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Document Details :
Title: Divine Simplicity and Predestination in the Second Half of the Twentieth Century
Author(s): WEI, John
Journal: Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie Médiévales
Volume: 73 Issue: 1 Date: 2006
The doctrine of divine simplicity as developed by Patristic writers suggests that the divine essence is identical to actions of the undivided divine nature, such as knowing and willing. However, natures or essences, on the one hand, and actions, on the other, appear to be fundamentally different. The first belongs to what God is in and of Himself, while the second belongs to the category of the Godhead’s undivided action. Can operations of the divine essence, whether in se or ad extra, be identical to the divine essence, to God’s very being? If so, how? And if not, how are they to be understood? This article examines the way in which four scholastic theologians from the second half of the twelfth century — Peter Lombard, Roland of Bologna, Alan of Lille, and Peter of Poitiers — answer these questions. In doing so, it illuminates the origins of theological techniques that persist and continue to play an important role in fourteenth- century discussions of predestination by theologians such as Peter Auriol, while also demonstrating the inadequacies of describing theologians from the second half of the twelfth century in terms of schools.