Yet Another ‘Lost’ Chapter of Wyclif’s Summa de ente Notes on some puzzling references to Tractatus 13

In: Vivarium
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  • 1 Università degli Studi di Salerno


This paper deals with three references found in John Wyclif’s unpublished De scientia Dei to a certain Tractatus 13, whose title relates to the position it holds in the first book of Wyclif’s Summa de ente. They are puzzling references, since the first book of the Summa is made up barely of seven tracts. In this paper I argue that the three references are actually linking devices to the final section of the De ente praedicamentali (ch. 19-22). Moreover, I maintain that, at the time of the compilation of his De scientia Dei, Wyclif conceived the first book of his Summa as containing thirteen tracts, the last seven of which later collected under a single item (viz. the De ente praedicamentali). This allows for a broader and more consistent account of the order and dating of the De scientia Dei (1372) and other Wyclif’s writings.

  • 3)

    Cf. A.D. Conti, ‘Logica intensionale e metafisica dell’essenza in John Wyclif’, Bullettino dell’Istituto Storico Italiano per il Medioevo e Archivio muratoriano 99.1 (1993), 159-219: 160; P.V. Spade, ‘The Problem of Universals and Wyclif’s Alleged “Ultrarealism”’, Vivarium 43.1 (2005), 111-123: 112.

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  • 6)

    Cf. A.D. Conti, ‘Wyclif’s Logic and Metaphysics’, in A Companion to John Wyclif, ed. I.C. Levy (Leiden, 2006), 67-125: 69.

  • 11)

    Cf. S.H. Thomson, ‘The Order of Writing of Wyclif’s Philosophical Works’, in Českou minulostí. Práce Vnovanè Profesoru Karlovy University Václavu Novotnèmu, eds. O. Odložilík, J. Prokeš and R. Urbánek (Praha, 1929), 146-166: 154. According to Thomson’s hypothesis, one might expect a complete reference like the following two: “ex dictis primo libro <sexto> tractatu 13° capitulo”; or: “ex dictis primo libro tractatu <de tempore> 13° capitulo”.

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  • 31)

    F. Šmahel, ‘Verzeichnis der Quellen zum Prager Universalitenstreit 1348-1500’, Mediaevalia Philosophica Polonorum 25 (1980), 14.

  • 40)

    Cf. Thomson, ‘The Order of Writing’, 161; Robson, Wyclif, 119; Šmahel, ‘Verzeichnis der Quellen’, 12.

  • 46)

    Cf. Robson, Wyclif, 137-138.

  • 50)

    Cf. Thomson, ‘The Order of Writing’, 150. The full text of the De potentia productiva Dei ad extra is still unpublished, as the text of the De tempore. Thus, at the moment I am unable to state whether the references to the tract called ‘De tempore’ must be taken as references either to the short comment on the category of time, or to the second and ultimate De tempore. However, the large number of references allows us to imagine that Wyclif meant his great and relevant (and more recent) tract on time.

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