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The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought$

M. S. Kempshall

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207160

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207160.001.0001

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Henry of Ghent—Self-Love and Inclusion

Henry of Ghent—Self-Love and Inclusion

(p.157) 6 Henry of Ghent—Self-Love and Inclusion
The Common Good in Late Medieval Political Thought


Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Henry of Ghent's theology and writing. It notes that when Henry does consider the common good of human society in abstract terms, it is in this context, not of metaphysics, but of love. It explains that love is a principle which both Aristotle and Augustine had made central to the operation of a political community. It reasons that in the discussions of the common good, scholastic theologians are quick to examine the relationship between love for one's own good and love for the good of the community. It reports that as far as everything other than God is concerned, Henry suggests that an intellectual creature has a greater love for itself. It reasons that an individual loves himself in the first instance and his neighbor only by extension in that he wills good for himself before he wills good for someone else.

Keywords:   Henry of Ghent, common good, human society, metaphysics, love, Aristotle, Augustine, political community

Despite his prominence in the faculty of theology at Paris between 1276 and 1293, Henry of Ghent cuts a curious figure in the historiography of scholastic thought. What has made him so problematic is his capacity to draw on several different intellectual traditions without producing an entirely convincing synthesis. Fundamental tensions have been detected, for example, in his combination of a Neoplatonic and Augustinian metaphysics with an epistemology based on Aristotle and Averroes.1 This apparent lack of harmony stems, in part, from Henry’s own attitude to using philosophical authorities—if he is prepared to quote Aristotle and Averroes in the course of theological arguments, then he insists that the content of such citation could still be both flawed and insufficient.2 Even when modern commentators have sought to identify development rather than systematization, it remains debatable whether Henry’s writings reveal a departure from certain Aristotelian tenets or a desire to see them accommodated.3 Small wonder, perhaps, that Henry should be characterized as ‘un penseur éclectique et personnel’, a theologian whose complexity and subtlety of thought is matched only by an exhaustive, even prolix, style of writing.4

Moral and political philosophy may not have commanded as much of Henry’s attention as metaphysics and epistemology but his handling of ethical and political subjects reveals a similarly complex juxtaposition of ‘Augustinian’ and ‘Aristotelian’ (p.158) elements. Not surprisingly, it too has been criticized on grounds of clarity: ‘il s’engage dans les distinctions tellement subtiles et multipliées que ses conclusions se trouvent le plus souvent conditionelles et incertaines’.5 Indeed, if anything, Henry’s moral and political philosophy has proved to be even more elusive than his metaphysics because his Summa never received the comprehensive treatment of Creation which had originally been planned.6 To discuss Henry of Ghent’s ‘political thought’, therefore, is to discuss a series of observations on particular issues which are scattered throughout his quodlibets. Although a degree of consistency can still be posited (both the Summa and the Quaestiones Quodlibetales were subsequently revised by Henry himself), any analysis has to respect the fragmentary nature of his discussions.7

If Henry of Ghent’s theology is to be characterized as an uneasy fusion of metaphysical principle with natural philosophy, then this will clearly have significant repercussions for his political thought. It is on these grounds that Henry has sometimes been used to illustrate a more general tension between scholastic metaphysics and political philosophy. By translating the principles of an objective and transcendent goodness into the political sphere, it is argued, Henry only succeeded in producing an uneasy synthesis of Aristotelian social morality and Christian individualism, an absorption of the individual within the community which went much further than Aristotle’s ‘natural’ participation and which was only partially mitigated by his insistence that the individual good must always be included within the common good.8 By not drawing a distinction between principles which apply to goodness in the universe and principles which apply to the good of the community, it is suggested, Henry serves to demonstrate the dangers of mixing metaphysics with politics.

Henry’s understanding of the common good is clearly central to such a characterization. Rather than reveal a heady mixture of metaphysics and politics, however, Henry’s references to a metaphysical common good, either as the ratio boni or as the object of the will, are notable for their absence from his analysis of explicitly political subjects.9 Unlike Aquinas, in fact, Henry of Ghent appears to have kept discussion of the good in common largely separate from his account of the good of the human community. Some of the abstract references which he does make are certainly suggestive—when he distinguishes between a natural and an artificial integral whole, for (p.159) example, or when he distinguishes between an absolute good (bonum simpliciter) and a congruent good (bonum conveniens) in order to separate the primary object of the human will (bonum simpliciter sub ratione boni) from the object which it shares with the rest of Creation (bonum conveniens commune or bonum conveniens in generali).10 Likewise, when Henry distinguishes between what is common by predication and what is common by participation,11 or when he distinguishes between two senses (composition and order) in which a number of individual goods can be both many and one (as a means of reconciling the doctrine of the simplicity of God with Boethius’ definition of beatitude as ‘the perfect condition of all good things collected together’).12 Nevertheless, the implications of these distinctions for how Henry may subsequently have viewed the common good of human society remain just that. In none of these instances is any direct connection made with a specifically political community. There remains, therefore, very little textual support for the suggestion that Henry himself was drawing a connection between metaphysical and political goods. This does not mean that Henry’s account of the relationship between the good of the individual and the good of the community is entirely lacking in a theoretical dimension. However, when Henry does consider the common good of human society in abstract terms, it is in the context, not of metaphysics, but of love.

Love was a principle which both Aristotle and Augustine had made central to the operation of a political community. As a result, in their discussions of the common good, scholastic theologians were quick to examine the relationship between love for one’s own good and love for the good of the community. Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas, and Giles of Rome had all concluded that the supreme expression of such a relationship was the act of self-sacrifice, laying down one’s property and even one’s life for the sake of the common good. Within this broad consensus, however, there were significant differences of approach. For Aquinas and Giles, the identification of the good of the community as the life of virtue meant that self-sacrifice was the product of a straightforward equation—just as the individual loves the common good in God as the good on which his individual good depends for its goodness and existence, so the individual loves the common good of the human community as the good in which his individual good is included and from which his own good follows as a consequence. For Albertus Magnus, on the other hand, the performance of self-sacrifice was dependent on first clarifying the exact nature of the common good to (p.160) which such an action was being directed—was it virtue or peace? The individual who lays down his life, he concluded, thereby secures his own greatest good of virtue, the good which is common to the whole community, but this good, in its turn, is superior to the material security which his act of self-sacrifice will subsequently produce for the community.

When Henry of Ghent came to consider the relationship between the individual good and the common good in the context of love, therefore, he was faced not only by the need to clarify his own approach to the motivation behind self-sacrifice but also by a choice of definitions which could be given to the good of human society—was it the goal or the result of virtuous action? The consequences of Henry’s decision are of considerable significance, both for an assessment of the scholastic understanding of the common good and for an evaluation of his own reputation as a thinker. Whether Henry of Ghent is to continue being characterized as a theologian who produced an unsatisfactory mixture of metaphysical principle and political reality, or whether he should, in fact, be credited with drawing a distinction between a transcendent common good and the good of the human community, depends to a large extent on a detailed examination of his account of the operation of love.

According to Aquinas, the relationship between the individual good and the common good needed to be placed within a clearly articulated order of love whereby increasing degrees of love should be shown to increasing degrees of community. Viewed from this perspective, what is so striking about Henry of Ghent’s analysis is that it repeatedly restricts the ordo caritatis to the three categories of love originally established by Augustine—love of self, love of neighbour, and love of God—leaving little or no room for any intermediate good of the community. As far as Henry is concerned, the principle of love for a ‘good in common’ seems to operate only when this bonum in communi exists in God.13 This is immediately apparent from Henry’s reaction to Aristotle’s account of natural love and his response to the standard scholastic question which it had prompted—whether a creature with an intellect is capable of loving God more than all other things when it is exercising a purely natural love.14 Henry opens his discussion by distinguishing the two ways in which an essential good can be loved—either it is loved because it is good in itself or it is loved because it is good for the individual who loves it. Henry uses the first category to answer the original question in the affirmative. An intellectual creature does have a natural love for God above all other things because God is an absolute good, the reason why every other good is loved, and the universal good of which every other good simply forms a part. As far as everything other than God is concerned, however, Henry suggests that an intellectual creature has a greater natural love for itself. In human society, (p.161) therefore, an individual loves himself in the first instance and his neighbour only by extension in that he wills good for himself before he wills good for someone else. Henry cites book IX of the Ethics in support of this conclusion—a human being will do and suffer many things for his friends; he will lose money, honour, and even his own life, but, in the process, he will secure good for himself (procurans sibi ipsi bonum).15

Self-love, of course, is not the same as selfish love, and Henry is quick to acknowledge that both Aristotle’s Ethics and Cicero’s De Amicitia had described the beneficial effects which legitimate self-love should have on others. Discussing Aristotle’s definition of political happiness, for example, Henry sets up as universally applicable the principle that all parts of Creation are ordered in such a way that they help and sustain one another. This principle applies to the particular virtues which make up political happiness, to the individuals who are exercising these virtues in the political community, and to rulers who are ruling in good and peaceful governments.16 The same principle also covers the exercise of friendship between individuals in society.17 Friendship may originate in desiring goodness for oneself18 but, if an individual loves the good of virtue for its own sake and loves himself on that account, then he will also love his own good of virtue in his neighbour and will love his neighbour on that account. To love oneself more than one loves another individual does not, in Henry’s view, represent the perfection of love. For this observation, Henry turns to Richard of St Victor—an individual wills the good of virtue to be loved jointly, by himself and by his neighbour, and it is only in this trinity that love can be made perfect.19 Friendship may originate in willing good for oneself and others (benevolentia), it may be developed by actually doing good to others (beneficentia), but it is only consummated by the presence of mutual faith (confidentia). It is the exercise of all three types of love which makes individuals ‘one’ according to Aristotle’s definition of a friend as ‘another self’.20 It is for this reason, Henry concludes, that friendship is directed towards the common exercise of all the virtues. Whilst other virtuous actions are performed for their own sake, the actions of friendship are performed for the common benefit of those who love each other (ut in communem utilitatem sese interamantium producuntur).21

Henry’s understanding of friendship clearly represents more than just a polarization between a disinterested love of God and a legitimate love of self which then extends towards one’s neighbour. Friendship comprises not only love for one’s own good and the good of one’s neighbour but also for the good of virtue in which self and neighbour can communicate. Nevertheless, Henry only refers to a ‘common benefit’ on one occasion and, when he does so, it is not the common good itself which is loved (as Aquinas argued) but the individuals themselves. It is love for other individuals which inspires the actions of virtue which then ‘result’ in common benefit.

(p.162) The extent to which Henry’s analysis of the ordo caritatis differs from the account put forward by Aquinas is underlined by his treatment of an issue which both Aquinas and Albertus had considered to be an exemplary manifestation of love for a common good—the correction and punishment of sins which damage the community.22 In his very first quodlibet in 1276, Henry was asked whether an individual in a religious community should publicly reveal a secret sin if his superior has commanded him to do so on oath. Comparing the love which is owed to one’s neighbour with the love which is owed to oneself, Henry sets out two conclusions. The greatest act of Caritas towards one’s neighbour, he argues, is to exhort him to correct his sin in private, since there is no circumstance in which one’s neighbour should be betrayed and his private sin made public. The same principle applies if the sin in question is one’s own. In fact, in this instance, Henry regards the obligation to perform an act of Caritas towards oneself to be all the greater, since an individual’s love for himself should be greater than the love which he has for his neighbour.23 The correction of a private sin, however, is a different matter from the punishment of a public crime. Like Albertus and Aquinas, therefore, Henry goes on to argue that the punishment of a sinner should be public when the sin in question (theft, for example, or murder) disturbs the peace of the res publica.24 Whilst the biblical injunction to love one’s neighbour as oneself still carries the obligation to secure the good of one’s neighbour, Henry points out that this duty represents only one side of an equation. Correction has two functions—admonition and punishment—each one of which is motivated by a different intention. Whilst admonition is an act of Caritas performed for the betterment of the sinner, punishment is an act of authority performed to instil terror into those who witness it.25

It is at this point in the argument that Henry begins to part company with Albertus and Aquinas. Unlike Aquinas, who promptly established the relative priority of admonition and punishment by appealing to the superiority of the common good of the community over the private good of the sinner, Henry makes no attempt to bring these functions within a single scale of reference. Indeed, Henry actually quotes ‘certain people’ (unnamed but who must have included Aquinas) according to whom, if an individual’s sin has not been corrected by private admonition and if it continues to have a detrimental effect upon his neighbour and the res publica, then it should be denounced to a superior authority. Although Henry does consider this to be a permissible line of argument, he insists that such an act of delation should not be allowed to qualify as fraternal correction because denunciation is primarily ordered towards the goal of securing the public good and not the good of the sinner. Fraternal correction pertains to Caritas, he states, whereas denunciation pertains to public justice.26 Significantly, Henry goes no further than simply making this distinction. (p.163) Once again, he compares neither the demands of the individual good of the sinner and the common good of the damaged res publica, nor the public good of justice with the ordo caritatis. All he does do is appeal to the authority of Augustine.27 A similar silence occurs when Henry discusses the death penalty for the crime of theft and draws a distinction between the capacity of the criminal to be corrected and the harm which his crime has caused.28 Although Henry describes theft as an action which is contrary to natural law and to Cicero’s pactum humanae societatis, and although he appeals to the same corporeal analogy as Aquinas (the amputation of diseased limbs), Henry makes no mention of the common good. ‘Harm caused’ is considered only in terms of God and one’s neighbour.

The impression that Henry of Ghent is determined to avoid positing any principle of love for a common good is strengthened by his reply to the question which Giles of Rome regarded as a prime example of this principle in action—should everything in the political community be held in common? Henry’s approach is to reconcile the positions put forward by Plato and Aristotle, and to incorporate them both within a Christian framework, by distinguishing between three conditions of humankind—prelapsarian ideal (exemplified by Plato’s Republic), postlapsarian practice (exemplified in Aristotle and Cicero), and restoration by grace (exemplified by the heavenly Jerusalem). The basis for each of these conditions, Henry argues, is a different notion of love. Thus, Plato’s citizens were united primarily by the object of their love in the sense that each individual loved the possessions of others ‘as if they were his own’ (sicut circa propria) and secured the good of another citizen ‘as if it were his own’ (sicut et proprium). As a paradigm for this principle of identity, Henry appeals to the corporeal imagery of 1 Corinthians 12—individuals are ‘members’ of one another—and suggests that this is the sense in which Socrates’ notorious ‘community’ of wives and children should be understood. According to Henry, therefore, when Aristotle attacked the community of goods in book II of the Politics, he had simply misconstrued the type of unity which was being put forward in the Republic. On Henry’s reading, Plato’s injunctions were entirely in accordance with natural law and did not exclude private use according to the demands of time, place, and right reason. A community of goods may be based on a common affection but this common affection is based, in turn, on an individual’s love of self. The greatest peace, concord, and friendship, Henry argues, are secured by the fact that those material goods which belong to another person as his property, and which are shared by everyone as their common possession, are nevertheless one’s own insofar as they are the object of one’s love. Henry is determined to stress the point. The ideal community, he writes, is connected by the greatest friendship, through which everyone is regarded as another self (alter ipse), by the greatest love, through which everyone loves one another as he loves himself (sicut seipsum), and by the greatest benevolence, through which everyone wishes for another what he wishes for himself (vellet alteri quodsibi). (p.164) Love for what is in common is ultimately defined by the love which an individual has for himself.

Henry is careful, once again, to distinguish self-love from selfish love. The one point which he does concede to Aristotle, therefore, is the recognition that it is impossible for humankind in its natural capacity to possess the degree of friendship which is necessary to secure Plato’s ideal community of goods. According to Henry, if natural love will always tend to love what is its own more than it loves what belongs to another, and to love what is good for itself more than what is good for others, then it will do so to an extent which exceeds the legitimate level prescribed by Caritas. Even Aristotle, for all his recognition of human weaknesses, did not advocate the purely private possession of material goods. To have done this, Henry argues, would have been to advocate the civitas terrena, the community founded on selfish love which had been set up by Augustine as one of his two paradigms for human society. By the same token, however, Henry also accepts that the community founded on love of God—Augustine’s civitas Dei—can only be realized in heaven. Until this perfection is reached, he concludes, human beings must live with the consequences of their own sinful nature. Henry’s own prescription for such a condition is a Christian community in which the necessarily imperfect exercise of Caritas is moderated by the operation of divine grace—the more grace an individual enjoys, the more common his affection will be and the less possessive his attitude to individual goods. Henry’s model is the New Testament church, recorded in Acts 4: 32 as having one heart and one soul, and put forward, as such, as Augustine’s ideal type for the Christian community. It is a model, however, which Henry recognizes to have limited application. Those ‘more perfect’ individuals who live in religious communities are able to observe a measure of common possession which is unattainable in political communities, since their perfection is the product, not of natural love, but of grace. Henry’s reading of Augustine, therefore, acknowledges the conceptual value of distinguishing between the two cities, between a civitas terrena founded on selfish love and a civitas Dei founded on the love of God. Henry’s reading of Augustine, however, also accepts that the city of God is an ideal which is unattainable on this earth. Some religious communities can certainly achieve an approximation but a more realistic assessment of the limitations on fallen human nature should govern the prospects of a political community doing the same. The capacity of a given human community to secure such an ideal will therefore depend upon the degree to which natural self-love is controlled by the operation of divine grace. Even in a perfect community, however, love for what is in common will still be defined by the love which each individual has for himself.29

Henry’s account of the operation of love within the human community provides an instructive perspective on his approach to the common good. In precisely those (p.165) contexts in which Albertus and Aquinas found it appropriate to appeal to an individual’s love for a superior common good—friendship, correction, punishment, and personal property—Henry refuses to go further than the categories of love which he found in Augustine. Love of self, love of neighbour, and love of God remain the central components of Henry’s political theology. When he does introduce a notion of the common good, it is defined only as the general benefit which will result from human beings loving one another, the product of a mutual affection which originates in the individual’s love of self. The implications of this analysis for Henry’s understanding of the relationship between the individual and the common good are considerable. They are spelled out in Henry’s ninth quodlibet (Easter 1286) when he tackles the question head on—should the individual good be secured in preference to the common good?30

Henry’s detailed response to this question turns on two fundamental distinctions—between a spiritual good and a temporal good (the former primarily concerning the soul, the latter primarily the body),31 and between an individual good which is included in a common good and an individual good which is not. By shuffling these different goods in their various permutations, Henry comes up with nine separate conclusions (Fig. 6.1). Henry’s first conclusion, for example, depends upon the premiss that the individual good is included in the common good. It is the most straightforward of the nine and, when set alongside the views of Aquinas and Giles of Rome, the most familiar. When a common good (spiritual or temporal) includes an individual good, Henry argues, then, all things being equal, the common good should be secured in preference to the individual good. The remaining eight conclusions, however, depend upon a premiss which both Aquinas and Giles of Rome had resolutely refused to countenance—what happens when the individual good is not included in the common good?

Henry’s second and third conclusions, where common good and individual good are mutually exclusive temporal goods, follow simple quantitative rules. If an individual is greatly lacking in his individual good (if, for example, he has not eaten for three days whereas his neighbour has not eaten for one), then the individual good should be secured in preference. Reverse the quantities and it is the common good of the neighbour which should be secured. Henry’s fourth conclusion, again for mutually exclusive temporal goods, envisages both individual and neighbour to be in moderate need (when, say, neither has eaten for two days) in which case the common good should again be preferred. The justification put forward for this conclusion, however, is more complex than for the first three. According to Henry, although the common temporal good does not include the individual temporal good (if it did, then the former should be preferred automatically), it does include an individual spiritual good, since the sacrifice performed by the individual is a meritorious act. Since an individual spiritual good must always be preferred, all things being equal, to an individual temporal good, it is by virtue of this additional consideration that the common temporal good should be secured rather than the individual temporal good. If, in other words, A includes C, then A is to be preferred to C; if A does not include C, then it may still be preferred to C provided that it includes B, where B is always preferred to C. The common temporal good ‘includes’ an individual spiritual good but this inclusion depends upon an act of preference, the choice of the common temporal good at the expense of the individual temporal good. The common temporal good is preferred because it includes the individual good and it includes the individual good because it has been preferred.


                   Henry of Ghent—Self-Love and Inclusion

Fig. 6.1. Quodlibeta aurea (Venice, 1613), fo. 119r.

(p.167) In Henry’s fifth conclusion, common good and individual good, whilst still mutually exclusive, are spiritual goods. In this instance, it is the individual good which should be secured. Once the goods are spiritual, in other words, the quantitative analysis of temporal goods which has guided the second and third conclusions is reversed. A small quantity of spiritual good must now be secured by the individual, even if this is at the expense of a great quantity for one’s neighbour, and even if one’s neighbour is in extreme need. An individual should will a small amount of grace and eternal glory for himself rather than a large amount for his neighbour, even if this means willing that he alone will be saved and the rest of humanity damned. Even though some sort of qualification to this statement is implied by Henry’s next, and sixth, conclusion (when the individual good is spiritual and the common good temporal, then the individual good should be secured and much more so than if the common good is spiritual), Henry offers no further comment. Indeed, his final three conclusions, in which the common good is spiritual, the individual good temporal, and both goods mutually exclusive, beg almost as many questions as they answer. In a sense, Henry’s problem is unavoidable, since he has put himself in a position where he needs to bring together two scales of value which have hitherto been kept separate—quantitative measurement for temporal goods and qualitative measurement for spiritual goods. Henry starts, therefore, by making two further distinctions—between an individual temporal good which is in extreme need and an individual temporal good which is not, and between harm which is caused to the faith and customs of the church and harm which is caused only to a few individuals. In his seventh conclusion, he suggests accordingly that, if the individual temporal good is lacking to an extent that the individual is in extreme need (if, and this is Henry’s own example, he must eat bread in order to avoid imminent death), but if a competing common spiritual good, when not secured, will cause harm to the faith and customs of the church, then it is the common spiritual good which should be secured even if it results in the death of the starving man. If the neglect of the common spiritual good harms only a few individuals, however, then (and this is Henry’s eighth conclusion) it is the individual temporal good which should be secured. If, on the other hand, the individual temporal good has not reached such extreme necessity, if the starving man is not going to die, then (and this is his ninth conclusion) it is the common spiritual good which should be preferred.

