Pope Benedict XVI: Reason for the Incarnation according to Abbott Rupert of Deutz

Fr. Tim Finnigan is Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, visiting tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary Wonersh, and tutor in Dogmatic Theology at St Hugh’s Charterhouse, Parkminster.

Here is a post from Fr. Tim Finigan’s website “The hermeneutic of continuity” [please note that all comments and links in brackets are my addition]

Pope Benedict on the motive of the Incarnation
in the thought of Rupert of Deutz

Another theme in today’s [Wednesday, 9 December 2009] General Audience was the motive of the incarnation. Here is a passage which I have translated from the address:

“Like other theologians of the Middle Ages, Rupert also asked: why was the Word of God, the Son of God, made man? Some, many, responded, explaining the incarnation of the Word with the urgency of repairing the sin of man. Rupert on the other hand, with a christocentric vision of the history of salvation, enlarged the perspective, and in a work of his entitled “The Glorification of the Trinity” held the position that the Incarnation, the central event of all history, was foreseen from all eternity, even independently of the sin of man, so that all creation could give praise to God the Father and love Him as a unique family gathered around Christ, the Son of God. He therefore saw in the pregnant woman of the apocalypse the whole history of humanity which is oriented to Christ, just as conception is oriented to birth; a perspective which would be developed by other thinkers and enriched also by contemporary theology, which affirms that the whole history of the world and of humanity is a conception oriented to the birth of Christ.”

The thesis that the incarnation was predestined even apart from sin is usually attributed to the Blessed John Duns Scotus who defended it against the Dominicans; it is often called the “Franciscan Thesis”. It is fascinating that a Benedictine theologian, writing a century and a half earlier, promoted the same perspective on the incarnation. One can find evidence of the same view in Maximus the Confessor [more on St. Maximus] and, arguably, in St Irenaeus and St Paul, but it is significant that Pope Benedict seems to speak in favour this view as well. [i.e. Pope Benedict’s General Audience of July 7th, 2010]

The thesis is particularly taught in the Faith Movement as part of an overall perspective on creation and the incarnation, and much scholarly work has been done by the Franciscans of the Immaculate, especially relating to the Blessed John Duns Scotus himself.

[To learn more about Abbott Rupert of Deutz’s position on the Incarnation and that of Bishop Robert Grosseteste one can read this piece by Fr. Daniel Horan, OFM]

I have translated a passage of Abbott Rupert of Deutz here.