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History of Philosophy
Scholastics of the Transition Period
by Turner, William (S.T.D.)

The exigencies of religious controversy arising out of the doctrines of the reformers brought about a revival of theological activity in the Catholic schools and universities of this period. The development of theological speculation naturally inspired the effort to restore and supplement the philosophy of the Scholastics of the thirteenth century. When, therefore, the charge of frivolity and master-worship is made against the Scholastics of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, exception must be made in favor of those schoolmen who went back to the sources of genuine Scholasticism and commented on the works of St. Thomas and Scotus.

Chief among the commentators of St. Thomas are Paulus Barbus Soncinas (died 1494), who followed in the footsteps, of Capreolus, Thomas de Vio Cajetanus (Cajetan, 1469-1534), who wrote what is still considered the classic commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, and Francis a Sylvestris of Ferrara (Ferrariensis) (1474-1528), who composed a masterly commentary on the Summa contra Gentiles. Mention must likewise be made of the theologians Melchior Cano (1509-1560), Dominicus de Soto (1494-1560), Dominicus Bañez (1528-1604), who commented on the Summa Theologica, and of John of St. Thomas (1589-1644), who wrote a Cursus philosophicus ad exactam, veram et genuinam Aristotelis et Doctoris Angelici mentem. Under the influence of these Dominicans and that of the great Carmelite teachers, new zest was given to the study of St. Thomas at Salamanca and Alcalá, while at the same time a new form of Thomism was developed by the Jesuit teachers at Coimbra and at other centers of learning in the Iberian peninsula. With this Neo-Thomism is associated the establishment of a school of Jesuit theology at the Roman college. It was there that Vasquez (1551-1604) and Toletus (1532-1596) taught, who influenced to a great extent the subsequent development of Catholic theology. Among the Jesuits who taught at Coimbra the best known is Fonseca (1528-1599). Suarez (1548-1617), the ablest and most distinguished of the Jesuit theologians and philosophers of this time, is associated with the intellectual prestige of Salamanca, Coimbra, Alcalá, and Rome. His works, which include twenty-three folio volumes, contain, besides commentaries on the works of St. Thomas, treatises which, like the Disputationes Metaphysicae, are important as independent contributions to the literature of Scholastic philosophy. [2]
[2] Cf. articles in Science Catholique, 1898, 1899, "Suarez metaphysicien, commentateur de St. Thomas."
The principal representatives of the philosophy of Scotus are John the Englishman (died 1483), Johannes Magistri (died 1482), Antonius Trombetta (died 1518), and Maurice the Irishman (1463-1513). [3]
[3] Cf. Wadding's Vita Joannis Duns Scoti, in Lyons edition of Scotus' Works, I, 4. cf. also Wetzer u. Welte's Kirchenlexikon, article, "Mauritius a Portu."
The philosophical significance of these teachers consists in the serious effort which they made to understand and expound the works of their predecessors, the great masters of Scholastic philosophy.


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