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The Cosmic Exemplarism of Bonaventure Author(s): Leonard J. Bowman Source: The Journal of Religion, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Apr., 1975), pp. 181-198 Published by: The University of Chicago Press Stable URL: Accessed: 15/10/2009 10:35 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you
  The Cosmic Exemplarism of BonaventureAuthor(s): Leonard J. BowmanSource: The Journal of Religion, Vol. 55, No. 2 (Apr., 1975), pp. 181-198Published by: The University of Chicago PressStable URL: Accessed: 15/10/2009 10:35 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unlessyou have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and youmay use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use.Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printedpage of such transmission.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact The University of Chicago Press  is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Journal of Religion.  The Cosmic Exemplarism of Bonaventure Leonard . Bowman The writings of the medieval Franciscan thinker Bonaventure (d.1274) express the mature development of the Christian Platonic tradition that springs, in the West, from Augustine and Pseudo-Dionysius. This study is a summary of the cosmic exemplarism of Bonaventure, that is, his mystical understanding of material creatures. This is only a partial view of Bonaventure's vision. In the six stages of spritual ascent described in his Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, it corresponds only to the first two stages, wherein man learns to recognize God through and in the material world which man sees outside himself. And so, while this cosmic exemplarism provides a coherent and fruitful understanding of the world, it is in- tended to lead a person on toward discovering God in his own mind, and finally toward contemplating God in himself. This study will consider first the general economy of exemplarism as it appears in Bonaventure's writings and then the specific role of material creatures within that economy. I. THE COSMIC ECONOMY OF EXEMPLARISM Bonaventure's thought is structured according to three concepts that are for him the sum total of metaphysics: emanation, exemplarity, and consummation.' These three concepts describe a process in which created beings come forth from God, reflect and express him in their being, and then return to him. They provide therefore the three points which determine the circular economy of exemplarism. A. Emanation or Expression The first phase of the process begins with Bonaventure's espousing the position of Pseudo-Dionysius and affirming that the first name of God is the Good.2 It is the nature of the Good to be self-diffusive, to emanate, 'Hexaemeron, collation i, no. 17, in Opera Omnia, tome 5 (Quaracchi, 1891), p. 332. 'Itinerarium Mentis in Deum, ed. Philotheus Boehner (Saint Bonaventure, N.Y.: Francis- can Institute, 1956), chap. 5, no. 2, pp. 80-81. 18i  The Journal of Religion and so to express itself. Its complete and perfect self-diffusion, emana- tion, and expression is not the created world but is, rather, the first phase of the inner life of the Trinity.3 Within the Trinity, it is the Father who is the dynamic source of that emanation, and so it is the Father who is called fountain fullness, fontalis plenitudo.4 This primal self-diffusion of the Father consists of his self-knowledge, a knowledge which is the Son. The Son is then the representation and likeness of the Father,5 the self-expression of the Father in whom the Father expresses the totality of his being and the totality of what he can produce.6 The Son is therefore quite aptly called Image, Word, or ex- pression of the Father. The Son is therefore the locus of the divine ideas, the rationes aeternae or eternal reasons. Since the Son expresses and represents the infinite creative power of the Father, he also represents all possible things: in- deed the infinite variety of things is given unified expression in him.7 Now the divine ideas are indeed God's knowledge of the world, but they are not knowledge caused by an external object as our knowledge is.8 Rather, the divine ideas are themselves expressive and give rise to the created world, and do not arise from the created world.9 Hence the eternal reasons are called the Eternal Art, ars aeterna.10 The eternal ideas are therefore clearly not static and abstract for Bonaventure; they are dynamic causes.11 It is absolutely important to note that the Word in his unity expresses and represents the multiplicity of possible things and embraces in him- self all the varied characteristics of creation.12 His embrace includes not only Platonic universals but also individual things in their distinctness.13 Hence Bonaventure can say that individual things really and actually are 3Ibid., chap. 6, no. 2, pp. 88-89. 