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St. Thomas Aquinas in Historical Perspective: The Modern Period

  • Marcia L. Colish (a1)


Witnessing as it did the seven hundredth anniversary of the death of St. Thomas Aquinas, the year 1974 was marked by multiple conferences and publications dedicated to his life, his thought and his place in medieval intellectual history. The recently completed septicentennial also provides a useful vantage point from which to examine the current historiographical assessment of St. Thomas' influence in modern intellectual history. Aquinas scholars devoted little systematic attention to this topic in 1974, a fact which, in itself, reflects a striking and persistent imbalance within the field of Aquinas studies. It is a commonplace to state that St. Thomas enjoyed an authority in the period since the thirteenth century far exceeding any he achieved in his own day. Yet, a consideration of the historiography of Thomas' place in modern thought reveals the fact that the Angelic Doctor's substantial post-medieval reputation has not generally been matched by an equally plentiful measure of historical understanding. For two generations, historians of the Middle Ages have made great strides toward the systematic recovery of the historical Thomas Aquinas. But the task of uncovering the historical significance of his thought within the changing contexts of post-medieval culture still awaits its Grabmanns and Chenus.



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1. The term “neo-Thomism” will be used to denote express revivals of Thomas' thought. The term “Thomism” will be used to denote the influence of Thomas in a more general sense, and will also be used simply as an adjective referring to Thomas' thought. The one term does not necessarily imply greater or lesser fidelity to the mind of Thomas than the other.

2. The best brief general surveys are by Weisheipl, James A., “Contemporary Scholasticism,” s.v. “Scholasticism,” New Catholic Encyclopedia (New York, 1967), and “Thomism,” ibid. Sec also Dezza, P., Riesenhuber, K., and Santinello, G., “Neoscolastica e ncotomismo,” Enciclopedia filosofica. 2d ed. (Firenze, 1967); Carlo Giacon, “Tomismo,” ibid.; “Tommaso d'Aquino,” Enciclopedia cattolica (Vatican City, 1954). The bibliographies supplied by these articles, especially Weisheipl's, are an excellent guide to existing surveys of neo-Thomism. Literature which might be mentioned specifically or in addition: on Thomism in the later Middle Ages see Roensch, Frederick J., Early Thomistic School (Dubuque, 1954): Vella, Andrew P., Les premières polémiques thomistes: Robert d'Orford. Reprobationes dictorum a fratre Eoidio in Primum Sententiarum, Edition critique (Paris, 1968); Weisheipl, James A., Friar Thomas d'Aquino: His Life, Thought, and Work (Garden City, New York, 1974), pp. 333349. On the non-Thomist revival of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries see Giacon, Carlo, La seconda scolastica, 3 vols. (Milan, 19401950); Werner, Karl, Der heilige Thomas von Aquin (Regensburg, 1859), vol. 3. On attempts to revive Thomas in the eighteenth century, see Coulon, R., “Le mouvement thomiste au XVIIIe siècle,Revue thomiste 19 (1911): 421444, 628650; Narciso, E. L., La Summa Philosophica di Salvatore Rosselli e la rinascità del Tomismo (Rome, 1966). The best survey of the neo-Thomist revival from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century is Weisheipl, James A., ‘The Revival of Thomism as a Christian Philosophy, in New Themes in Christian Philosophy, ed. Mclnerny, Ralph M. (NotreDame, 1908), pp. 164185. On the nineteenth century, see also Perrier, Joseph Louis, The Revival of Scholastic Philosophy in the 19th Century (New York, 1909). On the morphology of twentieth-century neo-Thomist schools see John, Helen James, The Thomist Spectrum (New York, 1966); Sciacca, Michele Federico, Philosphical Trends in the Contemporary World, trans. Salerno, Attilio (Notre Dame, 1964), pp. 517552; Riet, Georges Van, Thomistic Epistemology: Studies concerning the Problem of Cognition in the Contemporary Thomistic School, trans. Franks, Gabriel (St. Louis, 1963), 1:3215.

3. Leo, Pope XIII, Aeterni Patris, ¶19, in The Church to the Modern World: The Social Teachings of Leo XIII, ed. Gilson, Étienne (Garden City, New York, 1954), p. 44. Susbsequent references to Leo's encyclicals will be taken from this edition.

4. Ibid., ¶20, p. 45.

5. Ibid., ¶21, pp. 45–46.

6. Ibid., ¶22, p. 46.

7. Ibid., ¶23, p. 46; p. 54 n. 37.

8. Ibid., ¶24, pp. 46–47.

9. Saitta, Giuseppi, Le origini del neo-tomismo ncl secolo XIX (Bari, 1912).

10. The general lack of brilliance among the first generation of Thomas' defenders within his order has been noted by Roensch, , Early Thomistic School, passim; Weisheipl, Friar Thomas, pp. 338339.

11. Weisheipl, , Friar Thomas, pp. 342343.

12. Grabmann, Martin, “Forschungen zur Geschichte der ältesten deutschen Thomistenschule des Dominikanerordens;” “Einzelgestalten aus der mittelalterlichen Dominikaner-und Thomistonschule,” Mittelalterliches Geistesleben (Münster, 19261936), 1: 392431; 2: 512–613; idem., Die Geschichte der katholischer Theologie seit dem Ausgang der Väterseit 2d ed. (Darmstadt, 1961), pp. 7375, 95102; Zdzislaw Kuksewicz, Albertyzm i tomizm w XV weiku w Krakowie i Koloni, Doktryna psychologiczna, Polska Akademia Nauk, Instytut Filozofi i Socjologii (Wroclaw, 1973). Yet, compare Weisheipl, , Friar Thomas, p. 343: “By the time Thomas was canonized in 1323, almost all Dominicans had made the teaching of Thomas their own and considered it a privilege, as well as an obligation, to study and defend it.”

13. Kristoller, Paul Oskar, Le thomisme et la pensée italienne de la renaissance (Montréal, 1967), pp. 3639.

14. Roensch, , Early Thomistic School, p. ix et passim.

15. Ullman, Walter, Medieval Papalism: The Political Theories of the Medieval Canonists (London, 1949), chs. 45.

16. Beck, H., “Der Kampf um den Thomistischen Theologiebegriff in Byzanz,” Divus Thomas 73 (1935): 322; Buda, C., “Iuflusso del tomismo a Bisanzio nel secolo XIV,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift 49 (1956): 318331; DeRosa, Giuseppi, “LaFigura dell' Angelico nel ponsiero e nell 'insegnamento teologico dell'Oriente cristiano slavo-bizantino,” Divus Thomas (Piacenza) 52 (1949): 249275: Salaville, S., “Un thomiste à Byzance au XVe siècle,” Echoes d'orient 27 (1924) 129136.

17. The ground-breaking work in this field has been done by G. Sermoneta, “Per una storia del tomismo ebraico,” Congresso Internazionale Tommaso d'Aquino ncl suo VII Centenario, Rome-Naples, 17–24 April 1974 Proceedings (forthcomng.)

18. The most important study of this topic is Noonan, John T., The Scholastic Analysis of Usury (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1957), pp. 24, 5181. See also DeRoover, Raymond A., La pensée économique des scolastiques: Doctrines et méthodes (Montréal, 1971) pp. 4245, 7690; Gilchrist, J., The Church and Economic Activity in the Middle Ages (London, 1969), pp. 6970; Ibanès, Jean, La doctrine de l'église et les réalités économiques an XIII siecle (Paris, 1967), chs. 23; McLaughlin, T. P., “The Teachings of the Canonists on Usury (XII, XIII, and XIV Centuries),” Mediaeval Studies 1 (1939): 81147; 2 (1940): 1–22.

19. Boyle, Leonard E., “The Summa confessorum of John of Freiburg and the Popularization of the Moral Teachings of St. Thomas and Some of His Contemporaries,” in St. Thomas Aquinas 1274–1974: Commemorative Studies, ed. Maurer, Armand A. (Toronto, 1974), 2: 245268; Häring, Bernard and Vereecke, Louis, ‘La théologie morale de S. Thomas d'Aquin à S. Alphonse de Liguori,” Nouvelle revue théologique 77 (1955): 683685; Michaud-Quantin, Pierre, Sommes de casuistique et manuels de confession au moyen age (XII-XV siècles) (Louvain, 1962), pp. 43111; Tentler, Thomas N., “The Summa for Confessors as an Instrument of Social Control,” in The Pursuit of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion: Papers from the University of Michigan Conference, ed. Trinkaus, Charles with Oberman, Heiko A. (Leiden, 1974), pp. 106, 110; L. E. Boyle's comment, “The Summa for Confessors as a Genre, and Its Religious Intent,” ibid., p. 130; and Tentler's “Response and Retractatio,” ibid., p. 136.

20. Courtenay, William J., “Nominalism and Late Medieval Religion,” The Pursuit of Holiness, p. 56.

21. Pike, R. E., “St. Thomas Aquinas and the ‘Songe du Vergier,'Speculum 14 (1939): 492; Bourke, Vernon J., “Thomas Aquinas and Early British Ethics,” Rivista di filosofia neo-scolastica 66 (1974): 825826. I am indebted to Professor Bourke for bringing this latter reference to my attention.

22. Centi, Tito Santo, “La teologia di S. Tommaso nell'arte del Beato Angelico,” Sapienza 8 (1955): 143157. This study would have been even more convincing had it been illustrated.

23. Godwin, Frances G., “An Illustration to the De sacramentis of St. Thomas Aquinas,” Speculum 26 (1951): 609614.

24. Clark, James M., Meister Eckhart: An Introduction to the Study of His Works with an Anthology of His Sermons (London, 1957), pp. 2681; Copleston, Frederick C., A History of Philosophy (Westminster, Maryland, 1953), 3:184200; Grabmann, , Geschichte der kathol. Theologie, pp. 127130; Knowles, David, The English Mystical Tradition (London, 1961), pp. 29, 3637.

25. The study by Grion, Alvaro, Santa Caterina da Siena: Dottrina o fonti (Cremona, 1953), pp. 265274, 331347 supersedes previous analyses. For the estimate of Catherine's theological knowledge provided by her confessor and earliest biographer, see Raymund, of Capua, , The Life of St. Catherine of Siena, trans. Lamb, George (New York, 1960), pp. 7988, 283296.

26. Löhr, G. L., “Aus spätmittelaltenichen Klosterpredigten,” Zeitschrift für schweitzerische Kirchengeschichte 38 (1944): 3346, 108120, 199208.

27. Kristeller, , Le thomisme, pp. 4348, 5056; Piana, Celestino, “La facoltà teologica dell' Università di Bologna nella prima metà del cinquecento,” Archivum Franciscanum Historioum 62 (1969): 196266.

28. Kristeller, , Le thomisme, pp. 5661; idem., Eight Philosophers of the Italian Rennaissance (Stanford, 1964), pp. 7981.

29. Kristeller, , Le thomisme. pp. 90104; idem., Eight Philosophers, pp. 39–40, 59–60. On Ficino now see also Collins, Ardis B., The Secular Is Sacred: Platonism and Thomism in Marsilio Ficino's Platonic Theology (The Hague, 1974).

