WILLIAM OF OCKHAM, DIALOGUS
part 1, prologue and book 1
Text and translation by John Kilcullen and John Scott
as at december, 2003
Copyright © 2003, The British Academy
This file gives a translation, with alternative translation for the more significant variants, with links to the collation. See also text and translation without variants .
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"[preached, and in private and public taught catholic [truths assertions] and refuted, rejected and condemned heretical teachings and their authors. approved Catholic assertions and condemned heresies]". In this example the first variant would replace just the word "truths" and the second variant would replace all the text "preached... authors".
|Prologue: The beginning of the prologue to the books of the dialogues which are engaged in by a master and his student.
|YOU ARE CURIOUS about everything and do not cease pestering me. For though you know I am not a little wearied by the many treatises I have painstakingly produced, still you insistently [demand that an unusual work be made 27 demand an unusual work]. For you shamelessly ask that I [compose 52 expound] for you some kind of "summa" about the controversy over catholic faith and [many 42 add: other] related matters now taking place among Christians, and you boldly intend, as you say, to impose on me a form of proceeding and a way of speaking. Now since I have frequently experienced your importunity I will try to comply with your wish, not because you are my friend, but because of your [importunity 87 wickedness]. Make clear, therefore, [what sort of work you want and how you want it to be produced 97, 98 what sort and what manner of work you want OR what sort and what manner of work you want, or how you want it to have been produced].
|Student: I REJOICE GREATLY that you are acceeding to my requests. [For 122 therefore] I strongly maintain that this future work will provide an opportunity for discovering many truths very useful to all of christianity. I want it to be divided into three tractates, the first of which I want to be called, "On heretics", the second, "On the teachings of John XXII", and the third "On the deeds of those disputing [about 143 against] orthodox faith". I consider that the whole work should be called "The Dialogue". For I [ask 156 add you] that it proceed by question and answer. For I want to question you, and you will reply to me. Let my role be [denoted 182 called] by the name, student, and yours by the name, master, under which name take on the role of one who reports. Do not set out only one opinion but, when it seems appropriate to you, several opinions about the same question.
|But would you consent not to indicate to me what you in your wisdom think? For although I certainly do not want you to make no mention of your own opinion too when you come to [discuss 224 run through] different and conflicting assertions, would you nevertheless not make clear what it is? I am moved to ask this for two [reasons].The first of these is that I hold your teaching in such high estimation that I would be compelled, on account of an opinion that I knew for sure that you claim as your own, to make my own understanding captive to it. About those matters that I now want to investigate, however, [I do not want 274 I want] to be moved by [your 272 omit] authority but [to find out what the arguments and texts that you, and my own reflection, will adduce can effect in me 288 to find out what the arguments and authorities someone would adduce, or my own meditation, can effect in me; OR to resolve what the arguments and authorities someone would adduce can effect in me, or to experience my own meditation].
|The second is that, since love, hate, pride, anger, envy and some other passions of the mind impede, indeed pervert, human judgement in its search for truth, your friends will not embrace this future work more than they should nor your enemies disdain it more than is reasonable, if you choose to hide your own [opinion 319 knowledge] and even your name, but both parties, [attending not to who was the author of an opinion but to what is said, will see what is to be written with more honest eyes and more sincerely seek the truth. [348 , 358 attending not to who or whose opinion was the author, but to what is said, will see what is to be written with eyes remote and more sincerely seek the truth; OR attending not to who is the author of some opinion but to what is said, with zeal removed, will see what is to be written with their eyes and more sincerely seek the truth]
|For the same reason too would you not reveal in this work what you think about the lord, the highest pontiff, and his teaching and his rivals? So that you hide this the better, when you speak [about 396 add: their ] persons would you suppress the names of their offices and refer to them by the first letter of their proper name. Take care, therefore, to call the lord pope Lord "J", the lord of the Bavarians ["L" 421 "B"], brother [Michael, 423 add: formerly] general of the friars minor, Brother "M", and Guiral [Ot, 436 add: now general of the said brothers], Brother "G".
|I earnestly request this work from you specifically not only because I regard you as learned beyond others but also because I see that you are particularly occupied with [events touching on 467 omit] this controversy. For you strive to bring together all the books and works against our lord highest pontiff by his opponents and you so busy yourself with them without pausing that I sometimes have occasion to suspect that some doubt arises in your own heart about the highest pontiff and his teaching. Yet because you hide nothing of this from me, whom you know to be a most sincere and zealous supporter of the same lord highest pontiff, and a keen abominator of his opponents and their collaborators, you give me reason to think that you are collecting them in order to disprove at an opportune time all the works of his enemies. Nevertheless, for the above reasons do not reveal your mind to me before the conclusion of this work, and do not think that you will incur any blame for this, [because, as you well know, it is sometimes permitted, for a reason, to be silent about the truth 569 omit: see Significant Variants, para. 1 .].
|Would you hasten, therefore, to begin the first tractate about heretics? Divide [it 591 the material] into seven books. Let the first investigate to whom, that is theologians or canonists, it chiefly belongs to define which assertions should be regarded as catholic and which as heretical, and also who should be regarded as heretics and who as catholics. Let the second ask which assertions should be considered heretical and which catholic. Let the third chiefly consider who of those who err should be counted among heretics, the fourth how anyone ought to be convicted of pertinacity and heretical wickedness, and the fifth who can be stained with heretical wickedness. Let the sixth deal with the punishment of heretics, and especially of the pope if he becomes a heretic. Let the seventh treat the believers, favourers, defenders and harbourers of heretics.
|Master: YOU DESIRE, I see, that from the wording of what is to be said no one should be able to gather which party of those disagreeing about the catholic faith I regard as the more correct. I will take care to observe this and to satisfy this wish of yours and others that you earnestly request. [Moreover 714 First] , since you ask that this future work be done by question and answer, and the question precedes its answer, it will be up to you to begin. So ask what question you please.
| Chapter 1
|Student: SINCE my investigation into very many matters is occasioned by the dissension I see among Christians about heretical and catholic assertions, and also about heretical and orthodox persons, I have considered that it should first be asked to whom does it chiefly belong, to theologians or to canonists, to define which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical. [See Scott, "Theologians vs Canonists on Heresy" .]
