Seeing the Future Clearly
Questions on Future Contingents.
, K.H. Tachau (eds.)
233 p., 175 x 260 mm, 1995
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Robert Holcot, an English Dominican friar who taught theology at Oxford during the years 1331-1334, was among the most renowned scholars of his generation.
Because they probably began their study of theology before Ockham had left England for Avignon, Holcot and his fellows once seemed to historians the be the Venerable Inceptor's early followers; to late medieval authors, however, who took up, studied and debated their ideas and the methods in one university after another on the European continent, Oxford theologians of the 1320s-1330s were known for their "English subtleties".
Among the defining characteristics ofthe "New English Theology" of Holcot and his contemporaries were the dilemma's that arose from the increasingly analytical use of logic in theology.
When Holcot lectured on Pter Lombard's Sentences and participated in Qudlibetal disputations, Oxford theologians struggled especially to understand a wholly contingent created order in relation to an entirely benevolent, omnipotent and mniscient divinity.
The apparently conflicting range of omnipotence and omniscience, inparticular, were at the core of several controversies brought together in the four Quodlibetal questions and the question from Holcot's Sentences lectures edited here.
The controverted issues include: the continuing contingency of what has been revealed; the reconciliation of contingency with the freedom of the divine, angelic or human willto choose either of two opposites; the status of propositional claims about past, present or future contingents and whether such statements can be known to be true or false by any human or divine intellect.
Holcot's treatments of these themes extensively incorporated the contributions of his contemporaries and teachers to ongoing debates and were widely disseminated in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; thus, his sentences are valuable sources for historians of late-medieval intellectual culture.