
nation of the Christological vocabulary,” they hastily consign the Victorines
to the realm of Nestorian heresy. At the close of his 1948 essay on Achard’s
Christology, for example, Châtillon wondered whether his thought really mer-
its the serious criticisms that Aquinas levels against those who maintain the

137  Lauge Olaf Nielsen, Theology and Philosophy in the Twelfth Century: A Study of Gilbert
Porreta’s Thinking and the Theological Expositions of the Doctrine of the Incarnation during
the Period 1130–1180 (Leiden, 1982), 256.
138  Walter Henry Principe, William of Auxerre’s Theology of the Hypostatic Union (Toronto,
1963), 65.
139  N.M. Häring, S.A.C., “The Case of Gilbert de la Porrée, Bishop of Poitiers (1142–1154),”
Mediaeval Studies 13 (1951): 1–40, at 29. Principe reveals his debt to Häring’s presentation
of the Lombard’s three opinions in n. 31 on p. 197 of William of Auxerre’s Theology.
140  Everhard Poppenberg, Die Christologie des Hugo von St. Victor (Münster, 1937), 47.
141  Jean Châtillon, Théologie, spiritualité et métaphysique dans l’œuvre oratoire d’Achard
de Saint-Victor (Paris, 1969), 194: “Un examen rapide du vocabulaire christologique
des Sermones confijirme ce jugement global. Achard est en efffet de ces théologiens qui
parlent plus volontiers du mystère de l’Homme-Dieu en termes d’‘assomption’ que
d’‘incarnation.’ ”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
72 Harkins

Lombard’s fijirst opinion. He concluded: “The texts that we have cited require
us to respond, perhaps with regret but without any possible hesitation, that
Achard obviously falls into this category of theologians whose view is declared
heretical by the Angelic Doctor.”142
Elsewhere I have argued, over against Châtillon and others, that some
thoughtful “hesitation” is precisely what is needed in considering the question
of the relationship among Victorine Christology, the Lombard’s fijirst opinion,
and Aquinas’s interpretation of the Lombard on this point.143 I aimed to dem-
onstrate that whereas both Hugh and Achard consistently employ the phrase
homo assumptus when describing what was taken up by the divine Word in the
Incarnation, both Victorines use homo to mean a human nature constituted
of a rational soul and human flesh rather than a fully instantiated man or
human person.
The Victorine teaching on the mode of the union intimates precisely the
kind of fluidity and overlap that Peter Lombard seems to have understood
as existing between and among his three opinions. Indeed, we may surmise
that the Lombard actually had Hugh and Achard in mind as among those who
agree partially with the fijirst opinion and afffijirm that the single person of the
Incarnate Word subsists in two natures. Peter Lombard concludes his descrip-
tion of the fijirst opinion by asserting that its adherents do not afffijirm that Christ
is composed of two natures, which Hugh and Achard obviously do teach.
Therefore, whereas the Victorines most often use the traditional language of
homo assumptus, their understanding of the Incarnation clearly aligns more
closely with the second opinion. It is in this light that the abbreviator of the
Filia magistri may well have understood the Victorine view, which perhaps was
known to him via the positio impossibilis disputations of subsequent school-
men, as rendering the fijirst opinion and its potentially dangerous language
theologically acceptable.
Furthermore, the Filia’s abridgment of the Lombard’s second opinion
sounds as if it could just as easily be an abbreviation of Hugh or Achard:

142  Jean Châtillon, “Achard de Saint-Victor et les controverses christologiques du xiie siècle,”
in Mélanges offferts au R.P. Ferdinand Cavallera doyen de la faculté de théologie de Toulouse
à l’occasion de la quarantième année de son professorat à l’Institut Catholique, ed. Jules-
Géraud Saliège (Toulouse, 1948), 317–37, at 336: “Les textes que nous avons cités nous
obligent à répondre, avec regret peut-être, mais sans hésitation possible, qu’Achard entre
manifestement dans cette catégorie de théologiens dont l’opinion est déclarée hérétique
par le Docteur angélique.”
143  See Franklin T. Harkins, “Homo assumptus at St. Victor: Reconsidering the Relationship
between Victorine Christology and Peter Lombard’s First Opinion,” The Thomist 72 (2008):

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 73

There are others who say <this opinion, which is universal and more hon-
ored [than the fijirst], says that the Son did not take up a human person
but a human [nature]> that that man consists of a human and a divine
nature, that is, of three substances: divinity, flesh, and soul. And they con-
fess that this Christ is only one person: before the Incarnation merely
simple, but in the Incarnation made composite from humanity and
divinity. He is not, therefore, another person than He was previously.
Hence Augustine <in Book xiii On the Trinity> [says]: “Human nature was
able to be so joined to God that one person was made from three subs-
tances, but by these [three substances] He is now composed of three:
God, soul, and flesh.”144

The compiler of the Filia concludes his abbreviation of the three opinions
with the following magisterial note. Its language clearly reveals the determina-
tive influence of the papal condemnation of 1177 on Christological thought and
formulation in the subsequent decades.

