Chapter 10 Francisco de Toledo: Setting a Standard for Jesuit Philosophy

In: Jesuit Philosophy on the Eve of Modernity
Author: Anna Tropia

Francisco de Toledo (Cordoba, 1532–Rome, 1596), one of the most eminent commentators of his day, is among the most important figures in the Society’s early history.1 He belongs to the first generation of Jesuit theologians who taught philosophy and theology, wrote commentaries and handbooks, and thus began building a distinctively Jesuit orthodox doctrine.2 Toledo’s academic and political career was filled with success. From the start of his career at Salamanca, where he studied theology and gave his first cursos de artes (courses of philosophy),3 Toledo’s abilities were recognized by contemporaries such as his professor Domingo de Soto (1494–1560), who described him as “prodigious.”4 After entering the Society in 1558, he was missioned to teach philosophy (1559–62) and then theology (1563–69) at the prestigious Roman College.5 The texts of his lectures were soon adopted as Scholastic handbooks within Jesuit colleges and became bestsellers once published.6 In 1569, Toledo began a brilliant diplomatic career as the pope’s ambassador and counselor, during which time he would participate in some of the most important events of his day, such as the reconciliation between King Henry iv of France (r.1589–1610) and the papacy,7 and the revision of the Latin Vulgate (1592–98), the so-called Sixto-Clementine Vulgate.8 In recognition of his services, the pope elevated Toledo to cardinal in 1593—the Society’s first.9

This chapter seeks to explain the reasons for this success and to outline Toledo’s contribution to Jesuit pedagogy. By interrogating his works from a philosophical perspective, the chapter aims to improve our understanding of Toledo’s thought and to link the question of Toledo’s “originality” as a philosopher to the historical context in which he lived and which inevitably informed his work.

1 Philosophical Works: The Constitution of the Cursus studiorum

Scholars usually divide Toledo’s works into three genres, namely philosophy, theology, and exegesis,10 a division that follows the different stages of Toledo’s life: he was a professor of philosophy and then of theology before becoming an exegete of theological and biblical texts. Toledo’s commentaries on Aristotle, from his years of teaching at the Roman College, are usually considered his philosophical works.11 His printed commentaries on Aristotle include the Introductio in dialecticam Aristotelis (Introduction to Aristotle’s Dialectic [Rome, 1560]); the Commentaria in universam Aristotelis logicam (Commentaries on Aristotle’s entire logic [Rome, 1572]); the Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in octo libros Aristotelis de physica auscultatione (Commentaries and questions on Aristotle’s eight books of the Physics [Venice, 1573]); the Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in duos libros Aristotelis de generatione et corruptione (Commentaries and questions on Aristotle’s two books On Generation and Corruption [Venice, 1575)]; and the Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in tres libros Aristotelis de anima (Commentaries and questions on Aristotle’s three books On the Soul [Venice, 1575]). Toledo’s theological writings, on the other hand, include the commentary on Thomas Aquinas’s (c.1224/25–74) Summa theologiae, published by the Jesuit Giuseppe Paria (1814–81) in 1869, and the bestselling Summa casus conscientiae (Summa of cases of conscience [Lyon, 1599]), republished in an extended version as Instructio sacerdotum ac de septem peccatis mortalibus (Instructions for the priests and on the seven deadly sins [Rome, 1601]). Finally, his exegetical works consist of commentaries on the Gospel of John (Rome, 1588) and the Gospel of Luke (Rome, 1600), as well as on Paul’s Letter to the Romans (Rome, 1602).

These texts reflect Toledo’s tasks as a Jesuit professor as well as the instructions given by Ignatius of Loyola (c.1491–1556) in the Constitutions.12The Constitutions emphasize two major authorities for Jesuit professors: Aristotle,13 whose corpus provided the basis for the three-year course of studies in philosophy, and Aquinas, whose authority increased significantly in the wake of the Council of Trent (1545–63).14 Toledo thus responded to the Society’s expectations by commenting on Aristotle, thereby providing his students with official Jesuit views of the disciplines constituting philosophy: logic, physics, biology, and psychology.

During this period, the Society’s own pedagogical identity was in the process of being constructed, and it is clear from the remarks of some of his illustrious colleagues in Rome—who included Benet Perera (1536–1610), Manuel de Sá (1528/30–96), Juan de Mariana (1536–1624), and Diego de Ledesma (1519–75)—that his classes were highly regarded. His introduction to Aristotle’s dialectics, for example, was soon adopted as a course book by Pedro Parra (1531–88) and José de Acosta (1540–1600).15

Toledo’s philosophical works are characterized by their clarity of exposition. The introduction to Aristotle’s dialectics and his commentary on Aristotle’s Logic16 offer good examples of this. The first is not a commentary on Aristotle, but a text in five chapters on terms, supposition, enunciations, and syllogisms, as well as topics and fallacies. The aim was to familiarize students with both the terminology and the main issues of Aristotle’s logic, thus providing them with an overview of all logic. The second is a more extensive work that synthesizes an important selection of Aristotelian texts, namely the Categories, On Interpretation, and the Posterior Analytics, as well as On the Six Principles (De sex principiis) by Gilbert of Poitiers (1070–1154) and Porphyry’s (233/34–c.305) Isagoge.17 Unlike Francisco Suárez (1548–1617), who loosely follows the Stagirite in his commentaries, Aristotle’s text precedes Toledo’s in the aforementioned synthesis, including numerous notes and explanations. In his commentary on Aristotle’s Logic, the most obscure notions are “reduced” to very plain terms, as historian Marcial Solana has observed.18 This is the case, for example, in the commentary On Interpretation, specifically with the digression on the future contingents.

Logic was usually studied during the first year of the cursus studiorum, followed by the study of natural philosophy.19 This included Aristotle’s Physics, On Generation and Corruption, the Meteors, the Soul, and the Short Treatises on Nature (Parva naturalia). Toledo explains the order of the syllabus in the following way:

What is contained in natural philosophy is either about the principles or about the things composed out of the principles. The book of the Physics is about the principles of all natural things and their common properties […]. As for the composite, because generation and corruption and not only composite but also the simple elements themselves are common to all, On Generation and Corruption first discusses the one and the others. Of composite, some are inanimate and some animate. […] Among inanimate things some are sublime, like meteors […]. The books of the Meteors are about them. Some are beneath us in intrinsic parts of the earth, like metals and stones, which are treated in the books of Minerals. As for animate things, because the soul is common to them, they are treated first of all in the three books of De anima, and then certain things that proceed from the soul, namely sleep, waking, youth, age, life, death, and the like are treated in the book of Parva naturalia.20

Scholars such as Roger Ariew have observed that Toledo is responsible for the accepted order of approach to the above-mentioned texts, and this order would not change until the seventeenth century.21 Soon adopted and reprinted many times, these works played a founding role in the Jesuit program of studies; together with those by Pedro da Fonseca (1528–99), they represent a Scholastic standard and an example of clarity,22 of the adhesion to Ignatius’s rules, and, at the same time, of a certain doctrinal freedom. Until the publication of the famous commentaries by the Conimbricenses (1592–1606)—and, indeed, even after this, as demonstrated by René Descartes’s (1596–1650) letter to Father Marin Mersenne (1588–1648) describing what he had retained of his experience at the Jesuit College of La Flèche23—Toledo’s works remained an important reference point for Jesuit pedagogy.

2 The Space between the Authorities: Aristotle and Thomas

Toledo’s commentaries reveal his indebtedness to the most authoritative authors, such as Aristotle and Aquinas, whose texts structured the three-year period of philosophy studies. In order to understand how Toledo read Aristotle, this part of the chapter analyzes some passages of his commentary On the Soul, before going on to examine a quaestio from his commentary on Aquinas’s Pars prima. Both texts serve as examples of the method as well as the relative freedom that is typical of Toledo’s work.

Like the aforementioned works, which drew on his years of teaching in Rome, Toledo’s commentary On the Soul follows the order of Aristotle’s treatise, the text of which is presented, divided into short sentences, and followed by notes and questions that make a number of points on subjects relating to those in De anima but which are not directly discussed there, such as the intelligible species doctrine.24 The commentary was as successful as the others Toledo edited; it exhibits the same clarity that made his commentaries such useful Scholastic handbooks. The marginal notes in the Salamanca manuscript of Suárez’s De anima25 are a good example of its popularity, as one of the copyists compares the two Jesuits’ works before concluding that Toledo’s is preferable to Suárez’s more analytical treatise, which the copyist views as adhering less strictly to Aristotle.26

Yet, as far as adherence to authorities is concerned, Toledo was no less independent than his Spanish colleague. His epistemology in his commentary on De anima often departs from Aquinas to rejoin John Duns Scotus (c.1266–1308) or the nominalists in a composite framework that is typical among Jesuits of this period. In contrast to Thomas, for example, Toledo defends the direct intellection of the singulars, which is not a Thomist thesis:27

Just like the sense, the intellect knows the singular by a proper species. This opinion, held by Cajetan of Thiene and Burleus, in i Phys., is also common to other Theologians, such as Durandus, in 2. Sententiarum, Scotus, in 4 Sent. d. 45 q. 3, and Gregorius, in iSent. d. 3 q. i art. 2 […]. As this opinion seems to me the most probable, I shall expose it. First conclusion: the intellect knows the determinated singular by itself and by itself, not only through the senses, forms a concept of it. This is against the first opinion, and against Cajetanus.28

This passage provides essential information on Toledo’s way of proceeding and his overall method. First, Toledo holds a thesis that is “also almost common among theologians” (etiam Theologorum fere communis) and has not been defended merely by a few. If Thomas had claimed that the intellect never forms a direct concept of the singulars, most of the theologians of his day—including the Thomists29—held the opposite view. In so doing, Toledo adheres to the spirit of the Constitutions, which recommend that Jesuits teach and defend only the most certain and common doctrines: “The doctrine which they ought to follow in each branch should be that which is safer and more approved, as also the authors who teach it” (Const. 4.5.4). Nevertheless, Toledo does not attribute the opposite thesis—the intellect does not have any direct knowledge of the singulars—to Aquinas. In his doxography, the “first opinion” listed refers to Themistius (317–c.390 ce), Alexander of Aphrodisias (fl. 200 ce), and Averroes (1126–98).30 Toledo only recognizes that the thesis of the direct intellection of the singulars goes against Thomas Cajetan (1469–1534), with whom he does not associate Aquinas. Although the indirect intellection of the singulars is a Thomistic doctrine, with a history and controversies internal to the Dominican order, the point here is that Toledo does not openly contradict Aquinas. Like most of his peers,31 he prefers to refute Cajetan instead.

Although Toledo’s texts are characterized by their clarity, it is not always easy to understand which authority he is siding with. Scholars such as Leen Spruit, for example, claim that the psychology he illustrates is a blend of the “Thomistic and Scotistic traditions,” and that Toledo should consequently be defined as an “eclectic.”32 Some examples of this can be seen in the way Toledo handles the cognitive problems inherent to the doctrines of species, namely regarding the production of intellective knowledge. Like many Scholastics of his age, Toledo reuses the medieval tradition of the doctrine of the intelligible species in his account of cognition. In the wake of the parallelism made by Aristotle between senses and intellect, Toledo claims that they both need species to mediate between them and the external world. In the cognitive process, he claims that the first object grasped by the intellect are the singulars, like all the Jesuits of his generation do. Toledo also holds as probable the theory defended by Durandus of Saint-Pourçain (c.1275–1332/34), according to which it is unnecessary to distinguish between possible and agent intellect.33 This claim is somewhat surprising, as Toledo builds up, again discussing Cajetan’s position, a complex theory of the agent intellect’s illumination on the species to explain how the cognitive process takes place, namely how the singulars and the universals are known by the intellect.34 On the one hand, Toledo uses the concept of agent intellect to define the functioning of the intellective power and to explain how the species of the objects are formed; on the other, he states that the distinction between the two intellects is unnecessary, thus siding with Durandus. In this sense, Spruit argues that Toledo claims the necessity of the agent intellect only out of a sense of philosophical conformism, since most Scholastics held the distinction between agent and possible intellect. Nevertheless, Toledo weakens the distinction between the two intellects, without taking a strong position on it.