(p.168) It is difficult to give an entirely satisfactory account of what is, in many respects, a highly problematic quodlibetic question, not least because the arguments which Henry puts forward in support of his nine conclusions are so brief.32 The form which his discussion takes appears to have been prompted partly by Augustine’s De Mendacio, a text which had explicitly compared the relative value of the temporal or spiritual good of one individual with the temporal or spiritual good of another. Augustine too considers the specific example of an individual stealing bread or committing an evil act in order to secure the eternal salvation of his neighbour, although here Henry may also have owed something to canon law discussions of whether poverty could justify an act of theft if it was necessary in order to stay alive.33 Several questions arise from Henry’s discussion, however, which cry out for further discussion, particularly in his seventh and eighth conclusions where it is difficult to envisage the precise situation which Henry has in mind. In his eighth conclusion, extreme individual temporal necessity might be glossed as a situation in which an ecclesiastical community can give sacramental bread to a starving man. In his seventh conclusion, when the common spiritual good is defined as the faith of the church, the sacrifice of an individual temporal good might be glossed as the death of a martyr or an heretic. When it is defined as the ‘customs and conduct’ of the church, however, it is much harder to see what Henry is describing—should an individual sacrifice his life simply for the sake of mores? It remains a moot point, moreover, whether Henry is entirely consistent in distinguishing between the common spiritual good of the whole church and the common spiritual good of some of its members. Such a distinction sits rather uneasily alongside his second, third, and fourth conclusions, all of which assume that the common good can be personified by one’s neighbour. It is only in the seventh and eighth conclusions that a common spiritual good is described as possessing greater or smaller quantities, and even then it is questionable whether the common spiritual good of a few individuals can be neglected without specifying the precise nature of this good. What is at stake is not, at least, the salvation of these individuals—this much is clear from the fifth conclusion. The assumption must therefore be that the spiritual good of which these individuals will be deprived is a lesser spiritual good, a sacrament for example. This might explain the harm done to the mores of the church but what does Henry envisage as causing harm to the faith of these individuals? In the event, the opposition of a common spiritual good to an individual temporal good provides the most interesting of Henry’s permutations and yields, perhaps, his least satisfactory conclusions.

Henry closes his quodlibet by considering two arguments which neatly summarize the conflicting principles which he is attempting to resolve—the justification of (p.169) the superiority of the common good provided by book I of the Ethics (the common good should be preferred to the individual good because the common good is more divine) and the justification of the priority of good for the individual provided by book IX of the Ethics and by the ordo caritatis (the individual good should be preferred to the common good because an individual should love himself before his neighbour). Henry’s response to the first of these arguments is to take issue with those theologians such as Albertus and Aquinas who had turned Aristotle’s statement into a principle of universal applicability. It is, he insists, not always the case that the common good is more divine. In those instances, for example, where he has himself just argued that the individual good should be preferred to the common good (conclusions 2, 5, 6, and 8), the common good cannot be more divine, either in absolute terms (divinius simpliciter) or relative to the individual concerned (divinius procuranti). Likewise, in those instances where he has just argued that a more divine common good should be preferred (conclusions 1, 3, 4, 7, and 9), such preference should be shown only because the common good includes a ‘more divine’ individual good (in the sense that, through the act of preference, the common good ‘includes’ an individual spiritual good, a good which is itself ‘more divine’ than an individual temporal good). Henry is clearly set on removing the word ‘always’ from the way in which the comparative terminology of book I of the Ethics was being applied to the common good by his scholastic colleagues.34 If there is anything which is always to be secured in preference, he maintains, then it is a more divine individual good which is not included in the common good. As was the case in his fifth conclusion, an individual’s spiritual good should always be preferred to a common spiritual good in which it is not included.

Henry is determined to conclude that it is only when the common good includes the individual good that the common good is more divine than the individual good and should therefore be preferred to it; otherwise, it is the individual good which should be secured. Henry’s concern is reflected in the fact that four of the eight conclusions which start from the precondition of non-inclusion end up by ceding preference to the individual good. Of the remainder, only one (conclusion 4) justifies the superiority of the common good by explicitly appealing to a principle of inclusion and arguing that, when an individual sacrifices his temporal good, the act of preferring the common temporal good of his neighbour amounts to securing his own individual spiritual good. If Henry is intending this to serve as a paradigm for his other three expressions of preference for a non-inclusive common good (conclusions 3, 7, and 9), then some extrapolation is required. Nevertheless, this does seem to be a reasonable step to take. All three cases can obey the general principle that the individual should always prefer the common good when it includes the individual good, and always prefer the individual good when it does not, with the exception of those (p.170) instances where the act of preferring a non-inclusive common good effectively changes it into an inclusive common good. Such an extrapolation is given added justification by the summary of the ordo caritatis with which Henry closes the whole argument. In those cases, he writes, where the common good is to be secured in preference to the individual good, the act of securing what is in common does not abrogate the principle that love originates with the self. Why? Because the common good would not be preferred unless it included the individual good. Henry’s attachment to the principle of inclusion and to the primacy of the individual good is based, once again, on the priority of self-love within the ordo caritatis.

In 1288, two years after he made this theoretical examination of the relationship between the individual good and the common good, Henry was asked to consider the most important of its practical manifestations—should an individual who does not live in the hope of eternal life still choose, according to right reason, to sacrifice his life?35 The evident precision with which this question was phrased demonstrates exactly where its target lay since, by inviting discussion of a rational justification for self-sacrifice once that of Christian Caritas has been removed, it invited discussion of the cogency of the justification for self-sacrifice which Aristotle had offered in book IX of the Ethics. With this question, moreover, Henry also came up against the issue which his polarization of spiritual and temporal goods in his ninth quodlibet (together with his deft use of principaliter) enabled him to sidestep—what is the position of moral virtue?

Henry had originally dealt with the question of self-sacrifice in his very first quodlibet (1276) when he discussed whether an individual should choose to die rather than to live in suffering.36 His response was to harmonize book IX of Aristotle’s Ethics with book III of Augustine’s De Libero Arbitrio by means of Augustine’s distinction between natural and moral evil, between the suffering which occurs through experiencing evil (miseria poenae) and the suffering which occurs through doing evil (miseria culpae).37 According to Henry, whereas a desire to avoid the evil of punishment is not a sufficient reason for preferring death to suffering, a desire to avoid the evil of sin certainly is. Making extensive use of Grosseteste’s Greek commentators,38 Henry accordingly argued that book IX of the Ethics should be taken to mean not only that the virtuous individual ought to prefer one final act of great virtue to continuing acts of lesser virtue (as Aristotle had maintained) but that, in so doing, such an individual is choosing, not death over life, but death over a life of sin and miseria culpae. What continued to trouble Henry, however, was that the statement in (p.171) book IX of the Ethics that ‘the man who sacrifices his life chooses a greater good for himself’ had been written by someone who did not believe in a future life. If this ‘greater good’ was to be understood as the considerable pleasure which the individual would immediately (and briefly) derive at the moment of his death (as Michael of Ephesus seemed to infer), then Henry professed himself baffled: sed quomodo hoc, mirabile est dictu. All Henry could suggest as a solution was that this ‘greater good’ consisted simply of choosing the lesser of two evils. To this end, Henry quoted the negative formulation of the principle of self-sacrifice which he found in book III of the Ethics—the brave man submits to death for the sake of some good or for the sake of avoiding evil.39

In 1288, some twelve years after delivering this response, Henry took another look at the difficulty presented by the individual who does not believe in a future life. Quodlibet XII. 13 opens with a summary of the argument familiar from Aquinas. It is a principle of right reason that the common good should be preferred to the private good, the well-being of the res publica to the temporal life of the individual. Individuals in the community are like limbs of the body and, just as a limb ought to expose itself to danger for the sake of the body, so the individual ought to risk his life for the res publica. Quite clearly, this was a line of reasoning which Henry could not take at face value. His own concern to emphasize the principles of self-love and inclusion called, at the very least, for rather more weight to be given to the role of good for the individual.

