Markus Vinzent's Blog

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Liber XXIV philosophorum - Book of 24 Philosophers, Latin - English


As there seems to be no English translation available for this important philosophical text, here my work in progress. The Latin text follows the latest critical edition Liber Viginti Quattuor Philosophorum, cura et studio Francoise Hudry, Hermes latinus III,1, CChr.CM CXLIIIA (Turnhout, 1997), taking into account the textcritical suggestions made by Kurt Flasch, Kurt Flasch, Was ist Gott? Das Buch der 24 Philosophen, Lateinisch-Deutsch (Munich, 2011); and also F. Hudry, Le livre des vingt-quatre philosophes, Histoire des doctrines de l'antiquite classique 39 (Paris, 2009) (the oldest version in ms. Laon, 412, ff. 92v-93v = L). Contrary to Hudry, however, I do neither think, the text is by Marius Victorinus - I think, the definitions and the commentary derive from two different sources -, nor do I believe that the Laon manuscript preserves an older version, yet a version that is sometimes better, sometimes more corrupt than the younger manuscripts. In order to let the reader see and decide, here the text with my own translation: 
 

Liber viginti quattor philosophorum
Book of 24 Philosophers
 
< PROLOGUS>
Congregatis viginti quattuor philosophis, solum eis in quaestione remansit: quid est Deus? Qui communi consilio datis indutiis (L: iudiciis) et tempore iterum conveniendi statuto, singuli de Deo proprias proponerent propositiones (L: interpretationes)  sub definitione, ut ex propriis definitionibus excerptum (L om.) certum aliquid (L: id) de Deo communi assensu statuerent.
(L add.: quorum unus sic proposuit)
< Preface >
While the 24 Philosophers were brought together, amongst them the only question remained: Who is God? Having decided jointly deliberated, after a break (L: after judgements were passed), to fix again another time to come together again, they should individually in form of a definition propose their understanding (L: interpretations) of God, in order to state, taken from the various definitions, something assured and jointly agreed about God. (L: Of these, one made the following suggestion)
I

DEUS EST MONAS (L: MONOS) MONADEM GIGNENS IN (L: EX) SE UNUM REFLECTENS ARDOREM.
Haec definitio data est secundum imaginationem primae causae, prout se numerose multiplicat in se, ut sit (L: fuerit) multiplicans acceptus sub unitate, multiplicatus sub binario, reflexus sub ternario. Sic quidem (L add. etiam) est in numeris (L: multis): unaquaeque unitas proprium habet numerum, quia super diuersum ab aliis reflectitur.
I
 
GOD IS A MONADE (L: THE SOLE) THAT BRINGS FORTH A MONADE BY REFLECTING IN (L: OUTSIDE) HIMSELF AS A FLAME.
 
This definition is given imagining the first cause, just as it numerously multiplies itself in itself, so that as multiplying it is (L: has been) taken as unity, as the multiplied as twofold, as reflex threefold. So it is, namely, (L: also) with numbers (L: the many): Each single unity has its own number, insofar as it reflects the diversity from the others.
II

DEUS EST SPHAERA INFINITA CUIUS CENTRUM EST UBIQUE, CIRCUMFERENTIA (L add.: VERO) NUSQUAM.
Haec definitio data est per modum imaginandi ut continuum (L: centrum) ipsam primam causam in vita sua. Terminus (L: Circulus) quidem suae extensionis est supra ubi et extra terminans. Propter hoc ubique est centrum eius, nullam habens in communia dimensionem. Cum quaerit circumferentiam suae sphaericitatis, elevatam in infinitum dicet, quia quicquid est sine dimensione sicut creatoris (L: creans) fuit (L add.: et) initium est et sic (L add.: eius) terminus nusquam. Sic patet propositum.
II
 
GOD IS AN INFINITE SPHERE WHOSE

CENTRE IS EVERYWHERE AND HIS CIRCUMFERENCE (L: INDEED) NOWHERE
 
This definition is given as a way of imagining that the continuum (L: centre) is the very first cause in its own life. Namely the end (L: circle) of its extension lies above the ‘where’, terminating outside. Therefore, its centre is everywhere, and has no common dimension. Asked for the circumference of its sphere, he states that it is elevated into infinity, as what is without dimension, was like the creator, is (L: also) the beginning and so (L: its) the end is nowhere. From which the proposition is clear.
III
DEUS EST TOTUS IN QUOLIBET SUI.

Haec definitio data est secundum considerationem essentiae divinitatis in sua simplicitate. Cum non sit aliquid ipsi resistens, ipsa simul ubique tota (L: data) ens, et etiam similiter super et extra ubique non distrahitur defectu virtutis alicuius in ipsa deficientis, nec stat terminata (L: etiam aliter sic) virtute alieni dominantis.
III
 
GOD IS TOTALLY IN WHATEVER BELONGS TO HIM.
 
This definition is given in consideration of the essence of the Godhead in its simplicity. As nothing else should exist to resists it, it is itself once and everywhere total (L: given) being, and similarly above and outside the ‘where’, and it is neither drawn awy by any defect of virtue which would be a defect in itself, nor is it limited (L: also such other) by virtue of a dominating alien.
IV
DEUS EST MENS ORATIONEM (L: RATIONEM) GENERANS, CONTINUATIONEM PERSEVERANS.

Haec definitio dicit vitam propriam secundum rationes diversas ipsius essentiae deitatis. Numerat enim se genitor gignendo; genitura vero verbificat (L: verificat) se quia gignitur; adaequatur vero per modum continuationis <qui> se habet spirando (<qui> se habet spirando] L: et sic est perseverans].
IV
GOD IS INTELLECT THAT GENERATES THE WORD (L: INTELLECT), PRESERVING CONTINUATION.

This definition expresses life proper of the essence of the Godhead itself with regards to diverse aspects. Namely it mentions that what generates, generates itself; yet, what is generated speaks itself out as word (L: verifies itself), because it is generated; but it is adequated by way of continuation, which preserves itself as spiration.

(L: and so remains).
V

DEUS EST QUO NIHIL MELIUS
EXCOGITARI POTEST.

 
Haec definitio data est a fine. Unitas vero finis est et perfectio. Quod ergo sonat hoc, bonum est (L om.), et quanto magis, tanto magis bonum. Gaudium ergo veritatis omnis essentiae sua vita est, vita quidem omnis ab unitate, haec (L: hoc) autem ab interiori (L: inferiori) indivisione. Quanto igitur magis unum (L: imum), tanto magis vivit. Sua unitas summa est. (L add.: et sic patet propositum)
V


GOD IS THE ONE BEYOND WHOM NOTHING BETTER CAN BE THOUGHT OF.

This definition is given with regards the end. Namely the oneness of the end is also perfection. What, therefore, sounds accordingly, is good, and what sounds more so, is so much better. Joy, therefore, of all true essence is its life, all life derives from oneness, this, however, from being undivided within (L: below). The more, therefore, something is one (L: below), the more it is alife. Its oneness is the utmost one. (L: And so the proposition is evident.)
VI

DEUS EST CUIUS COMPARATIONE SUBSTANTIA EST ACCIDENS, ET ACCIDENS NIHIL
.


Haec definitio datur (L: data est) sub relatione. Subiectum quoque accidentis propria substantia est cum aliena. Quae aliena si recedit, perit accidens, id est proprietas agens. Relatione ergo ad primum agens (L: causam) omnis substantia accidens est, et accidens nihil, et substat nihil substantiae ut alienum (L: accidens ut et substantia nihil). Substantia divina est ut substantia propria quae non fluit. (L: Et est aliena autem substantia divina, ut est propria substantia quae non fluit)
VI

GOD IS THE ONE COMPARED TO WHOM ANY SUBSTANCE IS AN ACCIDENS, AND ANY ACCIDENS IS NOTHING.

This definition is given with regards to relation. The subject, too, of an accidens is its proper substance, although an alien one. If the alien recedes, the accidens perishes, namely its acting propriety. In relation, therefore, to the first actor (L: cause), all substance is accidens, and any accidens is nothing, and it is not anything of substance, but what is alien. Only the divine substance is a proper substance which is not flowing. (L: The divine substance, however, is also alien, as it is a proper substance that is not flowing).
VII

DEUS EST PRINCIPIUM (L: PRIMUM) SINE PRINCIPIO (L: PRIMATU), PROCESSUS SINE VARIATIONE, FINIS SINE FINE.
 


Haec definitio est secundum speciem data (L: data est secundum speciem <centri>). Genitor vero primum capit ratione geniturae, sed non sic (L: om.) primo ut non prius. Genitus vero procedit generatione in finem, sed non recipit variationem natura (natura] L: ut) medii. Intendit enim quod idem est finis vero nomine generantis et geniti, quia non est vita divina nisi unum medio (L: medium) tantum; sed non est finis (L: om.) ratione operis (L: operationis), ut quies et (L: om.) motus.
VII

GOD IS THE PRINCIPLE (L: FIRST) WITHOUT PRINCIPLE (L: PRINCIPALITY), THE PROCESS WITHOUT VARIATION, THE END WITHOUT END.

This definition is given with regard to the specific nature [of the divine] (L: with regard to the species of the centre). What generates gets indeed ‘first’ with regards to what it generates, but thus (L: m.) not first, as if he were not before. What is being generated comes forth by generation towards its end, but being of a medium (being of a medium] L: as) nature does not suffer variation. Therefore this means that the end of what is truly called generator and generated, is the same, as it would not be divine life, unless such one middle one; yet, it is not end  (L: om.) in the sense of acting, such as rest with regards also (L: om.) to motion.
VIII

DEUS EST AMOR QUI PLUS HABITUS MAGIS LATET.

Haec definitio data (L: om.) est per effectum. In prima causa id a quo vita et est ipsum a (est ipsum] L: sperma) quo vita tota. Igitur id ipsum est fons (L add.: fons) amoris in illo. Quod si rei creatae unitas (unitas] L: illius) generantis et geniti ad illam penitus se inclinat, revertendo per viam regressionis, tunc est id ipsum amor creaturae, prout ordinata est creatura ab ipso (L: ipso] L: ipsa) cui quanto magis te unificaveris (L: vivificaveris), tanto exaltaberis et tanto elevabitur. Et hoc eius latere est.
VIII

GOD IS LOVE WHO THE MORE HE IS HELD THE MORE HE HIDES.
 
This definition is related (L: om.) to the effect. In the first cause that from which life stems is also the one itself (stems is also the one itself] L: also the semen stems) from which all life stems. Therefore this itself is the well (L add.: the well) of love in that one. If in the created thing the oneness (the oneness] L: that) of what generates and is generated inclines itself most inwardly towardes that one, reverting by way of regression, then this is itself the love of the creature to which creature has been ordained by him (L: it) , and the more you unify (L: live) yourself with him (L: it), the more you will be exalted and the more he will be elevated. And this is how he himself hides.
IX

DEUS EST CUI (L: om.) SOLI PRAESENS EST QUICQUID CUIUS TEMPORIS EST.

Haec definitio est secundum formam. Totum quidem uno aspectu omnes partes videt, pars vero totum non videt, nisi diversis respectibus et successivis. Propter hoc deitas est (L: om.) successivorum totalitas. Unde intuitus eius unicus est, (L add.: et) non consequenter factus.
IX  

GOD IS THE ONE TO WHOM (L: om.) ALONE IS PRESENT WHAT BELONGS TO TIME.

This definition relates to form. The totality namely sees the parts in one look, whereas the part does not see the totality, unless from diverse perspectives and succesively. Therefore, the Godhead is the totality of successive things. Wherefore its intuition is unique and not the result of a process.
X

DEUS EST CUIUS POSSE NON NUMERATUR, CUIUS ESSE NON CLAUDITUR, CUIUS BONITAS NON TERMINATUR.

Haec definitio patet per quartam et septimam. In posse creato (caro] L: et caro), et primo inventus est numerus, secundum plura aut pauciora opera educentia possibile ad actum (L: accidentia), quia, si sint infinita, impossibile dicitur. Eius enim (L: om.) quod fiet (L: fuit) ab eo actu sunt infinita opera; unde (L: om.) subito operatur. Ubi vero (vero] L: enim) est infinitus numerus ordinatus ad actum et invenitur (L: vincitur) resistens, non poterit evenire (L: enuntiari). Omne esse clausionem dicit finitatis alicuius. Unde a centro ad esse (L add.: et esse)eius sunt operationes finitae (L: futurae). In divino esse non est sic (L: non sic autem est in divino esse), sed opera infinita a centro ad extimum (a centro ad extimum] L: ad ostium) et actum. Unde sua clausio infinita est et actu non impossibilis (L: possibilis), nisi quia necesse (L: necessario) existens. Unde sequitur quod etiam redeundo est i(L: om.) nterminata bonitas via securior ab esse in unitatem (L: unione) centri.
X

GOD IS THE ONE WHOSE POWER IS NOT COUNTED, WHOSE BEING NOT CLOSED, WHOSE GOODNESS NOT LIMITED.
 
This definition is clear from the fourth and seventh [definition]. In the created (L: om.) power also the number is first found (also ... found] L: the number is both central and first found), where according to more or fewer actions bring the possible things to realised ones, (L: accidents) because, were they infinite, it would be said to be impossible. Namely (L: om.) the one from which things have been acted upon, this has limitless actions, with the result (L: om.) that it acts suddenly. Where, however, infinite number of planned actions are and where it finds (L: overcomes)  resistance, it cannot succeed (L: state). All being is called closure of something’s finitude. Wherefore from the centre to (L add.: being and) its being there are only finite (L: future) actions. In the Godhead, however (L: om.), being is not alike, but infinite actions from the centre to the extreme (from the centre to the extreme esit] L: are outside and acted upon). Therefore, its closure is infinite and action not impossible (L: possible), if not even necessary. It follows therefore that also in returning, endless goodness is the way which is the more secure from being into the unity of the centre.
XI

DEUS EST SUPER ENS, NECESSE, SOLUS SIBI ABUNDANTER, SUFFICIENTER
.

Haec definitio formalis est, sed (sed] L: et etiam a quo materia) relata. Esse omne clausionem dicit. Superest igitur qui non clauditur. Et (L: Est) necesse quia malum non habet, quia non clauditur, sed infinita possibilitate. Nec sic distrahitur suum superesse (L: et esse) quin (L: cum) redeat a (L: om.) se in se, et non totum indigenter, sed exuberanter (L: exabundanter).
XI
 
GOD IS ABOVE BEING, NECESSITY, HE ALONE IS HIMSELF MORE ABUNDANT AND MORE SUFFICIENT.
 
This is a formal, but relational definition (formal, but relational definition] L: formal definition and also one from which matter is related). Being is said to be totally closed. Therefore, what is above being is not closed. And (L: om.) it is necessary, because it misses nothing, as it is not closed, but of infinite possibility. Thus neither it is drawn away, being itself above (L: and) being, as it never moves away from itself, but returns to itself, and isn not in need of the totality, but in excess of it.
XII

DEUS EST CUIUS VOLUNTAS DEIFICAE ET POTENTIAE ET SAPIENTIAE ADAEQUATUR.

Voluntas, scire et posse principia (L: prius) sunt actionis in creaturis. Non aequalia sunt quia voluntas est deiformior quam scire et posse. Mihi (L: ut) quidem natura coartavit posse, correptio vero scire, sed (L: si) remanet voluntas non coacta usque ad elongationem (L: clangationem) perpetuam.
XII

GOD IS THE ONE WHOSE WILL EQUATES TO HIS GODMAKING POWER AND WISDOM.

Will, knowledge and power are principles (L: prior) of action in creatures. They are not equal because will es more conforming to God compared to knowledge and power. Indeed, nature has confined power to me (L: om.), practicing, indeed, knowledge, but will remains unrestrained for perpetual elongation (L: resonance).
XIII
DEUS EST SEMPITERNITAS AGENS IN SE, SINE DIVISIONE ET HABITU.

Agunt creata et acquirunt habitum. Agunt et deficiunt continuatione quia inveniunt resistens. Unde fatigatio scindit vim. Sic non est in creatore. Non (L add. tamen)  transmutatur (L add. in) acquirendo habitum. Non (non] L: ut) indiget obumbratione ut quiescat fatigatus.
XIII
GOD IS ETERNITY ACTING IN HIMSELF WITHOUT DIVISION AND DISPOSITION
 
The creatures act and acquire a disposition. The act without continuity as they hit resistance. As a result, fatigue cuts down her strength. So it is not in the Creator. He is not (L add. then) transformed by aquiring a disposition. He does not (he does not] L: so that he does) overshade so that he gets tired and rests.
XIV

DEUS EST OPPOSITIO (L: OPPOSITA) NIHIL (L: UT) MEDIATIONE (L: MEDITATIO) ENTIS.

Haec definitio imaginari facit Deum esse sphaeram in cuius centro nihil (L: ut)   incarceratur. Et est continue agens sphaera divina opus divinum quo detinet (L add.: ut) nihil in suo esse aeternaliter, a quo per exuberantiam suae bonitatis vocavit in esse rem quae (rem quae est] L: cum inest) quasi circa centrum. Quae (L: aut) si ad esse actum attrahit (L: attrahitur), stabit sphaera, si ad esse possibile, redibit ad nihilum.
XIV

GOD IS THE OPPOSITION TO NOTHINGNESS (L: OPPOSITES) BY MEDIATION OF BEING.
 
This definition creates the image of God being a sphere, in the centre of which nothing (L: he) is emprisoned. And the divine sphere is continuously acting the divine work through which it detains eternally nothing to be in it, from which through exuberance of its goodness it calls into being the thing which is as if it (the thing which is as if it] L: As he) existed around the centre. If (L: Either) it attracts it (L: is attracted) to being, the sphere remains, if to potential being, it goes back to nothing.
XV

DEUS EST VITA CUIUS VIA IN FORMAM EST VERITAS (L: UNITAS), IN UNITATEM BONITAS.

Est motus a medio et ad medium: primus (L: prius) dat esse, secundus (L: secundo) dat vivere. In Deo primus (L: prius) motus (L: magnus) est via generantis ad genitum cum esse; secundus (L: secundo), id est via conversa, est bonitas.
XV
 
GOD IS LIFE WHOS WAY TOWARDS FORM IS TRUTH (L: UNITY), TOWARDS UNITY IS GOODNESS.

There is motion from the middle and towards the middle: the first (the first] L: he first) gives to be, the second (the second] L: second, he) gives to live. In God, the first (the first] L; first) motion (L: greatness) is through generating towards the generated to be, the second (the second] L: second) which is the converse way, is goodness.
XVI

DEUS EST QUOD SOLUM VOCES (L: VOCIS) NON SIGNIFICANT (L: SIGNIFICAT) PROPTER EXCELLENTIAM, NEC (L: UT) MENTES (L add.: NON) INTELLIGUNT PROPTER DISSIMILITUDINEM.


Officium vocis est significare intellectus mentis, et non aliud. Anima non invenit in se speciem vel (L: vel) exemplar Dei, quia ipsa sunt penitus ipse, non secundum quod sit in rebus. Ergo dissimilis est ei secundum se totum, et non intellectus (L: intellectum), igitur nec significatus (L: significatum).
XVI
 
GOD IS THE ONE WHOSE NAMES (L: NAME ALONE DO (L: DOES) NEITHER SIGNIFY [HIM] BECAUSE OF [HIS] EXCELLENCE, NOR DO INTELLECTS GRASP [HIM] BECAUSE OF [HIS] DISSIMILITUDE.

The task of a name is to signify intellectual concepts, nothing else. The soul does not invent in itself the form or sample of God, because they themselves are innermost himself, not in the way he is in the things. Therefore as he is, he is totally dissimilar to them, also neither intellectually grasped (L: is he intellect), nor, therefore signified.
XVII

DEUS EST INTELLECTUS SUI SOLUM, PRAEDICATIONEM (L: PRAEDICATIONIS) NON RECIPIENS.

Non cognoscitur nodus per relationem nodi. Praedicatio (praedicatio] L: sed ideo) in rebus est (L: om.) ut diversis rationibus explicetur quod unica includitur. Igitur cum in Deo non sint diversae (L: om.) rationes secundum prius et posterius, perficientes quid eius secundum magis et minus, non recipit praedicationem, sed se ipsum ipse (L: specie)  intelligit quia ipsum ad ipsum generat.
XVII
 
GOD IS INTELLECT FOR HIM ALONE, HE DOES NOT RECEIVE A PREDICATION.

A knot is not regocnised through a relation to a knot. With Predication (with predication] L: but, therefore) in things diverse aspects are unfold what is included in one single. Therefore, as there are not diverse (L: om.) aspects in God, such as prior and later, which would perfect him more or less, he does not receive predication, but he knows himself through himself (L: species), because he himself generates himself.
XVIII

DEUS EST SPHAERA CUIUS TOT SUNT CIRCUMFERENTIAE QUOT PUNCTA.


Ista sequitur ex secunda, quia cum sit totus sine dimensione, et etiam dimensionis infinitae, non erit in sphaera suae essentiae extremum (L: extentio). Igitur (L: Ergo)  non est in extremo punctus (in extremo punctus] L: punctum) quin exterius sit (L add.: circuli) circumferentia.
XVIII
 
GOD IS A SPHERE WHICH HAS AS MANY CIRCUMFERENCES AS CENTREPOINTS.

This [definition] follows from the second, because with him being totally without dimension, even without infinite dimension, the extreme (L: extenstion) did not exist in the sphere of his essence. Therefore there is no centrepoint in the extreme (no centrepoint in the extreme] L: point), unless the circumference (L add. of the circle) would be even further exterior.
XIX

DEUS EST SEMPER MOVENS IMMOBILIS.

(L add.: Haec definitio sic manifestatur:)

Immobilis dicitur Deus quia est secundum unam dispositionem semper, et hoc est esse (L: cum) in quiete. Movens semper est, quia vivens in se, tamen sine (tamen sine] L: sine etiam) alteratione. Intelligit se intellectu simplici, et hoc est quod intellectus perficit intellectum, et intellectum est forma intelligentis.
XIX
 
GOD THE UNMOVED ALWAYS MOVES.
 
(L add.: This definition becomes clear from what follows:)
God is said to be unmoved, because he always is of the one disposition, and this is to be resting. He is always moving, because he is alive in itself, however without alteration. He knows himself according to simple knowledge, so that knowledge perfects what is known and what is known is the form of knowledge.
XX

DEUS EST QUI SOLUS SUI INTELLECTU VIVIT.

Non vivit sicut corpora quae recipiunt aliena intra se ut (L: ideo) convertant ea in sui naturam. Non vivit ut (L: sicut) corpora supracaelestia quae a spiritibus habent motum, nec vivit (nec vivit] L om.) ut intelligentiae (L add.: non), animae (L: om.) quae ab ipsius unitate sustentantur. Sed (L: om.) a se ipso (L add.: vivit) et in se (L add.: ipsum) intelligendo vivit et est superessentialiter.
XX
 
GOD IS THE ONLY ONE WHO LIVES THROUGH HIS KNOWLEDGE.
 
He does not live like bodies that receive alien things in themselves, so that they convert them into their own nature. He does not live (He does not live] L: not) like supracelestial bodies which have motion from the spirits, nor does he live like minds, souls (L: om.), who from unity with himself are sustained. Instead (L: om.), he lives through knowing of himself and (L add. lives himself) in himself, therefore is above being.
XXI

DEUS EST TENEBRA IN ANIMA POST OMNEM LUCEM RELICTA.

Species rerum (L add.: quae) apud animam, quae detegunt quod in ipsa est
, gratia cuius dicitur (dicitur] L: deus) quodammodo omnia (omnia] L: est anima), ipse illuminat animam (L: animae). Sed post abiectionem omnium (L: communium) istarum formarum contemplatur divinitatem. Abnegando et removendo (L add. removendo) omnes rerum species ab ipsa, convertit se  (L add.: ad) supra se et vult videre causam primam. Et obtenebratur intellectus animae, quia non est aptus ad illam lucem increatam. Unde cum ad se convertit, dicit: Hic mihi tenebrae sunt (Unde ... sunt] L: om.).
XXI

GOD IS DARKNESS LEFT BEHIND IN THE SOUL AFTER ALL LIGHT.
 
The forms of things (L: which are) at the soul which reveal what is in her, because of that it is said of her (that is said of her] L: God) that she is somehow all, (somehow all] L: the soul), itself illuminates the soul (L: something of the soul). But after the detachment of all those (all those] L: the communion of) forms, the divinity is contemplated. Through abnegation and removal (. Through abnegation and removal] L: , through abnegation and removal. The removal) of all forms of things von herself, she turns herself beyond herself and wants to see the first cause. And the intellect of the soul is overshadowed, because it is not apt for that uncreated light. Therefore, when it turns towards itself, it says: This is darkness for me (Therefore ... me] L: om.).
XXII

DEUS EST EX QUO EST QUICQUID EST NON PARTITIONE, PER QUEM EST NON VARIATIONE, IN QUO EST QUOD EST NON COMMIXTIONE.


Applicatione (L: Ad applicationem) vero suae triformis essentiae ad nihil, iuxta (L: iusta) illas res quae sunt ad esse producit, ut ex generante (ut ex generante] L: ut est ex generato generator suum) initium suae existentiae (L: essentiae)perciperent, per genitum in esse starent, in vivificatore (L: uniformitate) permanerent. Sed sic ex generante – quod (L: om.) ipse non dividitur – aliquid de sua essentia eis adhaerentiam tribueret, nec (L: ne) species divina, rebus speciem dans per se, non per alium, se ipsam (L: ipsum) variaret, nec vivificator (L: unitor), ipsa in se colligens, commixtionem ex interceptione (L: interpretatione) aut impuritatem contraheret (L: attraheret).
XXII
 
GOD IS THE ONE OUT OF WHOM IS W WITHOUT HIM BEING PARTITIONED, THROUGH WHOM IS WITHOUT HIM BEING ALTERED, IN WHOM IS WITHOUT HIM BEING MIXED WITH IT.

By applying his threefold essence indeed to nothingness, he brings those things for to be which are, so that they gain the beginning of their existence through generation (L: so that out of the generated there is a generator, and they perceive the beginning of their being), exist through being generated, being kept alife (kept alife] L: in unity) they remain. However, thus they are from being generated that he himself is undivided, and does not donate something of his own being which would adhere to them, neither the divine form, but the form for things, given through himself, not through another, without altering himself, neither as if the life giver (life giver] L: unifyer), by collecting (L: attracting) them in himself, suffers mixture from interception or impurity.
XXIII

DEUS EST QUI SOLA IGNORANTIA MENTE COGNOSCITUR.


Haec definitio cognoscitur per vicesimam primam. (L add.: secundum) nihil cognoscitur ab anima nisi cuius speciem (L add.: secundum habitum) recipere potest et ad exemplar eius quod est in ipsa comparare. Nullius (L: Vi illius) enim habet (L add.: species cum) anima exemplar nisi illius quod per ipsam (nisi illius quod per ispam] L: quod in ipsa) a prima causa fluxit in esse. Igitur eius quod (L: qui) est super ipsam non habebit cognitionem, igitur non primae causae. Sed cum omnem aliorum contemplata fuerit scientiam (fuerit scientiam] L: et animam ipsam), extrahendo ipsam (L: om.) primam causam a rebus et supponendo oppositionem (L add.: et) nihil, quantum poterit acquirere sic habebit cognitionem. Et hoc est vere (vere] L: ut) ignorare, scilicet scire quid non est, et nesciendo quid est.
XXIII
 
GOD IS THE ONE WHO THROUGH IGNORANCE OF THE MIND ALONE IS BEING GRASPED.
 
This definition is known through the twentyfirst [definition]. (L: Accordingly) Nothing is known by the soul, unless she can receive the form of him (L: according to habit) and compare it to the sample of him that is in her. Yet, the soul has no sample whatsoever (Yet, the soul has no sample whatsoever] L: Yet, through the power of him, the soul has the form with the soul as sample) except those that through herself (L: which through herself) flew from the first cause into being. Therefore, she has no knowledge of what  (L: who)is above her, hence, not of the first cause. Now, once she has contemplated all knowable (knowable] L: and the soul itself) of others, and by extracting the first cause itself (L: om.) from the things and by understanding the opposition to (L: and) nothingness, as far as she can aquire it, so she will gain cognition. And this is true ignorance, namely to know what she is not, and not to know what she is.
XXIV

DEUS EST LUX QUAE FRACTIONE NON CLARESCIT, TRANSIT, SED SOLA DEIFORMITAS IN RE (L: om. definitio).


Haec definitio est ad essentiam data. Lux creata sicut (L add.: cum) cadit super rem tenebrosam (L add.: ita quod fit) tantae tenebrositatis (L add.: ita) quod non sit potens lux illa purgare tenebrosum, propter sui vehementem possibilitatem (L: densitatem), tunc frangitur lux in radiis (L add.: et sic cum sic), in maximo (L: maxime) scilicet sui acuti, et (scilicet sui acuti et] L: se multiplicantibus), pertransit in accidentia, essentialis cum ista fractio accidentia multiplicat (in accidentia ... multiplicat] L: illud densum medium, contrari<e> infinitum in se in ipsis creaturis respectu lucis divinae). Et haec claritas est. Lux divina non invenit in rebus creatis tantam possibilitatem quae eam frangat in sui actione; unde omnia pertransit (Et haec ... pertransit] L: Cum enim non sit tanta possibilitas in creaturis, non in rebus creatis, quae frangat lucem diviniam in sui actione, immo animam pertransit). Sed sola deiformitas in re, illa multiplicat et claritatem in re generat, in se nullam. Et hoc est quod dicit (sola  ...  dicit] L: cum sit in re aliqua deformitas, scilicet respectu sui creatoris, tunc in illa claritatem aliquam generat, in se vero nullam. Et sic ab intelligentia creata 'sola ignorantia' etc. Haec per Dei gratiam expleta sufficiant.
XXIV
 
