ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf

344. Opposition to Averroïsm. -- This took the shape of condemnations and of controversial pamphlets. The academic and ecclesiastical authorities grew alarmed at the progress of antischolastic Averroïsm and the danger that it would inflict grave injury on Catholic theology and belief. The first step taken to repress it{1} was the promulgation of the decree of 1270, wherein the bishop of Paris, Stephen Tempier, publicly condemned Averroïsm and its supporters. The following were the theses then censured: "Quod intellectus omnium hominum est unus et idem numero. Quod ista est falsa vel impropria: Homo intelligit. Quod voluntas hominis ex necessitate vult vel eligit. Quod omnia que hic in inferioribus aguntur, subsunt necessitati corporum celestium. Quod mundus est aeternus. Quod nunquam fuit primus homo. Quod anima, que est forma hominis secundum quod homo, corrumpitur corrupto corpore. Quod anima post mortem separata non patitur ab igne corporeo. Quod liberum arbitrium est potentia passiva, non activa; et quod necessitate movetur ab appetibili. Quod Deus non cognoscit singularia. Quod Deus non cognoscit alia a se. Quod humani actus non reguntur providentia Dei. Quod Deus non potest dare immortalitatem vel incorrupcionem rei corruptibili vel mortali."{2} Authority interfered for the sole purpose of terminating a doctrinal dispute, as we learn from a letter of Giles of Lessines{3} to Albert the Great. The Averroïst doctrine of the two truths seems to be aimed at again in a statute of the Arts Faculty in 1272, forbidding the masters to touch purely theological questions "which are not their business" or to lay down propositions contrary to theology.{4} It would seem, therefore, that notwithstanding the prohibitive measures of 1270, the Averroïsts were still active. St. Thomas also informs us, towards the end of the De Unitate Intellectus contra Averroïstas, that the latter were pronouncing on purely theological questions. "Non caret (he is speaking of Siger of Brabant) etiam magna temeritate quod de his quae ad philosophiam non pertinent, sed sunt purae fidei, disputare praesumit, sicut quod anima patiatur ab igne inferni." Anyhow the well-known censures of 1277, already frequently referred to (312), were directed expressly against Siger of Brabant and Boëthius the Dacian and were sanctioned by grave penalties. They struck at all the Averroïstic theories not only in their principles but in their manifold applications. Those periodical decrees suggested the idea of collecting all the errors scattered through the schools. In some such collections we find not only the theses condemned by Stephen Tempier, but also those condemned at Oxford (312), and occasionally, as in the collection attributed to Giles of Rome, a résumé of the errors of Aristotle, Averroës, Avicenna, Gazali, etc. Those Compilationes errorum omnium in Anglia et Parisius condemnatorum saw the light about the end of the thirteenth and opening years of the fourteenth centuries.{5}

The second form of opposition to Averroïsm was the polemical. Already in the De Universo of William of Auvergne, we find an article entitled: "Destructio erroris Aristotelis, Alfarabii et aliorum qui posuerunt omnes animas separatas unam esse, ipsaque separatione a corporibus unam fieri atque illas uniri".{6} There is scarcely a single scholastic of the thirteenth century who does not deal with the theory of the unity of the human intellect, and always to refute it. Albert the Great (266), Thomas Aquinas (272), Giles of Rome (319), Raymond Lully (354), all wrote special treatises on it. Duns Scotus, speaking of the philosophical errors of Averroës, says that "talis errans esset a communitate hominum et naturali ratione utentium exterminandus".{7}

{1} The council held at Paris in 1210 had a merely preventive influence (228).

{2} Chartul., i., p. 486.

{3} See MANDONNET, op. cit., pp. cxvii sqq. The first thirteen theses referred to in the letter of Giles are identical with those of the decree of 1270 (323).

{4} Chartul. i., p. 499. As early as 1247 a similar prohibition had been laid on the professors of logic by the Papal Legate, Odo, bishop of Tusculum, in his condemnation of the errors of John of Brescain: ". . . ne puritas studii que hactenus Parisiis viget ex praesumptione quorumdam qui theologica logicis inserentes non intelligunt neque que loquuntur, neque de quibus affirmant" (i., p. 207). Cf. the oath administered to the incipientes in artibus (1280), (ibid., p. 586). Other enactments, and sometimes even these directed against the philosophers, sought to moderate the zeal of the theologians in their employment of the dialectic method. See e.g., the letters of Gregory IX. to the masters and scholars of Paris (ibid., p. 238). The legate, Odo, speaks of the " logici theologice et theologi philosophice procedentes" (ibid., p. 207).

{5} Chartul., i., p. 556. One of those collections is published in D'ARGENTRÉ, Collectio Judiciorum, i., p. 184.

{6} Prs. i., c. xi., p. 771, edit. 1591.

{7} In lV. L. Sent., dist. 43, q. 2.

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