Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peter Lombard on Virtues: Distinction 36

PETER LOMBARD ALSO ADDRESSES the issue of virtues from a Christian perspective in Distinction 36 of Book 3 of his Sentences.   In this distinction, Lombard addresses the interconnectivity of the virtues and their essential equality.  Essentially, he comes to the "probable" conclusion that the theological virtues enjoy a strong unity, as do the "infused" cardinal virtues.  This is based upon the view that the theological and cardinal virtues are all "children" of the mother of all virtues, charity, that is, love of God and love of neighbor for love of God.

Peter Lombard

As we did in our last blog posting, we shall quote those parts of Distinction 36 which relate to the virtues [Chapter 1 and 2 (except for the last paragraph), but not Chapter 3], allowing the Master to speak for himself, and then simply closing this posting with some comments.


Chapter 1 (135)

1.  ON THE CONNECTION OF THE VIRTUES WHICH ARE NOT SEPARATED.  It is also usual to ask whether the virtues are so conjoined that thy cannot be possessed separately by anyone: one who has one of them has all of the.  --JEROME, ON ISAIAS.  Concerning this, Jerome says: "All the virtues are joined to each other, so that he ho lacks one of them lacks all of them."  [Interlinear gloss, on Is. 56:1 see also Jerome, In Isaiam 16.11], and so one ho has one of them has all of them.

2.  And this indeed seems probable.  For since charity is the mother of all the virtues [See Distinctions 23, c. 3 n. 2], it is rightly believed that in whomever is the mother herself, namely charity, in him also are all her children, that is the virtues.--AUGUSTINE, ON JOHN.  Hence Augustine: "Where there is charity, what can possibly be wanting?  But where there is none, what is there that can possibly be profitable?" [Aug., In Ioannem 15.12, tr. 83, n. 3]--AUGUSTINE TO JEROME: "Why, then, do we not say that, whoever has this virtue has all of them, since charity is the fullness of the Law? [Cf. Rom. 13:10]  And the more it is in a man, the more he is endowed with virtue; the less, the less is there virtue in him; and the less virtue is in him, the more is there vice." [Aug., Epistola 167, c. 3, n. 11]

Chapter 2 (136)

1.  WHETHER ALL THE VIRTUES ARE EQUALLY PRESENT IN ANYONE IN WHOM THEY ARE.  But it is a question whether one who possesses all the virtues has them in equal measure, or whether some flourish more and some less in someone.

2.  For it has seemed to some that some of them had more and some less by someone, as patience was eminent in Job, humility in David, meekness in Moses.  These also grant that one may merit more by one virtue than by another, just as he has the one more fully than the other.  And yet they say that one cannot merit more by any other virtue than by charity, nor can any other be had more fully by anyone than charity.   And so they say that the other virtues can be more or less in someone, but none more fully than charity, which generates the others.  And they say that these are the many faces which the Apostle mentions, saying: From the persons of man faces, etc. [Cf. 2 Cor. 1:11]

3.  Others say more truly that all virtues are joined and equal in anyone in whom they are, so whoever is equal to another in one of the virtues, is also equal to him in all the others.--AUGUSTINE, IN BOOK 6, ON THE TRINITY.  Hence Augustine: "The virtues which are in the human mind, although each is understood in its own distinct way, are yet in no way separable from each other, so that, for instance, those who are equal in fortitude are also equal in prudence, and in justice, and in temperance.  For if you were to say that these men are equal in fortitude, but that one of them is greater in prudence, it follows that the fortitude of the other is less prudent, and so they are not equal in fortitude, since the fortitude of the form is more prudent.  And so you will find it to be with the other virtues, if you consider them in the same way." [Aug., De Trin., 6.4.6]

4.  From these words, it is clear that all the virtues are not only connected, but also equal in a man's spirit.  And so, when someone is said to be pre-eminent in some virtue, as Abraham in faith, Job in patience, this is to be taken according to external uses, or by comparison to other men.  Either such a man especially displays the habit of humility, or he particularly performs the work of faith, or of another of the virtues, so that he is said to be stronger in it than others, or to excel singularly in it among other men.