Is it for canonists, or for theologians, to decide what is heresy?
|Master: The reply to the question you put forward is that the word "define" has several meanings, two of which seem relevant to the point at issue. For it is possible to define something by the authority of one's office, and to define in this way which assertion should be considered heretical and which catholic pertains to the highest pontiff and a general council. In another way, it is possible to define by means of teaching, in the way masters in the schools define and determine questions. With the word "define" taken in this latter way, the learned have different opinions about the question put forward.
|Student: At present I am taking the word "define" in the second way. And with the word taken thus, I want to hear the different opinions and the arguments for them.
|Master: It is the opinion of some that it pertains chiefly to canonists to judge which assertion is catholic, which heretical. It seems possible that they are moved to this opinion by three arguments, the first of which is this. To discern which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, pertains chiefly to that science which principally treats of the approval of catholic truths and the disapproval of condemned heresies. This is the science of the canonists and not theology. Therefore, etc.
|The second argument is this. To define which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, pertains to the science to which trust in matters of belief is more chiefly given. But with respect to matters of faith the science of the canonists should be believed more than theology, [997 add: Therefore etc. I prove the minor:] because the Church, through which the science of the canonists is produced, should be believed more than the gospel, as Augustine attests [1013 add: Contra epistolam fundamenti ] , who seems to assert that the authority of the Church is greater than that of the gospel, since he says, "I would not believe the gospel unless the authority of the Church had compelled it." To define which assertion should be considered catholic and which heretical, therefore, pertains more to the science of the canonists than to theology.
|The third argument is this. To determine which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, pertains chiefly to the science whose author has the task of appointing the creed of the faith and duly distinguishing the articles of faith. But this pertains to the highest pontiff, who is the author of the science of the canonists. It pertains to the science of the canonists, therefore, and consequently more chiefly to them than to theologians, to define which assertion should be regarded as catholic, which heretical.
| Chapter 2
|Master: OTHERS, HOWEVER, hold without doubt that it pertains to theologians chiefly to decide, not by way of an authoritative decision but by way of teaching, which assertion should be considered as catholic and which heretical, and that it does not pertain to canonists, except in so far as their science is known to borrow some things pertaining to faith from theology. They try to confirm this assertion of theirs with arguments.
|The first of them is this. To decide by way of teaching which assertion should be regarded as catholic, which heretical, pertains chiefly to the experts on that science on account of which alone any assertion is said to be catholic or heretical. But it is on account of theology alone that any assertion whatsoever should be called catholic or heretical. For only an assertion which is consonant with theology is truly [catholic 1252 theological] , and only one which is known to be opposed to theology is known to be heretical. For if some assertion were found to be opposed to decrees of the highest pontiffs, or also of general councils or also to laws of the emperors, neverthelss, if it were not in conflict with theology, even if it could be considered [false, 1290 for that reason] erroneous or unjust, it should not be counted as a heresy. Therefore it pertains chiefly to those who treat of theology to decide by way of teaching which assertion should be considered as catholic, which heretical.
|The second argument is this. To define [by way of teaching which assertion is to be regarded as catholic, which as heretical, 1350 1357 etc.] pertains [chiefly to those who treat of the science in which the rule of orthodox faith is explicitly and completely handed down 1333 , 1335 , 1361 to the teachers of that science which treats of the rules of faith that are treated in other sciences and also many others, and not the opposite. See note 1 Such is the science of theology, however, not the science of the canonists. For many things pertaining to our faith which are not mentioned in the science of the canonists are found explicitly in theology, but nothing pertaining to the rule of faith can be found in their science except what they receive from theology. Therefore such a decision is known to pertain chiefly to theologians; it does not pertain to canonists, however, except in so far as they are known to borrow some theological matters from theologians.
|The third argument is this. The superior science has the power more chiefly to make a judgement about assertions which both a superior and an inferior science are known to investigate. But theology, which is the superior, and the science of the canonists, which is the inferior, both investigate in some way certain catholic and heretical assertions. It pertains more chiefly to theology, therefore, to make a judgement about catholic and heretical assertions, and consequently it pertains more chiefly to theologians to decide by way of teaching what assertion should be considered as catholic, what as heretical.
|The fourth argument is this. [To judge which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, pertains more chiefly to the experts in the science found to treat the larger number of catholic assertions explicitly under their own form, not to one in which few [catholic 1550 theological] truths are explicitly approved. 1528 To those who treat of the science by which many Catholic assertions explicitly under their proper form pertains to treat etc. See note 2 Such is theology, not the science of the canonists, because few [catholic 1572 theological] truths are investigated under their own form in the science of the canonists. Therefore such a decision is known to pertain chiefly to theologians.
|The fifth argument is this. To decide which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, pertains most chiefly to the experts on that science by which, before there was a science of canonists, [true and faithful Catholics 1604 1607 catholic men, OR: catholic and faithful men] approved,
[preached, and in private and public taught catholic [truths 1609 assertions] and refuted, rejected and condemned heretical teachings and their authors. 1613 approved Catholic assertions and condemned heresies]
Such, however, is theology, for before the canons were produced the apostles and other disciples of Christ, as being [true catholics 1656 , 1657 , 1658 catholic men, OR: theological men; OR: true theologians], approved, preached, and in private and public taught catholic truths and refuted, rejected and condemned heretical teachings and their authors. And so, as we read in Titus 3[:10], blessed Paul taught that a heretic should be avoided after a first and second admonition. He also asserts openly in 1 Tim. 4[:3] that the teaching of those "forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful" clearly belongs to the spirit of error and the teaching of demons and, consequently, to heretical wickedness. Therefore such a decision pertains chiefly to theology and, consequently, to theologians.
|The sixth argument is this. To decide by way of teaching what assertion should be considered as catholic and what as heretical pertains chiefly to the experts on that science to which every other science yields in respect of matters of faith. Such is the science of divine scripture, which is called theology, as is clearly gathered from the whole of Decretals dist. 9, and particularly c. Noli [col.17], c. Negare [col. 17], c. Ego solis [col. 17], c. Quis nesciat [col.17], c. Noli [col.18] and c. Neque [col.18]. Therefore it is to theologians that such a decision chiefly pertains.
|The seventh argument is this. The aforesaid way of defining pertains chiefly to the experts on that science the direct author of which is God, from whom comes all our faith. Such, however, is theology, because the writers of divine scripture wrote absolutely nothing out of their human wit but out of divine inspiration only, as blessed Peter attests when he says in 2 Peter 1[:21], "The holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Ghost". That is why, as is clear in the same place [2 Peter 1:20-1], blessed Peter teaches that the prophecy of divine scripture, [by which he means the whole of sacred scripture, should not be interpreted by human wit. He says, "Scripture prophecy 1936 omit] is not made by private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man." Therefore that oft-mentioned way of deciding pertains chiefly to theologians.
|The eighth argument is this. That oft-mentioned way of deciding pertains chiefly to the experts on that science to which one is not permitted to add and from which one is not permitted to remove anything. Such is theology, since Moses, speaking in the person of God, says in Deuteronomy 4[:2], "You shall not add to the word that I speak to you, neither shall you take away from it." Solomon agrees with this in Proverbs 30[:6]. Speaking about the word of God he says, "Add not anything to his words, lest thou be reproved and found a liar." Hence the Holy Spirit through blessed John the evangelist makes a terrible threat against those who add anything to or take anything from divine scripture when he says in the last chapter of Revelations [22:18-9], "If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues which are in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take his part out of the book of life and out of the holy city, and from these things that are written in this book." We clearly gather from all these that nothing should be added to sacred scripture nor anything removed from it. To decide by way of teaching, therefore, which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical, chiefly pertains to theologians, the experts on divine scripture.
|You see that I have set out opposing assertions in response to your question and I have touched on quite strong arguments in support of each position. Therefore consider now which seems the more probable to you.
| Chapter 3
|Student: ALTHOUGH you [have given 2209 give] me occasion to make many inquiries by the arguments you adduced for the second assertion, yet I confess that it seems to me to be consonant with the truth, though I do not know how to satisfy myself with respect to the arguments for the first assertion. I ask, therefore, that you reply to them.
|Master: You seem to contradict yourself. For you asked at first that I not indicate what I thought about your questions; now, however, you ask me to reply to some arguments. From this it can be [inferred 2273 proved] that you wish [2275 add: to know] that I should open what I hold in my heart.
|Student: Whatever my request may imply by the force of my words, I was not in any way wanting you to make known what you have in your own mind but was intending to ask you to report the replies of others, or what can be thought by others, not expressing whether you think they should be considered reasonable or unreasonable.
|Master: Because I understand your meaning I will do what you urge me to do. First of all, however, I want you to know that I am aware of some theologians who in their hearts very much look down on canonists of the modern time as being unintelligent, presumptuous, rash, misleading, deceitful, scoffers and ignorant, believing that they do not know the meaning of the sacred canons. They are moved to this view by the following argument. Those who wrote the sacred canons were men very [learned 2386 acute] in [rational 2389 natural] science, moral science and theology and they would not in any way have written canons of such sure and profound truth just naturally without the above-mentioned sciences. Since modern canonists are ignorant of those sciences, therefore, even if they can retain the memory of the sacred canons, they are nevertheless unable to arrive at the meaning of them.
|Student: I do not regard the canonists of our time as deserving contempt, though perhaps it does pertain more to theologians than to canonists to know the meaning of the sacred canons, especially of those that are taken from theology or from natural reason and are not purely positive. But I ask you not to delay over this here, because perhaps I will have a question about this matter later. Would you therefore move on to the arguments you mentioned?
|Master: Because I have promised in this work not to follow my own inclination but your wish, I will begin to investigate those arguments. Thus some theologians reply to the first by saying that it is to theology and not to the science of the canonists that it chiefly pertains to treat of the approval of [catholic 2533 theological catholic] truths and the disapproval of condemned heresies. They argue for this by saying that the assertion of a truth is the approval of it. For he who asserts that some statement is true approves of the statement as true. The assertion of a truth, therefore, is the approval of it---for anyone who asserts that some statement is true approves that statement as true; the assertion of a truth, therefore, is the approval of a truth. But the approval of a truth is the disapproval of the opposing falsity, because he who approves some truth does, as a consequence, disapprove of the opposing falsity (just as he who commands one of [a pair of] contraries, as a consequence prohibits the other, as the gloss on para.1 [dist. 1, col.1] of the Decretum notes). By implication, therefore, the assertion of catholic truths is the disapproval of all opposing heresies. Since catholic truths are chiefly asserted by theology, it follows therefore that the approval of catholic truths and the condemnation of heresies should pertain principally to theology.
|Student: That [reply 2644 argument ] seems probable [ 2646 2647 add: enough] to me. I would like to know, nevertheless, why they say that approval and condemnation of this kind pertain "chiefly" to theology, by which they seem to imply that they may not pertain only to it.
|Master: They reply to that question of yours by saying that the books of the Decretum and Decretals, and other statutes and letters of the highest pontiffs (even if they have not been inserted in the above books), pertain to the science of the canonists. However, in those books and in some statutes and letters of the highest pontiffs some [catholic 2724 theological] truths are asserted and some heresies disapproved of, although both the truths and the heresies are few in comparison with those that are found in theology. And therefore it pertains not only to theology but also to the science of the canonists to approve some catholic truths and to disapprove of some heresies, though few. It pertains to theology, however, to approve all catholic truths and to disapprove of all heresies. Therefore although such approval and disapproval pertain chiefly to theology, they do nevertheless pertain secondarily to the science of the canonists.
|They bring forward another argument too, saying that in approving catholic truths and in disapproving of heresies theology receives or borrows nothing at all from the science of the canonists. The science of the canonists, however, proceeds in the approving of catholic truths and the disapproving of heresies by borrowing everything from theology. Therefore these activities are known to pertain chiefly and universally to theology but to the science of the canonists secondarily, to a certain extent and only in particular cases.
| Chapter 4
|Student: THIS REPLY seems likely to me. Therefore investigate the second argument.
|Master: The reply to the second argument is that in respect of matters of faith theology is more deserving of belief than any other science and that it is not appropriate to believe any of the writers of any sciences like the writers of sacred theology. As to the text of blessed Augustine, which, they say, is adduced frequently, it is brought forward by many people [very wrongly 2942 omit] against [blessed Augustine's meaning 2938 the meaning of blessed Augustine's text].
|To understand this they say that it should be known that the word "church" is taken ambiguously in different written works. For sometimes it is taken for the physical place set aside for the divine services, sometimes for some particular body of clerics, sometimes for the whole body of all clerics, sometimes for some particular gathering of the clergy and [people 2995 the pope] , sometimes for the whole gathering of believers living together in this mortal life, and sometimes the word "church" includes not only the whole gathering of [3015 add: faithful] catholics who are alive but also those believers who are dead.
|It is in this last way that blessed Augustine takes "church" in his book against the Manichees which is reported in dist. 11, c. Palam [col.25]. He says, "It is well known that in a doubtful matter the authority of the catholic Church prevails for faith and certainty; from those first founded sees of the apostles right up till today it remains strong through the series of bishops succeeding each other and through the agreement of so many peoples." Here "the catholic church" refers to the bishops and peoples succeeding each other from the time of the apostles right up till today. And in this way Augustine takes the word "church" when he asserts that he would not believe the gospel if the authority of the church did not force him to. For, as has been proved, "church" in that sense includes the writers of the gospel and all the apostles. It can not be inferred on the basis of the text of Augustine properly interpreted, therefore, that the Roman pontiff, the maker of the canons, should be believed more than the gospel. And consequently it can not be proved by it that greater trust should be shown in the sacred canons than in the holy gospel. Nevertheless they grant that the church which is the multitude of all catholics who have existed from the times of the prophets and the apostles up till now is worthy of greater belief than the gospel, not because there should be any doubt at all about the gospel, but because the whole is greater than any of its parts---therefore the church which is of greater authority than an evangelist is the church of which the author of the gospel is known to be part, and it is not astonishing if the authority of the whole is greater than that of a part. And therefore the authority of the whole gathering, including the evangelists and all other orthodox [believers] right up to these times, is greater than that of one member, or even of many members, of that gathering.
