Richard Kilvington on the Capacity of Created Beings, Infinity, and Being Simultaneously in Rome and Paris. Critical Edition of Question 3 from Quaestiones super libros Sententiarum , by Monika Michałowska

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Michiel Streijger Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften Germany Munich

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Monika Michałowska, Richard Kilvington on the Capacity of Created Beings, Infinity, and Being Simultaneously in Rome and Paris. Critical Edition of Question 3 from Quaestiones super libros Sententiarum (Studien und Texte zur Geistesgeschichte des Mittelalters, 130), Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2021. vii+187 pp. ISBN 978-90-04-44862-9 (e-book), 978-90-04-44752-3 (hardback)

Richard Kilvington was a fourteenth-century philosopher and theologian. Besides his well-known Sophismata, in which he investigated logical problems, Kilvington wrote commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics, On Generation and Corruption, and Ethics, and a commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard. Composed in Oxford between 1333 and 1334, the last-mentioned commentary consists of eight questions loosely related to Peter Lombard’s work. The commentary is preserved in twelve manuscripts, but the number and order of the questions contained in the manuscripts differ.

In 2021 Monika Michałowska, who had previously edited Kilvington’s commentary on the Ethics,1 published an edition of question 3 from Kilvington’s commentary on the Sentences. In this question, Kilvington considers the problem of whether all created beings are confined within fixed boundaries of their nature (utrum omnis creatura sit suae naturae certis limitibus circumscripta). Among other things, Kilvington claims that the capacity of the soul is infinite, that God can make quantitative and qualitative infinities, that one and the same thing can be in two different places at the same time, and that every mortal sinner deserves punishment which is infinite in intensity. Michałowska’s edition will be of importance to all who are interested in Kilvington and the history of fourteenth-century philosophy. So far, only Kilvington’s Sophismata and his commentary on Aristotle’s Ethics have been critically edited, and many aspects of his thought are still unknown.

The edition is based on eight of nine manuscripts containing question 3. One manuscript is of poor quality and was therefore not used in the edition. Michałowska does not aim to provide a reconstruction of Kilvington’s original text, but follows for the most part the text of one manuscript: Bologna, Biblioteca comunale dell’Archiginnasio, A. 985 (A). Whenever the text of A does not make sense, it is corrected with the help of manuscript Brugge, Stedelijke Openbare Bibliotheek, 188 (B), manuscript Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 4353 (K), or one of the other manuscripts used (DFGIL). The text is accompanied by an extensive critical apparatus and an apparatus which mentions the sources that Kilvington used in composing the question. One of these is his Oxford socius Monachus Niger (“The Black Monk”), whose ideas Kilvington (partially) follows when addressing the problem of being in two different places at the same time.

Michałowska’s edition is accompanied by two indices and an introduction, which runs to nearly 70 pages. The introduction contains every topic one would expect: sections on Kilvington’s life and works, the text, the manuscripts and the manuscript tradition, and a bibliography of primary and secondary sources. Michałowska also devotes a section to the editorial principles adopted in establishing the text (pp. 50–57). Somewhat controversial: Michałowska always prints masculine adjective forms and pronouns with dies and writes punctum, not punctus, even if this goes against the reading of all manuscripts. Moreover, she consistently uses Parisiis instead of Parisius, although the latter form is used in the manuscripts. Here, I wish that Michałowska had followed her base manuscript.

To justify her choice of A as the base manuscript, Michałowska states (p. 50) that it has “superior textual quality in comparison with all the other manuscripts that contain question 3,” but provides no evidence for this. She also mentions that B and K are of good quality. The arguments she advances for choosing A over B and K – both B and K show signs of correction, and only A contains all eight questions of Kilvington’s commentary on the Sentences – do not seem convincing. Here more data in support of the choice of A would have been welcome.

Michałowska is on unsure footing when she reconstructs the manuscript tradition and establishes the stemma codicum (pp. 35–49). The stemma is based on a collation of all manuscripts (including those which do not contain question 3) for questions 2, 3, and 4. In the stemma, Michałowska distinguishes two major groups: (1) the first group consists of ABCGH, in which A stands apart from BCGH; (2) the second group consists of DEFIJKL. In my view, the evidence Michałowska gives for the existence of the two main groups is insufficient and includes only a few real errors. Moreover, not all her conclusions are supported by the evidence she offers. First, in the stemma, A is set apart from BCGH. To show this, Michałowska argues (p. 40) as follows: “The fact that A belongs to this group, although it seems to stand alone, can be supported by omissions of large parts of the text A shares with BG.” Then she reports three examples from questions 3 and 4 that certainly indicate that ABG are closely related, but this evidence shows rather that A belongs inside the BCGH group and is closely related to BG. Perhaps Michałowska places A outside the group because it does not have all the errors shared by BCGH, but this, rather, suggests that A was corrected with the help of a manuscript outside the group. Second, Michałowska gives no readings shared by DEFIJKL but only ones shared by DEFIJL (without K), of which some are insignificant inversions (pp. 42–43). Hence, no proof is presented that K belongs to this group.

