James of Metz

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Very little is known about the life and times of James Metz. It is a mystery when he was born and when he died, but what is known is that he was philosophically active in the first decade of the fourteenth century. Of his works that survive presently, much of it remains unedited, and only a dozen manuscript copies still exist.[1] James was known as a Dominican Theologian, which meant following the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas. However, James earned the reputation for being a "critical-Thomist,"[2] as he openly disagreed some of Aquinas's positions. One account of James describes him as an “eclectic thinker,” and that his works were partially influenced by Peter of Auvergne as well as Henry of Ghent.[3]

Philosophical[edit]

The only philosophical work of James’s that is known for certain is that he gave two lectures on Peter Lombard’s Sentences.[4] Presumably, these lectures occurred at the University of Paris, roughly from 1300-1306. An instance in which James did not see eye-to-eye with Aquinas was in regard to the way Aquinas described individuation by matter. Aquinas held the view that that matter is the principle of individuation. James, on the other hand, believed that form is the principle of individuation.[5] Another disagreement between James and Aquinas concerned the process of knowledge, primarily knowledge of immaterial substances and knowledge of God. James’s views differed from those of Aquinas in that James attempted to find compatibility between Augustinian and Aristotelian accounts of knowledge. These disagreements with Aquinas warranted criticism from the Master General of Dominican Order, Hervaeus Natalis, as he wrote a doctrine called "A Correction of Brother James Metz." [6] Concerning the divine essence, James held the view that it functioned as an origin, and that it “performs solely in relation to being.”[7] James advocated that there is a duality to the divine essence. In one instance it is a pure essence, the sole origin of our act and our being. In the second instance, James believed essence can also be seen as an attribute, and that it is the cause of specific actions.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gracia, Jorge J.E., and Timothy B. Noone. A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Malden : Blackwell, 2003. 249-251.
  2. ^ Irribarren, Isabel. "Henry of Ghent's Teaching on Modes and its Influence in the Fourteenth Century." Mediaeval Studies. 64. Toronto : Pontificial Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2002. Print.
  3. ^ Gracia, Jorge J.E., and Timothy B. Noone. A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Malden : Blackwell, 2003. 249-251.
  4. ^ Pasnau, Robert. The Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010. 899. Print.
  5. ^ Gracia, Jorge J.E., and Timothy B. Noone. A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages. Malden : Blackwell, 2003. 249-251.
  6. ^ Brown, Stephen F., and Juan Carlos Flores. Historical Dictionary of Medieval Philosophy and Theology. 76. Toronto : The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2007. 150-151. Print.
  7. ^ Mojsisch, Burkhard. Meister Eckart: Analogy, Univocity, and Unity. Philadelphia: John Benjamins B.V., 2001. 113-16. Print.