The Master sets forth three opinions concerning the Incarnation

of the Son of God. The fijirst says that Christ assumed a man (hominem).
The second says that [He assumed] the nature of a man—namely, body
and soul—not as parts of Himself but as His own habit or garment. The
fijirst opinion says that Christ, insofar as He is a man, is something (homo
est aliquid). The second says the same. The third says that Christ, insofar
as He is a man, is not something (homo non est aliquid), but rather has a
certain mode of being. The fijirst opinion is not supported in the schools
except by means of an [impossible] position. The second is conceded by
all. The third is condemned as heretical by all.145

144  M, fol. 170v: “Sunt autem alii qui dicunt <hec opinion quam communis est et celebrius
dicit quod fijilius non accepit hominem sed humanam> hominem illum ex humana et
diuina natura, id est ex tribus substantiis diuinitate, carne et anima constare. et hunc
Christus fatentur et unum personam tantum esse: ante incarnationem solummodo sim-
plicem, sed in incarnatione factam compositam ex humanitate et diuinitate. nec est ideo
alia persona quam prius. Vnde augustinus <in libro xiii de trinitate>: ‘Sic deo coniungi
poterat humana natura ut ex duabus substantiis fijieret una persona at per has iam est ex
tribus: deo, anima, et carne.’ ”
145  M, fol. 170v: “Magister ponit tres opiniones circa incarnationem fijilii dei. prima dicit quod
Christus assumpsit hominem. secunda dicit quod naturam hominis, scilicet corpus
et animam, non ut partes sui sed ut habitum siue uestem sui. prima opinio dicit quod
Christus inquantum homo est aliquid. Idem dicit secunda. tertia dicit quod Chistus
secundum quod homo non est aliquid sed aliquot modo se habens. prima opinio non

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
74 Harkins

We have seen that Thomas Aquinas rejects the Lombard’s fijirst opinion in his
mature Summa theologiae. But, like the Filia magistri, his earlier Scriptum on
the Sentences tells a diffferent, more nuanced story. In the second article of the
fijirst question on distinction 6, Aquinas asks rather straightforwardly “whether
the Son of God assumed a man.” He begins by enumerating fijive objections
that suggest an afffijirmative answer, including a citation of Psalm 64:5, “Blessed
is he whom you have chosen and assumed,” which Aquinas reads as a refer-
ence to Christ the man.146 For Thomas, as for the Victorines before him, the
determination of this question hangs on how one understands the term homo.
He explains that in the Incarnation the assuming and the assumed are not
the same. Furthermore, that which is assumed always precedes the union
of the two according to our understanding. That is, for an assumption to take
place, there must be a thing to be assumed. In the case of the Incarnation,
this thing, this homo, would be a particular (rather than a universal) subsis-
tent being, that is, a person. In the opening article of this question, Aquinas
has already established that in Christ there is only one hypostasis, suppositum,
or “thing of nature.”147 A thing that has complete being in which it subsists,
Aquinas goes on to explain here in article 2, can be united to another thing
only either accidentally (as when a man is united to his tunic or a person is
united to God through love or grace) or by aggregation (as when one stone
is united to others on a growing pile). If homo is read as denoting “person,” the
Lombard’s fijirst opinion describes an aggregate union and his third an acciden-
tal one, neither of which fijittingly describes the Incarnation. “Hence it must in
no way be conceded that a man was assumed,” Thomas concludes.148
But he immediately follows with a caveat:

It must be known, however, that the fijirst opinion postulated none of the
modes of union mentioned above: therefore it is not heretical. But it sup-
posed that there had been a union according to which the person of the
Word began to be that nature (illa substantia). That [kind of union] is
certainly not intelligible, as when one of two things becomes the other,
except through the conversion of one into the other. On the contrary, it is

sustinetur in scolis nisi per positionem. secunda conceditur ab omnibus. tertia ab omni-
bus tamquam heretica reprobatur.”
146  See Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum super libris Sententiarum, Book iii, dist. 6, qu. 1, art. 2, obj. 1
(ed. Marie-Fabien Moos, O.P. [Paris, 1933]), p. 229.
147  See ibid., art. 1, pp. 222–9.
148  Ibid., art. 2, resp., p. 230: “Unde nullo modo concedendum est quod homo sit assumptus.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 75

impossible, as we said earlier. And for that reason it [i.e., the fijirst opinion]
is not supported.149

