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THEOLOGY, HISTORY AND SCIENCE: SCOTUS, ECKHART AND THE CASE OF TRANSFORMATION THEOLOGY

This paper is based on the following four simple propositions. The first is that since Christianity is a religion of incarnation, it follows that academic theology, as the consistent and sustained reflection in faith which is proper to Christianity, must always be highly susceptible to influence from scientific reasoning as this sets out new understandings, for instance, of the nature of the space and time in which, as Christians hold, revelation occurs. We need to recall that there is in Christian doctrine already a commitment to a particular view of the material as being capable of undergoing transformation. This is already implied in our affirmation of the resurrection and glorification of Christ, for instance. On one account, in fact, the origins of Modern Theology itself can be traced back to the questions on the transformability of matter which informed the debate in the 1520s between Luther and Zwingli on the nature of the relation between spirit and matter. The occasion was their celebrated dispute on the nature of the Eucharistic presence of Christ. On the grounds of his humanistic natural science background, Zwingli maintained against Luther the untransformability, of the body of Jesus, since it is in the nature of the human body as a material entity to be limited and circumscribed. Thus the body of Jesus, who sits to the right-hand of the Father in heaven, must itself be wholly untransformed (vllig unverwandelt), for Zwingli. Luther on the other hand still envisages a glorified Christ. Luther affirms that matter comes first and that Spirit transforms matter, in the ordo salutis (in preaching, for instance, the Word requires first the spoken word). Zwingli on the other hand insists that the Holy Spirit does not transform the material at all as such but rather transforms the human spirit or mind, freeing us from the material. Spirit allows us to escape from the material. We can recognise here the beginnings of scientific materialism, later enshrined as Newtonianism, and that to which Immanuel Kant responds in his First Critique, following in the footsteps of David Hume. We can also see the power of this materialism, which already begins to bend doctrine so that Zwingli, who is more susceptible to scientific learning and so more a man of his times than Luther, seems to envisage the
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absurdity of an ageing Christ sitting to the right hand of the Father in heaven. If it is the achievement of Luther and Calvin to rediscover the Holy Spirit as the Third Person who makes the Second Person of the Trinity present to us in our own space and time (thus implicitly doing the work which was done by the cosmological metaphysics of the enchanted universe in pre-modern times), then it is the Zwinglian inheritance which redefines the Holy Spirit as being in opposition to materiality, rather than as being the transformational principle within it. This double inheritanceof the modern period whereby the Spirit makes Christ present but is also in opposition to materiality, is deeply incoherent in my view, and it is one for instance that makes the integration of the experience of the Spirit in modern Pentecostalism into the theological mainstream so difficult. But when we contrast a scientific understanding of the untransformability of matter, which was authoritative in its own day, with contemporary astro-physics with its colliding galaxies, singularities, quantum events and dark matter, we may well reflect just how broad the spectrum of scientific insight and change is, within which theology needs to maintain its fidelity to revelation. Perhaps indeed the defining difference between premodern, modern and contemporary theology lies in their respective cosmologies, whether in terms of a working with or within that cosmology as is the case with the enchanted universe of the pre-modern world, with its theological rationale based on theologies of the creation and an emphasis on theological meaning as something we discover in Gods world; or alternatively a working in opposition to the dominant cosmology of the day, as in the case of Modern Theology, with its emphasis on apologetics and theological anthropologies based largely on subjectivity and the evolving forms of our human meaning-making. This is of course a theological way which both accepts and contests materialist determinism, opposing to it the freedom of human subjectivity as a domain outside matter. Following on from our first proposition then, that Theology is inevitably influenced by science, we have the second proposition that Modern Theology is itself deeply influenced in its underlying rationalities and methods by an understandable reaction against the rise of scientific materialism, which was itself bound up with the more general response of the humanities as such to the advent of a new and powerful

