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Gerald Odonis’ Tractatus De Suppositionibus: What Is Suppositio Communicabilis?

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Chapter Summary

The Tractatus de suppositionibus, which is cited by Gerald Odonis in his commentary on the Sentences. In the Sentences commentary he refers to his treatment of 'suppositio communicabilis' and its species, indicating a type of supposition whose language seems new. This article attempts to find a source for it in contemporary authors and arrives at the conclusion that 'communicabilis' is simply a synonym for 'personalis', the most common form of supposition according to Odonis. St Augustine is a pivotal source for medieval discussions of the supposition of terms. Not only did he indicate the extensive imprecision of much of our language and the need to interpret it, as he does in the above text taken from his Confessions, but he also provided in the opening chapter of book I of his De Trinitate a caution against predicating of God attributes that can only belong to limited creatures.

Keywords: De Trinitate ; Gerald Odonis; St Augustine; Tractatus de suppositionibus

10.1163/ej.9789004178502.i-230.24
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