Introduction: War, Conscience, and Counsel in Early Modern Catholic Europe

in Journal of Early Modern History
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


The introduction identifies the framework of Catholic moral theology, which informs the specific approach of the authors in this special issue, as an important context to deepen the understanding of early modern just war discussions. Some of the most productive contributors to the debate in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were indeed Catholic moral theologians, who engaged with the question, driven by pastoral concerns over the conscience of subjects and rulers. The delegation of moral questions to theologians was an essential part of post-Tridentine Catholic culture which, however, eroded progressively in the seventeenth century as the tenets of moral theology as well as the external institutions of moral counsel attracted wide criticism.

Introduction: War, Conscience, and Counsel in Early Modern Catholic Europe

in Journal of Early Modern History




See Nicholas Rengger“On the Just War Tradition in the Twenty-First Century,” International Affairs 78 no. 2 (2002): 353-363.


Quentin Skinner“Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas,” in Visions of Politics. Volume I-Regarding Method (Cambridge 2002) 57-89. It is questionable whether Skinner’s brand of intellectual history has lead to an expansion of the criticized canon or to a substantially broader understanding of context; see Warren Boutcher “Unoriginal Authors: How to Do Things with Texts in the Renaissance” in Rethinking 73-92.


See John Bossy“Moral Arithmetic: Seven Sins into Ten Commandments,” in Conscience and Casuistry in Early Modern Europeed. Edmund Leites (Cambridge 1988) 214-234; Id. “The Social History of Confession in the Age of Reformation” Transactions of the Royal Society 25 (1975): 21-38; Chiara Casagrande and Silvana Vecchio Histoire des péchés capitaux au Moyen Âge (Paris 2003) 326-335.


See TheinerDie Entwicklung der Moraltheologie303-308; for the Jesuits and Suárez in particular see Wim Decock “Towards a Jesuit Science of Law” in The Jesuits of the Low Countries: Identity and Impact (1540-1773) ed. Rob Faesen and Leo Kenis (Leuven 2012) 17-43 here 24-26.


Francisco Suárez“De Bonitate et malitia actuum humanorum,” in Summa seu compendium a R. Francisco Noel eiusdem Societatis conconnitatum pars primaed. J.P. Migne (Paris 1858) 552-78 here 574. Suárez explains the practical aspect: “Dicitur practicum quia versatur circa actionem in particulari hic et nunc”; an overview on notions of conscience in Johannes Stelzenberger Syneidesis Conscientia Gewissen. Studie zum Bedeutungswandel eines moraltheologischen Begriffs (Paderborn 1963); for practical examples see Jonathan Wright “The World’s Worst Worm: Conscience and Conformity during the English Reformation” Sixteenth Century Journal 30 (1999): 113-133; Brian Cummings “Conscience and the Law in Thomas More” Renaissance Studies 23 no. 4 (2009): 463-485.


See Giuseppe Marcocci“Machiavelli, la religione dei romani e l’impero portoghese,” Storica 41-42 (2009): 35-68.


See Vincenzo Lavenia“Se la guerra dei cristiani è più feroce. Il Democrates primus nel dibattito cinquecentesco sulla fede e le armi,” in Juan Ginés Sepúlveda e il problema della guerra giustaed. Marco Guena (Milan 2012) 2-29; Michela Catto Cristiani senza pace. La Chiesa gli eretici e la guerra nella Roma del Cinquecento (Rome 2012).


TuckThe Rights of War and Peace28-31.


See Jean-Louis Quantin“Le Saint-Office et le probabilisme (1677-1679). Contribution à l’histoire de la théologie morale à l’époque moderne,” Mélanges de l’école française de Rome. Italie et Méditerranée 114 no. 2 (2002): 875-960; Jean-Pascal Gay Jesuit Civil Wars: Theology Politics and Government under Tirso González 1687-1705 (Farnham 2012) 133-154.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 23 23 7
Full Text Views 88 88 67
PDF Downloads 4 4 1
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0