Tommaso d’Aquino Newsletter (March, 2006)

Welcome to the second edition of the “Tommaso d’Aquino Newsletter,” from Thomistica.NET.

In this issue:

  • The so-called Lectura romana of Thomas’s (recently published)
  • Torrell Reloaded : a look at the second edition of Fr Torrell’s standard biography of Thomas
  • William of Peraldus, OP, web site
  • On-line canon law stuff
  • Updates on conferences devoted to Thomas (including the upcoming Kalamazoo conference)
  • The letter of the Parisian Arts Masters to the Dominicans after Thomas’s death (and all those commentaries Thomas never got to write)
  • Tidbits
  • Books of Interest

Lectura romana of St Thomas Aquinas is Published

The Press for the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies has published the Lectura romana in primum Sententiarum Petri Lombardi, attributed to St Thomas, and edited by †Leonard E. Boyle, and John F. Boyle. I purchased a copy right away, and the good people at the Mediaeval Institute were kind to get it to me in time for this Newsletter. What is the story behind this long-lost, or never-known, work?



When Thomas was in Naples for the last few years of his life (1272-1274) he befriended a young Dominican known to us as Tolomeo of Lucca (Tholomaeus de Fiadonis Lucanus, SOPMÆ 4:318-325). Tolomeo is a key source for any biography of Aquinas, as he provides precious details about things the saint did during that period. And Tolomeo should know: he was, by his account, Thomas’s confessor in Naples at that time (although he possibly might have been a student of Thomas at Orvieto [1261-1265] or Rome [1265-1268]; for more on Tolomeo see Torrell, Saint Thomas, pp. 271-272). But for all that Tolomeo’s testimony on almost any point is often treated as damaged goods, because his reporting often contradicts known facts and because, as he grew older, he does seem to have slipped, gradually but deeply, into senility. Hence historians (Torrell, Weisheipl) treat his testimony gingerly, given that his chief contribution to Thomistic historiography was a work he wrote later in life (c. 1313), his Historia ecclasiastica nova, in which he lists the works of Thomas that he knew. The general consensus among historians is that, on almost any point, Tolomeo is likely to have some permixture of error.

Well, in his Historia ecclasiastica nova (see Antoine Dondaine, OP, “Les opuscula fratris Thomae chez Ptolémée de Lucques,” Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum 31 [1961] 175-185) Tolomeo finishes up his list of Thomas’s works, says that he’s done, and then adds an oh-wait-a-minute:

Et hec de venerabili doctore [St. Thomas] dicta sufficiant.

Scripsit etiam eo tempore quo fuit Rome, de quo dictum est supra, iam magister existens, primum super Sententias, quem ego vidi Luce sed inde subtractus nusquam ulterius vidi (Dondaine, 155).

So according to Tolomeo Thomas wrote something on the first book of Peter Lombard’s Libri sententiarum while he was in Rome, already being a master (i.e., Thomas seemed to perform for a second time the work that had once been necessary for him to be made a master). Tolomeo says he saw it when he was in Lucca (his hometown), and that, once he left Lucca for good, he never saw it again. The question for Thomistic historiography then becomes: did Tolomeo get this one right?

For the longest time it seemed that not. No self-standing work resembling a second commentary on Book 1 of Lombard’s Sentences turned up. True, H.-F. Dondaine found some interesting marginal notes in a manuscript from Oxford, which contained Book 1 of Thomas’s “official” commentary from his years in Paris (1252-1256), itself being one book of a four-book work that was well-known and oft-copied. And while these marginal notes made cryptic reference to “the other text of Brother Thomas,” it didn’t seem to be the case that we had found what Tolomeo was talking about.

Or did it? Leonard Boyle rearranged the evidence from Tolomeo and from the manuscript and made the alarming assertion that this otherwise typical Oxford manuscript contained none other than the very text that Tolomeo claims to have seen! Which would mean that these texts, if published, would contain Thomas’s rethinking of the issues found in Book 1 of Lombard’s Sentences written—or better: lectured and then taken down by a student—just before Thomas embarked on the Summa theologiae. Fr Boyle brought in his student at the Mediaeval Institute, John F. Boyle, and the two of them labored for quite some time to transcribe, edit and annotate these marginal texts from this Oxford manuscript. Boyle died before the project was completed.

So what does the PIMS publication give us? John Boyle’s careful introduction explains the story of this text, and details the Oxford manuscript, how it was copied, and how he went about his edition. The Latin texts to be found here cover the following portions of Book 1 of the Sentences: the prologue, distinctions 1-17, 23, 24. This means that the following loci are covered:

  • nature of theology
  • Frui/uti
  • God-talk
  • Can God be known from creatures (sorry, no rehearsal of the Five Ways; but there is a quick, explicit dismissal of St. Anselm)?
  • Divine attributes
  • Trinitarian topics dd. 9-16, 23
  • Charity (d. 17)

While most Thomistic scholars did agree with Leonard Boyle’s argument that the texts now-published are from Thomas, Fr. Torrell, who at first did agree with Boyle, is now more cautious about it (see: Saint Thomas, 2nd ed., pp. 45-47, 412), and I believe that same to be true of Gilles Emery (per an e-mail from a few years back). But this all means that the texts in the volume need to be read and collated with other treatments of Thomas’s works. One thing is sure: the person who copied the marginal texts into the Oxford manuscript, quite possibly before the year 1286, thinks he’s copying Aquinas.

