Book Series Mediaeval Sources in Translation, vol. 43

Peter Lombard

The Sentences - Book 2:

On Creation

  • Pages: 236 p.
  • Size:150 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2008

  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-293-2
  • Paperback
  • Available


Peter Lombard’s major work, the four books of the Sentences, was written in the mid twelfth century and, as early as the 1160s, the text was glossed and commented on in the schools. There is hardly a theologian of note throughout the rest of the Middle Ages who did not write a commentary on the Sentences. Yet in spite of its importance in Western intellectual history and its capacity to excite many generations of students and teachers, the Sentences has received little attention in more recent times. Indeed, it has been called ‘one of the least read of the world’s great books’.

This volume makes available for the first time in English a full translation of Book 2 of the Sentences. It consists of forty-four Distinctions, in the first of which Peter sets out a definition of creation and ponders the reasons which God may have had for engaging in it. Angels, their creation, nature, fall, ranks, and ministries are the subject of Distinctions 2–11. Distinctions 12–15 set out an hexaemeron, or an account of the six days of creation as described in Genesis. The next three Distinctions concentrate on the creation of man and woman, and the following two discuss the state of human beings before their sinful fall, including the manner of procreation.

Distinctions 21–29, organized around the fall, are devoted to human psychology, freedom of choice, and grace. In Distinctions 30–33 the focus is on original sin, its transmission by the current mode of procreation, its remission in baptism. The Book concludes in Distinctions 34–44 with a detailed analysis of actual sin and how it occurs by free choice in the diminished condition of human freedom after the fall.

The volume contains an introduction to Book 2, a list of the major chapter headers, and a bibliography.