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The Quodlibet of John Duns Scotus - Doctrine, Sources and Influence

The Quodlibet of John Duns Scotus

Doctrine, Sources, and Influence

4-5 December 2020

We are pleased to announce our next conference: 'The Quodlibet of John Duns Scotus - Doctrine, Sources, and Influence', which will be held digitally via Zoom on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of December 2020.

To get access, please send an e-mail to Lars.Heckenroth [at]

Quodlibetal debates were a staple of medieval university life. They were solemn events at which the entire university was present. Conducted by the Masters, anyone present at the debate could propose a question on any topic. Disputed in 1305-6, the Quodlibet of John Duns Scotus postdates his Reportatio Parisiensis and thus constitutes his final theological masterwork. Though there are only twenty-one questions, these questions contain Scotus’ final positions on many topics, such as human cognitive psychology and freedom, the transcendentals, and the limits of human reason in knowing the divine. Moreover, the Quodlibet is unique among Scotus’ surviving works because he nearly completed the revision of it; indeed, he gave final form to all but the last question. It was also one of the most popular works of Duns Scotus in the medieval and early modern periods, with over sixty manuscripts surviving and twenty-one printed editions of the text. A glance at the text of the Quodlibet reveals the reason for its popularity: it is among the most polished and revised texts that Scotus wrote, both in terms of the quality of the text and the internal organization of its questions. Yet despite the unquestioned importance of Scotus’ Quodlibet, studies of the work are still in their infancy. The manuscript tradition in its entirety is unexplored, the status of various ‘extra’ texts that have been inserted is unknown, the sources in Scotus’ Parisian contemporaries have not been investigated, nor has there been any attempt to determine the influence of the work within late medieval philosophy or after. Speakers for the present conference have been invited to investigate any of the three themes: doctrine, sources, and influence.

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