Henry starts his examination of self-sacrifice by clarifying the implications of the phrase ‘according to right reason’. If a solution is to be correct secundum rectam rationem, then it must be applicable to Christian and pagan alike. There can be no ‘double truth’. What is true must be true for both theologians and philosophers. Henry establishes this common ground with a summary of the position which he had already put forward in his first quodlibet. A Christian ought to choose to sacrifice himself, not so much because he hopes to be rewarded with future life, but because he realizes that not to do so would be a sin and an offence against God. By the same token, although the virtuous pagan is not afraid to offend God or to risk an eternal punishment in which he does not believe, he does share the Christian’s concern not to commit a sin. According to right reason, therefore, both pagan and Christian must always choose virtue and shun vice. Henry proceeds to clarify two other basic points. If an individual lays down his life for the community, he does so only when it is necessary and only when the well-being of the res publica cannot be secured by any other means; otherwise he will be guilty of rashness. Even when these conditions are met, however, even when the individual dies for the maintenance of the salus rei publicae and for the defence of justice and peace, he should not do so for the sake of his own honour and glory; otherwise, he will be guilty of greed and conceit. To be motivated by glory is only an approximation of bravery, the ‘political’ bravery which had been described in book III of the Ethics.40 Henry carefully adds a Christian to a pagan authority in order (p.172) to prove the point. According to Augustine, the evils of death and suffering ought to be avoided, but, should they arise, they must be faced with equanimity when avoidance will be the cause of something worse.41 The avoidance of sin, in short, not the pursuit of honour, is the intention which, in Henry’s view, motivates an act of self-sacrifice. The brave man is able to shun the fear of death when he is surrounded by the greatest and most noble dangers—in battle according to Aristotle; for the sake of law, liberty, friends, and the well-being of his country according to the anonymous Greek commentator;42 for the sake of the good, the goal of virtue, according to Henry.

Once Henry has ruled out the desire for personal glory and the fear of divine punishment, he is free to introduce the argument which had been set out in book IX of the Ethics. According to Aristotle, self-love benefits both the virtuous individual and his fellow-humans. For an individual to sacrifice wealth, power, honour, property, and even life itself, benefits others but also secures great nobility for the individual. Indeed, by preferring such moral worth to worldly goods, the individual effectively chooses the greater good, the greatest good, for himself.43 Henry appends to his summary of this text another passage from book I—since the perfect and self-sufficient good is a matter, not for an individual living by himself, but for an individual living in the company of parents, children, wife, and fellow-citizens, it must be a principle of right reason to be prepared to die for one’s friends and for one’s country.44 According to Aristotle, this perfect and self-sufficient good consists of exercising prudence in order to perform acts of moral virtue. For the sake of this good, therefore, it is better and more blessed to lay down one’s life, to perform one great act of virtue in a brief moment, than to live a long life performing actions of lesser virtue. Henry’s next questions go right to the heart of the issue which so engaged Albertus and Aquinas. Does an individual lay down his life because he secures a good for himself or a good for the community? If the individual secures both, is the good which he secures for himself greater than the good which he secures for the community?

In order to compare the individual good with the common good, Henry introduces a distinction between what is absolutely good or better in itself (melius sim-pliciter) and what is good or better for the individual (melius ipsi). His initial solution to the problem posed by book IX of the Ethics is therefore straightforward—to die for the community is better in itself, but it is also better for the individual. That an act of self-sacrifice should be melius simpliciter is not developed beyond the observation that it is good for many people (quia pluribus). That it should be melius ipsi, however, is justified (in a similar vein to Albertus) with an appeal to Aristotle’s statement that ‘every intellect chooses what is best for itself’.45 Individuals who choose to sacrifice (p.173) their lives, therefore, must be securing a great good (magnum bonum) for themselves. Nor is it just a great good. Henry is also content to echo Aristotle’s belief that an individual ought to choose to die for the community because he thereby chooses a greater good (magis bonum).

Having concluded that it is right for an individual to sacrifice himself for the sake of the community because he will thereby secure the greater good of virtue, Henry spends the remainder of the quodlibet considering whether this applies only when it is a question of political happiness or whether it can be extended to cover contemplative happiness as well. Although Henry concedes that Aristotle himself never applied the distinction between these two types of felieitas to the question of self-sacrifice, he clearly considers it important to speculate what Aristotle might have concluded had he done so. Henry’s reasoning is revealing. If the obligation to sacrifice one’s life is also incumbent upon the individual who is engaged in contemplation, is this because such an action is good for him (bonum ipsi) or because it is good in itself (bonum simpliciter)? If the contemplative individual lays down his life because it is good in itself, will he still do so even when it is not good for himself, when the two goods are mutually exclusive? In response, Henry immediately rules out the possibility that the contemplative will sacrifice himself knowing that it is not a good for himself except in the sense of being a political good. This cannot be correct, Henry argues, because it would be wrong for anyone to prefer an inferior good to a superior good. The happiness of contemplative virtue is superior to the happiness of political virtue and, as such, should not be sacrificed on behalf of the latter, however great it is. If the contemplative is to sacrifice himself, therefore, it cannot be out of consideration for his own good. Henry is accordingly left with two alternatives. Either Aristotle must have thought that the contemplative is not, in fact, obliged to sacrifice himself because his own good consists in remaining alive, or he must have thought that the contemplative is under this obligation because it is both good in itself and good for himself but good for himself in a different sense than it is for an individual who is actively involved in a political community.

Henry professes a disarming ignorance as to which of these two alternatives represents Aristotle’s own opinion. Of one thing, however, he is certain. Aristotle’s notion of contemplative happiness is suspect. For the moment, he tries not to rest his argument on such a blunt observation. Of more pressing concern is the argument that, if the contemplative does lay down his life, he will not secure good for himself. If this argument were to be accepted, then it would clearly contradict the principle which Henry himself laid down in his ninth quodlibet, namely that the common good should be preferred only when it includes the individual good. Henry accordingly picks up on the suggestion which was made in the second of his alternative solutions—self-sacrifice is a good for the contemplative but in a different sense than it is good for the political individual. The contemplative ought to sacrifice himself, therefore, not because he acquires good (in this respect he suffers loss), but because he avoids evil. Self-sacrifice is thus good for the contemplative, not in a positive, but in a negative sense. Henry then returns to the point which he has taken such pains to (p.174) clarify at the beginning of the quodlibet—virtue should be defined as the avoidance of sin—and proceeds to apply it to the political individual as well as the contemplative. The citizen, he writes, should lay down his life because it is an absolute good and because it is a good for himself; it is a good for himself, however, not in the sense of acquiring a good, but in the sense of avoiding doing wrong.

Henry is clearly trying to establish the principle that the act of self-sacrifice secures good for both the contemplative and the political individual. Having just proved that it cannot be good to sacrifice contemplative virtue for the sake of political virtue, even when the latter is as great a good as moral worth, Henry has to find some way of avoiding the suggestion that the contemplative should still lay down his life even though it is not a good for himself. As a result, he is forced to conclude that the good which the contemplative does secure, if not a positive good, is at least a negative good, namely the avoidance of evil. Because Henry is seeking a solution for both the political and the contemplative life, he is also forced to conclude that the same principle must then apply to the political individual—he too must sacrifice himself even when he acquires no positive good, no political virtue. This is a statement, however, which he finds hard to reconcile with the text of book IX of the Ethics and with his own exposition of the ‘greater good’ of virtue.