In the edited text, Michałowska indicates divisions and uses headers to clarify the structure of the question, which she explains on pp. 7–11. The question begins with principal arguments pointing to a negative answer to the question, one argument to the contrary, and Kilvington’s brief reply. According to Michałowska, the remainder of the text is divided into five articles (articuli). She claims that the first, third, and fourth of these are replies to principal arguments 1, 3, and 4 respectively, and that the second and fifth article are so-called dubia, in which Kilvington elaborates on topics touched upon in the parts immediately preceding. In my view, Kilvington’s text offers no support to distinguish articles 3 and 5 as separate parts of the question. It is more natural to read these sections as a continuation of the immediately foregoing text. To show this, I shall give an outline of the entire question:

q. 3

Utrum omnis creatura sit suae naturae certis limitibus circumscripta

  • Quod non … Secundo ad principale … Item … Item ad principale … Quinto ad principale … Sexto ad principale … (pp. 73–75)

  • Ad oppositum … (p. 75)

  • Ad quaestionem … (p. 76)

  • Unde pro primo principali pono aliquas conclusiones. Prima est quod anima est in infinitum capax. (p. 77)

    • Pro ista conclusione arguitur sic … Item … Item … Item … (pp. 77–98)

    • Ad oppositum arguitur primo per ipsum Averroem … Item … Item … (pp. 98–112)

    • His tamen non obstantibus teneo … quod cuiuslibet animae capacitas est infinita. (p. 112)

    • Ad primum argumentum fundatum super Averroem … (p. 112)

    • Ad secundum … Ad tertium … Ad quartum … Ad vicesimum octavum … (pp. 115–125)

    • Ad vicesimum nonum dico … quod non sequitur: licet tollatur ab A (sc. capacitate infinita MS) pars finita … igitur A fuit finitum, licet sit minus quam ante. Ecce ad hoc … Item … Et consimile patet per … Item glossa … (pp. 125–127)

      • Sed contra istam positionem arguitur sic … Secundo sic … Tertio sic … Item probo … Iam nunc consideratur … (pp. 128–134)

      • His tamen non obstantibus dico … (pp. 134–139)

      • Unde pro responsione primi argumenti … Ad secundum … Ad tertium … (pp. 140–148)

  • Per hoc patet responsio ad argumentum principale. (p. 148)

  • Ad tertium principale … (pp. 149–159)

  • Ad quartum principale … (p. 160)

    • Pro solutione istius pono istam conclusionem quod quilibet peccans mortaliter meretur poenam infinitam intensive. Haec conclusio probatur primo … Secundo … Duodecimo … (pp. 160–165)

    • Sed contra istam conclusionem arguitur multipliciter. Primo sic … Duodecimo sic … (pp. 165–169)

    • His non obstantibus, dico, sicut prius, quod quilibet peccans mortaliter meretur poenam infinitam intensive. (p. 169)

    • Unde pro solutione primae … Ad secundam … Ad octavam … (pp. 169–175)

    • Ad nonam dico quod non sequitur quod homo mereatur praemium infinitum intensive sicut peccans mortaliter meretur poenam infinitam intensive, quia nihil meretur nisi de congruo, non de condigno. (p. 175)

      • Sed probo quod aliquis potest mereri aliquid de condigno … Secundo … Octavo … (pp. 176–177)

      • His non obstantibus, dico quod nullus meretur aliquod de condigno … Item … Item … Item … (pp. 177–178)

      • Ad primum … Ad secundum … Ad octavum … (pp. 177–180)

From this outline, which is necessarily a simplification and focuses on specific points, it is clear that after Kilvington’s presentation of the principal arguments quod non, the argument to the contrary (ad oppositum …), and his reply to the question (ad quaestionem …), the remainder of the question is devoted to solving the first four principal arguments adduced at the beginning (unde pro primo principali … per hoc patet responsio ad argumentum principale … ad tertium principale … ad quartum principale …).

In his reply to the first principal argument, Kilvington first states the conclusion that the capacity of the soul is infinite (anima est in infinitum capax). After furnishing numerous counterarguments against this conclusion (ad oppositum arguitur primo per ipsum Averroem … item … item …), Kilvington repeats his position (teneo … quod cuiuslibet animae capacitas est infinita), and he replies to the counterarguments against it (ad primum argumentum fundatum super Averroem … ad secundum … ad tertium …). At the beginning of his reply to argument 29, Kilvington states that the inference ‘if a finite part is taken from an infinite capacity A, then A is finite’ is invalid (ad vicesimum nonum dico … quod non sequitur: licet tollatur ab A pars finita … igitur A fuit finitum, licet sit minus quam ante). Four proofs in support of this (ecce ad hoc … item … et consimile patet per … item glossa …) are followed by numerous counterarguments (sed contra istam positionem arguitur sic …), which he invalidates (unde pro responsione primi argumenti … Ad secundum …).