41 Sentences dist. 31, pt. 2, dubium 6, tome i (Quaracchi, 1882), p. 551. 5Hexaemeron, ollation 3, no. 4; tome 5, pp. 343-44- 6Theodore DeRegnon, Etudes de theologie positive sur la Sainte Trinite (Paris: Victor Retaux & Fils, 1892), p. 513; Hexaemeron, collation i, no. 13, tome 5, p. 331; i Sent. dist. 27, p. 2, articulus unicus, quaest. 1-4, tome 1, pp. 481-91. 7Hexaemeron, ollation 1 , no. 11, tome 5, pp. 381-82. 'Luc Mathieu, La Trinite Creatrice d'apres Saint Bonaventure (diss., Institut Catholique de Paris, 1960) (Paris: privately printed, 1960), pp. 145-46. 9De Scientia Christi, quaest. 2, conclusio, tome 5, p. 9; 1 Sent. dist. 35, articulus unicus, questio i, conclusion, tome i, pp. 601-2. 1?Philotheus Boehner, A History of the Franciscan School, mimeographed (Southfield, Mich.: Duns Scotus College, 1944), 2:78. Etienne Gilson, The Philosophy of St. Bonaventure, trans. Dom Illtyd Trethowan and Frank J. Sheed (1938; reprint ed., Paterson, N.J.: St. Anthony Guild Press, 1965), p. 145; Hexaemeron, collation 12, no. 12, tome 5, p. 386. I2Hexaemeron, ollation 12, no. 13, tome 5, p. 986; Alexander Gerken, La theologie di verbe: La relation entre 'Incarnation et la Creation elon S. Bonaventutre, rans. Jacqueline Greal (Paris: Editions Franciscaines, 1970), p. 12; Titus Szabo, De SS. Trinitlate Creaturis Refulgente: Doctrina S. Bonaventurae (Rome: Herder, 1955), p. 54; Gilson, pp. 140-41. '31 Sent. dist. 35, articulus unicus, quaest. 4, conclusio, esp. ad 3, ad 4, tome 1, p. 610; Breviloquium, pt. i, chap. 8, no. 7, tome 5, p. 217. 182  The Cosmic Exemplarism of Bonaventure in God, not indeed in their concrete existence but because they can be produced.14 Therefore, since the Word expresses and represents the ideas of all created things, ideas which act as exemplary causes of these things, he is called the eternal Exemplar, the model or pattern of creation.15 The inner life of the Trinity, srcinating from the fountain fullness of the Father and perfectly expressed in the Son who is Word, Image, and Exemplar, finds its consummation in the love between Father and Son which is the Spirit. Hence there is within the Trinity a complete process of emanation, exemplarity, and consummation. But the love of the Father for his Word explodes into a thousand forms in the universe outside of God.16 And so the fountain fullness of the Father within the Trinity is recapitulated in regard to the not-God, and the Trinity itself becomes a fountain fullness expressing itself out- ward and into the world.17 So the eternal ideas in the Word, which are the expression of the Father, become themselves expressive, causing a world that represents the life of the Trinity in a way analogous to the Word's representing the Father. Significantly, this second cycle of ema- nation, exemplarity, and consummation srcinates not from the nature of God, necessarily, as does the Son; it comes forth freely from the will of God.18 So the creative Trinity becomes for the created universe the emanating fountain fullness. B. Exemplarity The first phase of the cosmic economy of exemplarism concerned God's act of expressing himself in creation. The second phase, exemplarity, concerns creatures as reflections or expressions of God. The three phases of the economy of exemplarism, however, are not neatly sepa- rated. Rather, the entire economy is recapitulated in each phase, so that at every level of being we meet again the same basic pattern of the life of the Trinity: emanation, exemplarity, and consummation. i. Exemplary causality.-As we shift our perspective from God, the fountain fullness expressing himself in creatures, to the creatures them- selves as expressions of God, we confront the question, Hoz do creatures reflect God? That is, what is the method of reasoning by which the relation of creature to God is discerned and described? The scholastics who followed Aristotle employed a method based on 141 Sent. dist. 36, articulus i, quaest. i, conclusio, esp. ad 3, tome i, pp. 620-21; see also Szabo, p. 38. ' Hexaemeron, collation 12, no. 7, tome 5, p. 385. '6Gerken, p. 132. '7Alexander Shaeter, The Position and Function of Man in the Created World accord- ing to Bonaventure, Fratncisca Studies, N.S. 20 (q16o): 266-67. 1 Sent. dist. 7, articulus unicus, duibium 2, tome i, p. 144. 183
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