In book IX of the Ethics, the political individual who lays down his life secures the good of a noble and virtuous action. In order for there to be a precise correspondence with the contemplative individual, however, Henry has to suggest that this good can be absent provided that a more significant benefit is present, namely the avoidance of evil. Henry still seeks support for this position from Aristotle but he has to take it from book III of the Ethics rather than book IX: ‘The more a man possesses all virtue and the more happy he is, the more pain death will cause him. For such a man, life is worth most, and he stands to lose the greatest goods, and knows that this is so, and this must be painful. But he is nonetheless courageous on that account; perhaps, indeed, he is more so because he prefers what is noble in war to all of these.’46 When Henry quotes this text, however, he slips in his own comment that this would still be the case even if nothing good were to befall the brave man. He admits that this is only hinted at by Aristotle (quod innuit), but he does find one sentence which supports this negative conception of the good: ‘the mark of the brave man…was to endure things that are terrible to a human being…because it is noble to do so and base not to do so’.47 Henry has noticeably fewer difficulties in this regard when he turns for support from Cicero. Indeed, strengthened by a string of Ciceronian quotations, as well as by his own assertion that the truth of right reason is consistent, Henry concludes that Aristotle must have thought the same. Both the courageous citizen and the wise contemplative should sacrifice their lives for the community, even if they acquire no good for themselves in the process. When Henry returns to book IX (p.175) of the Ethics, therefore, he not only ignores the explicit reference to a greater good (magis bonum) but allows himself the liberty of making an improvement. By preferring one great, good action to many lesser ones, runs the text, those who die choose a great good for themselves. Perhaps, Henry suggests, Aristotle should have added ‘because, even if this great good did not happen to them, they would still choose, according to right reason, to die in this fashion’.

Henry completes the quodlibet by tying up his remarks on the principle of inclusion. Having accepted the second of the proffered alternatives for Aristotle’s view of contemplative happiness, he has to find a way of dismissing the first. The reason is clear. If it is in the contemplative’s own interest to remain alive, then, according to the principle set down in Quodlibet IX. 19, it would be legitimate for him to prefer his individual good only if it is not included within the common good. Two counter-propositions are therefore put forward. The contemplative individual, runs the first, is not obliged to sacrifice himself because, living, as he does, apart from the community and in the quasi-divine state described by Aristotle, his individual good is not included within the common good. The public good should be preferred to the private good only when the private good is included within it, and although it can still be preferred in an absolute sense, it should not be preferred from the point of view of the excluded private good.48 Moreover, runs the second, the logical extension of this principle must be that the terminology of body and member, whole and part, simply cannot be applied to the contemplative individual because, unlike a contemplative, a limb does not possess its own intellect, motive force, nor a private good which is separate from the good of the whole.

Henry’s response to these arguments is to repeat his reservations over Aristotle’s view of contemplative happiness but with none of his earlier restraint. Aristotle, he writes, was correct on a number of matters concerning human action and, as such, he can certainly be considered to be in harmony with the Christian faith. Like other pagan philosophers, however, there are several key respects in which he was mistaken. The identification of the goal of human life as the life of virtue, as a purely temporal beatitude, provides a case in point. Henry cannot believe that Aristotle intended to suggest that the contemplative individual lives a life which is completely separate from the human community, since this would be a flat contradiction of natural law. The only other option, therefore, is that Aristotle was working on the assumption that contemplative happiness is not subject to the sinful state, a possibility which, from a Christian perspective, is unthinkable for anyone other than the saints in paradise. Henry accordingly returns to the disparity between fallen nature and redeeming grace which had proved so central to his own earlier comparison of Aristotle’s community of goods with those of Plato and Augustine. In Henry’s view, the human community is unable to demonstrate sufficient Caritas to counteract the effects of original sin. Henry’s own interpretation of human society, therefore, remains firmly grounded in Augustine’s remedium peccati—wherever there is sin, (p.176) there is a need for political authority.49 Humans have a natural obligation to society for their bad as well as their good actions, and it is in these terms that they have a natural obligation to risk their lives on its behalf. The contemplative’s positive individual good—the life of virtue—may not be ‘included’ in the public good but his negative good—the avoidance of evil and sin—certainly is. This limited degree of inclusion is sufficient, in Henry’s eyes, for his original argument to stand.

In Quodlibet XII. 13, as in Quodlibet IX. 19, Henry goes to great lengths to retain the precondition of inclusion, the principle that the common good should be preferred to the individual good only if the individual good is in some sense included within it. If the contemplative’s private good is not included in the public good, even in a negative sense, then Henry is quite prepared to concede that there is no situation in which the contemplative would be obliged to sacrifice his life for the community. Non-inclusion, however, can only mean that the contemplative is a saint in paradise, since only the absence of sin can free the individual from his indebtedness to political authority, from his dependence on society as a debitor reipublicae. A life of contemplation can therefore never be completely separate from human society and, as a result, every individual is, in some way, included within the political community.50

Having imposed such tight restrictions on the nature of the inclusion which characterizes the contemplative’s membership of the political community, Henry turns to the applicability of the imagery of body and limb, whole and part. His analysis of the corporeal analogy in this context is as precise as it is guarded. To pick up the suggestion made by the second counter-proposition and refuse any degree of ‘self-motivation’ to the individual member would naturally have laid Henry’s argument open to the inference that the citizen is completely subordinate to the community and to its head.51 Henry is therefore careful to concede that each individual limb does have its own intellect. At the same time, he also insists that these individual intellects within the body ought to be united when judgement on a particular action needs to be made according to right reason.52 For Henry, however, the real significance of the corporeal analogy is its capacity to be pressed into service as an illustration of his own concept of positive and negative inclusion. Thus, on his reading, the private, positive good of the individual limb might not be included in the public good of the whole body but the limb itself is, albeit in a negative way (quasi negatívum). Likewise, a private, positive good might not be included within the common good but it is still dependent upon it (dependet ab illo). Were the contemplative to refuse to sacrifice himself, then the sin which he would thereby incur would cause him to lose the private good which he was originally attempting to secure.

Armed with this principle, Henry sees off one final challenge to his account of the limited participation of the contemplative in human society. Suppose that the (p.177) contemplative is not part of the political community, is not comparable to the limb of a body, and is not under an obligation to sacrifice himself for the community. What if he ignores this freedom and goes ahead with the act of self-sacrifice? In this case, the contemplative would clearly lose every good, material as well as moral, and would gain nothing in return, not even the benefit of having avoided evil. Surely, therefore, such an individual ought not to die for the community, just as (as Henry himself had argued in his ninth quodlibet) no individual, righteous or unrighteous, ought to choose his own eternal damnation in order that everyone else may be saved. Henry’s reply is emphatic: sednon est ita. The presupposition of non-inclusion on which such an argument would depend is fundamentally mistaken. In however small a way, the contemplative is still in need of something from the community and therefore always has a natural obligation towards it. Even if the contemplative is not a part of the community when it comes to performing the many political actions which are demanded by household, family, and friends, he is still a part of the community when it comes to the actions which are necessary for the conservation of the salus rei publicae. Whether this participation results in his own death or simply in the abandonment of his philosophical speculation in order to take part in government, the fact of his inclusion entails duty and obligation.