According to Michałowska, the arguments item … et consimile patet per … item glossa … (p. 127) constitute the beginning of the second article, which she thinks contains a dubium. In my view, the text does not support the idea that a new article begins at this point. Granted that in the margin of manuscript A is written dubium utrum Deus possit facere infinitum (see p. 22), there is no sign in the text that a new article begins at this point. Rather, item at the beginning of the section suggests that Kilvington advances another proof against the inference in argument 29, after he has given the first proof on pp. 125–126. I think that, in terms of structure, the arguments item … et consimile … item …, the counterarguments advanced against them, and the invalidation of the counterarguments (pp. 127–148) are all part of Kilvington’s reply to argument 29.

Nor do I agree with Michałowska that argumentum principale in per hoc patet responsio ad argumentum principale (p. 14825) refers to the Item glossa-argument on p. 127, as Michałowska states on pp. 9–10 of the introduction. In my opinion, the argument item glossa … is an element of Kilvington’s reply to argument 29, so it would be unusual if he replied to it. Nor does he reply to the other three arguments (ecce ad hoc … item … et consimile patet per …). Contrary to what Michałowska claims, I think that argumentum principale refers to the second principal argument, and Kilvington simply states here “that the solution of the second principal argument is clear from what was said before.” This interpretation is supported by the reading per hoc patet responsio ad secundum principale of BG and per hoc patet responsio ad secundum found in K.

In the reply to the fourth principal argument Kilvington first states his position, namely that every mortal sinner deserves a punishment infinite in intensity (quilibet peccans mortaliter meretur poenam infinitam intensive), and supplies twelve proofs (Haec conclusio probatur primo … secundo … duodecimo …). Subsequently, he gives twelve arguments against his position (sed contra istam conclusionem arguitur multipliciter. Primo sic … duodecimo sic …), of which he later replies to the first nine (unde pro solutione primae … ad secundam … ad nonam …). In the reply to the ninth argument, he presents some objections against his solution of the argument (sed probo … secundo … octavo …) and invalidates them (his non obstantibus, dico … ad primum … ad secundum …). I am not convinced as much as Michałowska that the section sed probo … secundo … (p. 176) is the start of article 5 containing a dubium. Again, there is no indication in the text that a new section begins here, and it is much more in line with the text to consider the part that follows as a continuation of Kilvington’s reply to the ninth argument, begun on p. 175. Moreover, this time no note is written in the margin of A indicating the beginning of a dubium.

In conclusion, it seems to me that the structure of the question is as follows: principal arguments (pp. 73–75), argument to the contrary (p. 75), Kilvington’s reply to the question (p. 76), reply to principal argument 1 (pp. 77–14824), reply to principal argument 2 (14825), reply to principal argument 3 (pp. 149–159), and reply to argument 4 (pp. 160–180).

To judge Michałowska’s decisions in establishing the text, I carefully read the text and occasionally checked the edition against two manuscripts available online: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Lat. 14576 (G; available at, and Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat. lat. 4353 (K; available at In my view, Michałowska’s decisions as an editor are not always satisfactory. Here is an (incomplete) list of passages containing different errors: (1) nonsensical readings printed in the text with the correct reading relegated to the apparatus; (2) unnecessary or impossible conjectures; (3) reading mistakes (which have occasionally led to unnecessary emendations); (4) wrong punctuation; (5) corrupted passages that are not indicated as such. The passages are cited according to the edition, but I have used italics to indicate the problematic word(s).

… propter actum indifferentem prohibitum sub poena mortali, quae sit A, quem homo committit, potest Deus infligere poenam infinitam intensive. Quod probatur, quia sit B talis actus prohibitus sub A poena, et committat Socrates B actum. Tunc Socrates in casu quo committeret B actum voluntate in duplo remissiori, qua fecit, mereretur poenam A …

p. 7414–18

If qua is correct, it seems to be a very short way of saying “than that with which” (instead of illā qua). Michałowska mentions no variants, but G and K have quam. It is possible that other manuscripts also have quam.

Ad quaestionem dicitur quod iuxta processum Magistri intellegitur de sola circumscriptione locali, quod verum est de facto, licet non sit necessarium … cum Deus de potentia sua absoluta possit ponere animam aliquam ubique ipsemet esset vel esse posset.

p. 762–5

This passage contains Kilvington’s short reply to the question. It follows the principal arguments supporting the position that creatures are not confined within certain limits of their nature, and the argument ad oppositum, in which Kilvington refers to the position of Peter Lombard (Magister), who holds that God is not confined to a certain place, but that creatures are. It seems unlikely that Kilvington’s reply is that in accordance with Peter Lombard’s reasoning the question is restricted to local circumscription. Rather, I would expect an answer of this kind: “if, in accordance with Peter Lombard’s reasoning, one considers the question to be about local circumscription only, the answer to the question is positive in fact, but not necessarily so.” Hence, I would prefer the reading of manuscript I: … dicitur quod sic iuxta processum Magistri, quod si intelligitur de sola circumscriptione locali, verum est de facto … The word ubique does not work and I would print ubicumque as found in K (not mentioned in the apparatus criticus). It is unclear whether G has ubique or ubicumque. It is possible that other manuscripts have ubicumque as well.

