Synopsis of Polanus’ Syntagma (10)

14 January 2010 by Wes Bredenhof

Wow, this is getting quite technical now.  The linguistic resources that I have at my disposal aren’t helping me much with some of the key vocabulary.  I have Muller’s dictionary of Latin and Greek theological terms on order, but haven’t received it yet.  I think that would probably help a lot.  Some of this I’m just guessing at and so I think here’s where I throw in the towel and admit that this is getting way over my ability.  Anyway, here’s the next part of Book V and if anyone has any suggestions on improving the translation, please let me know.


The efficient cause of humanity can be considered thus:  whether you look at the first humans, or at their posterity.

The efficient cause of humanity is first the primitive (principalis), and then the handmaid (administra).

The handmaid, if you look at the body, is first remote, then near, then in the middle.

The material of humanity is first remote, then near.

The near materials are the parts of the body, the humors, and the spirit.

The internal and substantial form of a human being is his soul.

The soul of a human is to be observed thus:  definition, origin, purpose, power, and so on.

The origin of the soul includes the efficient cause of the soul, material, time, and place.

The purpose (finis) of the human soul is either natural or supernatural.

The powers of the human soul are three:  quickening, sensitizing, and intellectual.

The sensitizing powers are two:  apprehensions and motives.

The force of apprehensions includes external senses and then internal senses.

The external senses are: vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

The internal senses are:  common sense, imagination, and memory.

The different frames of mind are:  wakefulness, sleep, and dreaming.

Dreams are either natural (physica) or supernatural (hyperphysica).

The force of motives of the sensitivities is threefold:  vital, enjoining, and accompanying.

The force of the vital is distinguished in pulsatricem & respiratricem (?).

The force of the enjoining motives is two-fold:  sensitized longings and states of mind (affectus).

The sensitized longings are of two parts:  desires and irascibility.

All of the states of mind are under two heads:  enjoyment and pain.

The intellectual powers are two-fold:  driving (agens) and bearing (patiens).

The driving intellect is two-fold:  theoretical and practical.

Again, the intellect is either simple or composite.

The composite is either noetic or dianoetic.

The intellect which has been placed in the human by God is right reason and conscience.

The standard natural principles of right reason are two-fold:  theoretical and practical.

Thus far regarding the intellect.

One response to “Synopsis of Polanus’ Syntagma (10)”

  1. “The composite is either noetic or dianoetic” – that’s what I’ve always thought!

    This is getting over my head in English, so I can only imagine the Latin! 🙂

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