This work of impeccable scholarship provides us with the best printed text of St. Thomas's Disputed Questions on Soul. As the editor suggests, these questions were most probably debated at Paris in 1269. Robb insists in his informative Introduction that each of the twenty-one articles represents a disputation conducted on one day. This remains an unsolved problem in the academic life of St. Thomas, however, and I am coming to think that the oral disputations may have been much reworked and subdivided into articles in the editing process which committed them to writing.
Robb lists sixty MSS in which this work appears, in whole or in part: of these he has examined fifty. He eventually limited his editorial base to seven MSS thought to be of Parisian origin because they contain the pecia markings indicating some connection with the University of Paris bookstore in the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries. From these MSS Robb has selected one very good codex (Balliol College 49) and followed its readings, making obvious corrections from the other six MSS and the first printed edition (Venice 1472). Variants from these seven sources form the main apparatus.
The present text, then, is not fully critical. Robb notes that we will have to wait for the Leonine Commission to produce a text based on all the MSS. I am not certain that the eventual Leonine text will use all the MSS; for the Leonine editors have been leaning more and more toward Antoine Dondaine's thesis that an edition of a dictated work of St. Thomas does not have to include variants from obviously late and imperfect copies. Frankly, this is probably the reason why the Leonine text of the Quaestiones de Veritate has never been published, even though it was in proof sheets more than fifteen years ago. It is possible that a "critical edition" made in accord with the editorial principles developed for the Greek and Latin classics would not really give us the best text of some of the works of Thomas Aquinas.
This reviewer cannot comment on Robb's accuracy in using the base MSS. He gives every appearance of having done a meticulous job. Instead, I have carefully checked Robb's text of Questions I and XIV with the vulgarized Marietti printing of 1949. I find few significant differences. In the first question, where the Marietti printing has sequitur and tollitur Robb has sequetur and tolletur. Throughout, Robb has done well to replace the formula, "Respondeo. Dicendum quod," with the more meaningful, "Responsio. Dicendum quod." Also, the punctuation in Robb's edition is greatly improved over that of the previous printings. Apart from this sort of thing, a person would have to say that Robb's years of hard work have produced few changes in the available text. Indeed, one wonders what more the Leonine editors can do to improve it.
- excerpt from review by Vernon J. Bourke, Saint Louis University, for Modern Schoolman
|Publisher:||Marquette University Press|
|Series:||Mediaeval Philosophical Texts in Translation Series , #27|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
|Lexile:||1390L (what's this?)|
About the Author
Latin Text with Introduction and Notes by James H. Robb, LSM., PhD., Editor, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies