Acts of the xviith Annual Colloquium of the Société Internationale pour l’Etude de la Philosophie Médiévale, Porto Alegre, Brazil, 15–18 September 2010. Rencontres de la Societé Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale 16, Turnhout: Brepols, 2014. Pp. xvii + 476. Pb, 70 euros.
Until recently scholars have given comparatively little attention to the area of Second Scholastic studies. Within these works, the focus of studies has generally been concerned with contributions to economic theory by the School of Salamanca, the development of Jesuit casuistry, or the de auxiliis debates concerning the reconciliation of free will and divine grace. This edited volume is a much needed compliment to these discussions, one which focuses on the “innovations in the philosophy of law and the development of juridical theories to respond to new social and political realities” of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (xii). Editors Alfredo Santiago Culleton and Roberto Hofmeister Pich have succeeded in providing an important addition to our understanding of the development of theories of law, human rights, and political power during the early modern period.
This collection originated at the seventh annual colloquium of the Societé Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, held in Porto Alegre, Brazil in September of 2010. Although the twenty-one essays included in this volume are diverse in topic, the vast majority of them center upon Second Scholastic interpretations and contextual implementations of natural law [lex naturalis] and the law of nations [ius gentium]. Additional areas of interest include the specific applications of the law of nations as it relates to the exercise of political power and war. In nearly all of the articles, however, the authors are uniform in their efforts to distinguish the Second Scholasticism as a distinct corpus of religious and intellectual thought which, while heavily predicated on the works of the earlier Scholastics, deviated significantly from the medieval paradigm and constituted a definitively new way of thinking. With the discovery of the New World, the critique of nascent Protestantism, and the growth of alternative epistemological frameworks within humanism, Second Scholastics sought, according to Ludger Honnefelder in his contributing essay, “to connect the idea of practical subjectivity with its internal relatedness to nature and the objective world, and this in patterns of a moral realism which is open for cultural plurality and historical change” (10). Especially important to this consideration is how Second Scholastic authors interpreted “right” and “nature” from the Thomist and Scotist commentaries—although some essays highlight earlier contributions made by Albert the Great, William of Ockham, and William of Auxerre.
Given the preeminence of the Iberian universities within the established corpus of Second Scholastic works, as well as the particular uniqueness of the correlation between Spanish colonizing efforts in the New World and the application of theories of just war and human rights, it is not surprising that nearly all of the twenty-one essays examine the works of members of the School of Salamanca. Francisco de Vitoria, O.P. (1483–1546), and Jesuits Francisco Suárez (1548–1617) and Luis de Molina (1533–1600) dominate the discourse, although welcome exceptions include Luis Alberto de Boni’s essay on Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), Marco Forlivesi’s work on the Franciscan Filippo Fabri (1564–1630), and António Martins’s use of examples from the Coimbra School under Suárez. More work could be done on the contributions of theologians from other schools of thought within early modern Iberia, e.g. Alcalá de Henares, as well as Second Scholastic authors from France, Italy, and the Spanish colonies.
Some of the temporal and thematic markers which define Second Scholasticism remain unclear. Pich states that it began in 1500 with the work of Tommaso de Vio (better known as Cajetan), and can be discerned by a shift from the use of Peter Lombard’s Liber sententiarum to the work of Thomas Aquinas as the principle foundation for commentaries and academic work, while José Luis Fuertes Herreros argues in his contribution that the work of Pedro Martínez de Osma in the second half of the fifteenth century ought to be included in this discussion (55). If Second Scholasticism is defined as being necessarily responsive, it is important to establish to what new contexts and problems these authors responded. Examples culled from essays throughout the work would suggest the discovery of the New World, the schismatic discussions of the Council of Basel-Ferrara-Florence (1431–49), the development of new forms of statehood, the challenges of the Protestant Reformation or early Catholic reformers of the fifteenth century, and the rise of irreligious philosophical systems in the second half of the sixteenth century. Similarly ambiguous is when the Second Scholastic period ends. The chronological boundaries that the editors establish, primarily the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, seem somewhat arbitrarily defined if the themes and hallmarks of the Second Scholasticism continue well into the eighteenth century. Indeed, in their “Index of 2nd Scholastic Authors” (xv), the editors include several eighteenth-century authors and admit that Second Scholasticism “remained influential in Catholic countries through the eighteenth century” (xi).
This work’s specificity of scope, presumed prior knowledge, manner of expression, and demand of multiple languages (English, Spanish, Italian, and Latin, with considerable secondary material in German and Portuguese) restricts it to a narrow audience. For these readers, however, it provides a treasure of resources, not least of which is Roberto Hofmeister Pich’s introductory essay on the articulation of the term “Second Scholasticism” and his index of Second Scholastic authors (ix–xvii). The essays may be read in isolation as individual contributions; educators may find, for example, Giuseppe Tosi’s “Sins against Nature as Reasons for a ‘Just War’: Sepúlveda, Vitoria and Las Casas,” a particularly accessible article for undergraduate readers interested in Spanish colonization theories (199–230). Likewise, Alfredo Storck’s contribution, “Molina in a Spanish Treatise Against Machiavelli,” provides an insightful analysis of the way in which Machiavelli and Jean Bodin were received within Spain and underscores rival conceptions of human freedom developed by Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo (1593–1642) and Luis de Molina (389–402). A similarly engaging comparative work by Giannina Burlando, “Defensas históricas del poder político,” examines the strikingly similar justification of theories of political power developed by Francisco Suárez and John Locke at the beginning of the seventeenth century (339–50). These essays are particularly beneficial in connecting the intellectual history of early modern Iberia, which is often lamentably isolated by a historiographical partition, to the rest of Europe.
These highlighted compositions are but a small part of a substantial and altogether captivating book. Comprehensive yet detailed, this collection of essays is an admirable addition to the history of Scholasticism and a hopeful promise of forthcoming works that will similarly bridge the gap of periodization between the medieval and early modern periods, as well as the disciplinary divides between intellectual, political, and religious histories.