Item, anima est capax intellectionis infinitae, quod probatur, quia si non, tunc aliquod obiectum finitum foret summe proportionatum intellectui quod optime posset intellegere et amplius intellegere non posset. Consequens falsum, quia semper intellectus intellegendo fortificatur, ut patet III De anima et per Augustinum De vera innocentia propositione 27: semper superest quod mens rationalis et intellegendum desideret et gerendum; quod non foret si satiari posset per fructum.

p. 806–12

The reading fructum seems very improbable. GK have finitum (not mentioned in the apparatus), which is clearly preferable. It is probable that other manuscripts have finitum as well. (From now on, I will refrain from mentioning this possibility on each occasion.)

Item, anima est capax Dei et totius terminantis; igitur est capax infiniti.

p. 8019

Here Michałowska probably made a reading mistake in the manuscripts. She reports that they have terminatis and corrects to terminantis. However, both G and K have trinitatis, which clearly is the correct reading.

Hic respondet quidam socius subtiliter per istum modum quod sensatio animae est finita, et ideo est aliqua poena quam maxime potest sustinere … Et sic est de aliis sensibilibus: aliquod est maxime et optime sensibile a visu ….

p. 831–4

Although no variants for sensibilibus are reported in the apparatus, both G and K have sensibus, which is preferable because of the parallelism between sensatio … poena quam maxime potest sustinere and sensibus … maxime et optime sensibile.

Item, meritum animae Christi fuit infinitum secundum quid tribus modis … primo modo, quia obtulit Deo primam hostiam infinitam ….

p. 8618–19

The reading primam seems to make no sense. Michałowska only mentions that BG have patri instead of Deo primam. However, K has Deo patri, which appears to be a correct reading.

Item, tunc esset aliqua poena maxime proportionata Socrati viventi quam maxime sentiret, ⟨quae⟩ sit A, igitur aliquod poenale quod maximum gradum poenae, qui sit B, faceret in Socrate, et approximetur A ad Socratem.

p. 8810–12

The addition of quae is wrong, since then the igitur clause is incomplete. I would omit quae and punctuate as follows: … maxime sentiret. Sit A igitur

Contra hoc arguo et est commune utrique parti, videlicet tam contra eos qui sic arguunt ex parte contraria: anima Platonis est capax maioris capacitatis, vel igitur anima Platonis est capax duplae capacitatis et quadruplae, et sic in infinitum, vel erit status, videlicet quod tantam capacitatem potest habere quod ulterius Deus eam augere non potest.

p. 8912–16

After tam contra eos qui sic arguunt a clause with quam appears to be missing. I would therefore indicate a lacuna after arguunt.

Item, si capacitas animae sit finita, tunc talis beatus cuius capacitas animae est impleta gaudio et intellectione Dei non intellegeret orationes quas fundimus ad talem scientem ut oret pro nobis.

p. 907–9

The reading scientem seems suspect. Michałowska reports only that A perhaps has scutum, but both G and K have sanctum.

… quod est contra Hieronymum in Epistula ad Vigilantium. Non vidi epistulam, sed allegat eam Doctor Subtilis IV Sententiarum distinctione 45 quaestione ultima illius distinctionis, ubi sic allegat quod dubitare de aliquo beato utrum cognoscat orationes suas quas offerimus error est dicere.

p. 9013–16

The word suas printed by Michałowska cannot be right, since the prayers are offered by “us” (offerimus) and not by the beatified person. I would omit suas, as do DFGIL. Like BDG, K adds ei after quas (not mentioned in the apparatus). Doctor Subtilis is John Duns Scotus, who has: Utrum beati cognoscant orationes quas eis offerimus. Quod non … Contra: Iste est unus error, quem tangit Hieronymus in epistola ad Vigilantium.2

Et 20. eiusdem (sc. operis Augustini quod intitulatur De civitate Dei MS): in vitae beatitudine comparatione illam quae hic agitur … quis non miseriam iudicet?.

p. 915–7

The ablative beatitudine is grammatically impossible and I would print the reading beatissimae of DFIL (mentioned in the apparatus) and GK (not mentioned). This is confirmed by the text of Augustine: Quis est qui illam vitam vel beatissimam neget vel in eius comparatione istam, quae hic agitur … non miserrimam iudicet?3

Item, arguo sic: habens scientiam vel volitionem respectu alicuius habet scientiam respectu scientiae suae et volitionem respectu volitionis suae, saltem in actu primo et in actu existere ….

p. 9416–18

I would correct actu existere to actu existentiae (“in the act of being”); also on p. 968, where the reading existentiae of IL is mentioned in the apparatus.