Writing about a century after Achard of Saint-Victor and within several decades
of the Filia as attested in M, Aquinas here reveals his awareness that Peter
Lombard’s fijirst opinion did not intend to describe contemporary Nestorians
who imagined that the second person of the Trinity assumed a human per-
son. Rather, proponents of the fijirst position seem to have held, according to
Thomas, that the eternal Word did something new in taking up human nature
and thereby becoming man. But the Word did not become, or in Thomas’s
words “begin to be,” that substance or nature by being converted from His
eternal divine substance or nature into it. If read in this way, the fijirst opinion
would again have to be rejected. But what is signifijicant for our purposes is
that, like the Filia, Aquinas does make room for a valid way of interpreting
the fijirst opinion, a way that generally accords with the Christological teaching
of the Victorines, Stephen Langton, and the anonymous student of Peter the
Aquinas’s commentary on the three opinions is, not surprisingly, lengthier,
clearer, and more linguistically and philosophically sophisticated than that of
the Filia. Whereas the Filia, for example, conflates the second and third opin-
ions—maintaining that the second teaches that Christ assumed a human body
and soul like a habit or garment—Aquinas makes clear both in question 1,
article 2 and in question 3, article 2 that human nature could not have been
united accidentally to the Word. (We might note in passing that whereas the
Filia identifijies the assuming agent as “Christ,” Thomas uses the more accurate
“Word,” again indicating his greater theological precision.) One substance can
be accidentally joined to another in two ways, Thomas explains: it is joined to

149  Ibid.: “Sciendum tamen quod prima opinio nullum praedictorum modorum unionis
ponebat, unde non est haeretica. Sed ponebat quod erat facta unio secundum hoc quod
persona Verbi incepit esse illa substantia: quod quidem non est intelligibile, ut duorum
unum fijiat alterum, nisi per conversionem unius in alterum, immo impossibile, ut prius
dictum est; et ideo non sustinetur.”
150  If the homo of the Lombard’s fijirst opinion is understood as signifying a human nature,
as the Victorines and these later theologians read it, then it can be properly afffijirmed
that the Word took a homo to Himself, all the while retaining his eternal divine nature,
such that He was then constituted of two natures. It is precisely in view of this under-
standing that the pupil of the Chanter is able to defend the proposition Christus
est simplex et compositum. The terms simplex and compositum, he explains, are attributed
to Christ on account of his two natures: the divine nature is simple and the composite
nature is complex (see Nielsen, “Logic and the Hypostatic Union,” 263).

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
76 Harkins

it either “according to association or contact,” as a garment to a man or a chal-

ice to wine, or “as something movable to the mover,” as an angel to the body
that he assumes.151 Aquinas—together with a number of his contemporaries,
including Alexander of Hales, Richard Fishacre, Richard Rufus of Cornwall,
Albert, and Bonaventure—taught that because the relationship between
angels and their assumed bodies is strictly extrinsic and occasional, various
corporeal functions of life that are natural to human beings by virtue of the
organic connection between body and soul are not, properly speaking, natural
to angels.152 In such scriptural narratives as Luke 1, Genesis 18, and Genesis 6,
angels simply seem to speak, eat, engage in sexual intercourse, and generate
offfspring, according to these thirteenth-century masters. Indeed, the archan-
gel Raphael goes so far as to admit the accidental relationship that he has to his
body when he tells Tobit, “I appeared (videbar) to eat with you, but I use invis-
ible food” (Tob. 12:19). Scripture and tradition clearly testify that the Incarnate
Word, by contrast, did truly eat, speak, sufffer, die, and arise from death in and
with His human body. Because the third opinion cannot afffijirm that “the Son
of God truly became man and truly sufffered,” Aquinas concludes, it has been
condemned as heretical.153 Without such a protracted explanation—indeed,
with no explanation at all—the Filia likewise teaches that the third opinion is
condemned as heresy by all.


I have aimed to provide a thorough introduction to the updated abridgment

of the Sentences known as the Filia magistri. The groundbreaking work on
this text, particularly as attested in manuscript M, of Raymond Martin, Artur
Landgraf, and Heinrich Weisweiler in the fijirst several decades of the twentieth
century painted a picture of the Filia magistri as a single abbreviated and
glossed text produced by Hugh of Saint-Cher or someone in his scholarly

151  Ibid., qu. 3, art. 2, resp., p. 246: “. . . sic una substantia alteri accidentaliter advenire dicatur,
sicut vestis homini. Sed hoc potest esse nisi dupliciter: vel quod conjungatur ei secun-
dum contactam, sicut vestis homini vel sicut dolium vino; aut sicut mobile motori, sicut
Angelus conjungitur corpori quod assumit.”
152  See Franklin T. Harkins, “The Embodiment of Angels: A Debate in Mid-Thirteenth-
Century Theology,” rtpm 78 (2011): 25–58.
153  Thomas Aquinas, Scriptum, Book iii, dist. 6, qu. 3, art. 2, resp., p. 247: “Unde patet quod
haec opinio non potest dicere quod Filius Dei vere sit homo vel vere sit passus; et ideo
cum neget veritatem articulorum, condemnata est quasi heretica.”

