ND   JMC : History of Medieval Philosophy / by Maurice De Wulf


326. Life and Works. -- John DUNS SCOTUS was born in 1274 according to some, according to others in 1266. It is disputed whether he first saw the light in Ireland, Scotland or England: the probabilities seem in favour of Ireland. At an early age he was received into the Franciscan order. At Oxford he followed the lectures of William Ware, who, with Petrus de Trabibus, was fostering a new tendency in Franciscan studies. He also felt the influence of Roger Bacon, and the anti-Thomistic spirit of Oxford must undoubtedly have inspired him with many of his hostile criticisms of Thomism. He himself taught at Oxford in 1294, or perhaps earlier. Thence he passed to Paris in 1304. While yet at Oxford he defended the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, but it was not for the purpose of promoting a cause so dear to him that he left Oxford for Paris, as the legend would have us believe. In 1308 he set out for Cologne, on the order of his superiors. He died there that same year -- at the early age of about thirty-four.

At Oxford, Scotus wrote his Commentaries on Aristotle (the Logic, the treatise De Anima and the Metaphysics; the authenticity of the commentaries on the Physics is doubtful); his great Commentary on the Book of Sentences (Opus Oxoniense); the De Rerum Principio; and the Theoremata. The works he wrote at Paris were collected by his disciples under the title of Reportata Parisiensia or Opus Parisiense. His Quodlibeta, which form his last work, are the public defences which secured for him the degree of doctor of theology at Paris.

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