GOD IS LIGHT WHICH DOES NOT RADIATES AND SHINES THROUGH FRACTIONS, BUT THROUGH DEIFORMITY IN REALITY.
 
This definition refers to essence. Created light (L: as it) falls upon a dark thing  into(L: which fits) such darkness that such light might not be able to clear the darkness, because of its [the thing’s] strong power (L: density), then the light fractions in radiation (L: and so with it), mostly there where it is most intense (mostly ... intense] L: it extremely multiplies itself), and it goes over into accidens. As it is an essential fraction, the accidens multiply (into accidens ... multiply] L: to that dense medium, contrary to the infinity in itself in the creatures themselves with regard to divine light). And this is what shines. The divine light does not find in created things such possibility which fractions it in its action; therefore it goes through everything (And this ... everything] L: As there are no such possibilities in creatures or in created things which fraction the divine light in its action, it goes on the contrary through the soul). The deiformity alone in the thing multiplies and generates shining light in the thing, yet not in itself. That is what he says (the deiformity ... says] L: But as there is in the thing a deformation with respect to its creator, then it generates in it a sort of clarity, none however, in itself. Thus, there is 'pure ignorance' of the created intelligence etc. This, accomplished by the grace of God, may suffice).

 I'd also like to draw the attention of the reader to Peter Sloterdijk, Sph√§ren (Frankfurt a.M., 1999), II 537-61, 537 who presents an interpretation of prop. I, II and XVIII of the Liber Viginti Quattuor Philosophorum. He reads these propositions as expressions of the metaphysical crisis within which our thinking sees God as the basis of everything, while the world is given no more value than a complexe fold in the innerst of the absolute, thus devaluing the concrete. I would be sceptical of this interpretation, especially in light of Sloterdijk's own reading of proposition XVIII (ibid. 539-40) according to which it is God’s property to transmit the gift of his fullness of being to every place, in order to make that place to its own fully divine centre. Perhaps my differing reading is due to the argument that would not call such a modell a chain-reaction, as this would entail a cause and effect relation.

 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Meister Eckhart, Parisian Question IV - a much neglected text

In preparation of a contribution to the exhibition catalogue on 'Taery Kim, Performing Space', a contemporary video artist who is inspired by and interprets Meister Eckhart's understanding of Space and Time, I had to study the fourth of Meister Eckhart's Parisian Questions, unfortunately a much neglected text in Eckhart research. Nevertheless, it is an important witness for Eckhart's radically new understanding of 'space' compared to those to whom he refers, his teachers Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas, opening up their concept of a closed container space which provides the place and location for things, and re-conceptualising it as an open space to be, a transcendental and universal space where everything has its non-categorical place and location - or rather where there is no given place, but where place is dynamically understood as space and space as a continuum of dynamics. This he details in his Exposition of Genesis (In Gen. I n. 49 [LW I/2, 220,1-221,6]), and exemplifies in the following Question which I give with text and my own translation:


Utrum aliquem motum esse sine termino implicet contradictionem
Whether any motion without end implies a contradiction?
◊1◊ Videtur quod non, quia invenitur motus sine termino ut motus caeli.
◊2◊ Contra: terminus motus est idem quod motus. Qui igitur negat terminum, negat motum.
 
◊3◊ Dicendum quod implicat contradictionem, quia non contingit moveri, nisi contingat motum esse. Item esset potentia sine actu.
 
Ad argumentum de motu [caeli] dicendum quod terminus, a quo motus caeli, abicitur. Ideo speculatio remanet de termino, in quo motus est et ad quem. <LW5:073>
 
 
◊4◊ Quantum ad terminum, in quo motus est, est subiectum motus, et hoc est primum mobile. Corpus igitur primum mobile est primum corpus, ratione qua primum corpus habet minus de potentia et per consequens minus de motu; inquantum est primum mobile, habet minimum de motu. Nam aliqua sunt, quae sunt perfectionis, quaedam imperfectionis; nam moveri dicit imperfectionem. Et ideo quanto aliquid magis perfectum, tanto minus de motu et de loco, et quia corpus caeleste est perfectum primo, ideo minime movetur et locatur, sed omnia movet et omnia locat; nam terra nihil locat, aqua vero plus, et sic ascendendo habet minimum de motu, quia habet solum motum localem, item solum ubi; nec est etiam ab alio in aliud nisi ratione. <LW5:074> Item est unus motus, et movetur per partes, non per centrum; nam est primum mobile ab immobili quod est in ipso, quia hoc est perfectionis; ideo debet moveri in se, non in centro.
 
 
 
 
◊5◊ Et si arguitur: partes habent esse in potentia, dicendum quod argumentum arguit oppositum. Nam eo ipso quod sunt in potentia, per eas movetur, quia motus est actus entis in potentia. Nam causa mutabilitatis in omnibus et immutabilitatis est totum et pars; nam quae habent plenum esse, immobilia sunt, ut deus; sed omne habens partem de esse est mutabile. Et hoc dicit Thomas Quaestione de malo in articulo de daemonibus q. 2 in solutione cuiusdam argumenti. Et sic caelum movetur per partes, quia primum; ideo unus motus et uniformis, <LW5:075> ex quo sequitur quod [non] habet contrarium. Astrologi autem, quia invenerunt in caelo stellato difformitatem, ideo posuerunt quod non erat primum mobile.
 
 
 
 
◊6◊ Terminus autem ad quem motus caeli quidem antiquitus dicebatur `quod´ generatio et corruptio istorum inferiorum. Sed dicendum quod in motu suo hoc quaerit caelum quod quaerit materia. Quae quia non habet esse totum, sed partem, ideo quaerit omnes formas: sic quia caelum est quantum, habet partes, et quia non habet locum, quaerit eum: ideo movetur, ut accipiat ubi omnium partium secundum dextrum et sinistrum.
 
◊7◊ Vel potest dici quod corpus caeli est supremum. Sed de natura superioris est influere et dare esse, et de natura inferioris est quaerere esse; et de natura superioris est quod sit praesens omni inferiori et se toto et quolibet sui ipsi toto inferiori et cuilibet sui; et quia hoc non potest simul, ideo successive <LW5:076> influit inferiori. Quis igitur est terminus suus? Dicendum quod non quaerit aliquid sibi, sicut nec oculus videt sibi, sed toti, quia habet esse propter totum et se toto fini. Igitur et terminus quem quaerit caelum in motu, est esse universi vel conservare universum.
◊1◊ As it seems, no, since motion without end can be found, such as the motion of the heavens.
◊2◊ The counter-argument: The end of motion is still motion. Who, therefore, negates the end [to be motion], negates motion [itself].
◊3◊ One has to say that it implies a contradiction, because something does not attain to be moving, unless it is being moved. There also would be power without action.
To the argument about the motion of the heavens, one has to say that the end, from which the heavens are moved, is disregarded. Therefore, speculation remains about the end, within which and towards which they are moved.
◊4◊ With regards to the end, within which something is moved, it is the subject of motion, and this is the first mover. The first moving body, therefore, is the first body, because the first body is less powerful and consequently less motion; insofar as it is the first mover, it has the least motion. What is perfect differs from what is imperfect, but to be moved is called an imperfection. Accordingly, the more perfect something is, the less motion and location it has, and because the heavenly body is the first perfect one, therefore it is least moved and located, but moves all things and locates all things. Whereas the earth locates nothing, the water already more, and thus in an increase [the heavenly body] has the least motion, because it has alone the spatial motion, namly solely its ‘where’, as it is neither from something else, nor to something else, unless notionally. Similarly, it is one motion, although moved in [its] parts, [but] not through its centre; for it is the prime mover by the immovable which is in it, because this constitutes its perfection. Therefore, it needs to move in itself, not in its centre.
◊5◊ And if it is argued: The parts have potential being, one has to say that the argument proves its opposite. Because the fact that they potentially are, moves them, because motion is the act to be of something that potentially is. And the cause of mutability and immutability in all things are the total and [its] parts; because what has full being is immutable, such as God, but all those who have a part of being, are mutable. And this Thomas states in the Question On Evil, in the article on demons, question two, in the solution of that argument. So the heavens is moved through [its] parts, because it is the first [mobile body], wherefore it has only one motion, a uniform one, from which follows that it has no contrary [motion]. The astrologers, however, assume therefore that it was not the prime mover, because they discover in the heavenly constellation a deformation.
◊6◊ In olden times, however, the end to which motion of the heavens was said to be the generation and passing-away of those inferior things. Yet, one has to say that, in its own motion, the heavens strive for the same as matter does. Because what has no total being, but parts [of it], therefore strives for all forms: Thus, as the heavens has quantity, it has parts, and because it has no place, it strives for it: therefore it is moved so that it receives the ‘where’ of all parts, be they right or left.
◊7◊ Or one could say that the heavenly body is the supreme one. However, it is the nature of the superior to infuse and give being, and it is the nature of the inferior to strive for being; and it is the nature of the superior that it be present to all inferior ones, namely itself as a whole and itself in whichever way possible to the inferior as a whole and to each of its parts; and because this cannot be done in one go, it therefore infuses the inferior successively.
What, then, is its end? One has to say that it does not strive for anything else for itself, as neither does the eye see for itself, but for the whole [body], as it has being with regards to the whole and itself wholly for this end. Thus also, the end which the heavens strive for in motion is the being of the universe or the conservation of the universe.