|That the maker of the canons is not of greater authority than the gospel, however, but of much less, the makers of the canons themselves clearly attest. For as we find in 25, q. 1, c. Sunt quidam [col.1008], Pope Urban says, "It should indeed be especially known that he", i.e. the Roman pontiff, "can establish new laws on a point where the evangelists have not said anything. But where the Lord or his apostles and the holy fathers who followed them have judicially decided something, there the Roman pontiff can not give a new law, but rather should confirm what has been proclaimed at the cost of life and blood. For if he were to strive to destroy what the apostles and prophets taught---may it never happen---he would be convicted not of passing judgment but rather of erring." We clearly gather from these words that the maker of the canons is of much less authority than the sacred gospel. He can not establish any new law against it, but is obliged to defend it even at the cost of life and blood; if he were to presume to give a new law against it, he should be convicted of error by catholics.
|Pope Fabian agrees with this. As we find in 11, q. 3, c. Qui omnipotentem [col. 669], he says, "He who fears God almighty does not agree in any way to do anything against the gospel of Christ, the apostles, the prophets or the determinations of the holy fathers." We clearly find from these words that if the maker of the canons fears the Almighty, he presumes to establish nothing which is against the gospel, and thus he is known not to be of greater but of less authority than the gospel.
|This is even clearer and more certain from many chapters inserted in the Decretum, as in dist. 9, c. Noli [c. 3, col.17], c. Ego solis [c. 5, col. 17], c. Quis nesciat [c. 8, col.17], c. Noli [c. 9, col.18] and c. Neque [c. 10, col.18], dist. 11, c. [Nos] consuetudinem [c. 8, col.25], dist. 14, c. Sicut [c. 2, col.33] [for which see Gratian, The Treatise on Laws, translated by Augustine Thompson, with the Ordinary Gloss, translated by James Gordley (Washington, 1993, pp. 29-32, 40, 53), and 11, q. 3, c. Si is qui preest [col.671]. Very many other texts, which it would take long to record, plainly assert the same thing, and for the same reasons say that the whole multitude of Christians now living in this mortal life is not of greater authority than the holy gospel, because the multitude of those living ought to defend the gospel at the cost of life and blood.
| Chapter 5
|Student: IT SEEMS TO ME that you have reported a [reasonable 3635 complete] reply to the second argument. And now I ask that you relate to me how reply is made to the third argument.
|Master: Some people reply to the third argument by saying that the highest pontiff ought to have knowledge of sacred letters, and also ought to be learned in the sacred canons. And therefore it pertains to him especially, with the advice and agreement of a general council, to appoint a creed and rightly to distinguish the articles of faith. But in appointing a creed and distinguishing the articles of faith, and, by the same argument, in pronouncing validly what assertion should be regarded as catholic and what as heretical, he should rely chiefly on theology; secondarily, however, he can base himself on the sacred canons. And it can be concluded from that argument, therefore, that it pertains chiefly to theologians to decide by teaching, [not 3757 or] by imposing a law on others, which assertion should be counted as catholic and which heretical.
|Student: I think that anyone with understanding who reads what you have written will hold it as indubitable that it does not pertain to canonists to judge of many assertions whether they should be considered catholic or heretical, and that when canonists decide about any assertions whether they should be counted as catholic or heretical they must have recourse to theology if they want to resolve [the question] deeply, especially since no assertion should be considered truly catholic or heretical except on the grounds that it agrees with or conflicts with theology. I do not think, therefore, that any learned person should in any way opine that the oft-mentioned decision pertains chiefly to canonists who are not theologians.
| Chapter 6
|Master: THERE is a lot you do not know I know some canonists who presume to scoff at theologians when they try to investigate about many assertions whether they should be counted among the heresies, saying that such an investigation is known to pertain to canonists not to theologians.
|Student: I am absolutely astonished at what you say, because such a statement seems to have no probability. Nevertheless tell me if those who assert such a thing bring forward any reason for it.
|Master: I have heard that they are moved only by the fact that when theologians or others are accused of or try to accuse others of heresy they do not know how to compose or prepare the writs of accusation, reply, appeal, and the like, but must have recourse to canonists. They say, therefore, that it pertains to canonists not to theologians to determine which assertion should be considered catholic, which heretical.
|Student: That argument seems so frivolous to me as not to need a reply. For it is one thing to determine which assertion should be thought of as catholic or which heretical, and it is another to know the formulae [for law suits 4028 of accusation] , the way of proceeding against heretics [in court 4035 omit], and also the way of defending in court those accused of heresy. The first is known to pertain to theologians, the second to lawyers, just as it is one thing to know true money from forgeries, gold from brass, healthy horses from sick ones, strong and skilfully made arms from others, and it is another thing to know---if someone wanted to accuse someone in court of any one of the above and the accused strove to [4106 excuse and, OR: excommunicate] defend himself---how the writs of accusation, reply, appeal, and the like which it would be suitable to use in court should be prepared and composed: the first is known to pertain to moneyers, goldsmiths, makers of iron and forgers of arms, but there is indeed no doubt that the second pertains to lawyers. By that argument, therefore, it would be possible to prove that it would pertain to lawyers to determine what is true gold and what false, which garments have been skilfully made and which otherwise, which buildings are useful to anyone at all and which not useful, and, to conclude briefly, lawyers would chiefly have the power to determine, in connection with all the works of mechanical art and all natural objects that fall to the use of humans, what kind of thing they were according to their nature or to art, since it is possible to litigate in court about everything of this kind. In such a case it is necessary for those litigating to have recourse to lawyers for writs of accusation, reply, appeal, and the like. It is certain, however, that learned lawyers often do not know how to judge of the smallest things whether they are such as they should be according to their nature or the art by which they are made. Yet they are not ignorant about how it is appropriate to prepare writs for recovering or defending such things in court and about other matters which pertain to the form of acting and defending before a judge.
|Master: So I have briefly investigated your first question in the form you fixed for me in advance. Now propose another one, or allow me to rest.
| Chapter 7
|Student: SOME CANONISTS, as you say, think that it pertains principally to them to discriminate between a catholic and an heretical assertion, yet since they would seem to me to be putting their scythe into someone else's harvest [cf. Deuteronomy 23:25] if they presumed to attempt this without theology, in that without theology they would be unable to understand the chapters inserted in the decretals which speak about heresies. Tell me, I pray, departing a little from our original plan, what the learned think about the meaning of the materials found in the decretals---to whom, that is, does it more chiefly and profoundly pertain to know their meaning?