form of scientific rationalism. The birth place of Modern Theology was after all the University of Berlin, founded in 1810, in which Idealism was the sovereign thoughtform. If Zwingli perceived an affinity between divine Geist and human Geist (both forms of spirit being opposed to matter), then the kind of Idealist debates that surrounded the foundation of the new, and paradigm modern university, were robustly expressive of just this view. Fichte championed its pre-eminence in a series of influential writings on the foundation of the University of Berlin. He argued for instance that the scientific or intelligent spirit of human beings allows us to co-create with the Creator through the development of science and technology. The anatomy of Modern Theology at its point of origin is in fact familiar enough. The decision to locate theology in the new university environment was rooted in the determination not to see the Church isolated from the most rigorous theoretical and scientific advances of the times. This was a quite natural attempt to show the continuing relevance of Christianity in the intellectual and cultural landscapes of the day. Our second proposition contains the further adjunct therefore that our own theology today still sits within this same orientation, presupposing the primacy of theoretical or academic reasoning over practical reasoning, and at least in its university setting placing theology within the social context and mores of the academy rather than the engaged Church. This is not at all a point about the faith or otherwise of academic theologians. It is a point rather about the sociality of theological knowledge. Although we have moved far from Idealism as the model of the scientific or most persuasive theoretical paradigms, we still generally construct theologies as apologetics, in close engagement with secular theory (existentialism, phenomenology, cultural studies, aesthetics, language theory, hermeneutics), inevitably constructing theology as an import intellectual economy rather than an import one which it should naturally be. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this of course, except in so far as Modern Theology lacks a proper engagement with theology of the world, as the final or ultimate focus of human meaning, it will always be condemned to remain more an import than export intellectual economy. Our third proposition then is that this neednt be so, indeed, should not be so, and that it is possible for theology to accommodate new forms of scientific rationalism while still remaining grounded in the transformative life of discipleship. And it is here, after all,

in the Christian life lived, with its convergence of belief and act ,that we find or discover the richest and most distinctive forms of Christian meaning. In order to develop this point, we need to consider the mid-thirteenth century when the rise of a new Aristotelianism, based in scientific rationalism with implications both for human self-understanding and for major new advances in cosmology, posed an undeniable threat to the established Augustinian synthesis. In many ways, the High Scholasticism of Bonaventure, Aquinas, Eckhart and Scotus was a highly creative response to this particular challenge. THE CONDEMNATION OF 1277 Let us turn then to the condemnation of 1277. The Patristic synthesis, both East and West, left us with an emphasis upon the unity of loving and knowing in the Christian life of discipleship. For Augustine, for instance, will and reason are united in the Christian self, and love has the upper hand. With the rise of Aristotelianism in the thirteenth century however, this synthesis was decisively questioned. Aristotelian philosophy offered a rigorous and penetrating account of human cognition as based on sense-contents and mental abstraction, which shifted the axis of thinking away from the will to the intellect and from revelation to natural philosophy. The condemnation by Bishop Stephen Tempier in 1277 of 219 propositions drawn from the new Aristotelianism of the Faculty of Arts in Paris, was indicative of the deep tensions that were felt between philosophers and theologians around these questions at this time. The condemnation targeted the new rationalism on the grounds, amongst others, that it fostered an overly naturalistic account of human nature and our felicity during this life which was based on our powers of reasoning alone, and that it allowed insufficient space both to human freedom and to the precepts of revelation. It was indicative of an increasing tension between Church and university: the life of Christian acting and the life of Christian thinking. How could these be integrated in the light of the new thinking? The scholastic theology of the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries grew out of this attempt to re-balance philosophy and theology therefore through developing once again a stable account of the integration of will and reason in the life of faith.

We are generally better acquainted with how Thomas Aquinas succeeded in integrating the two domains, but the two figures I want to focus on here are Meister Eckhart, Thomas Dominican confrre, and John Duns Scotus. Meister Eckhart The theory of intellect that we find in Eckhart is more generally characteristic of the German Dominican school to which he belonged than it is to the trajectory which would later become known as Thomism. As part of that school, which included Albert the Great, Dietrich von Freiberg and Ulrich von Strasburg, Eckhart had generally far more pronounced Platonic or Neoplatonic commitments. His theory of analogy differs from that of Thomas, for instance, to the extent that he insists that our properties as creatures always remain in some real sense in God and are only ever on loan to us, whereas Thomas insists that they become properly our own. This same distinction is apparent in the way the two Dominicans understood knowledge or human intellect, Eckhart holding that the ground of our intellect lies within God himself while Thomas believes that it is a fragile light that is properly given to us as creatures. We can see therefore that in Eckharts account of intellect the new Aristotelianism is moderated by a form of Augustinian illuminationism. But it is what Eckhart does with the radical Augustinianism which he inherits from his mentor Dietrich of Freiberg which is of interest to us here. Far from making it purely intellectualist, and so leaving it as an account of how we know the world, Eckhart also embeds within it a radically dynamic theory of grace and so also of ethics. What we see in Eckharts birth of God in the soul is a variation on that other commanding theme of the late Middle Ages: the question of grace. The gotes gebuehrt is a highly transformative image which envisages God as a wholly dynamic acting (or wirken) in the depth of the soul which effects a change in us that is both ethical and ontological at the same time. Eckhart calls this abegescheidenheit or detachment, which is a kind of self-lessness which he works out in terms both of metaphysics (as meaning that we transcend the properties of our individual nature) and ethics (meaning that we live beyond the narrowness of our own self-interest).