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
Filiae Magistri 77

circle at the University of Paris around 1232–1245 and used as a teaching tool
there until it was eclipsed by the arrival of Albert the Great and the “nouvelle
théologie” of the mid-century. Although Weisweiler noted that manuscripts of
the Filia continued to be produced well into the fijifteenth century, neither he
nor other scholars noted the considerable fluidity of the abbreviations wit-
nessed to in these manuscripts. Furthermore, the traditional assumptions that
(1) the Filia was produced at the university for the training of theology students
there, and (2) such a glossed abbreviation of the Lombard’s text would have
had little to no appeal or utility for university theologians-in-training once
the great masters began producing full-blown, independent commentar-
ies on the Sentences have served to blind scholars to the possibility that the
Filia may have found a home, a pedagogical purpose, and a utility outside
the universities.
Based on the manuscript evidence and the nature of theological education
and formation among medieval religious, I have proposed that the Filia found
precisely such a home, purpose, and extraordinary utility in the houses and
scholae of Dominicans, Cistercians, Augustinian canons, Premonstratensians,
and other religious orders throughout Europe during the high and late Middle
Ages. From Nuremberg and Ebrach to Paris and Cuissy, to Vorau and Neuberg,
to Cambron, religious novices and students beginning the study of theology
seem to have been introduced to Peter Lombard’s great book by means of the
Filia. Indeed, the fluidity of texts that circulated under the title Filia magistri
and share a common prologue suggests, as we would surely expect, that lectors
read and students heard the Lombard’s text in countless diffferent ways, giving
rise to many divergent Filiae magistri. That the particular Filia attested in M
is a “complete” abbreviation—that is, one that abridges all four books of the
Sentences rather than only one or two—to which contemporary opinions and
explanations have been added comports well with what we know about the
requirements and reality of teaching the Lombard’s book in Dominican con-
ventual schools, intimating that it would have been an ideal pedagogical tool
in the religious schools of other orders as well. By means of his orienting, ref-
erence, and explanatory interlinear glosses, together with his distinguishing,
updating, and summary magisterial notes, the lector or teacher who appears
to have produced the Filia of M proves himself a master of accommodating
the sophisticated theology and innumerable authorities of the Lombard’s text
to the capacity and needs of his novices without watering it down in the least.
In fact, in the two examples that we have considered, the master of our Filia
updates and elucidates the Lombard’s teaching in a way that enables him to set
forth the same basic doctrine that Albert, Bonaventure, and Aquinas develop
at greater length and with more conceptual nuance and linguistic precision

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV
78 Harkins

in their own Sentences commentaries. Our comparative look at the theology

of this Filia has enabled us to see both this particular text (and, by extension,
other abridgments of the Sentences) and the work of these widely recognized
great medieval thinkers in a new light. Reconciling our fijindings with previous
scholarship on the Filia and other Sentences abbreviations—which tends to
assume that they are the far less evolved ancestors of formal Sentences com-
mentaries and that theology students had no need for them once the great
thirteenth-century masters arrived in Paris—is like trying to fijit a square peg
into a round hole. This is particularly the case when we keep in mind, as the
manuscript evidence indicates, that Filiae seem to have been used for basic
theological education “on the ground” in various religious houses rather than
in the universities. Our comparative analysis suggests that Filiae and formal
commentaries or other synthetic works are separated by a much smaller
theological distance than scholars have previously imagined. Indeed, in some
cases—as, for example, in the interpretation of the homo assumptus theory as
found in our Filia and in Aquinas’s Summa—the great systematic work seems
less nuanced and less attuned to the Lombard’s theological aim than the simple
updated abridgment. Also interesting is the possibility that, in attempting to
simplify the Lombard’s three opinions for his own beginning students, Thomas
oversimplifijied them, as he seems not to have done in his earlier Scriptum. This
should increase our appreciation for the theological sophistication of abridg-
ments like the Filia magistri all the more.
Finally, not only does the master of the Filia attested in M seem to be updat-
ing the Lombard’s text with the latest philosophical categories and theological
insights—the absolute/ordained power distinction being a prime example—
but Albert, Bonaventure, and Aquinas seem to have drawn from the same
general store of traditional authorities and contemporary teachings of which
the master of our Filia makes use. As we have seen, they most certainly added
their own particular—and particularly erudite—ways of thinking about
and helping their students at the university understand the theological tra-
dition in light of the most recent learning. But perhaps we will understand
the great thirteenth-century masters more as they understood themselves, in
light of their religious vocations, when we begin to recognize and appreciate
that the theological and pedagogical distance separating the “Daughters of
the Master” from the great university masters is smaller than we have hereto-
fore imagined.

This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | © 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV