Advertisement

Divine Providence and the Meaning of “Interrogationes”

  • Paola Zambelli
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 135)

Abstract

In order to refute the accusations that some “friends” leveled against astrology, in particular against two authors, Al Qabisi and Abu Ma’shar the author of the Speculum borrowed word for word the polemical passages against various interpretations of astrology and of the notion of contingency from the Introductorium maius. Contrary to what Thorndike believed, this was not “some juggling with the terms necessity and possibility”.1 The author followed Abu Ma’shar in the analysis and refutation of the “third sect of opponents”, which had reminded him of the tenets of his contemporaries:

They contradicted the science of stars, and they maintained that planets do not have signification for those things which happen in this world. They have used this argument and they have said that stars do not signify that what is possible, but only what is necessary and what is impossible.2

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    TH, II, p. 701.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Albumasar, Introductorium maius, transi. by John of Seville, tr. I, diff. V, cap. De secta tertia’; ms. Laur. Plut. XXIX, 12, f.14v: “Contradixerunt scientiae astrorum et dixerunt quod planetis non sit significatio supra res de his quae fiunt in hoc mundo. Et hac ratione usi sunt et dixerunt quod stellae non significarent id quod possibile est, sed tantum necessarium et impossibile.”Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Lemay, Abû Ma’shar cit., pp. 112–130 devoted the concluding section of the first part of his book to discussing the standpoints concerning free will defended in the Introductorium. Lemay quoted in his footnotes the translation by John of Seville that we have checked in the ms. Laur. Plut. XXIX, 12.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Speculum, XIV/68–71: “Non enim idem est, esse necessario quando est, et simpliciter esse ex necessitate. Antequam ergo sit, potest non esse, et tamen erit, quia non est necesse illam potentiam ad actum reduci.”Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Speculum, XIV/71–77: “Similiter de eo de quo significatum est, quoniam non erit in tempore determinato, et de quo verum est dicere quoniam non erit tuns, nihilominus semper ante hoc potest esse, et tandem revertitur ad naturam impossibilis. Et haec est sententia Albumasaris, a qua tarnen famosus Aristoteles in aliquo declinare videtur, cum non concedat quod prius sit verum dicere. Me autem nihilominus sic dixisse non pigetchwr(133)”. Cf. Pangerl, Studien über Albert cit., p. 785, who used the Speculum as an authentic work and interpreted the discussion of the eternity of the world as a clear, and by no means the only, instance of Albert’s independence from Aristotle: “Zur Ergänzung sei bemerkt, dass Albert noch an anderen Stellen Ansichten des Aristoteles als unrichtig zurückweist (Opera, ed. Borgnet, III, 200; IV, 108, 523, 679; XI, 587, 627; XII, 424; X, 27). Wenn Albert im Speculum astronomiae (Opera, X, p. 643 = XII/20) in Bezug auf die Ewigkeit der Welt sagt, `in quo solo ipse Aristoteles invenitur errasse’, so wird man verstehen müssen: In welchem Punkte allein ein besonders gewichtiger Irrtum des Stagirites vorliegt.” Without declaring the Speculum an authentical work Hossfeld compare it (ch. X and XV) to Albert’s De fato in his critical edition cit., pp. 67/1, 150/54, 154/88.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Speculum, XII/18–21: “ex praecepto suo [dei] stabit motus, sicut et coepit ex ipsius praecepto (in quo solo ille utilis Aristoteles invenitur errasse; nihilominus, regratiandus est in mille millium aliorum).”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Speculum, XII/60–61: “elegentius scilicet testimonium fidei et vitae aeternae.”Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Speculum, XIV/84–92: “nam in his quae operatur dominus per coelum, nihil aliud est caeli significatio quam divina providentia. In his vero quorum nos sumus principium, nihil prohibet etiam caelo non causam, sed significationem finesse: duarum enim partium contradictionis quarum alterutram potent homo eligere, sciebat deus ab aeterno quam illarum eligeret. Unde etiam in libro universitatis, quod est caeli pellischwr(133) potuit figurare, si voluit, quod sciebat; quod si fecit, tunc eadem est determinatio de compossibilitate liberi arbitrii cum divina providentia et cum interrogationis significatione”. The image “caelum sicut pellis” had been borrowed from Psalm CIII,2 already by Peter Abelard in a famous context of his Expositio in Hexaëmeron, PL 178, cols. 744–745 dealing with “aquae supercaelestes”.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Speculum, XIV/97–98: “quecumque non latent divina providentia sint etiam cognita apud caelum”.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Speculum, XIV/100–101: “consilium magisterii astrorum est supersedere, quia dominus voluit celare a nobis”.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    M.-T. d’Alverny, `Un temoin muet des luttes doctrinales du XIIIème siècle’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, XXIV, 1949, pp. 223–248, cf. pp. 228–230 and n. 1 p. 230. Of this pseudo-Aristotelian commentary, the author emphasized Albert’s typical attitude “vis-à-vis des notions qui lui paraissaient scientifiques, et qu’il est soucieux d’accorder avec sa foi chrétienne”. Cf. M.-T. d’Alverny — F. Hudry, `Al Kindi De Radiis’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, 41, 1974 (but 1975), pp. 139–259.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Abd Ma’shar, Introductorium maius, tr. I, d. 5, transl. Joannes Hispalensis: ms. Laur. Plut. XXIX. 12; cf. Speculum, XIV/48 ff.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Historians have often emphasized Albert’s willingness to add to Aristotle. This attitude is clear to those who pay attention to the structure of his course of philosophy. As far as his scientific works are concerned — besides the case of the addition of the De vegetabilibus and of the De mineralibus — of particular relevance are the corrections and integrations to Aristotle Albert had introduced within the theory of heaven. See, among other cases, De caelo cit., p. 162/73–84: “Aristoteleschwr(133) in secundo libro Caeli et mundi se excusat [quia nulla rationum istarum de motu processivo stellarum habet vim demonstrationis], dicens quod debent sufficere solutiones topicae et parvae in his quae sunt de caelo quaesita, eo quod ad ipsa cognoscenda perfecte non sufficimus. Nos tamen domino concedente col¬lationem faciemus in Scientia astrologiae inter viam, quam invenit Alpetraz Abuysac, et viam quam secutus est Ptolemeus accipiens earn a Babiloniis et Aegyptiis, quorum scien¬tiam se verificasse dicit Aristoteles in libro Caeli et mundi, ex quo videtur innuere quod et ipse consensit opinionibus eorum”. At p.132/48–58, Albert had already insisted on the insufficiency and fallacy of the instruments employed by astronomers: “licet in aliquo defectum sensus suppleat rectitudo intellectus”. When he was examining the contrasts between Aristotle, Ptolemy and Alpetragius concerning descriptive astronomy (pp. 168¬69) he was particularly explicit and independent, showing that he was not giving advan¬tage to the Aristotelian auctoritas: “Nos autem magis consentimus Ptolemaeo Phelu¬densi”, and called Ptolemy by the geographical name he was keen to get right in the Speculum (II/7), where he also declared that (II/75) “perspectiva enim Aristotelis ad supra dicta non descendit”. On the theme of the relative speed of middle and inferior heavens, in De caelo cit., p.169/4, 13–14 Albert stated: “dicimus generaliter non esse verum quod dicit Aristoteleschwr(133) Et ideo, sicut dicit Maurus Abonycer [Abel Bah], si viveret Aristoteles, oporteret vel ista improbare quae comperta sunt de motibus astrorum, vel oporteret eum suum dictum revocare”. This criticism was softened, but not canceled, when a few pages later Albert claimed that, thanks to his own observations, he had found the way “salvare Aristotelem et veritatem, quam invenimus diligenti astrorum inspection”.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Albert, De causis proprietatum elementorum, in Opera omnia, V/2, Münster 1980, pp. 76¬79, 78/86 ff. in particular: “causa universalis”, “causa minus universalis, in qua quaedam caelestium conveniunt et quaedam terrestrium” and later “causa vero particularischwr(133) in qua conveniunt aut quaedam caelestia sola, aut quaedam terrestria sola” [chwr(133)] “quorum autem Arabum sententia:chwr(133) huiusmodi prodigia in terra fieri ab imaginatione intelligentiae quae movet sphaeram Iunae”.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    De causis proprietatum elementorum cit., p. 78: “significat illa coniunctio magna accidentia et prodigia magna et mutationes generalis status elementorum et mundi: cuius causam debet dicere naturalis secundum ipsum quia scit astronomus”. Cf. above II/3, n. 18.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    De caelo cit., p. 129/58–59: “stellas generantes et moventes materiam generatorum”.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    De caelo cit., p. 131–132/60: “sive simplicia, sive composita non exprimitur totus decor corporis coelestis”.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    De caelo cit., p. 131–132/60: “inquisitio difficilium est aliquando vituperabilis, ita aliquando est laudabilis”. (Italics mine)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cf Problemata cit., p. 321; De causis proprietatum, in Opera omnia, V/2, pp. 76/75–77/2: “Sunt autem quidam qui omnia haec divinae dispositioni tantum attribuunt et aiunt non debere nos de huiusmodi quaerere aliam causam nisi voluntatem Dei. Quibus nos in parte consentimus, quia dicimus haec nutu Dei mundum gubernantis fieri ad vindictam maleficii hominum. Sed tarnen dicimus haec Deum facere propter causam naturalem, cuius primus motor est ipse, qui cuncta dat moveri. Causas autem suae voluntatis non quaerimus nos: sed quaerimus causas naturales, quae sunt sicut instrumenta quaedam per quae sua voluntas in talibus producitur ad effectum.” Cf De fato cit., p. 78/4 with chap. 4 of the Hermetic Asclepius quoted in the commentary to the edition, as well as the passage quot¬ed above from the De quatuor coaequevis. See also Albert’s De causis et processu universi¬tatis cit., I, tr. 4, c. 6, in Opera omnia, ed. Borgnet, X, pp. 421–423; in our edition of the Speculum, V/18 “iussu Dei” replaces “nutu Dei”.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    De caelo cit., p. 150/49 ss.: “De effectibus autem stellarum diversis duo in philosophia quaerantur, quis videlicet et quando et ubi sit effectus cuiuslibet stellae. Et hoc inquirere est electoris et divinantis per astra, cuius est eligere et scire horas, secundum quas ad figuras astrorum referentur ea quae fiunt in inferioribus. Et hoc oportet relinquere scientiae electorum, qui alio nomine vocantur geneatici [or better genetliaci, correcting geomantici found in ms. A and the eds.; cf. the same spelling (on which see below p. 281) in De caelo below n. 23 and Summa theologiae, I, 17, 68 (ed. Borgnet, X, pp. 633–34)], eo quod principalius, quod inquirunt per stellarum figuras et effectus, sunt nativitates eorum quae generantur.”Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    De caelo cit., p. 150/58 ss: “Accidentia autem magna sunt sicut mutationes regnorum de gente in gentem et translationes sectarum et doctrinae novarum religionum, et huiusmodi”. This passage was quoted, but not clarified, by TH, II, 586, n. 2. The second “volumen”, quoted below, is without doubt the Centiloquium attributed to Ptolemy. As far as the first volume is concerned, the description corresponds almost exactly to the contents of the Quadripartitum; there is however, no correspondence between the list of contents Albert talks about, and the actual structure of the Ptolemaic work. For instance, Albert described it as a work “habens octo distinctiones”, instead of the famous four. In any case, the “distinctiones” or “differentiae” were a typically Arabic way of subdividing