5.  AUGUSTINE, TO JEROME.  According to this manner, namely according to the reasons for external acts, Augustine says elsewhere that in someone one virtue is more and another less, or that one virtue is in him and another not.  For he speaks as follows: "From that most famous dissertation of yours, it is sufficiently clear that it has not seemed good to our authors, or rather to truth itself, that all sins are equal, even if this is true of the virtues."  [Aug., Epistola 167, c. 2, n. 4]  "For even though it is true that he who has one virtue has all of them, and that he who lacks one virtue has none of them, all sins are not equal in the same way.  For where there is no virtue, there is nothing right, and yet it does not follow that worse cannot become even worse, or what is distorted become even more so  But if, as I believe to be more true and more congruent with the sacred Letters, the dispositions of the soul are like embers of the body (not that they appear in [higher or lower] places, but that they are perceived by the affections), then one is illuminated more fully, another less so, and a third entirely lacks light.  If this is the case, then just as each person is affected by the light of pious charity, and more in one action, less in another, or not at all in a third, so he may be said to have one virtue and to lack another one, or to have one virtue more and another less.  For insofar as it pertains to that charity which is piety, we may rightly say that 'charity is greater in this man than in that one,' and 'there is some of it in this man, none in that one.'  Also, as to an individual, [we may say] that he has greater chastity than patience, and that he has it in a higher degree today than he had yesterday, if he is making progress; or that he still lacks continence, but possesses not a small measure of mercy.  To summarize generally and briefly the view which I have of virtue: Virtue is the charity with which that which ought to be loved is loved.  This is greater in some people, in others less, and in others not at all; but in its greatest fullness, which admits of no increase, it exists in no man while in this life." [Ibid., c. 4, nn. 14-15]

6.  Here it seems to be indicated that one may be said to have one virtue more than another by reason that, through charity, he applies himself more to the act of one virtue than of another; and because of the difference in acts, he may be said to have the virtues themselves more or less, or not to have one of them, even though he has all of them equally and conjointly as to the habit of mind or the essence of each.  But in act he has the one ore, the other less; he may also lack one of them, as a just man, who makes use of marriage, does not have continence in act, which he nevertheless has in habit."*/**

Drawing principally from St. Augustine, though in some measure from St. Jerome and the Venerable Bede, Peter Lombard set the stage for the medieval Scholastics to ruminate on the Sentences, including those provisions dealing with the cardinal virtues.  Clearly, the virtues are no longer pagan, as they find their doctrinal source in the biblical book of Wisdom, and they find their spiritual source in charity, the paradigmatic Christian virtue.

As Houser summarizes Peter Lombard's ultimate contribution:

For the development of the doctrine of the cardinal virtues, Lombard initiated a new age. In his Sentences, thirteenth-century Masters, whose greater knowledge of Aristotelian principles allowed them to move far beyond the Master's rudimentary ideas saw several things of importance: seven virtues--three theological and four cardinal; seven Christian virtues designed for the sake of returning us to our "heavenly homeland (patria)"; and cardinal virtues that are infused by God and as connected and equal to each other as are the theological virtues. And in Lombard they met vestiges of antique and Patristic moral rigorism; but only vestiges, for he approached morality with a new spirit. This was perhaps his most important bequest to the century to follow. His thought may not have been sophisticated but his moral canvas was wide; at least it was wide enough to incorporate ordinary folk along with saints and sinners. In this respect, he can be said to have begun the scholastic drive for an all-encompassing moral vision, one which radically revised the doctrine of the cardinal virtues inherited from the Fathers.

Houser, 41-42.
*Peter Lombard, The Sentences, Book III (Giulio Silano, trans.) (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies, 2008).
**The Latin text with notes removed:
Caput 1 (135). 

1. De connexione virtutum quae non separantur. Solet etiam quaeri utrum virtutes ita sint sibi coniunctae, ut separatim non possint possideri ab aliquo, sed qui unam habet, omnes habeat. — Hieronymus, super Isaiam. De hoc Hieronymus ait: "Omnes virtutes sibi haerent, ut qui una caruerit, omnibus careat"; qui ergo unam habet, omnes liabet. 2. Quod quidem probabile est. Cum enim caritas mater sit omnium virtutum, in quocumque mater ipsa est, scilicet caritas, et cuncti filii eius, id est virtutes, recte fore creduntur. — Augustinus, super Ioannem. Unde Augustinus: "Ubi caritas est, quid est quod possit deesse? Ubi autem non est, quid est quod possit prodesse?" — Augustinus, ad Hieronymum: "Cur ergo non dicimus, qui hanc virtutem habet, habere omnes, cum plenitudo Legis sit caritas? quae quanto magis est in homme, tanto magis est virtute praeditus; quanto vero minus, tanto minus inest virtus; et quanto minus inest virtus, tanto magis est vitium."

Caput 2 (136). 

