An Introduction to the English Translation


of Master Peter Lombard’s Book of Sentences


St. Bonaventure’s Commentary


 By Br. Alexis Bugnolo



© 2007






Pro oblatione perpetua ante sedem Reginae Augustae Mariae Immaculatae regiam,
quae cum tam mirabili amore ad alium peccatorum miserabilem condescendere degnavit:
ut gratitudinis et famulatus signaculum.





This Introduction will comprise


1.  The Translator’s Foreword


2.  An explanation of the Rationale for the method of Translation employed throughout.


Some important notes before you read this translation.


3.  The Rationale for peculiar English translations of Latin terms, especially those regarding the terms of Medieval Philosophy, Theology, and Logic, used by Master Peter and St. Bonaventure.


How some terms are not used in any standard, modern English sense, and why.


4.  A List of Manuscripts consulted by the Quaracchi Editors with their explanation of determination in the selection of texts.


 This section is a must for all Scholars consulting this Edition and its translation.


5. Copyright Notice



Finally for those who would like to familiarize themselves with some more common terms, there has been prepared by some of the project participants this preliminary Latin-English Lexicon: 



1.  Translator’s Foreword


The publication of this English Translation and the digitization of the Latin texts, is, I believe, of great import to the revival of the Return to the Texts Movement in Scholastic Theology which prevailed more than a century ago, and which at the present is almost entirely non-existent in faculties of Sacred Theology in the Catholic Church.  In the last century the study of Scholastic Theology has seen the demise of the ancient scholastic traditions and the rise of the historical method in theology.  This has led to a woeful lack of formation of the reasoning faculties of most students of theology, and as a result a distancing in thought between theologians of today and theologians of the past.


In my own formation as a Franciscan I was very surprised to find that the level of education prevailing in theology today, when compared to the other sciences, is not what I would estimate as comparable by any degree.   Most courses which touch upon Dogmatic or Scholastic theology today rarely consider carefully the arguments and the manner of argumentation used by the Scholastic Doctors as essential to their conclusions; what is more commonly held is that their conclusions are just opinions, and that the value of their reasonings are more of a historical quality than of an objective eternal validity.


This is the sad consequence of the disintegration of the study of philosophy and theology which has occurred since the fundamental errors of Descartes, the Epiricists, Kant, and in modern times of the Ontologists, Existentialists, and Modernists.


Unlike these schools of philosophy and theology, Scholastic Theology was an objective, rational science which studied God as He has revealed Himself through miracles and prophecies, testified to by human eye-witnesses.  Scholastic Theology therefore is at its very essence a forensic science, which requires human testimony, and which builds upon this to lead the scientist-theologian to an objective and refined understanding of all that pertains to God and creation.


The return to the study of Master Peter Lombard’s Four Book of Sentences is therefore of great importance for a restoration of Sacred Theology today, and under the guidance of such masters as St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, we can be sure of great profit, hailed as he has been by Pope Sixtus IV and Sixtus V as a most eminent theologian.


For those reading St. Bonaventure’s Commentary, I would offer this recommendation.  Read first the corresponding Distinction from Lombard.  This is especially helpful to modern readers, so as to put them in the context of the discussion which St. Bonaventure will undertake, which, to use a simile, is like a microscopic investigation of the details of Lombard’s discussion.


For those teaching from St. Bonaventure’s Commentary, I would not recommend the method which I was subject to myself:  the mere summarization of the conclusions of the Seraphic Doctor.  I would recommend rather, that the students have as a prerequisite a knowledge of Latin, and that the manner of study require half the class to defend one side of each question, and the other half defend the other; wherein particular students would be assigned particular questions to lead the discussion, and the professor would sit as the judge and arbiter of the debate, using the texts of Bonaventure and Lombard as their guide, and vying among themselves to find and defend as much as is true and/or false in each opposing reasoning.  I believe that such a method will teach the students to think in a most engaging manner, and result in a student who is fit to be a theologian.


In conclusion:  Since these English translations represent the work of myself only, all fault and deficiency in them is my own responsibility, and I ask your pardon.  Like most large textual projects, despite the many hours of labor there may still be present various textual errors.  I would cordially invite you to contact me directly, if you should find anything worthy of correction, addition, or emendation via email at the contact page of The Franciscan Archive.


Finally, I wish to thank everyone who has helped me prepare and be able to prepare these translations in digitized form.  First my heartfelt thanks to Dr. Edward Dean Buckner, Ph. D. Philosophy, of London, who through numerous correspondence encouraged me and spurred me to write the Rationale for the Translation of Peculiar Latin Terms.  This is especially important for scholars, since in undertaking the work of the English translation, I have held more to the truth of the Scholastic terms than to the custom of terminology in the English speaking world, so that the thought of both Masters, Bonaventure and Lombard, might be opened up anew, apart from and without the baggage of the tradition of philosophical terminology in post-Reformational England.  I have chosen this path, inspired by Dr. Etienne Gilson’s remarks on the necessity of reading the great Scholastics in their own light, and of my own undergraduate training in Latin and Anthropology, which so emphasized the importance of conforming the mind of the researcher to the object of study, rather than to preconceptions. Second, my gratitude to Drs. J. C. Klok, of Breda, Netherlands, who has painstakingly read through the entire Latin text of Book I, and uncovered many hundreds of typographical errors, as well as transcriptional errors and errors of translation in the Latin and English texts.


I wish also to thank in particular my benefactors in Italy, who enabled me to use a computer to complete the large part of this work, to Dr. Peter Felhner, O.F.M.Conv, former Rector of St. Anthony-on-the-Hudson Seminary, who first taught me the theology of the Seraphic Doctor, and whose exhortation “to read Bonaventure” was the guiding inspiration for me to undertake this work more than 7 years ago.


I wish also to thank Mrs. Helen Kansas, a daughter of Israel, who first taught me the Tongue of the Romans at Satellite High School, Satellite Beach, Florida; the faculty of the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Florida: Gainesville, my alma mater; Dr. Peter Kreft and the other faculty of Our Lady of Grace Seminary, who introduced me to Plato, Aristotle, and especially St. Thomas Aquinas, and to my own family and relatives who have so assisted me and housed me during the entire time of this work, at their own expense, and by whose charity The Franciscan Archive is on-line.


For those of you who have purchased a copy of this CD-Rom, you can, if you wish, inform me of your email-address by surface mail, so that you may be duly informed of any corrections or updates in the files contained on this CD-Rom; a service which I offer you free of charge.  In such a case, use the address on the contact page of The Franciscan Archive, mentioned in the previous link.


Finally, to view this CD, it is best to have installed on your computer a font comparable to Times New Roman, for the English and Latin texts, and Symbol for the Greek texts.  This latter font was employed, despite its lack of diacritical marks, because it is more commonly found and contains the complete Greek alphabet in upper and lower cases.


About the Translator:  Br. Alexis Bugnolo is a graduate of the University of Florida:  Gainesville (1986:  B. A. Anthropology; Classical Studies); Our Lady of Grace Seminary:  Boston (1988:  Catholic Philosophy).



2.  The General Rationale for this Translation


A Philosophy of Translation

by Br. Alexis Bugnolo, translator



Translatio autem fit propter duo:  una ratio est propter similitudinem expressam,
alia ratio est propter instructionem nostrum.

(St. Bonaventure, I. Sent, d. 27, p. II, a. sole, q. 4, in resp., pp. 489)


God is Truth, and having created all according to His Eternal Word, He has fashioned all things in measure, number and reckoning.  Thus has He made man capable of knowing the Truth and all truths contained in that Truth, with his own mind by the light of reason which He bestows upon him.


But since man, being composed of body and soul, is a rational creature which must communicate through sign and symbol, it is of necessity, both that he do so and that in doing so his very communication contain both an objective and subjective aspect.  Since no two men stand in the same shoes, no two men see the world from the same viewpoint and represent it exactly alike in the symbols of human expression, which are words.


For this reason, though human language can contain and attain to a proper and true expression of truth, nevertheless, the comprehension and expression of what another human has written or spoken is limited, especially when one can no longer speak or hold conversation with the author of the words.


Mindful of these truths, one must recognize that every translation is to some extent an interpretation; and at the same time no translation is of any value when that interpretation dominates.  Indeed the only utility of a translation is to make the author of the original text comprehensible to those who are not fluent in the language of the original.  It is not and cannot be of any utility to anyone, if the translation attempts to obstruct that objective; just as any glass other than that which is crystal clear is of common value to human living.


Hence it is that in this translation, it would be unauthentic if the English attempted to impose meaning upon the text, or impose more meaning upon the text that it contained, or subtract the meaning that was there. It would furthermore be incoherent if the English translation attempted to alter the linguistic context of the original, by attempting to interpret the terms used by Lombard and Bonaventure with modern terms.


In this regard, though it is manifestly evident that English is another language, and that since the time of the dissolution of the Catholic Church in England at the time of King Henry VIII that English broke with the dominant Catholic culture of Europe of its day, and that subsequently there has been a long history in England of authors using terms in manners peculiar to spoken English, rather than Scholastic or Medieval Latin; nevertheless, it must remain the forum for scholars of history, philosophy and theology, to debate precisely the meaning of terms used by Lombard and Bonaventure, and consequently it must be recognized that a single translation, however lengthy, cannot resolve once and for all this debate.


For every author has the right to express himself in his own terms, and thus use words in his own peculiar manner, to a certain extent, and this is especially true and necessary in the recondite fields of philosophy and theology.  More so, for authors such as Lombard and Bonaventure who lived more than 750 years ago, and who wrote and thought in a form of Latin which is not longer used, except in traditional circles of Catholic Theology and Philosophy.


The English reader, then, must take note.  For in reading the translations of the Commentary Project he must be disposed to leave aside, to a certain extent, his own preconceptions about what English terms should mean, and be ready and willing to accept what to him might seem to be new or novel meanings for some terms, which in fact are rather senses of the English words which have now become obsolete for many English speakers, but which are based on the etymological roots of the same words, and their Latin cognates.


This English translation, therefore, is in this sense revolutionary.  For just as Lombard and Bonaventure viewed all reality in the light of the Catholic Faith, which is the light of Christ Jesus, so they used their words and terms in the light of the way they were used by the authors of Sacred Scripture, by the Fathers of the Church, and by saintly and learned men who had lived before them.  While admitting words can be used in differing and disparate senses, they nevertheless strove earnestly and zealously to bring to light the correct and proper understanding of things and terms by these lights, rather than having the meaning of words imposed by those who having been Catholic, had rejected Christ or His Church.


In a world that is at once post-Modern and post-Reformational, any attempt at the use of the English Language in this same manner will be at once, to some, and to many outside the centers of Catholic Thought, even if they be Catholic, somewhat incomprehensible and somewhat reckless at best.  Indeed, it is not a little obvious today, that there is as much a war for language, a war for words, as there is a war, but not only of words, against Christ and His Church, especially in the West.  This war which began with the decline of Scholasticism and the rise of Nominalism, and was advanced by the Reformation, and which has been and is supported so intimately by Freemasonry today, is something for which the English translations of these two greatest of theologians, Master Peter Lombard, Archbishop of Paris (c. A. D. 1150), and St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor (c. A.D. 1260), can be an effective tool in combating the enemies of Christ Jesus, which are also those of all that is humane and civil in the entire Western Civilization.

1  “Moreover, a translation is done for the sake of two (things):  one reason is for the sake of an expressed similitude, the other reason is for the sake of our instruction.”



3.  The Rationale for the Translation of Peculiar Latin Terms


Click on the title to this section, to pass to the Rationale for peculiar Latin Terms.



4.  The List of Codices and Editions Consulted by the Quaracchi Editors


Here follows an important note for scholars interested in the textual variants compared by the Quaracchi Editors, which appears in the Prolegomena of the First Volume of their Opera Omnia S. Bonaventurae.


Translated from p. LXXXVI-LXXXVIII of the Prolegomena of Vol. 1, of St. Bonaventure’s Opera Omnia, 1882.





In the following table there are listed [ponuntur] the codices (which we have) gathered together under common consideration [sub uno conspectu] in alphabetical order.  A few of these codices, which have been consulted by us only in some, more difficult passages, are distinguished with the sign *.  Lest by enumerating each single codices, we afflict the reader with a tedious series of codices exceedingly long, we have signified in general terms their number in this manner.  By placing the words ancient codices [antique codd.] we have noted all and/or nearly all the codices collected by us, except codex cc.  —  “Nearly all” [fere omnes] is employed by us (in the footnotes of this Edition), to signify all, as much as we conjecture.  For if very few of our codices are missing in regard to any reading, it has rather been presumed, that this silence ought to be explained out of a certain involuntary omission of the (scholar) consulting (the text), and not out of a different reading of the codex.  How easily these omissions in small things may even accede to those diligently consulting codices, all experienced in this subject know.  —  Under the term “very many” [plurimi] there are understood (to be signified) at least 20 codices, noted from every family and nation (of origin).  —  “Many” [multi] are understood (to be) 15 or more.  —  “Several” (“A large number of”) [plures (plerique)]1 are at least 8.  —  When the number of these is less than 8, we employ the term “not a few” [nonnulli] and then “few” [pauci].  It is scarcely necessary to say, that under the general term “codex” we do not understand only those, which have been gathered by us along with the Vatican edition.


Moreover we note these (things).  I.  In citing the distinctions from the very Book of Peter Lombard we use Roman numerals; however in citing the Commentaries of St. Bonaventure and/or of others, (we use) Arabic numerals.  When, in citing the Commentary of St. Bonaventure, in any Distinction, we have omitted (the word or abbreviation) for article, as a sign that in that Distinction there is only one article.  2. For the sake of brevity in the Scholia and notes we have used the word “this” [hic or hoc], to signify, that that passage is in the Commentary on the Books of Sentences and indeed in the same (book) and in the same distinction, which is being dealt with (on the current page).  3. We have not been able to report the passages cited from the other books of St. Bonaventure, which (were) not in the text we used of the editions and indeed of the Vatican edition, in which we have only sometimes corrected some of the errors.


1  It has been the custom of the English Translation of the First Book to render plures and plerique as “very many”, even though it would be more accurate to render this as “several” or “a large number of” respectively.  Scholars should note the corresponding Latin text, in each case, to understand less ambiguously the intention of the Quaracchi Editors in these passages.






(in this Latin Edition)


I. Of the Books of (St. Bonaventure’s) Commentaries1


A. . . Cod. Assisiensis 42. (1.)

B. . . Cod. Vaticanus 907. (31.).

C. . . Cod. Parisiensis I. Nation. 17480. (25.)

D. . . Cod. Vaticanus 908. (32.).

E. . . Cod. Romanus Chisian. B. VIII. 128. (33.).

F. . . Cod. Florentinus I. C. VI. Nation. 209. (6.).

G. . . Cod. Florentinus II. Nation. D. V. 206. (7.)

H. . . Cod. Florentinus III. Nation. D. V. 207. (8.).

I. . . Cod. Florentinus IV. Nation. I. VII. 7. 45. (9.)

K. . . Cod. Florentinus V. Laurent. Plut. Dext. XXV. 2. (11.)

L. . . Cod. Oxoniensis. I. Colleg. Lincoln. 25. (22.).

M. . . Cod. Cassiniensis 398.00 (18.).

N. . . Cod. Neapolitanus Nation. VII. D. 28. (20.).

O. . . Cod. Oxoniensis II. Colleg. Balliol. 133. (21.).

P. . . Cod. Patavinus I. Convent. S. Ant. 120. (27.).

Q. . . Cod. Patavinus II. Convent. S. Ant. 125. (28.).

R. . . Cod. Parisiensis II. Nation. 3085. (23.)

S. . . Cod. Parisiensis III. Nation. 15821. (24.)

T. . . Cod. Tudertinus 39. (34.).

U. . . Cod. Parisiensis IV. Sorb. Th. II. 48. (26.).

V. . . Cod. Mediolanensis Ambros. I. 95. infer. (14.).

W. . . Cod. Monacensis I. Reg. C. L. M. 14086. (16.).

X. . . Cod. Monacensis II. Reg. C. L. M. 18344. (17.).

Y. . . Cod. Bambergensis Civit. B. III. 42. (2.).

Z. . . Cod. Lipsiensis Univers. 491. (13.).

aa. . . Cod. Cracovensis I. Univers. 1246. DD. XIV. (4.).