There are two features of Eckharts thought that are particularly relevant here, and they lie in the combination of these two themes of intellection and grace. If the Augustinian inheritance of the unity of intellect and will in the Christian self, with love the preeminent partner, came under pressure from the new Aristotelianism, then Eckharts response is to identify the ethical shape of reason or knowing itself. He achieves this on the grounds of a strong form of Augustinian illuminationism, enhanced by a Trinitarian account of emanation which he develops in his commentary on the Prologue of the Gospel of St John. This means that the image remains within its source; the created remains in a certain, albeit incomplete, sense, within the Creator. Eckharts theory of emanation or the metaphysics of creation has some very powerful implications. In the light of its Trinitarian base, his favoured term, together with bild or image, is in fact wort or word, so that he can bring together the generation of the Son from the Father as divine word, with the creation itself which is another word of God, with the word which God speaks in us (which is our intellect) and finally with the words which we speak or, specifically, preach. Here the uttered word is crucial, for if it is the right word, uttered in the right way, it can change us in our own capacity to be word in this specifically Eckhartian sense as embodied creatures who combine materiality and intelligibility within ourselves. It can affect us in terms of our own mind-body relation so that we no longer live from our own self-interested and self-engaged perspectival particularity but rather enter the paradoxical and surely radically ethical state of living in detachment in the world. There are three things we need to note here then in Eckhart in his response to the challenge of rationalism. The first is that Eckhart is intensely interested in how the selfcommunication of God within us shapes human reasoning (or consciousness might be a better term for what Eckhart means by intellect). As a Dominican preacher, and following Augustine on language in On the Trinity, he understands there to be a close link between the birth of God in the soul, the way we reason (i.e. whether we act as someone who is detached in the world or not) and the performance of language in the sermon. A central concern for Eckhart is the role of apophaticism, or that kind of speaking which we call negative theology, as the signature or even as the mediation of the birth of God in the soul into the fullness of human life. In other words, the nearness of

God to us, which is captured doctrinally in the theme of the gotes gebuehrt, brings about a distinctive apophasis or shaping of human reason in which affirmations need to be deconstructed or negated in order that they can become expressive of the immediacy of the divine encounter. This reflects the unitive character of negative language about God which is strongly represented in what we think of today as the medieval mystical tradition. If the birth of God in the soul by which we become detached takes place in the ground of the soul, which is the source of our intelligent life, then we can also see here what appears to be a link between apophaticism on the one hand and the good or detached life in Eckharts metaphysical ethics on the other. The apophasis of negative theology appears here to be the distinctive linguistic signature of the divine presence in us, while the apophatic self is the detached self, or the self who lives ethically without a why. What we can see here then is an early outline of what my colleague at Kings, Paul Janz, has called a finality of non-resolution: an idea that is central to the Transformation Theology project. Our reasoning has to lose its controlling or distancing function as we seek to live ethically in the midst of life, and it is precisely the divine presence, through command (or what Paul Janz calls the command of grace), which brings us to this place. Therefore, although unity in Eckhart is framed in terms of an overarching Neoplatonic metaphysics of oneness or unicity, the sense of self which emerges here is one which affirms the ultimate unity of the faculties of both loving and reasoning, through divine proximity. The strongly intellectualist trajectory in Eckharts thought masks what is in fact a far-reaching concern here with practice as the form of Christian life, in which the self comes into a radical unity precisely as reasoning and loving: as both apophatic and detached. If one of the effects of this theology is to raise the nature of reason to the heights, by making our own reasoning a form of participation in divine reasoning, then it also brings reason back down to earth, so that it shapes our everyday existence through the ethical disposition of a detached or virtuous life of selfdispossession (an intrinsic part of which is cognitive non-resolution). This two-way movement only becomes possible on account of the creative energies of God: drawing back to himself what first flowed from him, on the one hand, and realising his own incarnational being, as giving birth to himself in his creature, on the other.