The elimination of this distinction helps to simplify the intellect’s operations. Such an elimination can be found in commentaries by other Jesuits. In his De anima commentary (1572), for instance, Suárez defends the same thesis—held as “probable,” more or less in the same way as Toledo—which he attributes to Agostino Nifo (c.1473–1538/45).35 Juan de Maldonado (1533–83), the famous Jesuit exegete and former student of Toledo in Salamanca, also holds to this thesis in his treatise On the Immortality of the Soul (1564),36 as does the Italian Jesuit Girolamo Dandini (1554–1634) in his De corpore animato (On the animated body [Paris, 1610]).37

Toledo’s commentary On the Soul demonstrates a degree of independence from the Society’s major authority, Aquinas. His account of cognition provides the reader with a rearrangement of the species theory, which, as we have seen, was shared, with some variations,38 by many of his fellow Jesuits. The medieval framework gave these Scholastics the terms and the “actors” of the cognitive process: possible and agent intellect, phantasms, the images of the things that the immaterial intellect illuminates to grasp the essence of the external substances. Just like many of his contemporaries, Toledo organizes an ample number of authorities to weaken this medieval doctrine from within. While the species are not at the core of his account of knowledge, the focus is on the intellect’s operations and actions in the cognitive process just as in the aforementioned Jesuits’ works. Toledo’s rearrangement and setting of the Aristotelian treatise shows that, in the commentaries to Aristotle, in his day, such a usage of the sources was not only appreciated by the Jesuits but that it was so popular that a large number of them adopted similar solutions. The authorities of Aristotle and Aquinas were thus part of the medieval framework offering the ground for the discussion.

The balance between authority and freedom changes when looking at Toledo’s commentary on Aquinas. Toledo lectured on the Summa theologica in Rome in 1563, but the text of his lectures was only published after his death. The lecture he gave on the theme of predestination probably constitutes the only blemish on Toledo’s otherwise brilliant career. In the same year, at the close of the Tridentine Council, he was the first Jesuit to expose the doctrine of predestination based on the foreseen good deeds (“post praevisa merita”).39 In his work on predestination and grace (1931), Jesuit theologian Xavier-Marie Le Bachelet stated that, on this topic, Toledo precedes his fellow Jesuits Luis de Molina (1535–1600), Gabriel Vázquez (1549–1604), Gregorio de Valencia (c.1550–1603), and Leonard Lessius (1554–1623).40

While lecturing on Pars prima, q. 23, a. 5, in the period before the controversy “de auxiliis”41 and right after the close of the Council of Trent, Toledo claimed that man is saved by God according to the combination of his free will and the divine foreknowledge of his acts. More precisely, Toledo stated that God condemns man owing to his foreknowledge of his evil deeds and saves him owing to his foreknowledge of the good.42 Although in a sort of captatio benevolentiae he explains his intention as not being to introduce any novelty in order to solve the question,43 Toledo was clearly aware that he was going against the main authorities: “The immediate causes of predestination are foreseen good actions, but the first cause is God’s will only. This conclusion is against Aquinas, Scotus and many others; be this as it may, with God’s help we shall prove it.”44

Hence Toledo’s works demonstrate a degree of academic freedom in taking positions as well as in choosing the authorities with which to side. Nevertheless, just like in the passage from the De anima discussed earlier, in this case too he underlines that his solution does not go against most theologians and the most common opinion. On the contrary, he claims that, if there were a common opinion (“communis sententia”), it would not automatically coincide with the views held by Thomas, Scotus, or Durandus.45 In contrast to these figures, he mentions Alexander of Hales (c.1185–1245), Albert the Great (c.1200–1280), Henry of Ghent (c.1217–93), Bonaventure (1221–74), Gabriel Biel (c.1420–1495), William of Ockham (c.1287–1347), and others who had stressed the importance of human actions. They considered human actions as the causes of predestination together with divine grace. Against the three authors he mentions, Toledo aims to give free will and human choice wider space within the question of predestination. If there is a “ratio discriminis,” namely a cause determining who is saved and who is condemned, this would depend primarily on God’s will, but also on man’s free will: “Not all depends on God, but also man is partly responsible” (Non totum est a Deo, sed aliquid homo facit).46 God knows from eternity how man will react to his gifts of grace; thus he chooses whether to save him or punish him. Augustine (354–450), and not only his “followers” Aquinas, Scotus, and Durandus, is the main authority Toledo takes into account on this point. To prevent objections, Toledo reminds his readers that his theory accords with the Council of Trent.47 He holds that Augustine’s doctrine is too difficult to understand and tends to bring man into despair because it confers to God’s will alone the power to choose who is saved without taking into account human actions (opera).48

The whole question is marked by Toledo’s usual clarity of exposition and echoes the debates originated by Martin Luther (1483–1546) that were discussed in Trent for almost twenty years. His solution is closer to Catholic truth, which is neither the position of Luther nor Pelagius (c. 360–418),49 than to the Society’s authorities. A few years later, this doctrine would become almost standard among the Jesuits, many of whom would teach and comment upon it.50 Nevertheless, when Toledo originally formulated the doctrine, his colleagues at the Roman College protested and invoked the authority of Superior General Diego Laínez (1512–65, in office 1558–65) to prohibit its teaching.