Who best understands the content of canon law?
|Master: Opposing opinions are found about your question. For canonists seem to think that they not only have a greater memory of those things that are inserted in the books of canon law but also that they understand them more clearly and deeply, and that it pertains chiefly to them to judge, at least by way of teaching, what their meaning is. It seems possible that they are moved by the following argument for this opinion. According to the maxim of the wise man, "Everyone judges well those things which he knows, and of these he is a good judge." [Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I.4, 1094b 33] But canonists know better than others the contents of their books. It pertains chiefly to them, therefore, to judge their meaning.
|Again, another argument can be brought forward for that opinion. Knowledge of any matters pertains to no one more than to the experts on the science that considers them. Knowledge of what is handed on in the canon law pertains to no one, therefore, more than to experts on canon law, such as the canonists. It chiefly pertains to them, therefore, to determine their meaning.
| Chapter 8
|[Master: 4572 Student: Relate another opinion. Master: ] BUT THIS OPINION does not please others. For they admit that it pertains to canonists to have a greater memory of many things that are found in their books: of more things, however, theologians, if they are excellent, ought to have both a more tenacious memory and a deeper understanding; [some things 4619 some people,] those skilled in secular laws do indeed understand more deeply and entrust to a not inferior memory; [some things 4635 some people], however, those gifted in natural reason, learned in moral philosophy and not ignorant of [rational 4648 natural] science both understand more fully and are known to imprint not less on their memory. [Canonists, in fact, understand nothing 4662 Some canonists, OR: No canonists understand] more deeply, even if sometimes on account of a greater memory of many things they can more readily explain what the meaning of something is, a meaning at which [others 4685 theologians] would arrive more slowly, though more deeply, with great labour and study. If, however, some canonists were fully instructed in [rational 4702 natural] science, moral philosophy, civil law, and theology, it would most chiefly pertain to them both to retain in a more tenacious memory what is found in their books and to judge its meaning more readily and excellently.
|Now to make the foregoing clear they say that it should be noted that the books of the canonists are nothing but collections of biblical texts, texts from the books [on the meaning of originalia see Mary and Richard Rouse, Authentic Witnesses (Notre Dame, 1991),p.250] of holy theologians, texts from some (b) imperial laws and from the statutes and decisions or determinations of councils and highest pontiffs in which some (a) [purely theological matters 4785 Catholic principles] are explained and declared, as in those by which heresies are condemned and [catholic 4798 theological] truths approved. This is clear in Extra, De summa trinitate et fide catholica, c. 1 [col.5] and c. Damnamus [col.2], in Extra, De hereticis, c. Cum Christus [col.779], and in many other chapters inserted in the Decretals. Certain (c) [purely moral matters 4832 moral principles] which no reason can overthrow are handed down in them too, as is clear in innumerable chapters of the Decretum and Decretals. And certain things are commanded and forbidden in them which are (d) [purely positive 4862 positive principles], depending on human will, and which can, for necessity and utility, reasonably be varied or wholly repealed, as is clear in Extra, De consanguinitate et affinitate, c. Non debet [col.703] and in dist. 14, c. Sicut quedam [col.33].
| From these points they say that, if they are excellent, theologians surpass canonists both with respect to memory and to understanding (a) of theological matters found in the books of the canonists, although it is [ sometimes not 4924 4923 sometimes OR: never] necessary for a theologian to have a memory of the words themselves under which a purely theological opinion is explained in a chapter containing the church's determination. With respect to (b) imperial laws which are found in the afore-said books, however, canonists are not to be preferred to those skilled in the civil law, either with respect to memory or with respect to understanding, as is clear in 2, q. 6, c. Propter superfluam [col.472] and in many other of the following chapters and in many places elsewhere. With respect to (c) [purely moral matters 4995 moral principles], however, which can not be changed for any reason, (i) if they are universal, canonists can not in any way surpass either in memory or in understanding those gifted in natural reason, instructed in moral philosophy and excellent in [rational 5030 natural] science. About other matters that are (ii) particular and yet not dispensable, canonists can have a greater memory and can even judge their meaning more readily, although it pertains to [others 5063 add: namely theologians] to determine their meaning more deeply, although more slowly and with greater effort, because [they do so] through deeper principles. However, canonists do retain with a better memory those things that are (d) [purely positive 5084 , 5085 positive principles] and can be changed for a reason; but they do not have the power to judge them more deeply.
| Chapter 9
|Student: FOR MY PART I willingly give heed to that second opinion because it seems that it should be considered to be completely reasonable with respect to what it says about (a) theological matters, (b) imperial laws, and (c) [universal 5131 , 5132 natural] purely moral matters. But with respect to (d) particular and purely positive moral matters passed on only in the books of the canonists, it does not seem to have plausibility. For no one can judge, I do not say more deeply, but in any way, things he does not know. Since such things [purely positive moral particulars] do not pertain to the knowledge of those who treat of other sciences, therefore, it does not in any way pertain to these people to judge them. Nevertheless I would like to know if any plausible arguments can be thought of for that assertion.
|Master: Some people try to prove that assertion by argument and by example. The argument is as follows. Concerning things taught in an inferior science subordinate to it a superior science can judge more certainly and deeply than the inferior science can. But with respect to many moral particulars which can admit change the science of the canonists is an inferior science subordinate to theology, and with respect to many such matters it is subordinate to moral philosophy, just as particulars are subordinate to universals. About such matters, therefore, theology and moral philosophy can judge more certainly than the canonists' science can.
|A second argument is as follows. Of those particular possible acts that can be changed that science can judge most certainly against which nothing is able to be ordained or decreed in a particular case and through which anything that has been unjustly decreed ought to be wholly condemned. With respect to particular possible acts that can be changed found in the canon law, both theology and true moral philosophy are known to be [sciences] of this kind. Of those matters, therefore, either theology or true moral philosophy has the power to judge most certainly. The major [premise] seems to be clearly evident; the minor [premise] is proved by the following argument.
|An ecclesiastical statute is not of [greater 5381 less] dignity or firmness than an ecclesiastical custom. But every custom gives way both to the truth of divine scripture and to natural law (which is found not only "in the law and in the gospel" [as Gratian says, dictum ante dist. 1, c. 1, col. 1, [Treatise on Laws p. 3], but also in true moral philosophy), [if it is found to be opposed to it, 5420 . For if it is found to be opposed,] and, as a consequence, if any custom were contrary to theology or to true moral philosophy, it should be wholly condemned. If any ecclesiastical [statute 5443 custom], therefore, has been proved to be opposed to one of those sciences it should be condemned. It is inferred from this that theology and true moral philosophy have the power to judge all matters of this kind most certainly. [See See note 3 .]
| This [argument 5476 authority] is confirmed by a text of blessed Cyprian who says, as we read in dist. 8, c. Consuetudo [c. 8, col., "A custom which had crept up on certain people should not prevent the truth from prevailing and triumphing. For a custom [[without truth 5512 add: or contrary to truth] is the long existence of an error 5510 and long existence contrary to truth is error]." From this text and others in the same distinction---namely, c. Veritate [c.4, col.14], c. Si consuetudinem [c. 5, col.14], c. Qui contempta veritate [c. 6, col.14], c. Frustra [c. 7, col.15] and c. Si solus [c. 9, col.15] [Treatise on Laws , pp. 26-28]---we gather that every custom opposed to the truth, wherever it be found, whether in theology or in moral philosophy, should be completely disregarded.
