Ad quartum dicendum, quod Hieronymus adeo afficiebatur ad gentilium libros, quod sacram scripturam quodammodo contemnebat; unde ipsemet ibidem dicit: si quando in memet reversus prophetas legere coepissem, sermo horrebat incultus. Et hoc esse reprehensibile nullus ambigit.
Ad 4. It may be said: Jerome was so influenced by certain books of the Gentiles that he contemned, in a way, sacred Scripture: wherefore he himself says: if I began to read it while turning over the words of the Prophets in my own mind, their crude expression filled me with distaste. And no one will deny that such was reprehensible.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod ex tropicis locutionibus non est sumenda argumentatio, ut dicit Magister XI distinctione III Sententiarum, et Dionysius dicit in epistola ad Titum quod symbolica theologia non est argumentativa, et praecipue cum illa expositio non sit alicuius auctoris. Et tamen potest dici quod quando alterum duorum transit in dominium alterius, non reputatur mixtio, sed quando utrumque a sua natura alteratur; unde illi qui utuntur philosophicis documentis in sacra doctrina redigendo in obsequium fidei, non miscent aquam vino, sed aquam convertunt in vinum.
Ad 5. It may be said: no conclusive argument can be drawn from figurative speech, as the Master Peter Lombard says (Sentences, 3, dist. 11). Dionysius also says in his letter to Titus that symbolic theology has no weight of proof, especially when such interprets no authority. Nevertheless it can be said that when one of two things passes into the nature of another, the product is not considered a mixture except when the nature of both is altered. Wherefore those who use philosophical doctrines in sacred Scripture in such a way as to subject them to the service of faith, do not mix water with wine, but change water into wine.
Ad sextum dicendum, quod Hieronymus loquitur de illis nominibus quae ab haereticis sunt inventa accomoda suis erroribus; philosophicae autem disciplinae non sunt tales, immo earum abusus solum in errorem ducit, et ideo non sunt propter hoc vitandae.
Ad 6. It may be said: Jerome is speaking of those arguments that were invented by heretics to give support to their errors; but such doctrines do not belong to philosophy; rather they lead only to error; and consequently on their account the truths of philosophy ought not be shunned.
Ad septimum dicendum, quod scientiae quae habent ordinem ad invicem hoc modo se habent quod una potest uti principiis alterius, sicut scientiae posteriores utuntur principiis scientiarum priorum, sive sint superiores sive inferiores; unde metaphysica, quae est omnibus superior, utitur his quae in aliis scientiis sunt probata. Et similiter theologia, cum omnes aliae scientiae sint huic quasi famulantes et praeambulae in via generationis quamvis sint dignitate posteriores, potest uti principiis omnium aliarum scientiarum.
Ad 7. Answer may be made: sciences which are ordered to one another are so related that one can use the principles of another, just as posterior sciences can use the principles of prior sciences, whether they are superior or inferior: wherefore metaphysics, which is superior in dignity to all, uses truths that have been proved in other sciences. And in like manner theology—although all other sciences are related to it in the order of generation, as serving it and as preambles to it—can make use of the principles of all the others, even if they are posterior to it in dignity.
Ad octavum dicendum, quod in quantum sacra doctrina utitur philosophicis documentis propter se, non recipit ea propter auctoritatem dicentium sed propter rationem dictorum; unde quaedam bene dicta accipit et alia respuit. Sed quando utitur eis propter alios refellendos, utitur eis in quantum sunt in auctoritatem illis qui refelluntur, quia testimonium ab adversariis est efficacius.
Ad 8. It may be said: inasmuch as sacred doctrine makes use of the teachings of philosophy for their own sake, it does not accept them on account of the authority of those who taught them, but on account of the reasonableness of the doctrine; wherefore it accepts truth well said and rejects other things: but when it uses these doctrines to refute certain errors, it uses them inasmuch as their authority is esteemed by those whose refutation is desired, because the testimony of an adversary has in that case greater weight.
Whether divine truths ought to be concealed by new and obscure words
Ad quartum sic proceditur: videtur quod divina in scientia fidei non sunt obscuritate verborum velanda: quia, ut dicitur Prov. XIV, doctrina prudentium facilis. Ergo sine obscuritate verborum proponi debet.
Obj. 1. It seems that in the science of faith divine truths ought not to be veiled over by obscurity of words, for it is said in Proverbs 14:6, the learning of the wise is easy. Therefore these truths ought to be presented without obscurity of words.