Item, Augustinus De vera religione capitulo 97: per hanc, luce mentis, intellego esse vera quae dicta sunt et haec me intellegere per hanc rursus intellego.

p. 961–2

Here luce mentis is a conjecture by Michałowska, but the reading of DIL is much better: per hanc lucem intellego … This reading is supported by the text of Augustine: Quae rursus omnia, quae de hac luce mentis nunc a me dicta sunt, nulla alia quam eadem luce manifesta sunt. Per hanc enim intellego vera esse, quae dicta sunt, et haec me intellegere per hanc rursus intellego.4 In the quoted words, hanc refers to lux mentis, so the reading of DIL makes sense. I do not know why Michałowska made her conjecture, but perhaps she was misled by luce mentis in the quoted passage. There, however, it is dependent on de and not on per.

Minor probatur, quia aliter foret haec propositio vera: “in conceptu amor Dei est Deus vel velle Deum est Deus, quia in conceptu praedicatur idem de se, cum eadem sit intellectio subiecti et praedicati”.

p. 968–11

I would punctuate as follows: … vera in conceptu “amor Dei est Deus vel velle Deum est Deus,” quia in conceptu

… contra Augustinum XII De civitate Dei capitulo 2: Deus his quos creavit aliis minus dedit de esse atque ita naturas essentiarum gradibus ordinavit.

p. 10111–12

Something appears to be missing here, since it is unusual that aliis minus lacks a point of reference. DIL have … creavit ex nihilo aliis magis aliis minus …, which is the correct reading. It is confirmed by Augustine: rebus, quas ex nihilo creavit, esse dedit, sed non summe esse, sicut est ipse; et aliis dedit esse amplius, aliis minus, atque ita naturas essentiarum gradibus ordinavit.5

Et XIV De Trinitate capitulo 9: mens parvuli se novit, sed intenta in ea res quas per corporis sensus apprehendit cogitare se non potest.

p. 1057–8

The reading ea is impossible. Michałowska only records that IL have eas for ea res. However, GK have eas res, which I would print in the text. Augustine has: An etiam ipsa (sc. infantis mens MS) se nosse credenda est, sed intenta nimis in eas res quas per corporis sensus tanto maiore quanto noviore coepit delectatione sentire, non ignorare se potest sed cogitare se non potest?6

Sicut enim, si velles implere aliquod subiectum et nosti quod magnum est quod dabitur, extendis subiectum vel sacci vel utris vel alicuis rei, et extendendo facis capaciorem.

p. 10518–20

Here the first subiectum, which is found in AGK and printed by Michałowska, seems unusual, since in philosophical texts subiectum is normally used for the underlying subject in which accidents inhere. But it is preferable to summum of BDFIL. The second subiectum is Michałowska’s conjecture, but here the reading summum (“the top of something”) of BF – the other manuscripts omit it – makes perfect sense.

Sit anima Socratis finitae capacitatis, et anima Platonis infinitae capacitatis, et sit aliquod poenale quod posset punire utriusque animam, et sit A. Tunc A aut magis potest punire animam Socratis quam Platonis vel non. Si animam Socratis possit A magis punire, igitur, cum cetera sint paria, ut pono, praeter excessum capacitatis Platonis super capacitatem Socratis, igitur excessus unius capacitatis super aliam non impedit ne agens tantam poenam possit causare in animam magis capacem sicut in minus capacem.

p. 1094–11

Here the reading non printed by Michalowska does not make sense, as the passage must mean that the excess of the capacity of Plato’s soul over that of Socrates, ceteris paribus, does prevent a punishment A from inflicting as much pain on the soul of Plato as on that of Socrates. Hence, I would omit non, as do DFIKL (K also omits super aliam).

… ecce quid tenet Doctor Solemnis V Quodlibet quaestione 3 … ibi dicit Doctor ille quod licet aliquod infinitum ponatur sive magnitudine moralis sive magnitudine perfectionis et sic de aliis, ipsam tamen nullo modo potest attingere infinitatem Dei.

p. 11414–18

Quodlibet should be Quodlibeto (ablative of Quodlibetum, “in the fifth Quodlibet”); also on p. 17019–20 and p. 17024.

Michałowska has printed moralis and, apart from longer omissions in DIL, does not mention any variants. However, K has molis (“quantity of mass”), which is the correct reading. In the cited passage, Henry of Ghent refers to a common distinction between quantitative and qualitative magnitude, magnitudo molis and magnitudo perfectionis. The passage runs as follows: etenim si per impossibile aliquid infinitum ponatur secundum speciem sive magnitudine molis sive magnitudine perfectionis aut etiam plura sive differentia specie sive numero, ista nullo modo possunt attingere infinitatem Dei7

The feminine form ipsam is incorrect, because the pronoun must refer to neuter infinitum. Michałowska reports only that A has ipse, which also is wrong, but both G and K have ipsum, which is the correct reading.

Et confirmatur per glossam super illud Psalmis: “Bonum mihi lex oris tui”.

p. 1157

Michałowska’s Psalmis seems suspect, but she does not mention any variants. The usual expression is super illud Psalmi (“upon this passage in the Psalm”), which is in G, abbreviated as “psi.” K has “spi,” which is a scribal error for “psi.”

Ad octavum concedo quod Deus posset quemcumque puniendum in inferno punire in quocumque tempore quantumcumque parvo sufficienter, si vellet. Sed hoc non est de lege ordinata quod sic vellit. Et ideo non sequitur quod Deus puniat hominem per maius tempus quam requiritur de lege ordinata, licet bene ⟨sequitur⟩: per maius tempus quam requiritur de potentia absoluta.

p. 11816–21

The word vellit should be spelled with one l (velit). The addition of sequitur is wrong, because per … absoluta depends on puniat. I would print: … licet bene per maius tempus …

Vellem enim dicere quod gratia Christi fuit infinita quam dicere quod illa gratia fuit per accidens gratia et non per se, quod sequitur ex alia positione.

pp. 11921–1201

The verb velle followed by quam is unusual and I would follow the reading of ABDK: malo enim dicere

… dico quod ‘plenitudo’ potest sumi iuxta modos: pro plenitudine sufficientiae, et pro plenitudine copiae, et pro plenitudine cuiusdam excellentiae, et pro plenitudine excellentiae simpliciter.

p. 1204–7

The words iuxta modos alone do not make sense. I would print iuxta plures modos (B) or pluribus modis (K).

Et quando arguitur: anima Socratis potest minus beatificari quam anima Platonis, igitur est minus perfecta, ex hoc vel propter hoc dico quod non sequitur.

p. 1213–5

The comma after perfecta should be after propter hoc.

Consequens falsum, quia tunc ex infinito secundum quid posset Deus, ut videtur, facere undique infinitum, ut illud quod est infinitum versus orientem tantum et finitum versus occidentem et austrum et boream, ⟨et⟩ posset Deus versus omnes istas directiones facere infinitum sine condensatione et rarefactione, quod non videtur imaginabile.

p. 1286–11

The addition of et is unnecessary. I would simply follow the manuscripts and print: … ut illud quod est infinitum versus orientem tantum et finitum versus occidentem et austrum et boream posset Deus versus omnes istas directiones facere infinitum …, which is a correct sentence. In this sentence, I take ut as introducing an example and illud … boream as the object of posset facere.

The word directiones is Michałowska’s conjecture for differentias found in most manuscripts (L has aliquas), but I do not think that the reading differentias warrants a conjecture, since oriens, occidens, austrum and boream can in some sense be understood to be differentiae loci (“differences of place”).

Probatur consequentia, quia si generentur centum in uno mundo, et quod Deus situaret circa illud centum tot phoenices aliorum mundorum quot potuerunt implere primum mundum in una hora, et iterum sic faciat respectu secundi in una medietate horae, et tertii in quarta medietate horae; et sequitur quod in fine duarum horarum quilibet mundus replebitur phoenicibus

p. 1327–12

This passage presents a proof for the inference that, if there exists an infinite number of worlds, all containing only one phoenix, then God can fill all these worlds with phoenixes without the creation of any new phoenixes. The reading si generentur centum cannot be correct, since it it in direct opposition with what the proof aims to show, namely that all the worlds can be filled with phoenixes without the creation of new phoenixes. Also illud centum seems strange. Michałowska reports only that BI have centrum … centrum for centum … centum. However, K has signetur centrum … centrum, which makes perfect sense: probatur consequentia, quia signetur centrum in uno mundo et quod Deus situaret circa illud centrum tot phoenices aliorum mundorum quot potuerunt implere primum mundum in una hora … (“the inference is proved as follows: imagine the centre of one world and let God place around it as many phoenixes from the other worlds so that he fills it in one hour …”). G has signentur centum … centum, which cannot be right, because the assumption was that all worlds contain only one phoenix.

Primo de quantitate continua dico quod linea est infinita utroque extremo, ut patet de linea gyrativa in corpore columnari quod per utriusque suae medietatis gyrat singulas partes proportionales versus extrema illius corporis.

p. 13417–20

Here the sense must be that a spiral that winds its proportional parts around both halves of a column towards the extremes (i.e., the turns of the spiral become proportionally smaller towards the extremes) is infinite. The relative quod should be quae, since the spiral winds its parts around the column, not the other way around. The reading quae is in K (not mentioned in the apparatus). The phrase per utriusque suae medietatis is obviously wrong. According to the apparatus, A has utriusque suas medietates, where suas must mean eius (sc. corporis columnaris).8 I would print the reading of A and place cruces around utriusque or correct it to utrasque.

Unde meo iudicio Philosophus vult ibi quodammodo improbare numerum infinitum et quodammodo approbare. Numerum infinitum simpliciter, cui non potest fieri additio unitatis, improbat; quoque numerum infinitum secundum quid in nulla proportione se habente ad numerum finitum satis concedit.

p. 13817–21

Instead of quoque I would prefer a contrastive conjunction, such as sed of BG. The participle habente is grammaticaly incorrect, since it should agree with numerum, not with proportione. The correct reading is habentem of BG and K (not reported in the apparatus). Hence, I would print: … sed numerum infinitum secundum quid in nulla proportione se habentem ad numerum infinitum satis concedit.

Et quando arguitur minoris difficultatis est rarefacere corpus quam creare, conceditur.

pp. 14325–1441

To make the text easier to read, I would punctuate as follows: et quando arguitur “minoris difficultatis est rarefacere corpus quam creare,” conceditur.

Et posito quod voluntas licet iam corrupta per peccatum possit resistere cuicumque temptationi inimici et sic sit infinitae resistentiae secundum quid, ante peccatum tamen magis potuit cuicumque temptationi resistere quam post peccatum potest, et sic tunc fuit voluntas maioris resistentiae quam modo, et tamen modo sicut tunc fuit infinitae potentiae resistentiae, et sic unum infinitum secundum quid potest esse maius alio.

p. 1468–13

The reading inimici is suspect, since there is no mention of any “enemy” in the context. K has vincibili (not inamabili, as mentioned in the apparatus). The sequence infinitae potentiae resistentiae is impossible, and I would omit potentiae, as does K (not mentioned).

Ad primum concedo conclusionem: “esse possibilem Deo.”

p. 14615

I would punctuate as follows: Ad primum concedo conclusionem esse possibilem Deo.

Tunc sic: Deus creabit Platonem ante A Romae, quem Socrates generabit Parisiis pro A mensura sine omni transmutatione facta in Socrate Romae creationis Platonis Romae.

p. 15020–23

In this passage, two events are mentioned: (1) Socrates generates Plato in Paris at time A; (2) God creates Plato in Rome before time A without causing any change in Socrates as a result of the creation of Plato in Rome. It seems better to put a comma after pro A mensura to mark the end of the relative clause. The reading Romae creationis Platonis Romae does not make sense. Apart from an omission in B, Michałowska mentions no variants. However, G reads ratione creationis Platonis Romae, which is the correct reading. G has the abbreviatione “roe,” which Michałowska incorrectly solved as Romae. K has Romae ratione creationis Platonis Romae (not reported in the apparatus), but this reading is impossible, since it puts Socrates in Rome.

Ad tertium dico quod non est possibile Socratem existentem in diversis locis movere se localiter quousque sit in uno loco tantum.

Item, cum Socrates fuerit in duobus loci immediatis, et tunc inciperet movere se ad unum locum, aliquae partes corporis Socratis penetrarent se.

p. 15612–15

Here the reader might think that with item Kilvington introduces a new argument. However, what follows is not a new argument, but an explanation of the immediately preceding claim that Socrates existing in different places cannot move to one place. Hence, I would print quia of BK: … quousque sit in in uno loco tantum, quia cum Socrates …

… dico quod partes Socratis se invicem impediunt quae non permittunt naturaliter seipsas penetrare a se ipsis.

p. 15620–21

According to Michałowska, all the manuscripts have penetrare, but from a se ipsis it is clear that a passive verb form is required. I would correct to penetrari.

… et gravior est poena suscipere culpam quam aliquam aliam poenam quantumcumque magnam, quia magis ⟨est⟩ fugienda ….

p. 1657–9

Michałowska’s est is unnecessary here, since the copula est is frequently omitted in Latin.

Tertio sic: tunc augens et aggravans peccatum suum mortale non meretur ex hoc maiorem poenam. Consequens falsum ⟨et⟩ patet Ioannes 5: noli amplius peccare, ne deterius tibi aliquid contingat.

p. 1668–10

Michałowska reads Ioannes in the manuscripts and supplies et. However, the manuscripts probably have the abbreviation “Io” (as do GK), which can be solved as Ioannis, which is the correct reading. I would print: … Consequens falsum. Patet Ioannis 5: … (“The consequent is false. This is clear from John 5: …”).

Et Monologion XVII capitulo ⟨71⟩: …

p. 16819

What has happened here is that the manuscripts have switched the numbers (which is not uncommon) and mistakenly written “17” instead of “71” (both G and K use the Arabic numeral, not the Roman). I would print “Monologion 71 capitulo” and report in the apparatus that the manuscripts have “17” for “71.”

