See the Preliminary comment to Part 1, Book 6, chapters 1-15.

The following sources have been universally collated for the reconstruction of 1 Dial. 6.51-67:

Tradition A:      Bb An Fi
Tradition B:      Vg
Tradition D:      Ba To
Tradition E:      Vc We
Incunabulum:    Ly

The reliability of the witnesses in this segment confirms the patterns noted in other portions of Book 6. The best sources for our critical text are Fi (85.4% variant convergence accuracy level) and Vc (84.6%), closely followed by We (84.2%), An (83.1%), and Bb (81.6%). Vg is at 77.4% and Ly [the Trechsel edition] trails, as usual, at 69.5%. The significant divergence of the D tradition manuscripts from ABCE is evidenced once again. To, representing the earlier D version, has a critical text variant convergence accuracy level of only 27.1%, and while Ba is at 64.5%, this is largely due to comprehensively sustained corrections by reference to tradition E.

There may just possibly be a clue as to the origin of tradition D at 1 Dial. 6.56.64-79. All extant D manuscripts share a series of misidentified comments here (where the Master's words are attributed to the Student and vice versa). A similar sequence is discernible in the same context in some C tradition manuscripts (e.g. Vd Ca Lc La Un), but, interestingly enough, not in Sm, nor in any A, B, or E manuscripts. Full collation of a recently obtained copy of Ax (a C tradition manuscript) in chapters 51-67 demonstrates no less than 535 textual convergences with To (early D), and as many as 335 with Ba (late D). The convergence does not seem as clearcut in the opening segments of the Dialogus, but is noticeable nevertheless (e.g. we find some 18 specific identities between Ax, Vd and D in 1 Dial. 3.6-11; and while in these chapters D is frequently closer to E (against ABC) in minor contexts (36 times), there is a marginally larger set of agreements between D and ABC against E (45 such). The hypothesis may thus be advanced, though obviously not yet affirmed as an established fact, that tradition D derives from a fairly defective C manuscript (very similar to Ax), already containing a few of the variants in Books 1-5 analyzed as "significant" by John Scott, and further "repaired" by the addition of many more "significant" variants borrowed from tradition E (contamination with tradition B was, of course, inherited from the ancestor of the C group.) The substantial and very numerous differences between D and E would not, it seems, permit one to maintain as more economical the view that D systematically copied from E.

The passages in 1 Dial. 6.51-67 which critically analyze the claim that all papal actions possess an automatically positive moral connotation, as well as a number of deductions linked to this analysis (1 Dial. 6.52.36-88 /line references to our critical text/) were certainly written after the analogous treatment of the issue in 1 Dial. 7.70.94-147 (/line references to our critical text/) [See also the fuller (by comparison to 1 Dial. 6.52) reference to Bede's dictum in the Regule Iuris of V.41.2 (Estote) at 1 Dial. 7.24], and represent yet another instance of Ockham's pendulum-like compositional technique in the Dialogus (see the Introduction to 1 Dial. 7.65-73).

For some comments on the context of 1 Dial. 6.51-67, see Fragments of Ockham Hermeneutics, pp. 92-103. See also Political Ockhamism, pp. 237-240, 263.

George Knysh

Revised February 2008