30. Kristeller, , Le thomisme, pp. 6276.

31. Ibid., pp. 79–90. Kristeller provides an edition of Spagnoli's, Opus aureum in Thomistas, pp. 129185.

32. Ibid., pp. 76–79. See also Gray, Hanna H., “Valla's Encomium of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Humanist Conception of Christian Antiquity,” Essays in History and Literature Presented by Fellows of the Newberry Library to Stanley Pargellis, ed. Bluhm, Heinz (Chicago, 1965), pp. 3743; Mesnard, Pierre, “Une application curieuse de l'humanisme critique à la théologie: L'Éloge de saint Thomas par Laurent Valla,” Revue thomiste 55 (1955): 159167 with a French translation of the text, pp. 168–176; Schiavone, Michele, “Intorno all' ‘Encomion Thomae Aquinatis' di Lorenzo Valla,’Rivista di filosofia neo-scolastica 45 (1955): 7379.O'Malley, John W., “Some Renaissance Panegyrics of Aquinas,” Renaissance Quarterly 27 (1974): 174192, has studied a series of fourteen such panegyrics delivered before Dominican audiences at Rome and elsewhere between the 1460s and 1470s and 1511. These orations likewise stress Thomas' virtues and tend to be vague about his teachings, even though some of the speakers were professional theologians. However, they reverse Valla's critique of Thomas' cloquence and draw no distinctions between his theology and that of other scholastic or patristic thinkers.

33. Paradiso, 10. It may be noted that the conception of the Divine Comedy as the Summa theologiae set to music has been laid to rest. For the view of Dante as a Thomist, see in particular Mandonnet, P., Dante le théologien: Introduction à l'intelligence de la vie, des oeuvres et de l'art de Dante (Paris, 1935), pp. 10. 130131, 137141, 153157, 255281; 263278; Wicksteed, Philip H., Dante & Aquinas (London, 1913). For the rebuttal, see Curtius, Ernst Robert, “Dante und das lateinische Mittelalter,” Domanische Forschungen 57 Heft 23 (1943): 171; European Literature and the Latin Midde Ages, trans. Willard Trask (New York, 1953), pp. 372, 595; Gilson, Etienne, Dante the Philosopher, trans. Moore, David (New York, 1949), p. 307; Sargent, Daniel, “Dante and Thomism,” The Thomist 5 (1943): 256264; Sayers, Dorothy L., Further Papers on Dante (New York, 1957), pp. 3843; Stewart, H. L., “Dante and the Schoolmen,” Journal of the History of Ideas 10 (1949): 357373.

34. Kristeller, , Le thomisme, pp. 39, 123125.

35. The most important study of them is Walz, A., I domenicani al concilio di Trento (Rome, 1960).

36. Jedin, Hubert, A History of the Council of Trent, trans. Graf, Ernest (London, 1961), 2:375.

37. Ibid., pp. 118–123. For the text of the decree, see Schroeder, H. J., ed., Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (St. Louis, 1941), pp. 426.

38. Jedin, , History, 2:152162, text in Schroeder, , Canons and Decrees, pp. 2123.

39. Jedin, , History, 2:166196, 239261, 283298, 307311; text in Schroeder, , Canons and Decrees, pp. 2946.

40. Jedin, , History, 2:370395; text in Schroeder, , Canons and Decrees, pp. 5155.

41. Broderick, James, The Origin of the Jesuits (London, 1940), p. 44; Ganss, George E., in his commentary on St. Ignatius Loyola, The Constitutions of the Society of Jesus (St. Louis, 1970), pp. 1920; Willaert, Léopold, Après le concile de Trente: La Restauration catholique, 1563–1645 (Paris, 1960), p. 281.

42. A phenomenon which began with the style of Thomistic pedagogy permitted by the Jesuits, as shown by Filograssi, Giuseppe, “La teologia dogmatica nella ‘Ratio studiorum’ della Compagnia di Gesù” La compagnia de Gesù e le sciense sacre (Rome, 1942), pp. 1344.

43. On this general topic see in particular Copleston, Frederick C., Aquinas (Baltimore, 1955), pp. 244246; idem., History of Philosophy, 3:337379. On Cajetan see also Grabmann, Martin, “Die Stellung des Kardinal Cajetan in der Geschichte des Thomismus und Thomistenschule,” Mittelalterliches Gerstesleben, 2:602612.

44. Popkin, Richard H., A History of Skepticism from Erasmus to Descartes (Assen, 1960), pp. 6687.

45. Noonan, , Usury, pp. 199362.

46. Noonan, John T., “An Almost Absolute Value in History,” in The Morality of Abortion: Legal and Historical Perspectives, ed. Noonan, John T. (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1970), pp. 2730; idem., Contraception: A History of Its Treatment by the Catholic Theologians (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965), pp. 323326. Similarly, Bellarmine reversed Thomas' prohibition of non-procreative intercourse between spouses by arguing from his doctrine of original sin and its effects, ibid., pp. 314–316.