|It follows from this that every ecclesiastical statute should be rejected and condemned if it is inimical to the truth. Hence Gratian says in dist. 8, para. Dignitate [col.13], "But natural law is superior in dignity to custom and statute alike. For anything which has either been accepted as [custom 5613 morality] or is contained in [writing 5617 the Scriptures] should be considered void and useless if it is opposed to natural law." And he says in [the last paragraph of dist. 8, and] paragraph 1 of dist. 9 [col.16], "It is quite clear, therefore, that custom is esteemed less than natural law"; and "that a [statute 5653 custom] should give way before natural law is proved by many texts." And in the last paragraph [of dist. 9] [col.18] he says, "Since nothing is commanded in natural law, therefore, except what God wants to happen, and nothing is forbidden except what God prohibits, and since there is nothing in canonical scripture except what is found in the divine laws, the divine laws is consistent [with nature 5711 with that], it is clear that if something proves contrary to the divine will or to canonical scripture, it is also opposed to natural law. So it is necessary to prefer natural law to anything which it is considered should be esteemed less than the divine will, canonical scripture or divine laws." [Cf. Gratian, [Treatise on Laws , pp. 25, 28,32.]
|It seems to them that we clearly learn from the above that anything in canon law found contrary to theology or to natural law--which is contained not only in theology but also in moral philosophy (in that it [natural law] "began with the first rational creature", as we find in dist. 6, para. His ita respondetur [col.11, Treatise on Laws , p. 21])--by either of those sciences, should be wholly condemned. Therefore each of those sciences has the power to judge such matters most certainly, and the experts on such sciences would have the power to judge such matters more certainly than canonists, in that they are known to use more certain, worthier, prior and more universal principles.
|Secondly (principally ), they try to make their assertion known by an example, recounting that when a commentator on the books of blessed Dionysius, having been accused in connection with many articles by his rivals, who had corrupted the pope and cardinals with gifts, was forced to reply in consistory, he, as a pure philosopher and theologian completely ignorant of the law, asked the pope for an attorney. The pope replied to him, "Let us not shame you, who are regarded as more learned than all the other clerics in the world, by having another speak for you. You may speak for yourself." When he perceived this malice, having accepted a copy of the objections and received a recess of three days for deliberation, he replied on the fourth day through theology and natural reason to all of the many civil and canon laws brought against him on which his adversaries had, indissolubly as they thought, based their accusation, so clearly assigning them meaning in his favour that all the laws that had been alleged against him were, in the judgement of all who understood, plainly conclusive in his favour. Whence, as is reported, the cardinals who had been opposed to him afterwards accused his enemies, saying, "You said that this bishop does not know the [civil and canon] laws. He knows the principles, roots and causes of all the [civil and canon] laws." From this they conclude that this theologian, who was also a great philosopher, judged more certainly, deeply and clearly about the meaning of the laws, of which he had had absolutely no memory before, than those ignorant of theology and natural reason who had nevertheless been nourished from their infancy in those matters. [The story is probably about Grosseteste. See David Luscombe, "William of Ockham and the Michaelists on Robert Grosseteste and Denis the Areopagite", in The Medieval Church: Universities, Heresy and the Religious Life (ed. Peter Biller and Barrie Dobson), Studies in Church History. Subsidia Series, Boydell and Brewer, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1999.]
| Chapter 10
|Student: I NOW PERCEIVE that assertions that seem prima facie to be false should not be completely despised. For at first I thought that the assertion for which you strongly argued was completely irrational, yet now it does not seem to me to lack all plausibility. Tell me, therefore, how its defenders reply to the argument against it which I touched on.
|Master: They strongly disdain that argument, saying that it is advanced by people who do not know the nature, origin and order of the sciences [See J.A. Weisheipl, =C170 336Classification of the Sciences in Medieval Thought=C186 337, Mediaeval Studies, 27 (1965), pp. 54-90.]. For they say that just as someone judges best mechanical and other [works] which nevertheless he does not know how to make, as for instance many men who do not know how to paint, write, or construct arms, ships and other works made by artisans are known to judge them better than the artisans themselves, so the superior sciences, treating of the causes and principles of matters considered in inferior sciences, can judge those matters more surely and clearly, if they are put to them, than the inferior sciences themselves. Thus also those who have perfect knowledge of a subalternating science, which understands the principles of a subalternated science, judge more certainly about the conclusions, and even the principles, of that subalternate science than do those who have knowledge only of the subalternate science. Thus theologians and true philosophers will be able to judge more profoundly and surely, although often with greater effort, about propositions which are treated in canon law.
|Student: I see that my argument is conclusive only for a science which is not subalternate or inferior to another. For I clearly see that it does not seem to have plausibility about a science for which another, superior science lays down rules (as with bridle-making in respect of horsemanship, and about [sciences] subordinate to an architectonic [science], mentioned in the books of Ethics and [Politics 6327 Physics]), and about a science whose principles are transmitted in a superior science. [Cf. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, I.1, 1094 a10 and Politics, III.11, 1282 a5-6, 17-24; see also Posterior Analytics, I.13, 78 b35-79 a13 and Physics II.2, 194 a7-12, 33-194 b8. According to Aristotle the user (e.g. the educated person) judges the work of the artisan, the horseman judges the work of the bridle maker: in practical matters the end provides the criterion of the means. Of speculative sciences, some are subalternate to others (e.g. astronomy, optics, harmonics and mechanics are subalternated to geometry. For Ockham's views on subalternation see Summa logicae, III.ii.21 (G. Gál and S. Brown, eds. Opera Philosophica, 1 (St Bonaventure, 1974), pp. 539-42 and J. Livesey, "William of Ockham, Subalternate Sciences and Aristotle's theory of metabasis", British Journal for the History of Science, 18 (1985), pp. 127-45.] And therefore in connection with theology and the science of the canonists [my argument] is known to lack colour, because the science of the canonists receives its principles from theology, as Innocent III attests in Extra, De accusationibus, c. Qualiter and quando [col.745], where he clearly asserts that canonical ordinances sprang at a later date from the texts of the New and Old Testaments. Therefore although I could ask many [questions] about these matters, yet because canonists, being ignorant of the terms of other sciences, would not understand them, I want you in this work to avoid as much as you can terms which are proper to sciences other than theology and the science of the canonists so that canonists may understand everything. Let what has been said about this matter suffice, therefore. I am not solicitous for you to reply to the arguments for the first opinion because they now seem to me very weak and it is clear enough from the above how a reply can be made to them.
|Master: I consider that if you were to investigate the above material quite carefully you could easily be favourably disposed to many assertions which you once regarded as completely [false 6492 easy] . So if anything concerning the above matters still vexes your mind, put it forward if you wish to.
| Chapter 11
|Student: IF I WERE to put forward to you everything about the above matters that I am reflecting on in my mind, and you were to reply to it all in the way you have begun, we would produce a very large book. So putting those things aside I come to another question linked to those discussed above. I have often heard that someone's assertion is catholic, yet he himself is not catholic, and that sometimes someone's assertion is [shown 6572 said] to be heretical and yet he himself is not counted among the heretics. It seems from this that it can pertain to some people to judge what assertion is catholic and what heretical and to others to determine who should be considered a heretic and who a catholic. For this reason I ask whether it pertains to theologians or to canonists to distinguish between those who are heretical and those who are orthodox.
