The Soul-Body Problem at Paris ca 1200-1250

The Soul-Body Problem at Paris ca 1200-1250: Hugh of St-Cher and His Contemporaries

MAGDALENA BIENIAK
Volume: 42
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: Leuven University Press
Pages: 253
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qdzd9
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  • Book Info
    The Soul-Body Problem at Paris ca 1200-1250
    Book Description:

    The soul-body problem was among the most controversial issues discussed in 13th century Europe, and it continues to capture much attention today as the quest to understand human identity becomes more and more urgent. What made the discussion about this problem particularly interesting in the scholastic period was the tension between the traditional dualist doctrines and a growing need to affirm the unity of the human being. This debate is frequently interpreted as a conflict between the ‘new' philosophy, conveyed by the rediscovered works of Aristotle and his followers, and doctrinal requirements, especially the belief in the soul's immortality. However, a thorough examination of Parisian texts, written between approximately 1150 and 1260, leads us to conclusions which may seem surprising. In this book, the study and edition of some little-known texts of Hugh of St-Cher and his contemporaries reveals an extremely rich and colourful picture of the Parisian anthropological debate of the time. This book also offers an opportunity to reconsider some received views concerning medieval philosophy, such as the conviction that the notion of ‘person' did not play any major role in the anthropological controversies. The study covers a wide range of authors, from Gilbert of Poitiers to Thomas Aquinas, and it is partly based on previously unedited material, published for the first time in the Appendix.

    eISBN: 978-94-6166-025-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-X)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. XI-XII)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)

    This research originates from an edition and a study of a short disputed question written in the first half of the 1230s by Hugh of St-Cher and entitledDe anima.¹ The question is part of a collection of a very large number ofquaestiones disputataeand other texts compiled in the Paris environment between the end of the twelfth and the second half of the thirteenth century. This manuscript collection is preserved in Codex 434 of the Bibliothèque Municipale of Douai and consists of three volumes, the first two of which contain 572quaestiones theologicaeand the third of which...

  5. PART ONE TOWARDS THE UNITY OF THE HUMAN BEING
    • 1.1 ACCIDENTAL UNION OF THE SOUL WITH THE BODY AND UNIBILITAS SUBSTANTIALIS OF THE HUMAN SOUL
      (pp. 9-46)

      The center point of the present study is Hugh of St-Cher’s anthropology.¹ It is the center point, although not a privileged one: it is central because reconstructing the opinions of this theologian is our primary purpose; it is not privileged because these opinions must be seen and evaluated within a broader context. Indeed, Hugh is not a revolutionary author, but a reconstruction of his contribution to the anthropological debate allows us to analyze some important philosophical developments which until now have not received sufficient attention from scholars. What is more, Hugh’s thought has exerted some influence and therefore is not...

    • 1.2 THE HUMAN SOUL AND THE CONCEPT OF PERSON
      (pp. 47-90)

      The substantial and immortal ability to be united with the body represents the main feature differentiating the human soul from the angel. The first article of Hugh of St-Cher’s questionDe animacentres around this doctrine. Nevertheless, the reason why Hugh adopts this position is not totally clear; indeed, the question contains no justification for this theory.The Summa aureaoffers no better explanations: indeed, William of Auxerre too makes no mention of the reasons why he adopts the theory of the substantial difference between soul and angel which is based on the union with the body. Hence, what is...

  6. PART TWO BETWEEN SOUL AND BODY:: THE POWERS OF THE SOUL
    • INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 93-94)

      The problem of the union of the soul with the body in the thirteenth century cannot be easily confined within one thematic field. As already seen in the previous section, the problem of the unity of the human being is approached not only in the questions specifically relating to the conjunction of soul and body, but also in the chapters dealing with the definition of the human soul, in the questions concerning the difference between soul and angel, in an eschatological context and in the debates on the concept of person within a Trinitarian and Christological domain. Besides, there exists...

    • 2.1 THE RATIONAL POWERS: THE SOUL AS IMAGE OF THE TRINITY
      (pp. 95-118)

      Before addressing the problem of the ontological status of the faculties of the soul, and in order to understand the approach adopted by Hugh of St-Cher and other theologians of his time, we have to present some fundamental distinctions.

      In the first years of the thirteenth century, John Blund delineates thescientia de animausing the following words:¹

      Dicimus quod hoc nomen ‘anima’ est nomen concretum in concretione dans intelligere substantiam sub accidente quod copulatur per hoc verbum ‘animo’, ‘animas’. Quantum autem ad illud accidens, dicimus quod dicit Aristoteles, animam esse perfectionem corporis organici habentis etc., et in hac comparatione...

    • 2.2 THE SENSITIVE AND VEGETATIVE POWERS
      (pp. 119-150)

      As previously mentioned, in the thirteenth century, the debate concerning the sensitive and vegetative powers takes its particular shape thanks to the reception of sources inspired by Aristotle’s thought. This type of speculation is introduced into the Parisian Faculty of Theology mainly as a result of Philip the Chancellor’s activity. Among his most influential doctrines, let us note in particular the theory according to which there exist intermediary elements between the rational soul and the body. This doctrine is interesting for us in two respects: on the one hand, it directly concerns the problem of the conjunction of the human...

    • 2.3 THE PROBLEM OF MEMORY
      (pp. 151-170)

      At the beginning of the second part of the present book, I introduced a distinction between two types of literary sources employed in the psychological speculation at the beginning of the thirteenth century, i.e. the theological sources and the philosophical sources. This distinction, rather simplified and imperfect, nevertheless helps to explain why Hugh of St-Cher and most of his contemporaries deal with the rational powers and the lower powers in two distinct contexts, posing different questions and using arguments of different types. The same distinction might be useful also in examining the discussion developed by the same authors about the...

  7. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 171-176)

    The analysis of Hugh of St-Cher’s anthropological writings represents the starting point and the chief purpose of this book. The conclusion we formulate here, therefore, concerns primarily the thought of this Dominican master. Nevertheless, any understanding of Hugh’s works would be impossible without a comparison with the doctrines of his contemporaries and a consideration of the positions held in the twelfth century. This comparison has revealed a number of more general tendencies which appear both in twelfth-century and thirteenth-century authors. The following paragraphs will attempt to summarize them briefly.

    The debate on the problem of the union of soul and...

  8. Appendix:: Text Editions
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-238)
  10. INDICES
    (pp. 239-246)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 247-252)