Ockham against Scotus

JT Paasch

in Divine Production in Late Medieval Trinitarian Theology

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199646371
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739293 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Theological Monographs

Ockham against Scotus

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Scotus had argued that the divine essence is the formal terminus of divine production, where “formal terminus” refers to the form of the product. But for Ockham, the formal terminus of a production is anything that gets produced by that production, and that need not be a form. It might be a lump of matter (e.g. if God created a lump of matter all by itself). In divine production, the divine essence is not produced at all, so Ockham argues that it cannot be the formal terminus of production. On the contrary, the only thing that gets produced in divine production is the produced person itself (i.e. the Son or Spirit). According to Ockham then, Scotus is wrong to insist that the divine essence is the formal terminus of divine production, and consequently, Scotus’s arguments against Henry of Ghent do not go through.

Keywords: Henry of Ghent; John Duns Scotus; William Ockham; formal terminus; total terminus; production; constituents; Trinity

Chapter.  6195 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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