John Duns Scotus The Franciscan master shares with Meister Eckhart the principle of divine proximity in the midst of life, and specifically in our capacity to live the good life. These two mediaeval masters respond to the challenge of a rationalist Aristotelianism by their greater attention to the nature of the Christian self. This is done not in terms of a theological apologetics based on anthropology and human meaning-making, borrowed from philosophical sources, but it is done in terms of self-reflection based on the practical Christian life of lived discipleship (both theologians are sent to Cologne in around 1309, at the height of their careers, to represent their orders in what was one of the most pressing pastoral and political crises of the times). In Eckhart, questions of human freedom and judgment were eclipsed by his overwhelming conviction of the dynamic presence of God arising from the source of our consciousness, through the divine birth in us, and setting us free in the state of our ontological/ethical detachment. Scotus has a very different approach to what is nevertheless the same kind of problem: namely how is the relation between our powers of loving and knowing to be understood if reason is not to pull away and become an autonomous faculty with respect even to revelation? Scotus does not however transcendentalize intellect as the form of that proximity of God in the midst of life, but understands God to be present in two quite different though interrelated ways. He believes that the divine is proximate both through our own capacity to be free in concrete situations of moral choice on the one hand and through the nature of objective existence or being on the other. Scotus agrees with Eckhart therefore that it is as Creator that God is close to us, but understands this very differently in terms of the human subject as creature. The question of the relation between love and knowledge (will and reason) is at the centre of Scotus thinking. He progressively develops the theory that the will itself is a form of reasoning and so is not blind or dependent upon an intellectual faculty which is extrinsic to it. But he also links the principle of the will with freedom in his argument in that it is in the capacity of the will to exercise self-control that it shows itself to be free. It is not in the capacity of the will to positively choose an object (velle) or to positively

refuse an object (nolle) but rather in its capacity to choose to do neither (non velle) that the freedom of the will comes into view. Scotus envisages this capacity for self-control to be realised also where we allow the principle of justice (affectus justitiae) to overrule the principle of possession (affectus commodiae). This is a very basic form of human freedom therefore, which indicates a freedom over oneself, but it is not an autonomous form of freedom in the sense of presupposing that we have no need for divine revelation. For Scotus, it is critically important that the whole of the created order is contingent and free, itself the product of divine creative free will. He understands our own fundamental freedom in moral choosing to be a reflex of the original divine free will by which the world was created and is held in being. Just like Eckhart therefore, it is from within the doctrine of the Creation that Scotus presupposes the dynamic presence of God in our own situational reality as one who freely accepts the offering of our own freedom and freely rewards it. For Scotus it is only because the world as created is contingent and free that human beings can also be free within contingency and can discover in this freedom their own reciprocal mode of moral creativity. In addition to this moral mode of conceiving divine proximity in the midst of life, Scotus also develops a metaphysical account. The Franciscan maintains the univocity of being by which he understood that the word ens (Latin for being) could be applied equally to what exists finitely in the created world and to God himself whose being is however infinite: he took the terms finite and infinite here to designate only a mode of being. Scotus carefully argues his case in a way that maintains the principle that God is truly present to us in his creation. And in fact it is the beatific vision itself which is of central importance for Scotus at this point. He insists that the critical difference between our experience of the world as existent and the final vision of God lies not so much in ourselves but in the nature of the divine presence to us. As immediately present in the beatific vision, God fully determines our capacity to know and receive reality; but the same fundamental principles of cognition apply also in the case of our knowledge of the created world. Very significantly, Scotus describes the power of the intellect in us as being twofold. In the first place we have the power of Aristotelian abstraction, by which we know something for what it is (according to its quidditas). But we also possess the power