This painful event in Toledo’s life51 is important as it is one of the first episodes of censure in the Roman College’s history and that of the Society in general. Moreover, it was a censure coming directly from Toledo’s peers.52 In the beginning, Laínez did not feel it necessary to punish Toledo, nor did he view his opinion as dangerous. Toledo’s opinion was not condemned by the church and had already been put forward by other theologians such as Albert Pigghe (c.1490–1542) and Johann Eck (1486–1543).53 Furthermore, Toledo’s reputation as an excellent teacher prevented him from any form of direct reproach. Nevertheless, Laínez did remark that it could be problematic to introduce and defend new doctrines that could give rise to controversies or provoke new debates. At his death, in the decree “On the Opinions to Follow in Philosophy and Theology” (1565), Laínez’s successor Francisco de Borja (1510–72, in office 1565–72) introduced a proposition directly concerning predestination that declared it a matter falling outside the competence of Jesuit professors (praedestinationis non datur causa ex parte nostra).54 Toledo had to publicly recant his teaching,55 and there is no reference to it in his other printed works.56

The Society’s ties to major philosophical authorities are not airtight: Jesuit pedagogy organizes Aristotelian matter in a discussion extended to a great number of other authorities and sources, aiming to provide students with an overview of many philosophical positions, with particular attention to sources from antiquity (Greeks and Arabs). The same freedom, within his commentaries on Aristotle, has been observed by scholars who have listed Toledo’s “most original” theses (i.e., where Toledo differs from Thomas, Aristotle, or other authorities).57 This is the case with Toledo’s discussion of the immortality of the soul in the De anima commentary: like Duns Scotus and Pietro Pomponazzi (1462–1525),58 Toledo does not hold the immortality of the soul to be demonstrable through natural philosophy, though he thinks it is safer to claim that it is.59 The example of his De anima commentary, as well as his other commentaries on Aristotle, demonstrates Toledo’s erudition and the relative autonomy he enjoyed while lecturing on texts. But these examples also reveal that such a method of work was accepted and appreciated by his peers. In theology, however, the example of Toledo’s “accident” concerning predestination highlights the Jesuit tendency to avoid controversy by introducing new theses.60 Not only does Toledo hold a doctrine for the first time in the history of the Society but he also pronounced himself on a delicate matter, and in a sensitive period, namely the same year of the Tridentine Council’s close. Notably, however, Toledo’s doctrine on predestination was eventually adopted, with variations, by most of his peers.


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For biographical notes on Toledo, see the preface by Miguel Vázquez in Toledo’s Commentarii in evangelium secundum Lucam (Paris: Ex typis Jametii Mettaier, 1600); Giuseppe Paria, Prolegomena, in Francisci Toleti in Summam theologiae s. Thomae […] enarratio, 4 vols. (Rome: Typis S. Congregationis de propaganda fide, 1869–70), 1:v–xxxi; Vida del Cardenal Francisco de Toledo, in Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, Firmamento religioso de luzidos astros en algunos claros varones de la Compañia de Jesus (Madrid: Por M. De Quiñones, 1644), 608–13; Carlos Sommervogel, Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus (Brussels: O. Schepens, 1890–1932), 8:64–82; Hugo von Hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 3 in 6 vols. (Innsbruck: Libreria academica wagneriana, 1907), 3:247–52; Marcial Solana, Historia de la filosofía Española, 3 vols. (Madrid: Real Academia de ciencias exactas, físicas y naturales, 1940–41), 3:311–12; Charles B. Lohr, Latin Aristotle Commentaries: Renaissance Authors (Florence: Olschki, 1988), 458–61; Klaus Reinhardt, “Toledo, Francisco de,” in Biographisch–Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon, ed. Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz and Traugott Bautz, 12 vols. (Herzberg: Verlag Traugott Bautz, 1997), 288–91.


On the concept of Jesuit orthodoxy, see Jacob Schmutz, “Les normes théologiques de l’enseignement philosophique dans le catholicisme romain moderne (1500–1650),” in Philoso­phie et théologie à l’époque moderne, ed. Jean-Christophe Bardout, Anthologie tome 3 (Paris: Cerf, 2010), 129–50.


See Enrique Esperabé de Arteaga, Historia pragmática é interna de la universidad de Salamanca, 2 vols. (Salamanca: Francisco Núñez Izquierdo, 1917), 2:308; Toledo is mentioned among the teachers of the “curso de artes” in the years 1557–58.


See Laínez 8:443 (mhsi 55): “Su Mtro. Fray Domingo de Soto dezía [de él] que era prodigio”; see also Hurter, Nomenclator, 3:248.


See Borja 3:454 (mhsi 35).


Sommervogel states that Toledo is the first Jesuit to have been published in the New World, namely in Mexico. See Sommervogel 8:65.


Henry of Navarre (1553–1610) was an exponent of the Anti-Catholic League and took part in the wars of religion opposing Protestants and Catholics in France. He embraced Catholic faith out of political reasons some years after he became Henry iv.


See Klaus Reinhardt, Bibelkommentare spanischer Autoren (1500–1700), 2 vols. (Madrid: csic, 1999), 2:Autoren M–Z, 340–44; Guy Bedouelle and Bernard Roussel, eds., Le temps des réformes et la Bible (Paris: Beauchesne, 1989), 350–54.


They were even popular among Lutherans and Calvinists; see, for example, the text by the Protestant theologian Johann Franz Budeus, Isagoge historico-theologica ad theologiam universam (Leipzig: Ex officina Thomae Fritschii, 1727), 1, lib. 2, caput 4, §10, 630: “Iungamus hisce Franc. Toletum […] cuius magna eo tempore, quo vixit, quove Aristotelico-scholastica adhuc regnabat philosophia, tum in theologorum, tum philosophorum ­scholis fuit auctoritas.”


See, for example, Hurter, Nomenclator, 253–58; Solana, Historia de la filosofía española, 3:312f.; Francisco J. Rodríguez Molero, “Toledo,” in Dictionnaire de spiritualité (Paris: Beauchesne, 1991), 15:1014–17.