Praeterea. Eccl. IV: ne abscondas sapientiam in decore eius, et Prov. XI: qui abscondit frumenta,—Glossa praedicationis—, maledicetur in populis. Ergo verba sacrae doctrinae non sunt velanda.
Obj. 2. According to Sirach 4:28, hide not thy wisdom in her beauty, and Proverbs 11:26, he that hideth up corn (the gloss says that preaching is here meant) shall be cursed among the people. Therefore the words of sacred doctrine ought not to be hidden.
Praeterea. Matt. X: quod dico vobis in tenebris,—Glossa: in mysterio—, dicite in lumine,—Glossa aperte—. Ergo obscura fidei sunt magis reseranda quam occultanda difficultate verborum.
Obj. 3. In addition, the Gloss on Matthew 10:27, that which I tell you in the dark, says, in mystery; speak ye in the light; Gloss, openly. Therefore the obscure truths of faith ought to be made more manifest, rather than hidden by the difficulties of words.
Praeterea. Doctores fidei sunt sapientibus et insipientibus debitores, ut patet Rom. I. Ergo taliter debent loqui ut a magnis et a parvis intelligantur, id est sine obscuritate verborum.
Obj. 4. The doctors of truths of faith are debtors to wise and unwise, as is evident from Romans 1:14: therefore they ought so to speak that they may be understood by great and small, that is, without obscurity of words.
Praeterea. Sap. VII dicitur: quam sine fictione didici et sine invidia communico. Sed ille qui eam occultat non eam communicat. Ergo videtur invidiae reus.
Obj. 5. It is said in Wisdom 7:13, which I have learned without guile, and communicate without envy; but those who hide do not communicate; therefore they seem guilty of envy.
Praeterea. Augustinus dicit IV De doctrina christiana: expositores Sacrae Scripturae non ita loqui debent tamquam se ipsos exponendos proponant, sed in omnibus sermonibus suis primitus ac maxime ut intelligantur elaborent ea perspicuitate dicendi, ut multum tardus sit qui non intelligit.
Obj. 6. Augustine in On Christian Doctrine, 4, says: those explaining sacred Scripture ought not to speak in such a way that they themselves need explanation as of the same authority; but in all their sermons they ought to strive primarily and especially to be understood, and to declare these truths with as much clarity as possible so that he would be very dull who would not comprehend them.
Sed contra est quod dicitur Matt. VII: nolite sanctum dare canibus, neque mittatis margaritas vestras ante porcos, ubi dicit Glossa: res absconsa avidius quaeritur, celata venerabilius conspicitur, diu quaesita carius tenetur. Cum ergo sacra documenta expediat summa veneratione intueri, videtur quod non debeant publicari sed obscure tradi.
On the contrary is that which is said in Matthew 7:6, give not that which is holy to dogs, on which the Gloss comments: a hidden thing is more eagerly sought for, a thing concealed appears more worthy of veneration, that which is a long time sought for is held more dear. Since, therefore, sacred writings ought to be regarded with the greatest veneration, it seems that it is expedient they be discussed with obscurity of speech.
Praeterea. Dionysius dicit I c. Ecclesiasticae hierarchiae: omnem sanctam laudem non tradas alteri praeter aeque ordinatos tibi deiformes, id est divinas laudes, quibus omnia sacra documenta complectitur, non tradas nisi tibi similibus. Sed si verbis conspicuis scriberentur, omnibus paterent. Ergo secreta fidei sunt verborum obscuritate velanda.
Moreover, Dionysius (On the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy, 1) says: do not reveal to another every holy thing in praise of God, except those forms of praise generally ordained; that is, those divine rites by which all the sacraments are surrounded should not be revealed except to those like yourself; but if they were written in conspicuous words, they would be apparent to all; therefore the secrets of faith are to be concealed by obscuring words.
Praeterea. Ad hoc est quod dicitur Luc. VIII: vobis, id est perfectis, datum est nosse mysterium regni Dei, id est intelligentiam scripturarum, ut patet per Glossam, ceteris autem in parabolis. Ergo oportet aliqua obscuritate verborum a multitudine occultari.
Moreover, it is said in Luke 8:10, to you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God, that is, to have understanding of the Scriptures, as is evident from the Gloss, but to the rest in parables. Therefore one ought by obscurity in speech conceal the sacred truths from the multitude.
Responsio. Dicendum, quod verba docentis ita debent esse moderata, ut proficiant, non noceant audienti. Quaedam autem sunt quae audita nemini nocent, sicut ea quae omnes scire tenentur, et talia non sunt occultanda, sed manifeste omnibus proponenda. Quaedam vero sunt quae proposita manifeste auditoribus nocent.
I answer that the words of a teacher ought to be so moderated that they result to the profit and not to the detriment of the one hearing him. Now, there are certain things which on being heard harm no one, as are the truths which all are held responsible to know: and such ought not to be hidden but openly proposed to all. But there are others which, if openly presented, cause harm in those hearing them. And this can occur for two reasons.
Quod quidem contingit dupliciter. Uno modo si arcana fidei infidelibus fidem abhorrentibus denudentur: eis enim venirent in derisum; et propter hoc Dominus dicit Matt. VII: nolite sanctum dare canibus, et Dionysius dicit c. II Caelestis hierarchiae: quae sancta sunt circumtegens ex immunda multitudine tamquam uniformia custodi.
In one way, if the secret truths of faith are revealed to infidels who oppose the faith and so come to be derided by them. On this account it is said in Matthew 7:6, give not that which is holy to dogs. And Dionysius (Celestial Hierarchy, 2) says, listen reverently to these words, to this doctrine given for our instruction by the divinity of divinities, and hide these holy teachings in your minds, shielding them from the unclean multitude so that you may keep them as uniform as possible.
Secundo quando aliqua subtilia rudibus proponuntur, ex quibus perfecte non comprehensis materiam sumunt errandi; unde Apostolus dicit I Cor. III: ego, fratres, non potui vobis loqui quasi spiritualibus, sed tamquam parvulis in Christo lac potum vobis dedi, non escam. Unde Exod. XXII super illud: si quis aperuerit cisternam etc., dicit Glossa Gregorii: qui in sacro eloquio iam alta intelligit, sublimes sensus coram non capientibus per silentium tegat, ne per scandalum interius aut fidelem parvulum aut infidelem qui credere potuisset interimat. Haec ergo ab his quibus nocent occultanda sunt.
Second, if any subtleties are proposed to uncultivated people, these folk may find in the imperfect comprehension of them matter for error; wherefore, in 1 Corinthians 3:1, it is said: and I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. As unto little ones in Christ, I gave you milk to drink, not meat. And therefore also, on Exodus 21:33, if a man open a pit, the Gloss of Gregory says: he who in sacred eloquence now understands lofty things should cover over these sublime truths by silence when in the presence of those who do not comprehend them, lest through some scandal of mind he cause the loss of some little one among the faithful or of an infidel who otherwise might have come to believe. Those truths, therefore, ought to be hidden from those to whom they might do harm.
Sed in collocutione potest fieri distinctio, ut eadem seorsum sapientibus manifestentur, et in publico taceantur; unde dicit Augustinus in IV libro De doctrina christiana: sunt quaedam quae vi sua non intelliguntur, quantolibet et quantumlibet quamvis plenissime dicentis versentur eloquio, quae in populi audientiam vel raro, si aliquid urget, vel numquam omnino mittenda sunt. Sed in scribendo non potest talis distinctio adhiberi, quia liber conscriptus ad manus quorumlibet venire potest; et ideo sunt occultanda verborum obscuritatibus, ut per hoc prosint sapientibus qui ea intelligunt, et occultentur a simplicibus qui ea capere non possunt.
But a distinction can be made as regards speaking, since these same truths may be privately revealed to the wise, though publicly silence is kept regarding them. Thus, Augustine (On Christian Doctrine, 4) says: where certain truths are, by reason of their own character, not comprehensible, or scarcely so, even when explained with every effort on the part of the speaker to make them clear, these one rarely dwells upon with a general audience, or never mentions, at all: but in writing, the same distinction cannot be adhered to, because a book, once published, can fall into the hands of any one at all, and therefore some truths should be shielded by obscuring words so that they may profit those who will understand them and be hidden from the simple who will not comprehend them.
Et in hoc nullus gravatur, quia qui intelligunt lectione detinentur, qui vero non intelligunt non coguntur ad legendum; unde Augustinus dicit in eodem libro: in libris, qui ita scribuntur ut ipsi sibi quodammodo lectorem teneant cum intelliguntur, cum autem non intelliguntur molesti non sunt nolentibus legere, non est hoc officium disserendi ut vera, quamvis ad intelligendum difficillima, ad aliorum intelligentiam perducamus.