of intuition by which we recognise that something is. In a very important development, Scotus sets out the principle of haeccitas or thisness. This is an innovation in thought by which he seeks to capture the principle of individuation as such. What is it that makes something both identifiable as a specific kind of thing (species or common nature, i.e. dogginess) but also numerically one (this dog is not the same as that dog; in fact even these two identical poodles are not the same)? Scotus decides that this is not the result of its individuation through matter, as Aquinas thought. It is not something that is grounded in either the common nature (dogginess), nor in the materiality, nor indeed in the relation between the two. It is rather grounded in the fact that dogginess here is this dogginess, matter is this matter, and the relation between the two is this relation. In other words, Scotus identifies a further principle in existence which is the being of a thing in this here and now. It is precisely the way in which something is this that is grasped by the intellectual faculty of intuition. But the perception of the thisness of a thing also has implications for our own existence in the here and now as cognising subject, and so also for a certain kind of reflexivity by which we can grasp ourselves as being this person in this place and time. Scotus sees this principle of self-reflexivity within the moral act as a key element in our capacity to mature as moral agents over time, linking this with prudence as the form of our moral wisdom. Finally, Scotus follows Augustine in identifying beauty or harmony of relations as a key element in our moral acts. We are attracted by the good as right moral action on the grounds of our perception of the harmonious relations within our own here and now, in which we exercise our freedom in the moral act. For Scotus, at the point of our free moral action we harmonise with the objective moral order as this is present to us in the here and now. The concept of intuition as our perception of the real plays a key role for Scotus here too in that this both locates us in the here and now and also connects us to the objective framework of the moral order. For this latter point of course, Scotus draws upon an explicit metaphysical realism and an understanding of the doctrine of creation which allows him to view human morality as being embedded in the nature of the world as Gods creation. It is precisely this objectivity which allows him to develop an account of human moral agency which he can describe as a science of praxis.

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The Tasks of Contemporary Theology Let us just distil some principles from the above. Eckhart and Scotus are confronted with an extrinsic rationalism that knows nothing of Christian affectivity, compassion and will, and the complexities of freedom as we find these, for instance, in the late Augustine. Faith as discipleship requires more than this, for all the evident authority of the new rationalism. Both Eckhart and Scotus turn to a theology of creation and both have a very strong account of the immediacy of the presence of the Creator to the acting person. Both have a strong non-Aristotelian account of the unity and integration of love and knowledge, willing and reasoning, in the following of faith, though they achieve it in quite different ways: Eckhart follows a Platonic cognitivist path, drawing upon the apophatic tradition as the way in which reason is shaped by a unitive state with the divine, and linking this with the birth of God in the soul, at the source of intellect. The birth brings ethical detachment, which involves cognitive non-resolution. Scotus achieves the unity of reason and love by fusing them in the will that informs our acts and arguing that the will itself is practical reason: in practical or prudential reasoning, love and knowledge are one. But Scotus always sees this state as contextual, embedded in concrete space and time where we have to respond concretely to the needs of another. And it is here in the thisness of things and of ourselves that his deep concern with freedom comes to the fore. For Eckhart on the other hand, all is gift, an illuminationist flow from the Godhead which we can capture and pass on through the dynamics of speech in the intimacy of the sermon. In their different ways therefore, each brings reason back to the authority of love. But what now of Transformation Theology which seeks expressly to contest the primacy of scientific, observer reasoning in theology in a world very different from that of the mid-thirteenth century? What elements in Eckhart and Scotus can we identify as being useful? What can we build upon? In the first place we come to our fourth proposition which is that contemporary science offers us a model of the world and of ourselves in the world which is adapted as a response to Newtonianism. But Modern theology is methodologically predicated on Newtonianism both intellectually and in its social expressions. Now why should we want

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to do that today? But in approaching the task of remodelling our theological method, we must be careful to develop a properly historical form of critical self-awareness. We need to understand the nature of the changes that have taken place in our own theological and indeed Western history. These are summarised on the handout. But we need also to understand what exactly is involved in our own contemporary scientific perspective. Here we can look to the following model:

1.a. Here mind or consciousness is designated as a free and emergent space within an encompassing materiality. It is not outside the world in that sense, but is rather in the world. Body is distinct from but nevertheless in continuity with the material world. This is a model which applies both phylogenetically in terms of our species evolution through ever greater biological and especially neurological complexity but also ontogenetically in terms of our individual development as we first gain conscious control over our own bodies in infancy and then come to develop greater powers of manipulation and control in the world around us. One of the chief effects of this model is to thematise the relation between mind and body itself. In the words of Francesco Varela, the mind does not inhabit the body like software in hardware, but is rather software that constantly rebuilds the hardware. Since mind and body are in continuity with one another, the question of how mind and body combine in unity or in disjunction with one another, for instance is problematic as is the question of the extent to which we can become integrated as both matter and mind. It is useful briefly to compare this contemporary model of the self in the world with the model which represents that which it replaces or overcomes: the modern self.