texts; the De magnis coniunctionibus of Abd Ma’shar, for instance, a work dealing with exactly the same topics, contained eight “distinctions”. It is reasonable to doubt that when he was writing the De caelo, Albert was greatly interested in descriptive astronomy —a field where he used al-Bitrûjî’s terminology— whereas he was less taken by judicial astrology, and had not yet gathered the bibliographical data he was going to use in the Speculum astronomiae. Is it then possible that Albert confused Abfi Ma’shar with Ptolemy? On pp. 170/70–73 of the De caelo, Albert unequivocal refers to the methodological approach preferred in the Quadripartitum, a work he repeatedly referred to in the Super Ethica, I, tr. 7, ch. 6 and passim; cf. above at nn. 40. ff., as well as in the late Problemata determinata XLIII cit., pp. 330–331, 350 (“Alarba seu Quadripartitum”: cf Speculum, VI/3–5: “qui diciturchwr(133) arabice Alharbe, latine Quadripartitum”); see also analogous expressions by Albert in Summa theologiae, P. I, tr. XVII, q. 68, m. 1; ed. Jammy, XVII, p. 381b (“arabice Alarba, latine Quadripartitum”); De mineralibus cit., IV, 3; De XV Problematibus cit., pp. 326, 339, 353 and passim for more quotations from Ptolemy and other astrological authors.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    De caelo cit., p. 150/65–67: “de accidentibus parvis particularibus, sicut sunt eventus unius hominis nati in hac constellatione vel illa”.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    De caelo cit., p. 150/67–71: “Secundum autem quod quaeritur de effectibus stellarum, est naturalis causa, propter quam stella dicitur habere hunc vel illum effectum, et hoc hic determinandum est et a geneaticis [sic] sive electoribus supponendum.” This unusual latin word (“astrologos, qui et geneatici dicuntur”) is to be found also in Thomas Aquina’s De iudiciis astrorum and Summa theologiae cit., IIa Ilae, p. 95, a. 3, p. 453a. Cf above, p. 281.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    De caelo cit., p. 151/23–31: “Quod auteur magis est difficile scire, est, secundum quam naturam ridera habeant facere fortunas et infortunia et vires ministrent non tantum exortis per naturam, sed aliquando factis per autem, sicut imaginibus vel vestibus incisis de novo vel aedificiis de novo factis vel huiusmodi. Haec enim omnia a causis mutabilibus sunt, possunt esse et non esse. Et ideo videtur quod regimen eorum non dependeat ab aliqua natura vel virtute stellarum.”Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Speculum, XI/103–106, 123–124: “tertius modus imaginum astronomicarum, quichwr(133) virtu-tern nanciscitur solummodo a figura caelestichwr(133) et habebit effectum iussu Dei a virtute caelesti”.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Cf. n. 13 above, where we have provided the full text of this announcement in the De caelo cit., p. 162/77–78.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    De caelo cit., p. 157/54–61: “patet quod astrologia, quam dicit se fecisse Alpetruauz Abuysac, secundum Aristotelis intellectum falsa estchwr(133) De his tarnen in Astrologia erit inquirendum”; ibid., 167/83–85: “Nos autem collationem faciemus in Scientia astrologiae [chwr(133)] hae res omnes dicendae sunt in Astrologia et determinandae sufficienter per principia mathematica.”Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Cf. Pangerl, Studien cit., pp. 339–341; Grabmann, ‘Studien über Albert den Grossen’, Zeitschrift fib-katholische Theologie, XXXVI, 1912, p. 339n; Id., `Der Einfluss Alberts’ cit., ibid., 1928, p. 169; Meerssemann, Introductio cit., p. 61; Pelster, Kritische Studien cit., p. 139, have only sketched an examination of the various manuscripts attributed to Albert. Besides a Perspectiva, that in fact looks like an excerpt from Roger Bacon, it is noted that in the ms. Escorial, III.and.8, ff. 293r-296v there is a Questio Alberti de speculis (inc. Queritur de forma resultante seu resiliente in speculo, que nec lumen, nec calor esse videtur. Queritur primo utrum sit vel non, quare dicit autor sex principiorumchwr(133) exp. Et