John of Ripa

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Italian Franciscan theologian known as Doctor difficilis and Doctor supersubtilis; flourished Paris, 135768. Although his family name was Plantadossi, he was called Joannes de Ripa or de Marchia because he belonged to the Franciscan friary of Ripatransone in the Marche of Ascoli near Piceno. It is not possible to assign exact dates for his academic activities, although it is most probable that he lectured on the Sentences at the University of Paris c. 1357 and remained there as professor until after 1368. His basic formation and outlook were Scotistic, but he manifested more originality and independence than most in the development of scotism. It is unlikely that he was ever personally censured for his teachings, although some of his followers were, namely, Louis of Padua (flourished 136264) and John of Bâle (flourished 138185). Three major works of John are extant: Lectura super primum Sententiarum [ed. A. Combes, (Paris 1961)], Conclusiones circa primum librum Sententiarum [ed. A. Combes, (Paris 1957)], and Determinationes [ed. A. Combes, (Paris 1957)]. Parts of a commentary on the other books of the Sentences also are extant. Other treatises have been attributed to him, but they are spurious, or wrongly catalogued, or simply lost.

In the commentary on the Sentences John tried to make as clear as possible the character of the beatitude communicated by God to His creatures. The problem was fundamentally Augustinian and was made more explicit by duns scotus; it was concerned with reconciling the immensity of God and the finiteness of creatures. John carefully examined the nature of God's immensity, especially in relation to man's sanctification. Employing a philosophy based on the "intension and remission of forms," he saw in man a potentia vitalis as a basis for sanctity and beatific knowledge by way of presence rather than of physical information. In the Determinationes, however, he went out of his way to refute the tenet that God is somehow the formal cause of creatures.

The influence of John of Ripa is difficult to assess. He was a disciple of Duns Scotus, yet he often disagreed with him. His teaching is reflected in the fourteen articles of the Franciscan Louis of Padua that were condemned in 1362 [Chartularium universitatis Parisensis, ed. H. Denifle and E. Chatelain, 4 v. (Paris 188997) 3:9597].

Bibliography: a. combes, "Jean de Vippa, Jean de Rupa ou Jean de Ripa," Archives d'histoire doctrinale et littéraire du moyen-âge (Paris 1926) 14 (1939) 253290; "Présentation de J. de R.," ibidem 31 (1956) 145242; Jean Gerson, commentateur dionysien (Études de philosophie médiévale 30; Paris 1940). p. vignaux, "Dogme de l'Incarnation et métaphysique de la forme chez J. de R.," Mélanges offerts à Étienne Gilson (Toronto 1959) 661672. z. kaluza, "La nature des écrits de Jean de Ripa" Traditio 43 (1983) 25798. f. ruello, La théologie naturelle de Jean de Ripa (Paris 1992), bibliograpy; La pensée de Jean de Ripa: Immensité divine et connaisance théologique (Fribourg 1990); "Le projet théologique de Jean de Ripa" Traditio 49 (1994) 12770.

[j. r. o'donnell]