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1.b. This is a very different kind of anthropology. In this case consciousness is set in opposition to body and world, as a domain of determinism to which as freedom it is opposed. Body is assimilated to consciousness at the cost of its continuity with world. World is opposed to mind as that which through technology mind brings under its control. This is the anthropology of Arendts homo faber, and it has marked similarities with Taylors buffered self of the modern age. Underlying this paradigm is the new knowledge about the world, which Funkenstein refers to as ergetic knowledge by which we are able to manufacture things. Here mind defines matter as forces which can be measured and, by gaining control over materiality in this way, finds that it is now at a distance from the world. This places a commensurate emphasis upon human subjectivity as the secure site of our freedom. This paradigm presents a subject who is in the world therefore but only remotely part of the world, since subjectivity is the site of our freedom by which we are free from the world as observer and free to express our will in the world as agent. It is instructive also to compare the model of the contemporary self with the self of pre-modernity (or Taylors porous self).

1.c. Here we can see the interpenetration of mind, body and world in a composite of enchantment that held all these terms together through the createdness of all that is. All created things are united with respect to the Creator. The boundaries between the individual mind and the intelligible realities of the world are unclear. The earth is full of powers and intelligences which are no less substances than we are, though they are
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non-material. In this anthropocentric world, we are deeply at home as intelligence, imagination and embodiment which interpenetrates the world. Here, the body itself is imaged not as being over and against the world, but as being itself cosmological. This is the embodiment as microcosm that we associate with early religious traditions. We are here, as human beings, intrinsically part of, and in embodied, imaginative continuity with, the world that surrounds us. It is interesting in fact to note that the contemporary, or as we can call it integrated, model has significant features in common with the pre-modern as compared with the modern paradigm. The nature of the world is understood differently of course but the effect of the two different cosmologies is to place human consciousness within materiality, even if this is the extended materiality of an enchanted universe in the case of the pre-modern. If we set traditional pictorial (or indeed musical) representations of heaven from the medieval world together with the images of distant galaxies that come to us from the Hubble or Kepler telescopes, then we can say that in each case the observer, in their respective historical periods, was able to look upon these images and surmise that we can learn something fundamental about ourselves from what we see in these distant places. For the medieval observer, what was learned from glimpses of heaven was something fundamental not only about the moral ordering of our universe but also about our own destiny, both as an individual and as creation. Christ and his judgment was the dominant motif in early representations of the cosmic order. In our glimpses from the farthest reaches of the universe, the modern observer learns something fundamental about our origins and destiny, but also about who we are. We know today that we are a carbon life-form which is tied up in everyway with the particular evolution of our universe. We are in minute detail the product of this fine-tuned universe and even in our advanced conscious life are constitutively bound up with its material structures in every way. If our starting point as contemporary Christians lies in the integrated model of neuroscience (and not for instance the dualistic model of the Modern paradigm), then it follows from this that the question of our unity as both mind and body at the same time comes to the fore. The effect of a non-dualistic account of the human is the presupposition that faith must finally be about our unity as creatures, whereby we come