Throughout the course of Quodlibet XII. 13, Henry is determined to maintain the precondition of the inclusion of the individual good within the common good. The connection with his argument in Quodlibet IX. 19 is clear. The most significant parallel is provided by the notions of indirect inclusion and dependence. In Henry’s ninth quodlibet, an individual secures a non-inclusive, common temporal good in preference to his individual temporal good, but, by means of this act of preference, he secures for himself his individual spiritual good. In Henry’s twelfth quodlibet, the argument has the same circularity. The individual prefers to die because his good is included, and his own good is included because he prefers to die; the contemplative is included in the community because he is obliged to risk his life, and he is obliged to risk his life because he is included in the community.

Quodlibet XII. 13 is at its weakest when it tackles the precise nature of the contemplative’s participation in the community, a point which, to judge from the frequency with which the issue is raised, Henry himself may have realized. By the same token, this is also where Quodlibet XII. 13 is at its most revealing. As an exposition of book IX of the Ethics, Henry’s notion of ‘negative’ participation ultimately rests on two categories which are outside Aristotle’s immediate frame of reference, namely natural law and the presence of sin. The case study of the contemplative certainly causes Henry to modify his earlier conception of the individual good, of ‘good for oneself’. The move from positive good to negative inclusion and dependence is not simply a shift of focus caused by the move from an active member of the political community to the more solitary contemplative. In considering the latter, Henry applies negative inclusion to the political individual as well and, in so doing, presents his argument with difficulties which are never really resolved. The conclusion which he wants to avoid putting forward is that, by laying down his life, the contemplative actually (p.178) acquires a good for himself, since this would be tantamount to arguing that an individual should prefer the lesser good of political virtue to the higher good of contemplation. By concluding, instead, that, by laying down his life, the contemplative simply succeeds in not committing an evil act, the burden of proof is thrown onto the contemplative’s inclusion in the political sphere, a burden which Henry’s argument struggles to sustain within Aristotle’s own terms of reference. When the political individual chooses to sacrifice himself, he certainly avoids the evil of failing to lay down his life, but, by dint of his positive inclusion in the community, he must also acquire a good for himself in the form of political virtue. In order to find a definition of individual good which can serve as a common denominator for both the active and contemplative lives, therefore, Henry loses sight of the fact that, for the political individual, the acquisition of virtue and the avoidance of evil are inseparable.

Quodlibet XII. 13 represents Henry’s practical application of the theoretical principles laid down in Quodlibet IX. 19. As a detailed analysis of the circumstances in which the common good should be preferred to the individual good, and as a painstaking exposition of self-sacrifice in book IX of the Ethics, these quodlibets represent two sides of the same argument. For all Henry’s difficulties with the notion of indirect or negative inclusion, his underlying intention is clear—to maintain the presence of good for the individual in any action which secures the common good. If the question of self-sacrifice presents this principle of inclusion with a challenge which it is only partially successful in meeting, then this is, in itself, a very revealing perspective from which to assess Henry’s political thought. His final conclusion—that self-sacrifice is, at root, a question of avoiding evil—strongly suggests that, in Henry’s eyes, the fundamental characteristic of the political community is the presence of sin. Coupled with his blunt dismissal of Aristotle’s conception of happiness, Henry’s emphasis on the avoidance of evil represents a concerted attempt to juxtapose Aristotle’s life of virtue with Augustine’s remedium peccati.

Rather than represent a synthesis of ‘Aristotelian’ social morality and ‘Christian’ individualism, Henry’s attitude to the common good of the political community represents a synthesis of Aristotelian self-love and an Augustinian ordo caritatis. Henry does not express a principle of love for the common good which goes beyond the categories of love of self, love of neighbour, and love of God. Natural love can certainly produce common benefits (communes utilitates) but the act of self-sacrifice is ultimately motivated by self-love, by an individual’s concern for his own good. If Henry reveals a reluctance to appeal to the metaphysical principle of superiority which proved so attractive to Aquinas and Giles of Rome in other words, then this was due to his commitment to the more traditional terms of reference which had been established by Augustine’s account of the operation of love and the effects of sin within the human community.


(1) J. Paulus, Henri de Gand: Essai sur les tendances de sa métaphysique (Paris, 1938); A. Maurer, ‘Henry of Ghent and the Unity of Man’, Mediaeval Studies, 10 (1948), 1–20.

(2) P. de Vooght, ‘La Méthode théologique d’apres Henri de Gand et Gérard de Bologne’, RTAM 23 (1956), 61–87.

(3) A critical edition is in progress (Henrici de Gandavo Opera Omnia, ed. R. Macken et al., Leuven–Leiden, 1979–). References are to this edition for those quodlibets which have been published (I, II, VI, VII, IX, X, XII, XIII); otherwise the edition used is by V. Zuccolius (2 vols.; Venice, 1613) correlated, where necessary, with Oxford, Merton College MS 107. For Henry’s relation to Aristotle, see R. Macken, Opera Omnia, vol. v, p. xiv; id., ‘La Theorie de l’illumination divine dans la philosophic d’Henri de Gand’, RTAM 39 (1972), 82–112. Cf. S. P. Marrone, Truth and Scientific Knowledge in the Thought of Henry of Ghent (Cambridge, Mass., 1985), 43, who dates Henry’s re-evaluation of Aristotle to 1279/80, i.e to the period immediately after his involvement in Tempier’s commission of inquiry into the arts faculty. For Henry’s opposition to Giles of Rome’s commentary on the Sentences, and for his role in Giles’s censure, see Apologia, ed. R. Wielockx (Aegidii Romani Opera Omnia III.1), ch. 6. Cf. Henry of Ghent, Quodlibet II.9, pp. 58–72.

(4) M. de Wulf, Histoire de la Philosophie médiévale, 6th edn. (3 vols.; Louvain–Paris, 1934–47), 11. 303. Cf. R. Macken, ‘Les Sources d’Henri de Gand’, Revue Philosophique de Louvain, 76 (1978), 5–28; Opera Omnia, vol. v, p. xv; Marrone, Truth and Scientific Knowledge, 3; F. van Steenberghen, La Philosophie au XIIle siécle, 2nd edn. (Louvain, 1991), 437–9.

(5) F. Huet, Recherches historiques et critiques sur la vie, les ouvrages et la doctrine de Henri de Gand (Ghent, 1838), 178. Cf. G. de Lagarde, ‘La Philosophie sociale d’Henri de Gand et Godefroid de Fontaines’, AHDLMA 14 (1943–5), 73–142; id., La Naissance de l’esprit laïque au déclin du moyen âge, 3rd edn. (5 vols.; Louvain, 1956–70), vol. ii, ch. 8.

(6) Henry of Ghent, Summa [Quaestiones Ordinariae] (2 vols.; Paris, 1520), XXI. 1 fo. 123r.

(7) R. Macken, ‘Les Corrections d’Henri de Gand à ses quodlibets’, RTAM 40 (1973), 5–51. For the chronology of the quodlibets, see P. Glorieux, La Littérature quodlibétique (2 vols.; Paris, 1925, 1935), i. 177–99; J. Gómez Caffarena, ‘Cronología de la "Suma" de Enrique de Gante por relación a sus "Quod–libetos"’, Gregorianum, 38 (1957), 133; Opera Omnia, vol. v, p. xvii.

(8) Lagarde, La Naissance, ii. 185, 212–13.

(9) e.g. Summa IV.2 fo. 31r–v; XXIV.6 fo. 142V. Cf. XL.1 fos. 256v–257r; XLIX.4 fo. 34r–v; XLIX.5 fos. 34v–40r.

(10) Summa XXV.2 fo. 149V; Quod. XIII.9, pp. 56–64. For Henry’s account of the will, see R. Macken, ‘La Volonté humaine, faculté plus élévée que l’intelligence selon Henri de Gand’, RTAM 42 (1975), 5–51.

(11) Summa XXI.4 ad 1 fo. 128V. Cf. LXXII.1 fo. 255V; LXXV.2 fos. 29IV–299r. For the philosophical implications of this distinction, see Marrone, Truth and Scientific Knowledge, 64–5; C. Knudsen, ‘Inten tions and Impositions’, in CHLMP, 482–3. For individuation, see S. F. Brown, ‘Henry of Ghent’, in J. J. E. Garcia (ed.), Individuation in Scholasticism: The Later Middle Ages and the Counter-Reformation 1150–1650 (Albany, NY, 1994), 195–219; Apologia, ed. Wielockx (Aegidii Romani Opera Omnia III.1), 156–7.

(12) Summa XLIX.1 fos. 32v–33r; Boethius, Philosophiae Consolatio, ed. L. Bieler (CCSL 94), III.2, p. 38. Cf. above, p. 37 n. 33. Henry concludes that, since composition cannot exist in God, it is the unity of order which underpins Boethius’ observation—goods are gathered together in God’s supreme simplicity in the same way that lines proceeding from the circumference of a circle are ‘collected’ in its centre.

(13) e.g. Summa XLVI.3–4 fos. 23r–24v. Cf. Matthew 22: 37–40; Augustine, De Doctrina Christiana, ed. R. P. H. Green (Oxford, 1995), I.22–26, pp. 28–36; Augustine, De Trinitate, ed. W. J. Mountain (CCSL 50), XIV. 14.18, pp. 445–6; Aquinas, IaIIae 100.3 ad 1.

(14) Quod. IV.11 fos. 158V-160V. Cf. Aristotle, Politics II.5 1263a41–b1; Auctoritates Aristotelis, ed. J. Hamesse (Louvain–Paris, 1974), p. 254: unusquisque naturaliter amat se ipsum.

(15) Quod. IV. 11 fo. 160r; Aristotle, Ethics IX.8 1169a20.

(16) Quod. V. 17 fos. 282r–287r.

(17) Quod. X.12, pp. 274–85.

(18) Aristotle, Ethics VIII.5 1157b33.

(19) Richard of St Victor, De Trinitate, ed. J. Ribaillier (Paris, 1958), III. 11, pp. 146–7. Cf. Aquinas, Ia 32.1.

(20) Aristotle, Ethics IX.4 1166a31–2.

(21) Quod. X.12, pp. 281–2.

(22) Aquinas, IV Sent. 19.2.3a; Quod. IV.8.1; IIaIIae 68.1. Cf. Albertus Magnus, Super Ethica X.17; Ethica V.2.6. For the controversy, see Les Premieres Polémiques thomistes I: Le Correctorium Corruptorii ‘Quare’, ed. P. Glorieux (Paris, 1927), 399–403.

(23) Quod. I.33, pp. 191–3.

(24) Quod. II. 17, pp. 134–5.

(25) Quod. V.29 fo. 311 v.

(26) Quod. IX.28, pp. 313–21. Cf. Decretum II.2.1.19 (Friedberg, i. 447–8).

(27) Augustine, Sermo LXXXII (PL 38, cols. 506–14) 7–8 cols. 510–11.

(28) Quod. XI. 18 fos. 221v–222r.

(29) Quod. IV.20 fos. 197V–199V. Cf. Aristotle, Politics II. 1–6; Albertus Magnus, Pol. Lib. Oct. II.2, pp. 108–16; VII.8, p. 685; Giles of Rome, De Regimine Principum III.i.15 (see above, p. 145); Lagarde, ‘La Philosophie sociale’, 83–6; id., La Naissance, ii. 176–9.

(30) Quod. IX. 19, pp. 293–5. Cf. Lagarde, ‘La Philosophie sociale’, 86–9; id., La Naissance, ii. 179–80.

(31) principaliter is a significant qualification. One category which straddles both corporeal and spiritual is moral virtue, a subject which, for the moment, Henry does not discuss. Cf. below, p. 170.

(32) Zuccolius comments (fo. 119r.): harum autem conclusionum solum quartam et quintam videtur auctor probare, cum coeterae notae videantur, nec mediis difficilibus probat eas, ut videre est. idcirco haec volumus satisfecisse. Cf. Lagarde, ‘La Philosophie sociale’, 88: ‘nous n’avons trouvé chez aueun des maîtres contemporains une analyse aussi précise et aussi fouillée’.

(33) Augustine, De Mendacio, ed. J. Zycha (CSEL 41), VI.9, pp. 425–7; XII.19, pp. 438–9. Cf. Cicero, De Officiis, ed. M. Winterbottom (Oxford, 1994), III.30–1, p. 120; Aquinas, IIaIIae 66.7; B. Tierney, Medieval Poor Law (Berkeley, 1959), ch. 2.

(34) The addition of semper to Aristotle’s comparative terminology derives from Justinian, Digest, ed. X. Mommsen and P. Krüger, trans. A. Watson, Codex Iustinianus (4 vols.; Philadelphia, 1985), XVII.2.65.5, p. 509.

(35) Quod. XII. 13, pp. 67–79. Cf. Lagarde, ‘La Philosophie sociale’, 91–6; id., La Naissance, ii. 180–3.

(36) Quod. I.20, pp. 164–70.

(37) Augustine, De Libero Arbitrio, ed. W. M. Green (CCSL 29), III.6–8, pp. 285–9. Cf. Albertus Magnus, Ethica III.2.2, p. 237; Aquinas, Ia 48.5.

(38) H. P. F. Mercken (ed.), The Greek Commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle in the Latin Translation of Robert Grosseteste (Corpus Latinum Commentariorum in Aristotelem Graecorum VI. 1, 3; Leiden, 1973, 1991), i. pp. 291–3, ii. pp. 272–80. Cf. W. Stinissen (ed.), Aristoteles over der vriendschap. Boeken VIII en IX van de Nicomachische Ethiek met de commentaren van Aspasius en Michaël in de Latijnse vertaling van Grosseteste (Brussels, 1963), pp. 147–53.

(39) Aristotle, Ethics III.7 1116a11–12; III.8 1116a28–9.

(40) Aristotle, Ethics III.8 1116a17–29.

(41) Augustine, De Trinitate, ed. Mountain (CCSL 50), XIII.7, p. 395.

(42) Mercken (ed.), The Greek Commentaries, ii. p. 278.

(43) Aristotle, Ethics IX.8 1169a11–1169b2 (above, pp. 50–1).

(44) Aristotle, Ethics I.7 1097b8–11. It is worth noting that Henry chooses to omit the last phrase of this sentence: ‘since humankind is, by nature, a social being’.

(45) See above, p. 51. Cf. Mercken (ed.), The Greek Commentaries, ii. p. 277; Stinissen (ed.), Aristoteles over der vriendschap, p. 151.

(46) Aristotle, Ethics III.9 1117b9–15.

(47) Aristotle, Ethics III.9 1117b7–9. Cf. Albertus Magnus, Ethica III.2.6, pp. 242–4; Henry of Ghent, Quod. I.20, pp. 168–9.

(48) Henry never deals with the second half of this argument.

(49) Cf. Albertus Magnus, Super Ethica VIII. 11, p. 635; Giles of Rome, De Regimine Principum I.i.4; III.i.1–3; III.i.1–5.

(50) Cf. Quod.X.17, p.282.

(51) Compare John of Naples, Quaestiones Disputatale, ed. D. Gravina (Naples, 1618), VIII, pp. 72–3.

(52) Quod.XII.13, p. 77.