47. Vitoria, Francisco de, De Indiis recenter inventis, ed. Wright, Herbert Francis, trans. Bate, John Pawley (Washington, 1917), pp. 115162 [English text], pp. 217–268 [Latin text]. On Vitoria, see Hamilton, Bernice, Political Thought in 16th-Century Spain: A Study of the Political Ideas of Vitoria, DeSoto,. Suárcz, and Molina (Oxford, 1963), pp. 119134; Mesuard, Pierre, L'Essor de la philosophic politique au XVIe siècle, 3d ed. (Paris, 1969), pp. 454472; Parry, J. H., The Spanish Thory of Empire in the 16th Century (Cambridge, 1940) pp. 1226, 4853; Scott, James Brown, The Catholic Conception of International Law (Washington, 1934), ch. 1.

48. Karl A. Kottman, “16th and 17th Century Iberian Controversy over St. Thomas' Theory of Ius Gentium and Natural Law: The Interpretation of Antonio Vieira, S. J.,” Congresso Internazionale Tommaso d'Aquino nel suo VII Centenario, Rome-Naples, 17–24 April 1974, Proceedings (forthcoming). I am indebted to Professor Kottman for permission to refer to the text of his paper prior to publication.

49. Willaert, , Après le concile de Trent, pp. 181271.

50. Brémond, Henri, A Literary History of Religious Thought in France, trans. Montgomery, K. L. (New York, 1930), 2:356360, 372373; Grabmann, , Geschichte der kathol. Theologie, pp. 173175, 179; Maritain, Jacques, Distinguish to Unite, or the Degrees of Knowledge, 4th ed., trans. Phelan, Gerald B. (New York, 1959), pp. 310351; Martz, Louis L., The Poetry of Meditation: A Study in English Religious Literature of the 17th Century (New Haven, 1954), pp. 112117; Peers, E. Allison, Studies of the Spanish Mystics (London, 1930 [repr. 1960]), 2:6, 14, 302–303, 334, 360, 363, 366 n., 377 n.; 3:14, 26–27, 40, 49–52, 57 n., 59, 83–92, 115, 124, 130, 142, 172, 192, 213, 224, 228.

51. Connell, Desmond, The Vision in God: Malebrancke's Scholastic Sources (Louvain, 1967), pp. 23, 52, 5891, 101230, 236261, 358366. His main points are summarized in “The Thomistic Origin of Malebranehe's Ontologism,” Irish Theological Quarterly 34 (1967): 207219.

52. Levi, Anthony, French Moralists: The Theory of the Passions, 1585–1649 (Oxford, 1964), pp. 39, 8891, 106107, 114122, 128133, 144148, 152165, 273284.

53. Allen, J. W., A History of Political Thought in the 16th Century (London, 1961), pp. 186198; Bourke, , “Aquinas and Early British Ethics,” pp. 826, 827830, 835840; Figgis, John Neville, Studies of Political Thought from Gerson to Grotius, 1414–1625, 2d ed. (Cambridge, 1931), pp. 150166; Greenleaf, W. H., “The Thomasian Tradition and the Theory of Absolute Monarchy,” English Historical Review 79 (1964): 747760; Hamilton, , Political Thought, pp. 45, 1129, 3033, 98108 et passim; Mesnard, L'Essor de la philos. politique, pp. 549–566, 617–660; d'Entrèves, Alexander Passerin, The Medieval Contribution to Political Thought: Thomas Aqumas, Marsilius of I'adua, Richard Hooker (Oxford, 1939), pp. 3132, 91142; Scott, , Catholic Conception of International Law, che. 36, 1213; Tooke, Joan D., The Just War in Aquinas and Grotius (London, 1964), pp. 181230.

