Advertisement

Speaking Theologically: The Concept of habitus in Peter Lombard and His Followers

  • Bonnie KentEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action book series (HSNA, volume 7)

Abstract

This essay examines the theological concept of a habitus, the problems it was intended to solve, and how it was developed by masters of Paris in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries. I argue that Peter Lombard and Peter of Poitiers embraced the broad concept of a habitus they found in Augustine’s work: that by which something is done when there is a need. A habitus, then, did not have to be acquired by practice, and it might never be manifest in the agent’s behaviour, because the need for it might never arise. This conception of a habitus was wide enough to encompass both naturally acquired dispositions and God-given dispositions, such as the virtues that theologians thought young children received through the grace of baptism. On the other hand, neither Peter Lombard nor Peter of Poitiers tried to explain how an adult with a virtuous habitus could fail to exercise it when appropriate circumstances arose. Stephen Langton broke new ground in arguing that an adult with a virtuous habitus might still lack the necessary power or strength to resist temptation. Stephen’s effort to account for moral failure by appealing to empirical psychology represents a step beyond the more idealized (and philosophically puzzling) teachings of his predecessors.

Keywords

Augustine Peter Abelard Peter Lombard Peter of Poitiers Stephen Langton Baptism habitus Merit Temptation Virtues Connection of virtues Infused virtues 

References

Primary Literature

  1. Augustine. 1865. Contra Iulianum, ed. J.-P. Migne. PL 44: 650–874. Paris: Migne.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1904. Epistulae, pars 3: Ep. CXXIV–CLXXXIV A, ed. Almut Goldbacher. CSEL 44. Vienna/Leipzig: Tempsky/Freytag.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1955. De civitate Dei, ed. B. Dombart and A. Kalb. 2 vols. CCL 47–48. Turnhout: Brepols.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1956. De libero arbitrio libri tres, ed. W.M. Green. CSEL 74. Vienna: Hoelder-Pichler-Tempsky.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1975. De diversis quaestionibus octoginta tribus, ed. Almut Mutzenbecher. CCL 44A. Turnhout: Brepols.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 1984. Retractationes, ed. Almut Mutzenbecher. CCL 57. Turnhout: Brepols.Google Scholar
  7. ———. 1992. De moribus ecclesiae catholicae et de moribus Manichaeorum, ed. Johannes B. Bauer. CSEL 90. Vienna: Hoelder-Pichler-Tempsky.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 2001. De bono coniugali, De sancta virginitate, ed. and trans. P.G. Walsh. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  9. Peter Abelard. 1971. Peter Abelard’s ethics, ed. D.E. Luscombe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Peter Lombard. 1971–1981. Sententiae in IV libris distinctae, ed. I.C. Brady, 3rd ed. 2 vols. Grottaferrata: Editiones Collegium S. Bonaventurae ad Claras Aquas.Google Scholar
  11. Peter of Poitiers. [Petrus Pictaviensis] 1855. Sententiarum libri quinque. PL 211: 783–1280. Paris: Migne.Google Scholar
  12. Stephen Langton. 1985. Summa, ed. Sten Ebbesen and Lars Boje Mortensen, A partial edition of Stephen Langton’s Summa and Quaestiones with parallels from Andrew Sunesen’s Hexaemeron, Cahiers de l’Institut du moyen-âge grec et latin 49: 25–224.Google Scholar

Secondary Literature

  1. Agnotti, Claire. 2015. Les listes des opiniones Magistri Sententiarum quae communiter non tenentur: Forme et usage dans la lectio des Sentences. In Mediaeval Commentaries on the Sentences of Peter Lombard, ed. Philipp W. Rosemann, vol. 3, 79–144. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  2. Baldwin, John W. 1970. Masters, Princes, and Merchants: The Social Views of Peter the Chanter and His Circle. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bieniak, Magdalena. 2014. Faith and the interconnection of the virtues in William of Auxerre and Stephen Langton. In Fides Virtus: The Virtue of Faith from the Twelfth to the Early Sixteenth Century, ed. Marco Forlivesi, Riccardo Quinto, and Silvana Vecchio, 209–220. Münster: Aschendorff.Google Scholar
  4. Brady, Ignatius C. 1966. Peter Manducator and the oral teachings of Peter Lombard. Antonianum 41: 454–490.Google Scholar
  5. Choi, Sungho, and Fara, Michael. 2016. Dispositions. The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2016 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/dispositions/. Accessed 3 July 2016.
  6. Colish, Marcia L. 1993. Habitus revisited: A reply to Cary Nederman. Traditio 48: 77–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. ———. 1994. Peter Lombard. Leiden: Brill.Google Scholar
  8. Denzinger, Heinrich, and Clement Bannwart, eds. 1932. Enchiridion symbolorum, definitionum et declarationum de rebus fidei et morum. 18–20th ed. Freiburg: Herder & Co..Google Scholar
  9. Kent, Bonnie. 2013. Augustine’s On the Good of Marriage and infused virtue in the twelfth century. Journal of Religious Ethics 41: 112–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lottin, Odon. 1949. Les premières définitions et classifications des vertus au Moyen Âge. In Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, vol. 3, 99–150. Gembloux/Louvain: J. Duculot/Abbaye du Mont César.Google Scholar
  11. ———. 1957. Psychologie et morale a là faculté des arts de Paris aux approches de 1250. In Psychologie et morale aux XIIe et XIIIe siècles, vol. 1, 505–534. Gembloux/Louvain: J. Duculot/Abbaye du Mont César.Google Scholar
  12. McGrath, Alister E. 1986. Iustitia Dei: A history of the Christian doctrine of justification. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Nederman, Cary J. 1989–1990. Nature, ethics, and the doctrine of habitus: Aristotelian moral psychology in the twelfth century. Traditio 45: 87–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ozment, Steven. 1980. The age of reform, 1250–1550: An intellectual and religious history of late Medieval and reformation Europe. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Prendiville, John G. 1972. The development of the idea of habit in the thought of Saint Augustine. Traditio 28: 29–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Quinto, Riccardo. 2011. Stephen Langton. In The encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy, ed. Henrik Lagerlund, vol. 2, 1215–1219. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Rosemann, Philipp W. 2004. Peter Lombard. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. ———. 2007. The story of a great Medieval book: Peter Lombard’s Sentences. Peterborough: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
  19. Vignaux, Paul. 1935. Luther, commentateur des Sentences (livre I, distinction XVII). Études de philosophie médiévale 21. Paris: Vrin.Google Scholar
  20. Wood, Allen W. 2003. The good will. Philosophical Topics 31: 457–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of HumanitiesUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations