Christian Platonism

Rediscovering Ancient Wisdom

Exegesis of the Fall of Adam and Eve in Lombard’s Sentences

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Exegesis of the Fall Adam and Eve in Lombard’s Sentences

Book 2, Distinction 24

Chapter IV.

On (man’s) sensuality.

For the sensuality is a certain inferior force of the soul, out of which there is a movement, which is intended for [intenditur in] the senses of the7 body and the appetite for things pertaining to the body; but the reason is the superior force of the soul, which, as we thus say, has two parts and/or differences, the superior and the inferior.  According to the superior it intends to catch sight of [conspiciendis] and/or to take counsel with [consulendis] supernal (things), according to the inferior it looks forward to [prospicit]8 the arrangement of temporal (things).  Therefore whatever occurs in our soul when we are considering ourselves [nobis considerantibus], which is not common with the beasts [bestiis], pertains to the reason.  But what you find in it common with large animals [bellusis], pertains to the sensuality.  And where something occurs first to us, gradually progressing in the consideration of the parts of the soul, which is not common with the beasts, there begins the reason.  Moreover (St.) Augustine teaches this in the twelfth book On the Trinity,9 saying thus:  « Let us see, where there is a certain confine of the exterior and interior man.  For whatever we have in mind (which is) common with sheep [pecore], is rightly said to pertain to the “exterior man”. For not only will the body be deputed the “exterior man”, but certain adjuncts with his life, by which the companions of the body and all senses thrive, by which he has been instructed to sense exterior (things) ».  « Ascending, therefore, inward [introrsum] by certain steps of consideration through the parts of the soul, where something begins to occur, which for us is not common with the beasts, there begins the reason, where the interior man can already be acknowledged.10

Chapter V.

On (man’s) reason and its parts.

« But the superior part of reason clings to the eternal reasons to caught sight of [conspiciendis] and/or take counsel with [consulendis] (them), the inferior portion is deflected to govern temporal (things) ».1 « And that intention of reason, by which we contemplate eternals, is deputed to wisdom [sapientiae]; but the latter, by which we use temporal things well, is deputed to knowledge [scientiae] ». « However, when we speak in an orderly manner [disserimus] of the nature of the human mind, we treat of [disserimus] one certain thing, nor do we join it together in these two, which I have mentioned [commemoravi],2 except (when we consider it) through (its) offices ». « Moreover the movement of the carnal or sensual soul, which is intended for [intenditur in] the senses of the body, is common to us and to sheep [pecoribusque], which (movement) is secluded from the reckoning of wisdom [ratione sapientiae], but is near to the reckoning of knowledge [rationi scientiae] ».*

Chapter VI.

On the similar order of sinning in us and in (our) first parents.

That, too, must not be overlooked, that there is such an order and progression of temptation now in one man, as there then preceded in (our) first parents. For as the serpent then recommended [suasit] evil to the woman, and she consented, thereupon [deinde] she gave (the forbidden fruit) to the man, and thus the sin was consummated;

Chapter VII.

That in us is the man and the woman and the serpent.

So too now, in us, for the serpent there is the movement of the sensual soul, for the woman the inferior portion of the reason, for the man the superior portion of the reason.  And the latter is the man, who according to the Apostle is said (to be) “the image and glory of God”;3 and the former is the woman, which is said according to the same (to be) “the glory of the man”.

Chapter IX.

In what kind of manner is temptation consummated in us through those three?

Now it remains to show, in what manner sin is consummated in us through these three; where it can be acknowledged, if it be attended to [intendatur] diligently, what in the soul is a mortal, and/or venial sin. For as there the serpent recommended7 to the woman, and the woman to the man; so too in us a sensual movement, when it begins to feel [conceperit] the allurement of sin, suggests (it) [suggerit] as the serpent to the woman, namely to the inferior part of reason, that is to the reckoning of knowledge; which if she consents to the allurement, the woman eats the forbidden food; after she gives to the man from the same, when she suggests the same allurement to the superior part of reason, that is to the reckoning of wisdom, which if it consents then the man too tastes with the female the forbidden fruit.

English Translation  © 2008, 2009 by Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Br. Bugnolo’s efforts in translating Lombard’s Sentences are recognized and appreciated.

These short excerpts are displayed for research purposes only under the terms of fair use of copyrighted material.  The entire work, including footnotes, can be accessed by the link below.  I may replace these excerpts with a paraphrase.  The purpose is to compare Lombard’s psychological interpretation of Adam and Eve with that of Philo of Alexandria.

via LIBER SECUNDUS SENTENTIARUM — D. 24: Petri Lombardi.

Written by John Uebersax

February 9, 2009 at 7:24 pm

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