54. Malloch, A. E., “The Definition of Sin in Donne's Biathanatos,” Modern Language Notes 77 (1957): 332335; “Technique and Function of Renaissance Paradox,” Studies in Philology 53 (1956): 191203; Martz, , Poetry of Meditation, pp. 112117 of passim, which draws upon the thesis of Ong, Walter J., “Wit and Mystery: A Revaluation in Medieval Latin Hymnody,” Speculum 22 (1947): 310341 and strengthens Ong's argument.

55. See, in general, Ferguson, Wallace K., The Renaissance in Historical Thought: Five Centuries of Interpretation (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1948), pp. 5052.

56. Armstrong, Brian G., Calvinism and the Amyraut Heresy: Protestant Scholasticism and Humanism in 17th-Century France (Madison, 1969), ch. 1, pp. 130131, 139 et passim; Bourke, , “Aquinas and Early British Ethics,” pp. 830835; John Patrick Donnelly, “Calvinist Thomism,” Viator (forthcoming, 1976); idem., “Italian Influences on the Development of Calvinist Scholasticism,” (unpublished) [I am deeply indebted to Father Donnelly for permission to consult these unpublished papers]; idem., “Peter Martyr on Fallen Man: A Protestant Scholastic View” (Ph. D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1972), pp. 1117, ch. 6, pp. 53–54, 80–82, 86–87, 105; Grundler, Otto, “The Influence of Thomas Aquinas upon the Theology of Girolamo Zanchi (1510–1590),” in Studies in Medieval Culture, ed. Sommerfeldt, J. R. (Kalamazoo, 1964), pp. 102117; Scharlemann, Robert P., Thomas Aquinas and John Gerhard (New Haven, 1964), chs. 13. These four authors supply useful bibliographical guidance into the previous literature in the field. See also Costello, William T., The Scholastic Curriculum in Early 17th Century Cambridge (Cambridge, Marsachusetts, 1958); Kelly, Kevin T., A Thomistic Appraisal of the Concept of Conscience and Its Place in Moral Theology in the Writings of Bishop Robert Sanderson and Other Early English Protestant Moralists (London, 1967): Morison, Samuel Eliot, Harvard College in the 17th Century (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1936), pt. 1, 153154, 214215, 224226, 252258, 276279; Ryan, John K., The Reputation of St. Thomas among English Protestant Thinkers of the 17th Century (Washington, 1948).

57. The fullest study is Noon, William T., Joyce and Aquinas (New Haven, 1957). See also Beebe, Maurice, “Joyce and Aquinas: The Theory of Aesthetics,” Philological Quarterly 36 (1957): 2035: Morin, Edward, “Joyce as Thomist,” Renascence 9 (1957): 127131. Sartre, Jean-Paul, Saint Genet: Actor and Martyr, trans. Frechtman, Bernard (New York, 1963), pp. 469478 has made some perceptive remarks on Genet's use of inverted scholasticism in Our Lady of the Flowers, although without referring expressly to Aquinas.

58. Weisheipl, , “Revival of Thomism,” New Themes, pp. 165171.

59. On some of these movements, see Gelinas, Jean-Paul, La Restauration du thomisme sous Léon XIII et les philosophies nouvelles (Washington, 1959); Pelikan, Jaroslav, The Riddle of Roman Catholicism (New York, 1959), pp. 154156; Rynne, Xavier, Vatican Counci II (New York, 1968), pp. 1415, 1921; Sciocca, , Philosophical Trends, pp. 552638; Weisheipl, , “Revival of Thomism,” New Themes, pp. 182183.

60. Weisheipl, , “Revival of Thomism,” New Themes, pp. 176177.

61. The problem was noted as early as Saitta, , Le origini del neo-tomismo, pp. 282283. The most recent defender of this position is Wallace, William, “The Case for Developmental Thomism,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 44 (1970): 116; idem., “Galileo and the Thomists,” St. Thomas Aquinas, 1274–1974, 2:293330; idem., “Thomism and Modern Science: Relationships Past, Present, and Future,” The Thomist 32 (1968): 6783. Scientists themselves have rarely deigned to comment on such claims. One exception is Margenau, Henry, Thomas and the Physics of 1958: A Confrontation (Milwaukee, 1958), whose politeness does not manage to hide the gaps between the poles of the confrontation.

