Duns Scotus on the Redemptive Work of Christ

Doctoral Dissertation


Like most scholastic theologians, Duns Scotus takes the broad outlines of his understanding of redemption from St. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo. In this study, I examine Scotus’s account of Christ’s redemptive work in light of his Christology and in light of thirteenth-century Franciscan theology. Considering this theological and historical context helps to settle a number of questions that Scotus’s account of redemption raises. These questions include whether Scotus attributes satisfaction to Christ’s death, whether Scotus’s expansive notion of divine power fundamentally shapes his soteriology, and whether Scotus’s soteriology was influenced not only by Anselm but also by his scholastic predecessors. I argue that Scotus does attribute satisfaction to Christ’s death, that Scotus’s Christology is more important than his notion of divine power in influencing his soteriology, and that Scotus adopts and extends many modifications that thirteenth-century theologians made to Anselm’s soteriology.

Perhaps the most significant divide between Anselm and his thirteenth-century interpreters is the role that scholastic theologians accorded to created grace in analyzing the source of value that they attributed to Christ’s suffering and death. Unlike his Franciscan predecessors, Scotus claims that the hypostatic union does not necessarily confer grace on Christ’s soul or augment its capacity for grace. Scotus’s understanding of the connection between Christ’s possession of the highest grace and the hypostatic union becomes the basis from which he speculates on alternative soteriological scenarios that would not involve Christ.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-12112009-143355

Author Andrew Vincent Rosato
Advisor Stephen Dumont
Contributor Joseph Wawrykow, Committee Co-Chair
Contributor Brian Daley, Committee Member
Contributor Alfred Freddoso, Committee Member
Contributor Stephen Dumont, Committee Co-Chair
Contributor Thomas Prugl, Committee Member
Degree Level Doctoral Dissertation
Degree Discipline Medieval Studies
Degree Name Doctor of Philosophy
Defense Date
  • 2009-12-01

Submission Date 2009-12-11
  • United States of America

  • Atonement

  • Redemption

  • Christology

  • Scotus

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units

Digital Object Identifier


This DOI is the best way to cite this doctoral dissertation.


Please Note: You may encounter a delay before a download begins. Large or infrequently accessed files can take several minutes to retrieve from our archival storage system.