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to terms with our own truth as being both body and mind, both complex materiality and pure subjectivity, at the same time. Moreover this has to be a Christological moment. Our unity, or freedom, must be the result of an encounter through the Spirit with his unity or freedom. It is here that TT comes close to the work of Scotus, for whom it was axiomatic that this unity of will and reason was achieved in the concreteness of existence: in his haecceitas. A contemporary transformational theology of faith does not imitate Scotus in this it is driven more by the scientific paradigm but it does nevertheless converge very closely with Scotus on this point. It is the commissioning Christ in history who has to be the source of that unity. But what precisely does Theology of Transformation learn from Meister Eckhart and John Duns Scotus? It is clear that Scotus, unlike Eckhart, had the same kind of detailed interest in the interaction of love and knowledge through freedom at the point of moral judgment. There are extensive parallels here. If Transformation Theology argues that love causes reason to accommodate overwhelming or at least unmanageable complexity in the moral act, and that this brings us into our freedom as moral agent, then Scotus likewise gives priority to freedom as being bound up with the nature of the will at the point of moral judgment. He places that freedom in our capacity for self-denial (and so to be wholly self-determining). This compares with the role of the will in Transformation Theology as holding us cognitively within the discomfort of irreducible complexity as someone holding responsibility and coming to judgment for the sake of another. There is a difference here in that we have read intellect and will as retaining separate functions in moral judgment, while Scotus seems to move from the separation of intellect and will in moral judgment to a later position in which he argues that will is itself practical reason. We can argue however that this points to an even greater convergence of intellect and will in the moral act than is the case in Transformation Theology. For Scotus, in practical reasoning, they are one. There are parallels too in how Scotus envisages the relation between our own natural freedom and the divine freedom of the Creator. His positing of the presence of God in Gods own creative freedom at the point of the realisation of our own free agency (as capable of choosing justice or the good of the other through self-control) parallels what is defined in Transformation Theology as the presence to us of Christ whose human

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freedom has been irreversibly transformed by the Father and Spirit. What is more metaphysically stated in Scotus becomes Christology in TT. Appropriately Scotus maintains a stronger sense of divine election and distance at the point of meeting of the Creator and creaturely freedom of God and the human, while Transformation Theology presupposes that the free election of humanity has already taken place in the case of Jesus in whom that election is made present also to us in a human and divine solidarity. The closest parallel of all perhaps lies in Scotus sense of reality as that which can be perceived through the senses by what he calls the faculty of intuition. For Scotus, this entails the perception of the objective moral order of the world as Gods creation with the result that the conforming of the self to this structure is itself a form of harmony perceptible as beauty. For Scotus, the human moral act is free, creative and also beautiful because it is our own conforming as creature to the nature of reality as Gods creation. In Transformation Theology, we find a similar configuration of freedom, creativity (through the imagination) and beauty. Furthermore, Scotus concept of haecceitas or thisness is highly generative in the Transformation Theology context since it is precisely in the here and now that the power of God is felt most keenly. In the moral act, we have to enter the here and now as a fully integrated human being. We have understood what Scotus calls haecceitas to be the domain of material causation (how one thing leads to another). Free causation becomes possible where we enter the here and now as free, human material cause for another. It is enacted love that is the condition of this freedom and openness, where the divine creativity is re-enacted through commissioned or mandated free human agency. It is at this point too of our being one with thisness, as this particular person acting in this way at this time and place, that we are set free before ourselves and so can freely choose who we become. This is the ground of our reflexivity and selfunderstanding in the act, which is the ground likewise of our free capacity for conversion and repentance, as Scotus likewise states it. But at the same time, it is precisely here, in haecceitas, that a quite critical difference emerges between Transformation Theology and the work of John Duns Scotus. In describing the here and now as the place of material causation, we are in effect acknowledging that a great gulf separates us at this point for material causation is specifically the place at which, for us, reality is most bound up with scientific

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explanation. Indeed, it is precisely in our here and now that we are homo faber (to use that phrase from Hannah Arendt). This means that Scotus has an option we do not have. Scotus can invoke the here and now with his haecceitas in a way that does not call into question his theological register through the potentially invasive advent of scientific thinking. For him there is no tension between the two. Indeed, Scotus theological thinking is even supported by his own extensive scientific reflections in the area primarily of physics. Scotus is seen as holding an important place in the history of modern science. For us, on the other hand, the domain of material causation is very much the province of scientific explanation and intervention, which lies outside theology. Technology is precisely the making present of that state of affairs. The different locations of John Duns Scotus and Transformation Theology with respect to science determine some significant differences between them. Scotus can call upon the objectivity of the moral order (to be perceived through sense-based intuition, for instance), since for him the creation of the world sits within the scientific order of his day. But there is a gulf between the way that a medieval theologian could think of science and how a modern theologian can think of science. As a distinctively contemporary thought-form, Transformation Theology has to accommodate a scientific perspective on the here and now as something autonomous of itself. We have to recognise secular science not only as part of our own human truth but also as integral to how we live. The problem becomes more acute when we consider the place of beauty in moral judgment. To what does the modern theologian attribute this? Is it a beauty in the natural order or a beauty specifically of grace? What precisely is beautiful: the fine-tuned world, of which we are part, the risen Christ, the one who acts, or all of these together? We are left with questions such as: do we encounter or even harmonize with fine-tuning in the moral act, and, if so, can we give fine-tuning a Christological value? Is Jesus Christ the personification of a fine-tuned universe: can we translate the scriptural divine logos into this kind of terminology? Transformation Theology recognises the need to accommodate in faith the principle of fine-tuning, which is itself the ground of the scientific method since it describes the world as a world that can be known and known by the human mind which is itself fine-tuned. It thus seeks a reconciliation of theology with the scientific reasoning

