Science & Culture

John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus, also known as Blessed John (or Johannes) Duns Scotus, was the founder of Scotism and is considered one of the most important Franciscan theologians and philosophers of the Middle Ages. Little is known of John Duns' early life. Historians estimate that he was born in 1266, and he was accepted into a Franciscan friary in southern Scotland when he was approximately 13 years old. He began his formal study at Oxford in 1288, and in 1291 he was ordained as a priest. His penchant for developing nuanced and subtle thought earned him the nickname "Doctor Subtilis," or "the subtle doctor." He lectured on Peter Lombard's Sentences, which was then the most important text on systematic theology, at the University of Paris. Scotus's teachings on the subject impressed students and the Franciscan leadership alike. Among the many concepts he explored were the univocity of being, formal distinction, the existence of God, and Mary's immaculate conception. In 1307, Duns was sent to the Franciscan studium in Cologne, presumably to teach. He died there suddenly in 1308.

Pope John Paul II beatified John Duns Scotus on March 20, 1993.

"John Duns Scotus (1266-1308)," Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"John Duns Scotus," Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

"John Duns Scotus (1266-1308)," Research Group John Duns Scotus