For the chronology of Toledo’s teaching, see Luis Gómez Hellín, “Toledo lector de filosofía y teología en el Colegio romano,” Archivo teológico granadino 3 (1940): 7–18. Toledo’s first appointment in Rome was to teach a course of metaphysics, which remained unpublished. According to Charles Lohr (Latin Aristotle commentaries, 460), the MS Rome, Archivum P. Universitatis Gregorianae 375A (1563), containing “Physica et metaphysica secundum dictate Petri Parrae et Francisci Toleti,” preserves Toledo’s dictata in metaphysica (academic year 1561/62). Lohr provides a list of the manuscripts preserving Toledo’s commentaries on Aristotle, but a comprehensive list of Toledo’s (many) manuscripts disseminated in the libraries all over Europe has not yet been edited. On the exclusion of the metaphysics from his published works, see Wilhelm Risse, introduction to Francisco Toledo, Opera omnia philosophica, 2 vols. (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlag, 1985 [1615–16]), 1:viii. All the quotations from Toledo’s philosophical works are from this edition.


See Monumenta ignatiana, 3rd series, 3:150–51: “In theologia legentur vetus et novum Testamentum, et doctrina scholastica divi Thomae; et in ea, quam positivam vocant, eligentur auctores, qui ad scopum nostrum magis convenire videbuntur. […] In Logica, et Philosophia naturali, et morali, et Metaphysica, doctrina Aristotelis sequenda est, et in aliis Artibus Liberalibus, et in commentariis tam huiusmodi auctorum, quam Humaniorum Litterarum, habito eorum delectu, nominentur, quos videre discipuli, quosque ipsi Praeceptores prae aliis in doctrina quam procedet iuxta id, quod in universali Societate magis convenire ad Dei gloriam iudicabitur.”


On the lectures the Jesuits gave on Aristotle, see: Charles B. Lohr, “Jesuit Aristotelianism and Sixteenth-Century Metaphysics,” in Paradosis: Studies in Memory of Edwin A. Quain (New York: Fordham University Press, 1976), 203–20; Paul R. Blum, Philosophenphilosophie und Schulphilosophie: Typen des Philosophierens in der Neuzeit (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1998), 175–81; Der Aristotelismus in der Früher Neuzeit: Kontinuität oder Wiederaneignung?, ed. Günter Frank and Andreas Speer (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 2007), 43–97, 191–258.


On Aquinas’s authority in the post-Tridentine period, see Jacob Schmutz, “Bellum scholasticum: Thomisme et antithomisme dans les débats doctrinaux modernes,” Revue thomiste 108 (2008): 5–56; see, in particular, 15ff.; Raymond M. Martin, “L’introduction officielle de la ‘Somme’ de Saint Thomas à l’ancienne université de Louvain,” Revue Thomiste 18, no. 2 (1910): 230–39; Robert Guelluy, “L’évolution des méthodes théologiques à Louvain d’Erasme à Jansenius,” Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 37 (1941): 31–144; Philippe Lécrivain, “La somme théologique de Thomas d’Aquin aux xvie–xviiie siècles,” Recherches de science religieuse 91, no. 3 (2003): 397–427.


See their De distributione materiae in docenda philosophia, in Monumenta paedagogica, new ed., 2:444–48. Toledo’s Logic was part of the syllabus at the Roman College for at least three decades, and its teaching was recommended together with the commentary by Pedro da Fonseca in the Ratio studiorum (1599). See also William A. Wallace, Galileo and His Sources: The Heritage of the Collegio Romano in Galileo’s Science (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984), passim, but especially 10–13.


The Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in universam Aristotelis logicam.


For an analysis of the commentary’s content, see Wallace, Galileo and His Sources, 10–3. On the influence of Toledo’s logic on his successors, see Petr Dvořák, “The Relational Logic of Franciscus Toletus and Petrus Fonseca,” Forum philosophicum: International Journal of Philosophy 14, no. 1 (2009): 87–99. The importance of Toledo’s logic has also been underlined by Wilhelm Risse, Die Logik der Neuzeit: i Band; 1500–1640 (Stuttgart: Frommann, 1964), 1:382–85; Mirella Capozzi and Gino Roncaglia, “Logic and Philosophy from Humanism to Kant,” in The Development of Modern Logic, ed. Leila Haaparanta (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 78–159.


Solana, Historia de la filosofía española, 3:320.


See Toledo’s own “De distributione materiae in docenda philosophia,” in Monumenta paedagogica, new ed., 2:436–38.


Toledo, Prolegomenon to the Commentaria in octo libros Aristotelis de physica auscultatione, q. 2, tertio, in Opera omnia philosophica, 2:6. I quote the English translation by Roger Ariew, Descartes and the First Cartesians (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 72.


See Ariew, Descartes, 72: “For Toletus, the order of the physical sciences is clearly specified; the principle of order dictates the sequence from principles to things composed of them and from simples to composites. And with very minor deviations, through a multitude of attempts to reconceptualize these materials under a variety of conceptual schemes, the order described by Toletus remained set for the seventeenth century.”


Toledo and Fonseca are mentioned in the Regulae professoris philosophiae: see Ratio studiorum: Plan raisonné et institution des études dans la Compagnie de Jésus, ed. Adrien Demoustier and Dominique Julia (Paris: Belin, 1997), 125: “Explicet primo anno Logicam eius summa primo circiter bimestri tradita, non tam dictando, quam ex Toleto seu Fonseca, quae magis necessaria videbuntur, explicando.”


In the letter of September 30, 1640, Descartes asked Mersenne what were the most widely used handbooks of the day within the Jesuit colleges in order to study them as preparation for receiving Jesuit objections to the Meditationes. He was only able to recall the Conimbricenses’s, Toledo’s, and Antonio Rubio’s (1548–1615) works. See René Descartes, Oeuvres complètes, ed. Charles Adam and Paul Tannery, 12 vols. (Paris: Vrin, 1974–86), 3:185, l. 12: “Ie ne me souuiens plus que des Conimbres, Toletus & Rubius.”


The species theory, based on certain passages of Aristotle’s De anima (3.8.431b26–432a1; De anima 2.12.424a17–19), was mainly employed by medieval philosophers to account for the interaction between the powers of the soul (the intellect and the senses) and the external world. Toledo’s account of the intelligible species has been commented on by Leen Spruit, Species intelligibilis: From Perception to Knowledge, 2 vols. (Leiden: Brill, 1994–95), 1:ii; Renaissance Controversies, Later Scholasticism, and the Elimination of the Intelligible Species in Modern Philosophy, 282–87. See also Hermann J. Müller, Die Lehre vom verbum mentis in der spanischen Scholastik (Münster: Münster Universität, 1968), 29.


Salamanca, Biblioteca Universitaria, MS 583. Suárez’s De anima collects the classes held by the Jesuit in Segovia in 1572; the text was published posthumously in 1621.


See Salvador Castellote Cubells, introduction to Francisco Suárez, Commentaria una cum quaestionibus in libros Aristotelis De anima, 3 vols. (Madrid: Sociedad de estudios y publicaciones, 1978), 1:xlv: “En los márgenes de algunos folios se encuentran anotaciones escritas con una grafía que parece ser la del tercer amanuense del texto. A vece son meras indicaciones marginales, referentes al contenido, a manera de índices […]. Otra veces se trata de explicaciones o de ampliaciones con citas de autores no indicados por Suárez. Se advierte un particular interés por aducir la autoridad del P. Francisco de Toledo (1532–1596), en su tratado De anima, y la de Pedro da Fonseca (1528–1599), en su Metafísica. Ambos autores son correligionarios y contemporáneos de Suárez. Quizás por ello no suele éste citarlos. De aquí podemos deducir que se trata de interpolaciones hechas por el amanuense correspondiente, discípulo seguramente de estos autores. El f. 70 no da la confirmación de esto, ya que dice: ‘de dentibus […] et aliis huiusmodi, quid sentiat Pater Suarez non invenio, ideo breviter dico cum Patre Toleto […].’ Etc.” On the difference between Suárez’s and Toledo’s style of commentary, see Tuomo Aho, “Suárez on Cognitive Intentions,” in Mind, Cognition and Representation: The Tradition of Commentaries on Aristotle’s De anima, ed. Paul J.J. Bakker and Johannes M.M. Thiessen, Ashgate Studies in Medieval Philosophy (Farnham: Ashgate, 2005), 179–203.


For the reconstruction of the debates among the Dominicans and the Franciscans on the intellection of the singulars, see Camille Bérubé, La connaissance de l’individuel au Moyen Age (Montréal: Université de Montréal, 1964).


Toledo, De anima, lib. iii, cap. iv, text. xvi, q. 12, in Opera omnia philosophica, 1:139r: “Intellectus cognoscit singulare per propriam speciem sicut sensus cognoscit. Haec opinio est Caiet. Thien., et Burlei i Phys. est etiam Theologorum fere communis, Duran. 2. Senten, d. 3. q. 7. et Scot. 4 Sent. d. 45 q. 3 et Gregor. i Sent. d. 3. q. i art. 2. […] Superest, ut quod probabilius mihi videtur, proponam. Sit igitur prima Conclusio. Intellectus per se cognoscit singulare determinatum, ipsiusque intellectionem format, et non tantum per sensum. Haec est contra primam sententiam, et contra Caietanum.” The primacy of the singulars is also defended by Toledo in his Physics: cf. Toledo, Physica, 1, cap. 1, text 5, q. 5, 12va: “Inter universalia conceptus specificus est primum cognitum ab intellectu nostro. Dico inter universalia, quia forsan primo cognitum est via originis vagum singulare, ut dicit Philo. sed hoc non disputatur modo, sed inter universalia. Per conceptum specificum non intelligo conceptum speciei specialissimae cum Scoto, sed conceptum quemcunque abstractum ab individuis immediate, sive sit species, sive genus, ut conceptus viventis abstractus ab his, et illis individuis dicitur specificus. Similiter conceptus corporis, et aliorum superiorum.” On the difference between Toledo’s and Scotus’s account of the “specie specialissima,” see Sascha Salatowski, De anima: Die Rezeption der aristotelichen Psychologie im 16. und 17. Jahrhundert (Amsterdam: B.R. Grüner, 2006), 271–74.


See Bérubé, La connaissance, 227–77.


Cf. Toledo, De anima, lib. 3, cap. 4, text 16, q. 12, in Opera omnia philosophica, 1:138v.


Suárez, for example.


Spruit, Species intelligibilis, 2:282. For a similar opinion, see also Eckhard Kessler, “The Intellective Soul,” in The Cambridge History of Renaissance philosophy, ed. Quentin Skinner and Eckhard Kessler (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 485–534.


Cf. Toledo, De anima, in lib. 3, cap. 5, text 20, q. 13, in Opera omnia philosophica, 1:142vb–143ra: “Puto esse sententiam Durandi probabilem, et eorum qui negant intellectum agentem, aut saltem sola ponunt ratione distinctum. Neque enim duos habemus intellectus, ut videtur, sed unum, sicut nec duas voluntates, nec duas memorias, nec duos appetitus, nec duas imaginationes, sed unam. Et secundo, quia ille unus satis esse videtur ad producendum lumen, et postea eliciendum species, et producendum in se notitiam. Nil enim vetat in seipsum agere actione perfectiva. Et tertio, quia nulla est ratio contra hoc conveniens. Tamen, quia nec in contrarium rationes habentur convincentes, sequimur communem sententiam.” On Toledo’s agreement with Durandus, see also Toledo, Physica, 1, cap. 1, text 5, q. 5, ad. 1, in Opera omnia philosophica, 2, 12r.


See Toledo, De anima, in lib. 3, cap. 5, text 20, q. 13, in Opera omnia philosophica, 1:142va: “Quinta conclusio. Non est satis, ut intellectus agens producat lumen illud secundum actum apparentiae ab externo tantum, faciens in phantasmate apparere universalia. Haec est contra Caiet. […] Sexta conclusio: Lumen intellectus agentis illustrat quidem species intelligibiles productas non solum extrinsece, sed interne, phantasmata vero extrinsece. Etc.” Against the theory of the intellect’s illumination proposed by Cajetan, Toledo explains that the agent intellect’s first illumination concerns the phantasms “extrinsece”: such an illumination reveals the singular nature contained within the phantasm. The second illumination, instead, is “intrinseca” and concerns the intelligible species produced by the cooperation between intellect and phantasm. On these complex passages of quaestio 13, see Spruit, Species intelligibilis, 2:286–87, and Kessler, “Intellective Soul,” 512.


Suárez, De anima, 3:disp. 9, q. 8, 3, 17–8: “Probabilis quidem est haec sententia, quam innuit D. Thomas, dicta q. 79, a. 7, etc. et tenent omnes discipuli eius. […] Opposita nihilominus sententia est valde probabilis, quam tenet Niphus, lib. De intellectu, cap. 4, quoniam sine tali distinctione potest facile intelligi munus intellectus agentis, nam eadem potentia potest esse activa specierum, et ut sic dicitur intellectus agens, et operativa per illas, et sic dicitur intellectus possibilis. Neque de his actibus spiritualibus est necessarium principium agendi et recipiendi esse res distinctas.”


Maldonado’s treatise “De origine natura et immortalitate animae” has never been published and is preserved in the Paris MS BnF 6454 A (accessible on; see fols. 67v–68r.


Girolamo Dandini, De corpore animato (Paris: Apud Chappeletum, 1610), fol. 1982: “Non enim passivus est intellectus natura sua, inquit Alexander in 2 de anima cap 19 ut ab alio fiat et patiatur, quemadmodum sensus: sed activus est. Nisi fortasse passivum dicere velis, quatenus formarum apprehensivus est. Pati namque videtur id, quod recipit atque apprehendit. Quapropter commune cum sensu habet, ut activus sit earum formarum, quas excipit. Atque hoc est illud in tex. 17 (necesse est has in anima differentias existere) cum enim non ab alio perfici queat intellectus, a seipso perficiatur necesse est; idemque ipse et agentis et patientis vim habeat.”


Both Maldonado and Dandini, for example, refute the intelligible species’ doctrine in their accounts of cognition.


See Feliciano Cereceda, “La predestinación post praevisa en las disputas de la gracia,” Estudios eclesiásticos 13 (1934): 479–91.


See Xavier-Marie Le Bachelet, Prédestination et grâce efficace, controverses dans la Compagnie de Jésus au temps d’Acquaviva, 1610–1613: Histoire et documents inédits, 2 vols. (Louvain: Museum Lessianum, 1931), 1:3: “Lessius rattache surtout son sentiment à celui de Molina, en ajoutant les noms de Vasquez et Grégoire de Valence. Il aurait pu nommer aussi Tolet, leur devancier.” See also Juan Cruz Cruz, “Predestination as Transcendent Teleology: Molina and the First Molinism,” in A Companion to Luis de Molina, ed. Matthias Kaufmann and Alexander Aichele (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 89–121.


There is a considerable bibliography on the “de auxiliis” controversy. For a synthesis, see Sylvio Hermann de Franceschi, “Le Jansénisme face à la tentation thomiste: Antoine Arnauld et le thomisme de gratia après les cinq articles de 1663,” Revue Thomiste 109 (2009): 5–54, as well as Paola Nicolas, introduction to Luis de Molina, Des secours de la grâce, trans. Paola Nicolas (Paris: Belles Lettres, 2016).


Cf. Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 1, 288: “Dic ergo, quod reprobat propter mala opera, praedestinat bona praevisa.”


Cf. Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 1, 287: “In hac difficultate dicam, quod ego sentio, non animo contradicendi nec inducendi novitates; sed studio et desiderio veritatis, et ut multi intelligant ea, quae Doctores sancti et columnae Ecclesiae dixerunt; nec statim, quod probabile est, tamquam de fide recipient.”


Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, secunda conclusio, 1:287: “Praedestinationis ratio proxima sunt praevisa opera bona; ratio tamen prima sola Dei voluntas. Haec conclusio est contra S. Thomam, Scotum, et alios multos; sed adiutorio Dei sufficienter probabimus eam.”


Cf. Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 1, 289: “Dices, scholastici adherent omnes Augustino. Attende, amore Dei, ne decipiaris. S. Thomas, Scotus et Durandus sunt isti; communis sententia est in contrarium, quod multi non advertunt. Etc.”


See Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 1, 290.


See the sixth session, canon 5, of the Council of Trent (decretum de iustificatione): “Si quis liberum hominis arbitrium post Adae peccatum amissum et exstinctum esse dixerit, aut rem esse de solo titulo, immo titulum sine re, figmentum denique a Satana invectum in Ecclesia, etc.”


See Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, quarta conclusio, 291: “Sententia Augustini est probabilis, nullo tamen modo populo praedicanda, quia non est populo persuasiva bonorum operum.” See also Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 288: “Ista opinio [Augustini] inducit desperationem hominibus, et segnitiem in bonis operibus, et est occasio murmurationis in Deum.”


See Toledo, Enarratio, Ia, q. 23, a. 5, 291: “Nota primo quod fuit haeresis Pelagii, qui ita hominis arbitrium magnificabat, quod per se operari bene, et de condigno mereri absque Dei gratia posset. Fuit in alio extremo sententia Lutheri, quod nihil facit hominis arbitrium, sed totum est a gratia. Veritas autem catholica est media: liberum arbitrium, sine gratia nihil boni, quod sit dignum vita aeterna, facit, sed simul cum Dei gratia. Etc.”


See Le Bachelet, Prédestination et grâce, 1:passim. See also Diego Ledesma, “Tractatio brevis de propositionibus philosophicis et theologicis prohibitis a R.P.N. Francisco Borgia,” in Monumenta paedagogica Societatis Iesu quae primam Rationem Studiorum anno 1586 editam praecessere, ed. Caecilius Gomez Rodeles et al. (Madrid: Typis A. Avrial, 1901), 566ff.