Is it for canonists, or for theologians, to decide who is a heretic?
|Master: Some canonists seem to think that it pertains chiefly to them to judge between heretics and catholics. For that opinion it can be argued as follows. To distinguish heretics, and consequently to judge between catholics and heretics, pertains more chiefly to those who reflect on heretics more carefully and with more deliberation. Such people are the canonists. Thus a sufficiently long special title on heretics has been inserted in the book of Decretals. There is also treatment, often copious, of heretics in the Decretum. However, mention is rarely made of heretics in theology. Thus the word "heretic" is found in only one place in the bible, namely in Titus 3[:10]. It pertains chiefly to canonists, therefore, to separate heretics from the orthodox.
|But others regard the above opinion as completely false, saying that it pertains to theologians to judge who should be regarded as a heretic and who a catholic, but that canonists have the power to show with what penalty someone should be punished according to canon law after he has become a heretic. Similarly, although a secular judge does not know how to convict someone as a heretic, yet after someone has been abandoned to him by the Church as a heretic, he is not ignorant of the punishment that should be inflicted on him according to civil law. Therefore, if someone has been accused as a heretic before an ecclesiastical judge, the latter first has to consult theologians about how he must convict such a person and then ought to subject him through the canons to a worthy punishment.
|Moreover, they show that theologians chiefly distinguish between heretics and the orthodox, saying that no one should be considered a heretic unless he adheres to a heresy with pertinacious vehemence. But it chiefly pertains to theologians to determine not only what assertion should be numbered among the heresies but also [what adherence 6892 which author of heresy] should be considered pertinacious. Therefore, etc.
| Chapter 12
|Student: ALTHOUGH it seems probable to me that it pertains chiefly to theologians to judge what assertion should be considered catholic and what heretical, yet I still do not know whether it chiefly pertains to them to decide who clings pertinaciously to heretical wickedness and who not pertinaciously. And therefore I do not know whether it chiefly pertains to them to distinguish between heretics and the orthodox, because an error [held] without pertinacity does not render the errant a heretic. So would you like to discuss this?
|Master: Some canonists seem to differ from theologians about this, saying that it pertains chiefly to canonists to judge who should be judged as pertinacious. In maintaining this they seem able to be moved by the arguments written below, the first of which is as follows. No one erring against catholic faith should be judged pertinacious unless he defends his error after being corrected by his prelate. To those, therefore, to whom it pertains to examine how errants should be corrected by their prelates it chiefly pertains to determine who should be judged pertinacious. But canonists chiefly treat of how errants should be corrected by their prelates, because it is up to them to know when and how prelates should proceed against those who err, something that does not pertain to theologians. For it is canonists, not theologians, who know about accusations and denunciations of, and inquisitions into, heretical wickedness and also about citations, interrogations and examinations of heretics and about the other matters that pertain to the order of legal proceedings to be observed concerning those who err. Therefore it chiefly pertains to canonists to know who should be judged pertinacious and heretical.
|The second argument is this. Pertinacity is a certain contumacy, according to what Gregory, as we find in dist. 15, c. Non licuit [wrong reference], and blessed Augustine, as we read in 24, q. 3, c. Qui in ecclesia [col.998] imply. It is canonists, however, who chiefly treat of contumacy, since contumacy applies either in respect of to not coming or not restoring or not replying (or replying obscurely) or not showing, all of which presuppose a citation in connection with which someone may be regarded as contumacious. It is not theologians, however, but canonists who reflect on citations and matters which are known to pertain to the order of legal proceedings. Therefore it pertains chiefly to them to know who should be judged [pertinacious 7240 contumacious] and heretical.
|The third argument is this. To the same person to whom the punishment of any crime pertains, cognizance of that crime pertains, because an unrecognised crime should not be punished. But how someone should be punished for pertinacity pertains chiefly to canonists, Therefore it pertains chiefly to them to know who should be judged as pertinacious.
| Chapter 13
|Student: RELATE the opposing assertion with its arguments.
|Master: Others say that it pertains chiefly to theologians to know who should be considered pertinacious.
|Their first reason is the following. It pertains chiefly to theologians to treat of those crimes that are directly committed against God because, since theology has God as its principal subject, it has the function to reflect on those crimes which are committed against him. The pertinacity of heretical wickedness, however, is committed directly against God. Therefore it pertains chiefly to theologians to investigate pertinacity.
|The second reason is as follows. "The science of [each of two] contraries is the same", for "the same [straight edge] is the judge of [itself 7399 the true, OR: the straight ] and of the oblique" [Aristotle Metaphysics 1046 b7-12, De Anima 411 a5; see below , book 7, chapter 48]. Now faith and heretical wickedness are contraries. But it pertains chiefly to theologians to reflect on faith. Therefore it pertains to the same people to reflect on heretical wickedness, and, as a consequence, on pertinacity, without which heretical wickedness is not found.
|The third reason is this. When a superior and an inferior science reflect on the same thing, knowledge of that thing pertains more chiefly to the superior science than to the inferior, because the superior knows through superior causes and [prior 7473 first] principles. But both theology and the science of the jurists reflect on the pertinacity of heresy, [and theology as superior science and the science of the canonists as inferior science; therefore 7489 omit, OR: therefore, since theology is the superior science and the science of the canonists the inferior science, it follow that] it more chiefly pertains to theology to consider pertinacity. It seems that the major [premise] is certain; the minor is shown. For it is known, and they grant, that the science of the canonists reflects on pertinacity. But that theology reflects on the same subject is quite clear, since the Apostle teaches in Titus 3[:10] that a heretic should be avoided, and in the gospel Truth himself rebukes the pertinacity of the Jews who refuse to believe in Christ.
|Student: In the whole of the gospels there is no mention found of pertinacity. So how do they say that Christ rebuked the pertinacity of the Jews in the gospel?
|Master: They reply to this that although in the gospel no mention is made of this word "pertinacity" or of "pertinacious", yet Christ often spoke about what is signified [by them].
|Master: At John 15[:22] where he says about the Jews, "If I had not come and had not spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin." Here Christ makes it clear that the Jews were pertinacious in their error because they refused to believe him. For that reason he adds below [v.24], "If I had not done among them the works that no other man hath done, they would not have sin. But now they have seen and hated both me and my father." He shows here that they are pertinacious because they refused to believe in his works. He indicates the evil and pertinacity of the Jews [clearly 7694 in common] when he reprimands the cities which refused to believe him, as we find in Matthew 11[:21-24].