62. Leo's own statements on this point can be found in Aeterni Patris, ¶2, pp. 28–29; Rerun Novarum (1891), ¶14, pp. 3233, 4849, 212. See also Perrier, , Revival of Scholastic Philosophy, pp. 813; Schmandt, Raymond H., “The Life and Work of Leo XIII,” in Leo XIII and the Modern World, ed. Gargan, Edward T. (New York, 1961), p. 37; Weisheipl, , “Revival of Thomism,” New Themes, p. 177.

63. Marchesi, Angelo, “II pensiero di S. Tommaso d'Aquino e delle encicliche sociali dei papi sul tema della proprietà privata,” Rivista di filosofia neo-scolastica 62 (1970): 334344.

64. Agócs, Sándor, “The Road to Charity Leads to the Picket Lines: The Neo-Thomist Revival and the Italian Catholic Labor Movement,” International Review of Social History 18 (1973): 2850.

65. A discussion of contemporary journalistic reactions is provided by Edward T. Gargan, introduction to Leo XIII, p. 5; Schmandt, “Life and Work of Leo XIII,” ibid., p. 39; Lillian ParkerWallace, Leo XIII and the Rise of Socialism (Durham, 1966), pp. 211–214. Indices of contemporary scholarly criticism of Leo on this score are provided by Barthélemy Hauréau, Historie de la philosophic scolastique (Paris, 1880) 2:462: Saitta. Le origini del neo-tomismo, pp. 269–270, 275.

66. Apart from Aeterni Patris, evidence of this fact can also be found in the encyclicals Inscrutabili (1878) ¶2, p. 5; Immortale Dei (1885), ¶21–23, pp. 278279, 280, 171172. Also noted by Gargan, , Leo XIII, p. 3.Wallace, , Leo XIII, p. 215, even suggests that Leo may have been reacting against a Luther centennial currently being staged by the Protestant world.

67. Noted by Schmandt, , “Life and Work of Leo XIII,” Leo XIII, p. 39

68. Foucher, Louis, La philosophie catholique en France an XIXe siècle avant la renaissance thomiste et dans son rapport avec elle (1800–1880) (Paris, 1955). A well-known popular summa of Romantic Catholic support for Leo's policy in English is Walsh, James J., The Thirteenth, Greatest of Centuries, 5th ed. (New York, 1924, [first publ. 1907]), pp. 270 ff., although the author's Anglo-Saxon sensibilities lead him to associate the Middle Ages with the “origins of modern democracy” rather than with the consolations of monarchism. Further details on this movement as it affected historiography are supplied by Ferguson, , Renaissance in Historical Thought, pp. 338339, although he sees it as a consequence of the Leonine revival and does not explore the possibility that it may have helped to produce a climate of opinion favoring that revival.

69. John, , Thomist Spectrum, pp. 46; Melnerny, Ralph M., Thomism in an Age of Renewal (Garden City, New York, 1966), p. 16.

70. de Contenson, Pierre M., “Documents sur les origincs et les premières années de la commission Leonine,” St. Thomas Aquinas, 1574–1974, 2:331.

71. Aeterni Patris, ¶30–31, pp. 4951. This aspect of Leo's attitude is stressed by Collins, James, “Leo XIII and the Philosophical Approach to Modernity,” Leo XIII and the Modern World, pp. 181201; Gustave Wiegel, “Leo XIII and Contemporary Theology,” ibid., pp. 214–223.

72. Aeterni Patris, ¶29–30, pp. 4950.

73. Contenson, , “Documents sur … la commission Léonine,” St. Thomas Aquinas, 1274–1974, 2:331333, 354388.

74. Pope John XXIII, Opening Speech to the Council, 11 October 1962, in Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott (New York, 1966), p. 714715.