sic est dictum de hac questione. Explicit questio de speculo edita a gravissimo domino Alberto Magno). Still to be studied, are the mss. Wien, lat. 5309, ff. 127r-155v, XV century, Albert Magni Summa astrologiae, inc.: In hoc tractatu brevichwr(133); Wien, lat. 5292, ff. 1–65v, CLM 56, ff. 1–122; Innsbruck 2511, ff. 1–15, containing an Epitome in Almagesti Claudi Ptolemei attributed to Albert (but entitled Almagesti abbreviatum per magistrum Thomam de Aquino in the CLM 56 of the A.D. 1434–36); these texts should, in part at least, be compared with the Almagesum parvum quoted in the Speculum, II/17–20 and studied by A. Birken¬majer, Études, Wroclaw-Warszawa-Krakow 1950, pp. 142–47 ).Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    De caelo cit., p. 170/25–26: “Amplius in scientia astrologiae iam diximus, quod si Sol non esset orbicularischwr(133)”; ibid. p. 154/87–89 “in Astronomia enim et in Scientia electionum, deo favente, loquemur adhuc de stellis et determinabimus ea quae hic relinquuntur.” The first passage (as well as De caelo cit., p. 132/87–88: “de quantitatibus et motibus superi¬orum in astronomia explicabitur”) has been identified as a quotation from Averroes’s commentary. Cf. P. Hossfeld, `Die Arbeitsweise des Albertus Magnus in seinen naturphilosophischen Schriften’, in Albertus Magnus Doctor Universalis, ed. G. Meyer and A. Zimmermann, Mainz 1980, p. 201. But the passage mentioning the Scientia electionum is original.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    When we consider that the more ancient manuscripts had all the features of a textus (for instance, cf the ms. Laur. Plut. XXIX. 12), it is highly probable that the Speculum was designed to be a bibliographical instrument and a theoretical propedeutic tool for the Faculty of Arts: in other words, the treatise might well belong to the genre of introductory handbooks F. Van Steenberghen has shown in La philosophie au XIIIe siècle cit., pp. 121–132 to have been very popular: “Cette littérature d’introduction, dans laquelle les problèmes de classification jouent un rôle très important, est née de circonstances di¬verses: besoin de coordonner, d’expliquer et de vulgariser en vue de l’enseignement les écrits scientifiques ou philosophiques des grands penseurs; naissance de la bibliographie et de la bibliothéconomiechwr(133), soucis d’ordre pédagogique visant les méthodes à employer dans l’enseignement des différentes sciences et la succession chronologique des branches mise au programme des écoles; le progrès scientifique mêmechwr(133)”. This hypothesis finds support in the insertion of the Speculum astronomiae in the series of the Aristotelian and Albertinian Parva naturalia; before Jammy and Borgnet, see several mss. and the edition produced in Venice in 1517 by M. A. Zimara that amounted to the extension of the cur¬riculum studiorum from the Physica and Metaphysica to all Aristotle’s texts — including the Historiae — and to other works designed to fill gaps and omissions in the Aristotelian corpus. As far as Albert was concerned, we know that in the De mineralibus, after having tried to find an analogous Aristotelian treatise, he decided to reconstruct the theories of the Greek philosopher from a few hints in the Liber IV Meteorologicorum, and then rather cavalierly proceeded to integrate them with theses found in Arabic sources, with medieval texts on stones, and with his own observations. Cf. D. Wyckoff, Albertus Magnus on Ore Deposits’, Isis, 49, 1958, pp. 109 ff., and Albertus Magnus, Book of Minerals, transi. by D. Wyckoff, Oxford 1967, where Wyckoff strongly supported the Albertinian authenticity of the Speculum and the exact correspondence of the sources for chapter XI of this treatise with treatises II and III of the De mineralibus. Though Albert and the Speculum showed great care for philological precision, it was equally important to achieve encyclopedic thoroughness.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Zambelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FilosofiaUniversitá di FirenzeItaly

Personalised recommendations