The term "source" is a sedimented metaphor of origin: it hints that the text using sources is secondary, derivative, belated. Originality and purity lie further back, upstream. To speak of "sources" is for this reason much like speaking of a "sincere" manuscript — A. E. Housman's instance of badly misplaced "moral sympathy."4 Manuscripts cannot be sincere, and sources are not origins. We rarely suffer scruples over our category because the effort to identify what appear to us as Thomas's "sources" looks so venerable. Readers have been inserting citations into Thomas's texts for seven centuries in the effort to learn them and to teach them. As one generation of readers succeeded another, more and other citations were needed. Indeed, two different sorts of citations must now be added to Thomas's texts as to other works of medieval academic theology. The first sort fills in an incomplete allusion or quotation. The second, by far the more important, marks off and identifies implicit or invisible references.
To take the easier first: Thomas assumes that his readers are roughly as familiar as he is with the available authorities attached to standard theological topics. He cuts his references to the minimum, especially when dealing with a famous or reiterated text. Where Thomas does provide a brief citation, it may be according to a scheme of numeration — or even of titles — far from schemes familiar to his latter-day readers. After filling in the citation, an annotator must find the version of the text that Thomas cites. Few texts are lucky enough to have modern editions of their medieval versions. A reader can consult John Damascene almost as Thomas would have found him or can read, with some patience, Saracenus's rendering of Pseudo-Dionysius, the translation Thomas took as his main text.5 Still the reader is far from having anything like the Dominican library at Paris as it would have been in 1255. She could not with any assurance reconstruct even the catalogue of that library.6
4 A. E. Housman, "The Application of Thought to Textual Criticism," in The Classical Papers of A. E. Housman, ed. J. Diggle and F. R. D. Goodyear (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 3:1,058-1,069, at pp. 1,063-1,064.
5 John Damascene, De fide orthodoxa: Versions of Burgundio and Cerbanus, ed. Eligius M. Buy-taert (St Bonaventure, New York: Franciscan Institute, 1955); Dionysiaca: Receuil donnant l'ensemble des traductions latines des ouvrages attribués au Denys l'Aréopage, ed. Philippe Chevallier et al. (Paris and Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer, 1937). By saying that we have Thomas's versions, I do not mean to say that we have them in the way that he did. The difference between reading a modern edition and a medieval manuscript is great, and not all to the credit of the former. A manuscript forces one to read slowly, and many manuscripts intended for reference use encircle the main text with a marvelous array of exegetical aids.
6 Most inventories so far published for Dominican houses date from around 1400. No
To remark this ignorance is not pedantry. A reader cannot judge Thomas's literal commentaries on Aristotle, on Pseudo-Dionysius, or on Scripture unless she has his littera, the text he comments on. Thomas was esteemed by many early readers, including those not otherwise sympathetic, precisely for his exegetical attention to detail. A reader cannot appreciate his attentive-ness, his teaching as an exegete, if she holds a different text. The failure of appreciation is troublesome because the center of theological procedure in Thomas is disputative exegesis. Almost any article in the Summa, in the Scriptum on Peter Lombard's Sentences, or in the disputed questions turns upon dialectically stressed interpretations of textual authorities.7 Unless a reader can begin to share Thomas's passion for rigorous readings, in which single words and phrases very much matter, she will hardly make progress in reading what theology he writes.
It is all the more awkward, then, to realize that there are towering authorities to which modern readers hardly have access. Obvious examples are the Standard Gloss (Glossa ordinaria) on Scripture and the Dominican liturgy. There is no edition of the Gloss in the version(s) Thomas consulted, yet dozens of arguments in his most important texts turn on citations to that Scriptural supplement.8 The lack of a Dominican liturgy may seem less painful at first glance, since Thomas makes relatively few arguments from liturgical texts.9 Still those arguments are not the only or chief reason for wanting to know more of Dominican liturgy as he prayed it. I suspect that many of Thomas's citations to Scripture are framed or conditioned as much by their liturgical as by their Scriptural contexts. For the moment, this must remain a hypothesis. There are few helps for discovering how Thomas systematic study has been made of the earlier materials. For samples of the later inventories, see Kaeppeli, "Antiche biblioteche domenicane," with a 1417 inventory from Mantua beginning on p. 24; Gargan, Lo studio teologico, with a 1390 inventory, pp. 191-220.
7 I have tried throughout to translate recurring book titles into English, but "scriptum" is one title-word that I cannot render convincingly. The word means any piece of writing, regardless of genre. So a "literal" translation of Scriptum super libros Sententiarum would be Writing on the Books of Sentences [namely, of Peter Lombard]. This translation has the merit of emphasizing the act of writing and the multiplicity of genres it traverses. Unfortunately, using Writing as a short-title tends to trip up English readers, especially when the word is being used so often in other ways. So I have chosen instead the Latin short-title.
8 The Biblia latina cum glossa ordinaria . . . et interlineari . . . printed by Adolf Rusch in Strasbourg about 1480 does reflect the text and arrangement of some twelfth-century copies of the Glossa. It has been reprinted in facsimile under the direction of Karlfried Froehlich and Margaret T. Gibson (Turnhout: Brepols, 1992). The Strasbourg version is not always what Thomas reads in his Glossa .
9 For example, Summa theol. 1.31.4 arg. 4, 1.52.1 sed contra, 1-2.113.9 sed contra, 2-2.82.3 ad 2, 2-2.82.4 sed contra, 2-2.83.17 corpus, 2-2.124.2 corpus, 2-2.154.5 corpus, 2-2.176.2 arg. 1, and so on.
would have heard a text in his community's public prayer. For the period before about 1256, one would have to go from house to house, manuscript to manuscript, according to Thomas's (presumed) biography. For the standardized Dominican liturgy after 1256, there are several exemplary copies, including one made at St Jacques during Thomas's first regency there.10 These exemplars remain almost entirely in manuscript.
Next to be hunted are implicit or unnamed sources. There are the notorious "some say" references (quidam dicunt), by which Thomas's gestures towards interlocutors he will not name. Then a reader must try to recognize invisible allusions — passages in which nothing suggests that Thomas is quoting or paraphrasing when he is in fact doing so. It was known, for example, that Thomas depended on Raymond of Penafort's Summa of Penance for citations of canon law, but it had not been widely recognized that there are unmarked quotations of another of Raymond's compilations, the Summa of Cases, in Thomas's Summa 2—2.11 Then there are the implicit intermediary sources. Many of Thomas's authorities, often the most important, come to him through other authorities, including theological works of reference. For most quotations, Thomas's authority is not the full text of an author he is quoting, but only the quotation itself, taken at second hand from an earlier theologian.
The topic is whether and in what way it is true to say that all human wills converge on one last end. The problem appears prominently in the crucial first Question of Summa 1—2, where it serves to cap the doctrine of the teleology of human willing.13 The explicit authority is Augustine's On the Trinity 13.3. Yet Augustine's doctrine there is not exactly on point. Augus
10 London, British Library, Additional MS 23,935. Part of the lectionary from this manuscript is edited in Maura O'Carroll, "The Lectionary for the Proper of the Year in the Dominican and Franciscan Rites of the Thirteenth Century," Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 49 (1979): 79—103. Humbert's liturgical reforms have been discussed in comparison with earlier Dominican rites by Ansgarius Dirks, especially in his "De liturgiae dominicanae evolutione," Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 52 (1982): 5—76; 53 (1983): 53—145; 54 (1984): 39—82; 55 (1985): 5—47; and 57 (1987): 25—30. We still do not have an edition even of the whole of Humbert's norms.
11 The earliest printed remark known to me is that of Leonard Boyle, The Setting of the Summa theologiae of Saint Thomas (Toronto: PIMS, 1982), p. 7. Ignatius T. Eschmann had also noticed the resemblances and left some collations of them in his papers.
12 I was alerted to this example when I was working on I. T. Eschmann's lecture notes on the passage in Thomas, preserved among his papers at the library of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies (PIMS), Toronto. For a printed version, see Ignatius Theodore Eschmann, The Ethics of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Two Courses, ed. Edward A. Synan (Toronto: PIMS, 1997), pp. 44—46.
tine seems to hold, not for a single external end, but for a shared will psychologically discoverable in each human agent. Is Thomas simply misreading Augustine? He is not, but we can learn this only from the parallel Question in Thomas's Scriptum, which puts the issue rather differently: Is there only one end for all right wills?14 This formulation of the issue is lifted out of Peter Lombard,15 who also cites an Augustinian authority, On the Trinity 11.6. The Lombard does misread or misapply Augustine's text. Augustine speaks not of a single end for the wills of different individuals, but of a single end within various acts of the will of a single individual. The Lombard's misreading not only fixes the formulation of the issue, it gives Thomas confidence in construing Augustine's mind on the matter. What is decisive in reading the passage at the beginning of Summa 1—2 is not to be led back to On the Trinity 13.3, though that is the "correct" citation, but to be led back to Peter Lombard and his misconstrual of On the Trinity 11.6.
It would be possible to go on with other cases and other kinds of implicit intermediaries, but let me break off to reframe the issue. When readers begin to notice the multiplicity of languages in Thomas Aquinas, they should want to discover what these languages are and how he used them. Contemporary readers do not yet know even that much. If they did, they would still not have grasped Thomas's practice of the multiplicity of theological languages.
Was this article helpful?