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Ordered by Love

Ordered by Love

An Introduction to John Duns Scotus

By Thomas M. Ward

174 pp

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About the Book


John Duns Scotus (1265–1308), beatified by Pope St. John Paul II in 1993, is widely recognized as one of the most original and influential philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. Ordered by Love offers a sympathetic exploration of a wide range of Scotus’s thought. Topics covered include his understanding of the relationship between faith and reason, his doctrine of individuation by “haecceity” (thisness), his theory of the univocity of the concept of being, his emphasis on God’s freedom and its supposed consequences for moral theory, his defense of Mary’s immaculate conception, and his teaching on the primacy of Christ.


“Thomas Ward has done the seemingly impossible: he has made the Subtle Doctor intelligible without sacrificing any of Scotus’s subtlety, and lovable to a world despairing of any such sonnet. With erudite wit and exquisite whimsy, through literary allusions and down-home familial experiences, Ordered by Love offers something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned Scotist, a skeptical Thomist, something in between, or just an educated layperson, you will here find a profoundly rich and spiritually significant work of philosophical and theological art. Simply put, Ordered by Love is a triple Canticle of Love: Ward’s love for Scotus; Scotus’s love for God in Christ; and, ultimately, the Triune God’s love for all His creatures, especially those capable of reading this sophisticatedly succinct masterpiece.”


Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.


“Blessed John Duns Scotus has the reputation of a forbidding figure—the Subtle Doctor whose intricate scholastic edifices are best admired from afar. Thomas Ward’s Ordered by Love: An Introduction to John Duns Scotus offers the great benefit of drawing the reader in closer, to see not only the rational power but also the beauty and spiritual succor offered by Scotus’s theological vision. Reading it is in turn intellectually exciting and profoundly moving. We are in Ward’s debt for making it possible for so many more Christians to look to this holy teacher as a guide to knowing and loving God.”


McDevitt Professor of Religious Philosophy, Georgetown University


“This volume is an excellent, welcome addition to our understanding of John Duns Scotus. Ward carefully lays out the essential elements of the Subtle Doctor’s vision of a reality centered on love. More importantly, he explains why the Scotist articulation of the Franciscan intellectual tradition matters to us today.”


Professor of Philosophical Theology, Franciscan School of Theology


“Thomas Ward’s Ordered by Love is a magnificently clear, concise, and accurate overview of Scotus’s thought. It strikes the proper balance between making complicated ideas simpler and ensuring that the careful analysis of some of Scotus’s reasoning is not lost. This book should be required reading for undergraduate courses in medieval philosophy that cover Scotus, but will be entirely accessible to the general reader interested in philosophical ideas.”


Father Kurt Pritzl Chair in Philosophy, The Catholic University of America


“From his pioneering advocacy of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception to his controversial teaching on the ‘thisness’ of things, Duns Scotus remains one of the greatest thinkers in the history of the Church. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Christian philosophy should make a point of reading this important and ground-breaking introduction to his thought.”


author of Tolkien: Man and Myth, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, and many other works

About the Author

THOMAS M. WARD, PhD (UCLA), MPhil (Oxon.) is a historian of the philosophy and theology of the Middle Ages. He is the author of Divine Ideas and John Duns Scotus on Parts, Wholes, and Hylomorphism, and the translator of Duns Scotus’s Treatise on the First Principle (De Primo Principio). Ward is an associate professor of philosophy at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

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