75. Rynne, , Vatican Council II, pp. 4159, 128129.

76. Ibid., pp. 301–308.

77. Declaration on Christian Education, ch. 10, Documents, p. 648.

78. Decree on Priestly Formation, ch. 5, art. 15, Documents, p. 450.

79. Ibid., art. 16, Documents, p. 452.

80. Ibid., pp. 451–52.

81. Clarke, W. Norris, “The Future of Thomism,” New Themes, pp. 191193.

82. Used as the epigraph for the essay of Mascall, E. L., “Guide-Lines from St. Thomas for Theology Today,” St. Thomas Aquinas, 1274–1974, 2:489.

83. A sampler of easily accessible positions at all points along the spectrum might include the following: as an exponent of the hard-shell, business-as-usual neo-Thomists, who see no imperatives for change articulated by Vatican II, see the Master General of the Dominican Order, Fernandez, Aniceto, “Il pensiero di S. Tommaso nell'epoca post-concillare,” Sapienza 19 (1956): 385398 [widely reprinted in translation, for esample Revue thomiste 16 (1966): 177189] Ralph M. McInerny, Thomism in an Age of Renewal, while willing to concede that neo-Thomism should no longer be taught via stultifying manuals, also reads Vatican II as a reiteration of official neo-Thomism and is impatient with the view that it should be accommodated either to the historical Thomas or to modern thought: for him neo-Thomism is basically correct and satisfying as is: the new is not to be confused with the true; and in any event there is no maestro di color che sanno nowadays and it is tiresome to try to focus on a moving target. Closer to the middle of the spectrum is Steenberghen, Fernand Van, Le retour à saint Thomas a-t-il un sens aujoura'hui? (Montréal, 1967), who notes gaps and weaknesses in both neo-Thomism and in Thomas' thought itself but who concludes that neo-Tbomism should be retained as the Catholic philosophy. Speaking for the group urging neo-Thomists to get back to the historical Thomas, Pegis, Anton C., The Middle Ages and Philosophy: Some Reflections on the Ambivalence of Modern Scholasticism (Chicago, 1963). notes the disjunction between the modern neo-Thomists' conception of their own work and the historical conception of medieval thought on which it was originally based, from DeWulf's picture of a monolithic medieval mind identical with Thomism through the inroads of the pluralistic picture of medieval thought contributed by Mandonnet to the recovery of the philosophia ancilla theologiae perspective in the work of Gilson. Pegis' historiographical overview is useful so far as it goes, but it neglects the fact that pluralism in medieval thought had been discovered as early as Hauréau's, B.Histoire de la philosophic scolastique, 2 vols. in 3 (Paris 18721880), and that the Christian philosophy-cum-pluralism perspective had been discovered as early as Picavet's, F.Esquisse d'une histoire générale et comparée des philosophies médiévales (Paris, 1905). He also omits the reassessment of Thomas' place in medieval thought brought about by the more positive re-evaluations of fourteenth-century scholasticism in the 1950s and 1960s. As far as the future of Catholic philosophy goes, Pegis argues that once purged of neo-Thomist accretions, Thomas' thought will serve as a perfectly satisfactory basis for Catholic thought in the twentieth century. At the more liberal end of the spectrum, Clarke, W. N., “The Future of Thomism,” New Themes, pp. 187207, urges that those aspects of Thomas' thought which are still valid, of which he provides a very short list, be salvaged and synthesized with modern ideas. The Anglican neo-Thomist, Mascall, E. L., “Guide-Lines,” St. Thomas Aquinas, 1274–1974, 2:489501, opts for the spirit of Thomas rather than the letter, arguing that those contemporary theologians who have grasped Thomas' spirit the best are the ones who eschew the literal sense of his teachings the most whole-heartedly. An outstanding representative of the most dégagé wing of the liberal group is Danielou, Jean, “Le pluralisme de la pensée,” Sapienza 19 (1966): 1123, who points to the diversities that have always existed in Catholic thought, even among neo-Thomisms, who depreciates the utility of any version of Thomism as the best vehicle for the Catholic faith in the twentieth century, and who dismisses the need for any one official Catholic philosophy.

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Church History
  • ISSN: 0009-6407
  • EISSN: 1755-2613
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