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Christian Theologies of the SacramentsA Comparative Introduction$
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Justin S. Holcomb and David A. Johnson

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724323

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724323.001.0001

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John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus

(p.100) 6 John Duns Scotus
Christian Theologies of the Sacraments

Richard Cross

NYU Press

This chapter examines the theologies of the sacraments of John Duns Scotus, one of the most important theologians and philosophers of the High Middle Ages. Scotus viewed sacraments as “signs of God’s salvific activity” in the lives of believers and fascinatingly asserted that “the seven sacraments—baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, confession, unction, marriage, and ordination—correspond supernaturally to the seven requirements of natural life, individual and social: birth, nutrition, physical exercise, healing after illness, preparation for death, procreation, and the creation of spiritual leaders.” Scotus asserted that the grace communicated to believers through the seven sacraments fosters the growth of Christian character in believers, evident in their growth in grace. Regarding the Eucharist, like his contemporary Aquinas, Scotus believed in transubstantiation, although there are complicated nuances with the concept of “real presence.” He also asserted “that Christ somehow offers himself in the Eucharist.”

Keywords:   sacrament, Eucharist, baptism, grace, Duns Scotus, real presence, transubstantiation

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