And by this procedure no harm is done to anyone, because those who understand are held by that which they read, but those who do not understand are not compelled to continue reading. And therefore Augustine says in the same place: in books which are, so written that they somehow keep a hold on the attention of the reader who understands them, but cause no harm to the one who does not understand them and so is unwilling to read further, there is no failure in duty on the part of the author as long as we bring these truths, even though they are so difficult of comprehension, to the understanding of some.
Ad primum ergo dicendum, quod auctoritas illa non est ad propositum: non enim est sensus auctoritatis quod doctrina prudentium sit facilis active, id est quod faciliter doceant, sed passive, quia faciliter docentur, ut patet per Glossam.
Ad 1. It is answered: the authority quoted is not relevant to the proposition. For it is not to be understood that the teaching of prudent men be “easy” in the active sense; that is, that they easily teach everything; but in the passive sense: that such men are easily taught, as is evident from the Gloss.
Ad secundum dicendum, quod auctoritates illae loquuntur de illo qui abscondit ea quae manifestanda sunt; unde Eccl. IV praemittitur: non retineas verbum in tempore salutis. Per hoc autem non removetur quin ea quae sunt occultanda debeant obscuritate verborum celari.
Ad 2. It may be answered: these authorities speak of hiding truths which ought to be made manifest; wherefore it is previously said in Sirach 4:28, refrain not to speak in the time of salvation. By this, however, there is no denial of the fact that gore are mysteries which ought to be concealed by obscuring words.
Ad tertium dicendum, quod doctrina Christi est publice et plane praedicanda, ita quod unicuique sit planum illud quod expedit ei scire, non autem ut publicentur ea quae scire non expedit.
Ad 3. It may be said: the doctrine of Christ ought to be taught publicly and openly to this extent: that the truths expedient for each one to know be made clear. Things that are not expedient, however, need not be publicly taught.
Ad quartum dicendum, quod doctores Sacrae Scripturae non sunt ita sapientibus et insipientibus debitores ut eadem utrisque proponant, sed ita quod utrisque proponant ea quae eis competunt.
Ad 4. It may be answered: the doctors of sacred Scripture are not debtors to the wise and to the foolish in such a way that they must propose the same truths to both, but that they propose to each what is to the advantage of each.
Ad quintum dicendum, quod non est ex invidia quod subtilia multitudini occultantur, sed magis ex debita discretione, ut dictum est.
Ad 5. It may be said: subtle truths are not concealed from the multitude on account of envy, but rather out of due discretion.
Ad sextum dicendum, quod Augustinus loquitur de expositoribus qui ad populum loquuntur, non de his qui scripto aliquid tradunt, ut ex consequentibus patet.
Ad 6. It may be answered: Augustine is here speaking of explanations made orally to the people, not of those transmitted in writing, as is evident from what follows.
There are many who usurp the dignity of the Christian religion; but that form of faith has supreme authority, and has it exclusively, which, both on account of the universal character of the rules and doctrines affirming its authority, and because the worship in which they are expressed has spread throughout the world, is called catholic or universal.
The belief of this religion concerning the Trinity is as follows: the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Therefore, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God, not three Gods.
The nature of their Unity is such that there is no difference. Difference cannot be avoided by those who add to or take from the Unity, as for instance the Arians, who by graduating the Trinity according to merit, break it up and convert it to Plurality.
For the essence of plurality is otherness; apart from otherness plurality is unintelligible.
In fact, the difference between things is to be found in genus or species or number. In as many ways as things are the same, in the same number of ways they are said to be diverse. Sameness is predicated in three ways: by genus; e.g., a man and a horse, because of their common genus, animal. By species; e.g., Cato and Cicero, because of their common species, man. By number; e.g., Tullius and Cicero, because they are numerically one. Similarly difference is expressed by genus, species, and number. But a variety of accidents brings about numerical difference; three men differ neither by genus nor species, but by their accidents, for if we mentally remove from them all other accidents, still each one occupies a different place which cannot possibly be regarded as the same for each, since two bodies cannot occupy the same place, and place is an accident. Wherefore it is because men are plural by their accidents that they are plural in number.
Expositio Capituli Primi
Exposition of Chapter 1
Christianae religionis reverentiam etc. Post prooemium hic Boethius tractatum suum incipit de Trinitate personarum et unitate divinae essentiae. Et dividitur liber iste in duas partes:
Hereupon, after the Preface, Boethius begins his treatise De Trinitate personarum, et unitate divinae essentiae: and this book is divided into two parts.
in prima prosequitur ea quae pertinent ad unitatem essentiae contra Arianos,
First, he discusses those things which pertain to the unity of the divine essence, making opposition the Arians.