| Chapter 14
|Student: AS MUCH AS I understand, that second assertion still pleases me more. Indicate, therefore, how they try to reply to the opposing arguments.
|Master: Some reply to the first [argument] by saying that although in general it is chiefly theologians who ought to know who should be judged pertinacious, yet in some circumstances canonists reflect more purposefully on some particular way of convicting an errant of pertinacity (though, also, if doubt and disagreement about this way were to arise among canonists [it would pertain to theologians, by applying theological and universal [principles] to these particulars, to judge more profoundly and surely 7788 - 7796 it would seem necessary to apply to theologians, who know universals and particulars more profoundly and judge more certainly ], although perhaps after a drawn out and long investigation and consultation). Thus they say that there are many ways of arriving at knowledge of the pertinacity of someone erring against the faith, some of which have regard to the order of legal proceedings, for instance, if an errant called to trial refuses to come, if he comes but refuses to reply, if he wickedly tries to evade the trial and examination. Now, canonists deal more explicitly than theologians with such ways of convicting heretics with respect to many circumstances that pertain to the order of legal proceedings. Yet in general and with respect to many other ways of convicting of pertinacity it pertains more to theologians to deal with pertinacity.
|Student: Can anyone be convicted of pertinacity outside a court?
|Master: No one is convicted by the authority of office outside a court, or without the authority of a judge; nevertheless, someone is convicted outside a court in so far as his evil comes so much to the knowledge of others on the evidence of the facts that it is permissible without temerity to regard him as a pertinacious heretic.
|Student: Speak to the form of that first argument.
|Master: In respect of its form it is said that when it is taken [as a premise] that no one erring against the faith should be judged as pertinacious except someone who defends his error once he has been corrected by his prelate, this is manifestly false, because there are other ways outside any court of detecting someone in error due to obvious pertinacity. For theologians, not canonists, would detect as obviously pertinacious anyone who swore to defend forever some heresy not mentioned in the decretals or in the whole science of the canonists but only in theology.
|To the second argument it is said that all contumacy is pertinacity, but not all pertinacity should be regarded as contumacy in the strict sense. And therefore even if it were canonists who chiefly reflect on contumacy, it does not follow that they should chiefly investigate pertinacity, because often a superior science deals with universals and an inferior one with particulars. Neither do Gregory and Augustine say that all pertinacity is contumacy, although they mean that heretics should often be judicially condemned for contumacy.
|They reply to the third argument that he to whom the punishment of any crime pertains to him too some kind of cognizance, at least of a general and confused kind or of a kind which is received from another, of the same crime pertains; but it is not necessary that a scientific investigation or a [subtle 8155 add: special] and profound cognizance of the same crime pertain chiefly to him. For the ultimate punishment of a heretic who refuses to retreat from his error after he has been relinquished to a secular court pertains to a secular judge, and yet it does not pertain chiefly to a secular judge to know who should be regarded as a heretic. Secular judges also ought to punish with an appropriate penalty those who forge money and artisans who make forgeries contrary to their art, and yet moneyers and artisans detect more acutely than judges forged money and other goods. So although canonists reflect on how those who are pertinacious in error against the faith must be punished justly, theologians do nevertheless detect much more [surely 8240 strongly and surely] those who err in pertinacity, just as those who hang thieves know better than judges how thieves ought to be hanged, yet know less the seriousness of the villainy.
| Chapter 15
|Student: SAY BRIEFLY what things, according to those who assert [this position], canonists do have the power to investigate about heretics.
What do canonists know about heretics?
|Master: They say that canonists have the power to examine not only with what penalty according to canon law it is proper to punish heretics, but also how judicial proceedings should be taken against them---that is, how writs of accusation and other writs should be composed, how witnesses should be produced, and other things that pertain to the order of legal proceedings. Also, because of the many heresies found condemned in their books they can determine about many matters whether they should be judged to be heretical, although about this matter theologians can judge more profoundly. For although heretics are rarely found mentioned in the bible under that name, commentators on the holy bible, following the principles handed down in sacred scripture, do nevertheless often produce large tractates about heretics, on how anyone should be recognised as a heretic, many things from which are inserted in the books of the canonists. Apart from these and the determinations of the church based on divine scripture, almost everything else about heretics found in their books makes clear not who should be considered a heretic but how judicial proceedings should be conducted against heretics and with what punishment they ought to be struck. This is quite clear in the section, De hereticis, which is found in the book of decretals [book 5, title 7]. However, because these things are positive particulars which depend on human invention they are not reflected on by theologians, who do not reflect mainly on such things. Nevertheless, where canonistic jurisprudence is deficient, it pertains to theologians to judge by universal rules whether the ecclesiastical laws about punishing heretics in certain ways and about the way of proceeding against them are contrary to the divine scriptures, because if such laws were opposed to sacred scripture they should not in any way be tolerated.
|The first book ends.
Note 1. Perhaps the source of the family PaLb(VaVgPc) VbPbAr PzLy lacked all the words "Secunda... censenda", and the text found in VgPzLy, "secunda ratio ad illius scientie doctores pertinet diffinire etc que tractat regulas fidei que tractantur in alia scientia et plures alias et non econtra", was supplied by conjecture based on the rest of the argument. Pb does not have the passage in its proper place, but at the end of the paragraph inserts "secunda ratio est haec ad illius scientiae tractatores in qua explicite et complete traditur regula fidei orthodoxae pertinet principaliter diffinire per modum doctrinae quae assertio etc", which is the version found in the other families; Vb has the VgPzLy version written into the margin; Pa and Lb have this version as their text, with marginal additions derived from some MS or MSS belonging to another family (they do not delete "que tractat regulas fidei que tractantur in alia scientia et plures alias et non econtra"). Va and Ar have as their text the version found in the other families (except that Va omits "traditur" and Ar omits "per modum... censenda").
Note 2. The alternative text "Ad illius scientie tractatores per quam plures assertiones catholice explicite sub forma propria pertractare pertinet etc" does not make good sense: "pertractare" would need to be "pertractantur".
Note 3. The alternative text does not work as an argument. The argument would be: "A statute has no less force than a custom. But a custom in conflict with truth gives way, therefore a custom opposed to theology and moral philosophy must be condemned." This makes no use of the first premise, the comparison between custom and statute, and it leaves open the possibility that an ecclesiastical statute contrary to theology and moral philosophy might not be condemned. The preferred version argues: "A statute has no more force than a custom. But a custom must give way if found opposed to truth. Therefore a statute must also give way if opposed to theology and moral philosophy"---from which it follows that both ecclesiastical custom and statute, i.e. everything in the realm of changeable particulars dealt with by canon law, must give way to theology and moral philosophy.
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