Probatur consequentia, quia infinitum secundum quid vel simpliciter vel est vel esse posset medietas, ⟨quae⟩ vel foret finita vel infinita. Si finita, igitur totum esset finitum. Si infinita, igitur non est medietas.

p. 16914–16

This passage does not make sense, even with quae. I would follow B, which reads si for vel: Probatur consequentia, quia infinitum secundum quid vel simpliciter si est vel esse posset, medietas vel foret finita vel infinita … (“… if the infinite in respect or the absolutely infinite exists or can exist, half ⟨of it⟩ would be finite or infinite …”).

Unde glosso auctoritatem illam: omnis poena est poena peccati, id est si non fuisset peccatum, nulla fuisset poena; et sic glossat eam doctus Altissioderensis III Sententiarum quaestione 36.

p. 17112–14

Altissioderensis (i.e, William of Auxerre) should be spelled Altissiodorensis. Michałowska prints doctus and only mentions that AK have dicens, which has been deleted in K. However, K does not have dicens but dominus, as does G (not mentioned).

Sed aliquos peccantes mortaliter, qui postmodum resurgunt a peccato, Deus infinite minus punit quam meruerunt puniri …

p. 1735–6

Here Michałowska conjectures aliquos peccantes and mentions that the manuscripts have aliquibus peccantibus (in addition, B reads tales after Deus). I would retain the reading of the manuscripts, since in medieval Latin the subject of the ablative absolute can function as the object of the sentence, with the object left unexpressed.9 The use of the pronoun tales in B referring to the subject of the ablative absolute seems an attempt to make the sentence clearer.

Tunc si Deus magis exercet misericordiam circa Platonem quam circa Socratem, et Socrati remittit aeternaliter A latitudinem poenae aeternae, igitur Platoni remittit tantum, et sic non omnino non puniretur.

p. 17319–22

The reading non omnino non seems to be a mistake. No variants are reported in the apparatus, but K has omnino non and G has non omnino.

Ad octavum dico quod nihil potest esse praemium satians amantem praeter Deum, et sic tenet Anselmus etc., quia tactum est superius de actibus voluntatis, et quomodo caritas intenditur per actus meritorios. Ideo pro continuatione istius materiae quaero: Utrum quilibet actus voluntatis per se malus sit per se aliquid?

pp. 17924–1803

This passage contains the last lines of the edition. The punctuation is wrong, because the quia clause modifies the sentence that follows (ideo … aliquid). I would omit quia tactum … aliquid, since it is not part of question 3, but the beginning of the next question.

In conclusion, it is evident that there are a few problems with this edition. The reconstruction of the manuscript tradition is problematic, insufficient evidence is presented in support of the choice for the base manuscript, and the structure imposed on the text is controversial. Michałowska’s decisions in establishing the text are often unsatisfactory. That being said, it is fortunate that the edition is based on all but one of the manuscripts and has an extensive apparatus criticus. Although not all variant readings are reported there, it enables the reader to evaluate Michałowska’s editorial decisions and to use the edition as a valuable source for writing the history of fourteenth-century philosophy.


Richard Kilvington, Quaestiones super libros Ethicorum.


John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio IV, d. 45, q. 4, n. 163, 190222–223, and n. 167, 191232–234.


Augustine, De civitate Dei XIX, 20, 6874–7.


Augustine, De vera religione 49, 97, 25048–51.


Augustine, De civitate Dei XII, 2, 3578–11.


Augustine, De Trinitate XIV, 5, 4294–7.


Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet V, 156v.


In medieval Latin suus is frequently used for eius. See Stotz, Handbuch, IX, § 38.2.


See Stotz, Handbuch, IX, § 19.3–4.


Authors before ca. 1500

  • Augustine, De civitate Dei. Libri XI–XXII, eds. B. Dombart and A. Kalb. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 48 (Turnhout, 1955).

  • Augustine, De Trinitate. Libri XIII–XV, eds. W. J. Mountain and F. Glorie. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 50A (Turnhout, 1968).

  • Augustine, De vera religione, ed. K. D. Daur. Corpus Christianorum Series Latina 32 (Turnhout, 1962).

  • Henry of Ghent, Quodlibeta, ed. J. Badius. 2 vols. (Paris 1518; repr. Leuven, 1961).

  • John Duns Scotus, Ordinatio. Liber Quartus. A distinctione quadragesima tertia ad quadragesimam nonam, eds. B. Hechich, J. Percan, S. Recchia, S. Ruiz de Loizaga, V. Salamon and G. Pica. Opera omnia 14 (Vatican City, 2013).

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  • Richard Kilvington, Quaestiones super libros Ethicorum, ed. M. Michałowska (Leiden, 2016).

Authors after ca. 1500

Stotz, P. Handbuch zur lateinischen Sprache des Mittelalters. 4: Formenlehre, Syntax und Stilistik (Munich 1998).

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