Cf. Lainii monumenta, 7, epist. 1820, 54: “El P. Toledo scrive muy fatigado a nuestro Padre, que le ynbíe a leer a qualquiera parte fuera de Roma, por los muchos trabajos de mente que ay tiene: y entre otros dize lo que ha passado sobre la materia de predestinatione, y que de se trattava de hazerle dezir a sus auditores que no tubiesen ni dixesen aquella opinión que él mostró ser suya (no improbando la de S. Augustin), y conforme a los dichos de muchos doctores. A nuestro Padre le pareze se deua compassion al dicho P. Toledo, pues su enfermedad, y peligro de caer en otra mayor, no sufre el apretarle mucho. […] Y antes la de S. Augustín no es la común, y muchos de los muy doctos y cathólicos no la querrían predicar en ninguna manera. Mas como quiera que sea, no se deben en la Compañía tomar estas opiniones particulares (como las que corren sobre esta materia de predestinatión) tan fixamente, que por atarse a ellas se rompa o debilite la charidad, y se dé scandalo. Y pues V.R. scrivió, que con un par de mançanas quitaría las afflictiones de P. Toledo, veamos cómo lo hará, que en effecto él se muestra muy trabajado, y dize que ha hechado sangre por la boca, y que el mtro. Alexandro le ha vedado el leer, aunque él lo ha continuado por el amor que tiene a la Compañía, y al aprovechamiento de los studiantes; y así no le pareze (come scrive) que le avían de pagar en tal moneda. Etc.”


See Lohr, “Jesuit Aristotelianism,” 211–12; Antonio Astrain, Historia de la Compañía de Jesús en la asistencia de España, 7 vols. (Madrid: Administración de Razón y Fe, 1902–25), 2:562ff.; Ricardo García Villoslada, Storia del Collegio Romano dal suo inizio (1551) alla soppressione della Compagnia di Gesù (Rome: Apud aedes Universitatis Gregorianae, 1954), 75–76.


See Lainii Monumenta, 7n1858, 155. Both the Dutch theologian Albert Pigghe and the ­German Johann Eck participated in the Council of Trent.


See “S. Franciscus de Borja praep. Gen. Decretum de opinionibus in philosophia et theologia tenendis,” in Monumenta paedagogica, new ed., 3:385.


The episode is remembered in a manuscript biography of Vitelleschi; the text is cited by Le Bachelet, Prédestination et grâce, 2:400: “De re nota Praepositum edocent, monentque ne manare eam disciplinam latius patiatur; quam inde a Francisco Borgia constaret tanta severitate proscriptam e Societate, ut cum eam Franciscus Toletus, is qui Cardinalis postea fuit, in Romano Collegio docuisset, revocari ab eo publice, atque expungi ex auditorum scriptis iusserit.”


Nevertheless, Toledo’s short, unpublished commentary on St. Paul’s ad Timotheum, preserved in MS Granada B. 31, returns to the question. The text has been edited by Augusto Segovía, “Un tratado del cardenal Toledo sobre la voluntad salvífica de Dios,” Archivo teológico granadino (1940): 43–68. In Toledo’s commentary on St. Paul’s Letter, he simply skips the discourse on predestination: cf. Toledo, In epistolas B. Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos commentarii et annotationes (Rome: Sumptibus Paulini Arnolfini Lucensis, apud Carolum Vulliettum, 1602), c. Viii, annotatio xxxi.


See, e.g., Solana, Historia de la filosofía española, 3:324–36.


For a synthesis, see Antonino Poppi, “Consenso e dissenso del Pomponazzi con il ‘subtilissimus et religiosissimus Ioannes Scotus,’” in Pietro Pomponazzi: Tradizione e dissenso; Atti del congresso internazionale di studi su Pietro Pomponazzi, Mantova 23–4 ottobre 2008, ed. Marco Sgarbi (Florence: L. Olschki, 2010), 3–39.


See Toledo, De anima, 3, cap. 5, text 20, q. 16, in Opera omnia philosophica, 1:148v: “Unde erravit Pompona. dicens, animam mortalem secundum Philosophiam: et quamvis non esse fortasse error, dicere quod non potest demonstrati naturaliter animae immortalitas: hoc enim dicit Scot. 4 Sent. d. 43 q. 2 […].” See also Toledo, De anima, 3, cap. 5, text 20, q. 16, 155r: “Tandem melius est, et tutius, sic opinari pro nobis, quam contra nos ipsos. Nam aut haec fides et opinio vera est, scilicet animam esse immortalem, et tunc quidem, si quis eam non crediderit, aut credere noluerit, post mortem luet penas, et feret supplicium […] aut non est vera opinio, animam scilicet immortalem, et tunc nihil erit periculi post mortem, sic fuisse opinatos in vita.”


On the definition of the method to adopt by the Jesuit professors before the publication of the Ratio studiorum, see Lohr, “Jesuit Aristotelianism,” 211–20. See also Bellarmine’s letter to Lessius, wherein he recalls Toledo’s case; I cite the text from Le Bachelet, Prédestination et grâce, 1:157: “Meminerit, sententiam gratuitae praedestinationis esse iam stabilitam in Societate nostra, tum quia B. Pater Ignatius in Constitutionibus iussit, ut sequeremur S. Thomam, tum quia cum Cardinalis Toletus, tunc Pater Toletus, anno 1561 docuisset praedestinationem ex bono usu gratiae praeviso, R. Pater Franciscus Borgia cum consilio Patrum iussit, ut ea doctrina non repeteretur neque defenderetur ullo modo, et ipse Card. Toletus ab eo tempore contrario docuit, ut patet ex commentario in cap. ix ad Romanos, quod idem docuerunt semper gravissimi Patres ex nostris, P. Olavius, P. Emmanuel Sa, P. Ledesmius, P. Pererius, P. Parra, P. Augustinus, P. Suarez, et alii plurimi.”


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