1. Si cunctae virtutes pariter sit in quocumque sunt. Utrum vero pariter quis omnes possideat virtutes, an aliae magis, aliae minus in aliquo ferveant, quaestio est.

2. Quibusdam 1 enim videtur quod aiiae magis, aiiae minus habean tur ab aliquo, sicut in lob patientia eminuit, in David humilitas, in Moyse mansuetudo. Qui etiam concedunt magis aliquem mereri per aliquam unam virtutem quam per aliam, sicut eam plenius habet quam aliam. Non ta men magis per aliquam mereri dicunt quam per caritatem, nec aliquam plenius a quoquam liaberi quam caritatem. Alias igitur magis et alias minus in aliquo esse dicunt, sed nuilam pienius cantate, quae Ceteras gignit. Hasque dicunt esse multas facies quas memorat Apostolus dicens: Ex personis multarum facierum etc.

3. Alii venus dicunt omnes virtutes et simul et pares esse in quo— cumque sunt, ut qui in una alteri par exstiterit, in omnibus eidem ae qualis sit. — Augustinus In VI libro De Trinitate . Unde Augustinus: "Virtutes quae sunt in animo humano, quamvis alio et alio modo singulae inteliigantur, nuilo modo tamen separantur ab invicem: ut quicumque fuerint aequales, verbi gratia, in fortitudine, aequales sint et prudentia et iustitia et temperantia. Si enim dixeris aequales esse istos in fortitudine, sed ilium praestare prudentia, sequitur ut huius fortituclo minus prudens sit; ac per hoc nec fortitudine aequales sunt, quia est illius fortitudo prudentior. Atque ita de ceteris virtutibus invenies, si omnes eadem consideratione percurras".

4. Ex his clarescit omnes virtutes non modo esse connexas, sed etiam pares in animo hominis. Cum ergo dicitur aliquis aliqua praeminere vir tute, ut Abraham fide, Iob patientia, secundum usus exteriores accipien dum est, vel in comparatione aliorum hominum. Quia vel humilitatis habitum maxime praefert, vel opus fidei vel alicuius ceterarum virtutum praecipue exsequitur: unde et ea prae aliis pollere, vel inter alios hommes singulariter excellere dicitur.

5. Augustinus, ad Hieronymum. Secundum hunc modum, scilicet secundum rationem actuum exteriorum, alibi Augustinus dicit in aliquo aliam magis esse virtutem, aliam minus, et unam esse et non alteram. Ait enim sic: "Clarissima disputatione tua satis apparuit non placuisse auctoribus nostris, immo ipsi veritati, omnia paria esse peccata, etiam si hoc de virtutibus verum sit". "Quia etsi verum est eum qui  habet unam, omnes habere virtutes, et eum qui unam non habet, nullam habere, nec sic peccata sunt paria. Quia ubi virtus nulla est, nihil rectum est, nec tamen ideo non est pravo pravius distortoque distortius. Si autem, quod puto esse verjus sacrisque Litteris congruentius, ita sunt animae intentiones ut corporis membra (non quod videantur locis, sed quod sentiantur affectibus), et alius illuminatur amplius, alius minus, alius omnino caret lumine: profecto ut quisque illustratione piae caritatis af fectus est: in alio actu magis, in alio minus, in aliquo nihil, sic dici potest habere aliam, et aliam non habere; et aliam magis, aliam minus habere virtutem. Nam et ‘major est in isto caritas quam in illo’ recte possumus dicere; et ‘aliqua in isto, nulla in illo’, quantum pertinet ad caritatem quae pietas est. Et in uno homme, quod maiorem habeat pudicitiam quam patientiam; et maiorem hodie quam heri, si proficit; et adhuc non habeat continentiam, et habeat non parvam misericordiam. Et ut generaliter breviterque complectar quam de virtute habeo notionem: Virtus est caritas qua id quod diligendum est diligitur. Haec in aliis maior, in aliis minor, in aliis nulla est; plenissima vero, quae iam non possit augeri, quamdiu hic homo vivit, in nemine".

6. Hic insinuari videtur quod aliquis ea ratione possit dici habere unam virtutem magis quam aliam, quia per caritatem magis afficitur in actu unius virtutis quam alterius; et propter differentiam actuum, ipsas virtutes magis vel minus habere dici potest; et aliquam non habere, cum tamen simul omnes et pariter habeat quantum ad mentis habitum vel essentiam cuiusque. In actu vero aliam magis, aliam minus habet; aliam etiam non habet, ut vir iustus, utens coniugio, non habet continentiam in actu, quam tamen habet in habitu.

The Latin text is available at:

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