Vierteljahresschrift für das Gesamtgebiet der katholischen Theologie
Begründet von Kardinal Leo Scheffczyk • ISSN 0178-1626


Michael Stickelbroeck:
The Immediate Vision of God and the Human Knowledge of the Soul of Christ according to John Duns Scotus
(FKTh 2015-3, p. 178–197)

The »Quaestiones« 1–4 of the 13th »Distinctio« in the III. book of the »Commentary of Centences«, which was written by John Duns Scotus in Oxford and Paris, examines the relation of divine and human knowledge of the soul of Christ, which has due to the status of a permanent vision of God not only a natural cognition, but also about objects, she sees in the Word. For Scotus the uncancellable difference between divine and human, remaining valid in the hypostatic Union of both natures, rules over the cognitive act of Christ.

The cognitive act of human cannot simply be identical with the divine knowledge of the Word, even though the soul of Christ sees everything in the Word, just as she sees the Word itself sub ratione infiniti. The intellect of Christ must own every perfection whatsoever any created intellect could possess. But the cognition of all things in their own objective reality does not suspend the limitation and finiteness of a created faculty of cognition. Christ recognized everything by way of an abstractive and intuitive cognition. Thereby does the abstractive cognition not lead to recognition of objects in their singularity and contingency. Therefore Christ depended on an intuitive cognition, which demanded a presence of the object in its actual existence.

And on this level appears the necessity, that Christ in his experimental cognition, whose acquirement is linked to the sensation, progressed by learning. It shows precisely in the acquirement of human knowledge based on experience, that Christ was viator with us. Thus for Scotus the Chalcedonian definition »without confusion or change, without division or separation« is expressed in such a manner, that the human understanding of Jesus and the creative knowledge of the Word are incommensurable dimensions; they cannot be fused in the unity of one single »consciousness«.

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