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which has dominated and disturbed us for a period of centuries. But this does not contest the place of God or Christ. And this is the case since the exalted Christ whom we encounter as did St Paul - in our own here and now is himself in Christian experience - the intensification of the real, and the making present in personal form of fine-tuning itself. He comes to us at this point then as the meaning of the world and yet also as an invitation through the Holy Spirit to become ourselves one with the meaning of the world, in and through the free moral act. It is by this act that we accept his proximity to us in the Spirit, and so allow ourselves to become part of the created order in such a way that he is in us and we are in him. Although we never become him, nor he us, the world is nevertheless changed through this mutual indwelling as Church, and what was old is made new. As the ancient Latin author Hilary of Poiters put it: we ourselves become still reversibly - the kingdom of God, which is to say New Creation. And so we come to the final question which arises in the comparison of John Duns Scotus with Transformation Theology. Why does the latter need finality of nonresolution which never really occurs at all in Scotus work? And why does Meister Eckhart, with his negative theology need to make such extensive use of it? This is an intriguing question. The answer, I think, lies in the nature of the human person in the modern period. The principle of apophaticism is that it marks the point at which representational or conceptual reason (which we call observer and agent reason) breaks down under the weight of divine proximity. The intense questioning in Eckhart or Julian of Norwich regarding the meaning of grace or incarnation is not really matched in Scotus, who is concerned more in line with Thomas with the testing anthropological, epistemological and metaphysical questions arising from Christian revelation. This is not a concern with revelation as such, where it communicates directly with the self. Both Eckhart and Julian are intensely apophatic theologians, though in different ways, but for both apophasis is unitive and is integral to their experience of God. Theology itself, at the point of its keenest reflection upon the meaning of revelation, has to undergo a process of breakdown in the interests of its own capacity to reflect something of the superabundance of light in the revelation which it struggles to receive. In other words, in reflecting upon the meaning of revelation as experienced, our human cognition itself becomes an obstacle to that understanding. Only by allowing itself to be overwhelmed by the richness or what

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we might call complexity of that vision, can mind begin to be authentic in its reception of it. Why then does Transformation Theology, which otherwise seems so close to Scotus, require just such a moment of Eckhartian cognitive loss which it describes as finality of non-resolution which comes upon us in the face of the complexity of life, at the point when we accept our acting for the other? The answer must be that if the highly skilled theologian (and negative theology is precisely a high-level theology) finds that their own controlling, high-level theological intellect itself becomes an obstacle to union with God (or greater reception of the divine proximity), and so must undergo a deconstructive breakdown in the interests of that convergence, then it must be that something parallel is the case for Transformation Theology at the point when we come to judgment in our moral acting in the world for the sake of the other. For Scotus this is not so problematic, and practical reason as rational will takes over. But for Transformation Theology it is intensely problematic, and so Paul Janzs finality of non-resolution is fundamental to this moment of moral judgment. There is the implication that the practical, will-based or motivational reasoning in which we receive both the certainty and beauty of the moral act (as something it feels right to do), cannot function as it needs to unless our speculative, observer or self-interested agent forms of reasoning (both of which specifically reduce the complexity of the real) is itself first subjected to a cruciform overcoming or transformation. And if this is the case, then it may well be that what is reflected here is the far greater degree to which, in particular, the observer reasoning of transferable and extrinsic knowledge informs our identity and our acts as modern human beings. A scientistic disposition which is far more broadly embedded in our culture than is scientific inquiry itself with its skills and commitments, permeates our modern human identity, giving us a seemingly unshakeable confidence that our observer intellect will always come up with an answer. It may be that finality of nonresolution is an additional cognitive purgation of which modern homo faber has a particular need. Oliver Davies

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