18th December 07, 10:29 AM
Besides the mediaeval scholar John Duns Scotus and the rally driver Jim Clark, the small town of Duns also gave us Thomas Boston. He was born here in 1676. Boston House is an 1893 rebuild on the site of the house where he was born, but incorporates this plaque. Son of a Covenanter who was imprisoned for his beliefs, Thomas Boston entered the ministry, and later became in 1707 Minister at Ettrick where he died in 1732. Many of his theological works were published after his death and he still has many followers today.
The Free Church which was founded in Duns was named the Boston Free Church in his honour and was one of the more progressive churches and opened the Boston Free Church School at 43 Newtown Street, a few doors along from his birthplace, in 1843, a generation prior to the introduction of a national education scheme in Scotland.
A closer view of some of the ornate stonework on the Boston Free Church School.
Today the old school is now divided into houses.
This view was taken during my lunch break from court today.
Last edited by cessna152towser; 18th December 07 at 01:07 PM.
18th December 07, 10:55 AM
I love your photos...they are always lovely!
18th December 07, 11:06 AM
Beautiful photos! Are there any buildings or markers connected to Blessed John Duns? As a fellow Franciscan, I would be curious.
18th December 07, 11:08 AM
18th December 07, 11:15 AM
Blessed John Duns, O.F.M.
From a Franciscan website:
A humble man, John Duns Scotus has been one of the most influential Franciscans through the centuries.
Born at Duns in the county of Berwick, Scotland, John was descended from a wealthy farming family. In later years he was identified as John Duns Scotus to indicate the land of his birth; Scotia is the Latin name for Scotland.
John received the habit of the Friars Minor at Dumfries, where his uncle Elias Duns was superior. After novitiate John studied at Oxford and Paris and was ordained in 1291. More studies in Paris followed until 1297, when he returned to lecture at Oxford and Cambridge. Four years later he returned to Paris to teach and complete the requirements for the doctorate.
In an age when many people adopted whole systems of thought without qualification, John pointed out the richness of the Augustinian-Franciscan tradition, appreciated the wisdom of Aquinas, Aristotle and the Muslim philosophers-- and still managed to be an independent thinker. That quality was proven in 1303 when King Philip the Fair tried to enlist the University of Paris on his side in a dispute with Pope Boniface VIII. John Duns Scotus dissented and was given three days to leave France.
In Scotusís time, some philosophers held that people are basically determined by forces outside themselves. Free will is an illusion, they argued. An ever practical man, Scotus said that if he started beating someone who denied free will, the person would immediately tell him to stop. But if Scotus didnít really have a free will, how could he stop? John had a knack for finding illustrations his students could remember!
After a short stay in Oxford he returned to Paris, where he received the doctorate in 1305. He continued teaching there and in 1307 so ably defended the Immaculate Conception of Mary that the university officially adopted his position. That same year the minister general assigned him to the Franciscan school in Cologne where John died in 1308. He is buried in the Franciscan church near the famous Cologne cathedral.
Drawing on the work of John Duns Scotus, Pope Pius IX solemnly defined the Immaculate Conception of Mary in 1854. John Duns Scotus, the "Subtle Doctor," was beatified in 1993.
Father Charles Balic, O.F.M., the foremost 20th-century authority on Scotus, has written: "The whole of Scotus's theology is dominated by the notion of love. The characteristic note of this love is its absolute freedom. As love becomes more perfect and intense, freedom becomes more noble and integral both in God and in man" (New Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 4, p. 1105).
Intelligence hardly guarantees holiness. But John Duns Scotus was not only brilliant, he was also humble and prayerfulóthe exact combination St. Francis wanted in any friar who studied. In a day when French nationalism threatened the rights of the pope, Scotus sided with the papacy and paid the price. He also defended human freedom against those who would compromise it by determinism.
Ideas are important. John Duns Scotus placed his best thinking at the service of the human family and of the Church.
18th December 07, 11:18 AM
Unfortunately, Duns does not possess a Franciscan Abbey.
Are there any buildings or markers connected to Blessed John Duns?
There is however this portrait of John Duns Scotus displayed in the Council Chamber.
18th December 07, 12:00 PM
Yes, I noticed that Blessed John had to go to Dumfries to enter the Order. I would assume that it was where the nearest friary was located. (Btw, Franciscans don't have abbeys, only friaries or convents. ) The fact that his uncle was the superior certainly didn't hurt.
I really do like that portrait of him in your office. Are copies available of it?
18th December 07, 12:04 PM
If you searched under "John Duns Scotus" on this site his name would pop up in red.
Oh, how did his name pop up in red all over the place???
I'll see what more I can find out about the portrait and whether prints of it are available.
18th December 07, 12:32 PM
I always love your photo journals.
18th December 07, 02:28 PM
Great photos. It would also be interesting to see the inside architecture to see how they divided the building into houses. But I guess you just canít knock on the door and ask to take flix..
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