bb. . . Cod. Cracovensis II. Univers. 1252. A. A.. XI. (5.).

cc. . . Cod. In Collegio S. Bonavent. (35.)

dd. . . Cod. Monacensis III Reg. C. L. M. 8079. (15.).

ee. . . Cod. Florentinus VI. Nation. Laurent.2 LXX. Fes. (12.)

ff. . . Cod. Florentinus VII. Nation. C. VI. 208. (10.)

gg. . . Cod. Patavinus III.* Conv. S. Ant. 123. (29.).

hh. . . Cod. Patavinus IV.* Convent. S. Ant. 124. (19.).

ii. . . Cod. Mutinensis* Atestin. 974. VII. I. 14. (19.).

kk. . . Cod. Bononiensis* Colleg. Hisp. 35. (3.).




1. Brixiae 1490.                      2. Norimbergae 1492.            3. Venetiis I. 1562.

4. Venetiis II. 1673                5. Venetiis III. 1580               6. Lugduni 1570.



1  The numbers placed in parentheses indicate the passage in the Prolegomena (of the Quaracchi Edition), ch. II, § 1, (p. LXXVI ff.), where these codices are described.

2  This codex in its first Distinctions, through an error, has been confounded with codex ff, which the reader may like to correct on p. 2, footnote 1, and 7; on p. 3, footnote 2, by placing ff for ee.  On p. 40, footnote 3 it convenes with codex A.  On page 2, foot note 19, near the middle, on page 67, footnote 8, and on page 139, footnote 19, codex ee ought to be omitted, just as also codex ff on page 4, footnote 1 at the end.  [Trans. Note: These changes have not been made by the Translator.]





(in this Latin Edition)


(II). Of the Books of Peter Lombard’s Sentences


(These) Codices are at the National Library at Florence


A. . . . Cod. VI. 27. S. Marci.

B. . . . Cod. VI. 28. S. Marci

C. . . . Cod. VI. 32. S. Marci

D. . . . Cod. 2599. B. 1 olim Abbatiae Florentinae.

E. . . . Cod. 2559. A. 4. olim Abbatiae Florentinae.1






1. Edit. Veneta an. 1481

2. Edit. Nuremburg. (Koberger cum Comment. S. Bonaventurae) 1449.

3. Edit. Veneta 1509. (cum Comment. Richardi).

4. Edit. Lugdunens. 1540.

5. Edit. Coloniens. 1535. (cum Comment. Dionysii Carth.).

6. Edit. Lugdunens. 1639 (cum Comment. Scoti).

7. Edit. Veneta 1489.

8. Edit. Parisiensis 1659. (cum Comment. D. Thomae).

9. Edit. Basileens. 1513.


For the Citation of the Chapters placed after the Prologue of Master (Peter) we have used these codices.

From the Laurentian Library at Florence:


F — plut. 21.   . cod. 24.                     L — plut. 30. dex. cod. 1. S. Crucis.

G — plut. 21. . cod. 26.                      M — plut. 25. dex. cod. I. S. Crucis.

H — plut. 21. . cod. 27                       N — plut 31. dex. cod. I. S. Crucis.

I — plut. 28. dext. cod. 2                   O — Gaddian. Dex. cod. 59.

K — plut. 24. dex. cod. I. S. Crucis


From the Library of the Convent of St. Anthony at Padua:


P . . . N. VIII. cod. 151.                      S . . . N. VIII. cod. 149.

Q . . . N. VIII. cod. 136                      T . . . N. VIII. Cod.

R . . . N. VIII. cod. 139.



1  These codices belong to the second half of the 13th century, except Codex E, which his of the 15th, and though it is written in a most splendid manner it is of less value for critical use than the other four, among which codex D is to be valued before all others.



5.  Copyright Notice


The Latin-English texts of this translation protected under international copyright law.  This includes the English translations, the digitization of the Latin and English texts, this introduction and all HTML files contained on this CD-Rom.  Viewers of these pages have permission to print, for their personal use, a copy of any file therefore.  Specific requests for additional permissions must be made by contacting the Translator online, through The Franciscan Archive.




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