Free access to Divus Thomas (Fribourg) 1887-2016

With the digitalization of the journal Divus Thomas (Fribourg) from 1887 to 2016 by the Swiss website e-periodica the Thomistic community has yet another tool easily available for the historical and systematical study of Thomism in recent times.

One of the ways to implement Pope Leo XIII’s vision in Aeterni Patris (1879) was the founding of journals specifically devoted to the study of Thomism. Already in 1880 the Collegio Alberoni in Piacenza founded the journal Divus Thomas, which still exists today. In 1881, the recently founded Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas started the publication of its yearbook L'Accademia Romana di S. Tommaso D'Aquino. The Academy continues this tradition with the publication of Doctor Communis, containing the proceedings of their annual plenary session (the latest issue Dio creatore e la creazione come casa commune. Prospettive Tomiste inaugurates a new collaboration with the Urbaniana University Press). In Belgium, Désiré Mercier founded the Revue Néo-Scolastique in  1894 and the first issue of Revue Thomiste was published in the same year (the first decades are available online).

Norberto del Prado In Memoriam.jpg
Commer, Ernst (1847-1928).jpg

For the German speaking world, the Thomistic community owes an enormous debt of gratitude to Ernst Commer (1847-1928), who founded the Jahrbuch für Philosophie und spekulative Theologie in 1887. On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, Michael Glossner defines the goals of the journal as follows: the “Wiederhebung der Philosophie aus tiefem Verfall zu der ihr gebührenden Stellung als erste under den natürlichen Wissenschaften durch Anknüpfung an die gewaltsam unterbrochene Tradition, durch Wiedergewinnung einer sicheren Grundlage in allgemein anerkanntnen Prinzipien und ruhige kontinuierliche Weiterbilding auf Grund derselben.” (Jahrbuch 11 (1897), 2).

 Gallus M. Manser OP (ob. 1950)

Gallus M. Manser OP (ob. 1950)

From the very first issue onwards, key features of the Thomistic synthesis are given their proper place, i.e. the real distinction between being and essence, the principle of individuation and in particular the doctrine of praemotio physica (e.g. Norberto del Prado’s De concordia physicae praemotionis cum libero arbitrio in the 1903 issue). Of equal importance are the many contributions in the field of biology and physics, e.g. the many articles by Joseph Gredt in the 1920’s on electrons and on Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In 1914 the journal changes its name to Divus Thomas and in 1922 the Fribourg Dominicans Gallus Häfele (1882-1960) and Gallus Manser (1866-1950) become its editors. One of the principal controversies to which the journal devotes extensive attention concerned the molinism of the Innsbruck Jesuit Johann B. Stufler, as expressed in his 1923 “Divi Thomae Aquinatis doctrina De Deo operante in omni operatione naturae creatae praesertim liberi arbitrii”. In these years the journal becomes the preferred place to publish the research of such Thomists as Joseph Gredt, Martin Grabmann, Santiago Ramirez, Gallus Manser and others. The 1953 issue contains an index for the years 1923-1953.

In 1954 the journal changes its name to its current one: Freiburger Zeitschrift für Philosophie und Theologie, officially to end the confusion that had arisen with the Italian journal of the same name. The change in name is however indicative for the declining influence of Thomism in these years, as becomes apparent from the indices of these years. Thomas Aquinas almost disappears from the journal with the exception of an issue devoted to him in 1974, containing important articles whose titles are indicative for that time (Y. Congar, Saint Thomas d'Aquin et l'esprit oecuménique; J. H. Nicholas, Liberté du théologien et autorité du Magistère).

Between 1982 and 2017 the journal published 35 articles on St. Thomas by scholars such as J.-P. Torrell (Frère Thomas d'Aquin prédicateur 29 (1982), 1/2, 175-188), John F. Wippel (The Latin Avicenna as a source of Thomas Aquinas' metaphysics 37 (1990), 1/2, 51-90), Ruedi Imbach (Notule sur le commentaire du "Liber de causis" de Siger de Brabant et ses rapports avec Thomas d'Aquin 43 (1996), 3, 304-323), Rupert Mayer (Stockwerkphilosophie gegen Stockwerktheologie : zum "desiderium naturale" bei Henri de Lubac und Thomas von Aquin 56 (2009), 1, 164-193) and Gilles Emery (Le mode personnel de l'agir trinitaire suivant Thomas d'Aquin 50 (2003), 3, 334-353).



Jörgen Vijgen

DR. JÖRGEN VIJGEN holds academic appointments in Medieval and Thomistic Philosophy at several institutions in the Netherlands. His dissertation, “The status of Eucharistic accidents ‘sine subiecto’: An Historical Trajectory up to Thomas Aquinas and selected reactions,” was written under the direction of Fr. Walter Senner, O.P. at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome, Italy and published in 2013 by Akademie Verlag (now De Gruyter) in Berlin, Germany.