Here is a short bibliography of articles that deal with the Lectura romana (also earlier known as the “Roman Commentary”). I’d happily learn of other references not found here:

  • Boyle, John F. "The Ordering of Trinitarian Teaching in Thomas Aquinas’ Second Commentary on Lombard’s Sentences." Recherches de Théologie ancienne et médiévale, Supplementa 1 (1995) 125-36.
  • Boyle, John F. “St. Thomas Aquinas and the analogy of potentia generandi.The Thomist 64 (2000) 581-92.
  • Boyle, Leonard E. "’Alia lectura fratris Thome’." Mediaeval Studies 45 (1983) 418-29.
  • Boyle, Leonard. E. Facing History: A Different Thomas Aquinas. Introduction by J.-P. Torrell. Textes et Études du Moyen Âge, 13. Louvain-la-Neuve: Fédération Internationale des Instituts d’Études Médiévales, 2000.
  • Boyle, Leonard E. The Setting of the "Summa theologiae" of Saint Thomas. Etienne Gilson Series, 5. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1982. Reprinted with revisions in Facing History: A Different Thomas Aquinas, 65-91.
  • Dondaine, Antoine. "Saint Thomas a-t-il disputé à Rome la question des ‘Attributs Divins’? (I Sent., dist. 2, qu. 1, art. 3)." Bulletin Thomiste (Notes et communcations) 1 (1931-33) 171*-82*.
  • Dondaine, Antoine. "Saint Thomas et la dispute des attributs divins (I Sent., d. 2, a. 3): authenticité et origine." Archivum fratrum predicatorum 8 (1938) 253-62.
  • Dondaine, H. F. "’Alia lectura fratris Thome’? (Super 1 Sent.)." Mediaeval Studies 42 (1980) 308-36.
  • Johnson, Mark F. “Aquinas’s Summa theologiae as Pedagogy,” in Joseph W. Koterski, S.J. and Ronald Begley, eds., Medieval Education (Bronx, NY: Fordham University Press, 2005), pp. 133-142.
  • Johnson, Mark F. "Alia lectura fratris Thome : A List of the New Texts of St. Thomas Aquinas found in Lincoln College, Oxford, MS. Lat. 95,” Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 57 (1990) 34-61.
  • Johnson, Mark F. “Aquinas’s Changing Evaluation of Plato on Creation,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 66 (1992) 39-46.
  • Johnson, Mark F. “A Note on the Dating of St. Thomas Aquinas’s Expositio super primam et secundam decretalem,” Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale 59 (1992) 155-65.
  • Johnson, Mark F. “Another Look at St. Thomas and the Plurality of the Literal Sense of Scripture,” Medieval Philosophy and Theology 2 (1992) 118-42.
  • Jordan, Mark D. “Aquinas’ Middle Thoughts on Theology as Science,” in Studies in Thomistic Theology, ed. Paul Lockey (Houston: Center for Thomistic Studies, 1995), pp. 91-112.
  • Mulchahey, M. Michèle . “First the Bow is Bent in Study”: Dominican Education before 1350. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1998.
  • Norvelle, Erik. “The Authorship of the Roman Commentary: Stylometric and Semantic Approaches to Authorship Identification.” Masters thesis in the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Navarra (2005).
  • Panella, Emilio. "Iacopo di Ranuccio da Castelbuono OP: Testimone dell’ ‘Alia lectura fratris Thome’." Memorie Domenicane, n.s. 19 (1988) 369-85.

You can find out more about the book, and how to buy it, at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies web site.

Torrell Reloaded

I’m sorry about the title here, but the moment I learned that Catholic University of America Press was reprinting Fr Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP’s, Saint Thomas Aquinas: Volume 1: The Person and His Work as a “revised edition” I couldn’t stop thinking: Torrell, revised, Torrell reloaded (although I never did see the third movie in the Matrix series: “The Matrix: Reloaded”). Oh, whatever.

In any case, in 2005 CUA Press did reprint Torrell’s now-standard biography in English translation, with the added content in the title: “Revised Edition.” This is not a complete reworking of his original 1993 biography (in French). But it is, like CUA’s other Thomas biography by James Weisheipl, a reprinting of an original text, with a section at the tail-end of the book containing corrections and additions to the original (indeed, in the case of the earlier Weisheipl book from 1983, that new section was called corrigenda and addenda). Thus the new Torrell volume has a section beginning on p. 409-439. I always want to have the latest version possible; YMMV (= your mileage may vary).

So what key items has Fr Torrell thought require some emendation from the first printing from CUA (in 1996)? Aside from adding new bibliography and lists of translations, here are some particular points of interest (all taken from the book: Torrell, Saint Thomas Aquinas, revised edition [Washington, DC: CUA Press, 2005] with page number to the new volume):

  • [p. 411]: It turns out that we may need to “roll back” an improvement that Fr Weisheipl had been thought to have made in regard to the dating of Thomas’s Isaiah commentary. While the editors of the Leonine Edition of the Isaiah commentary (vol. 28) had advanced that Thomas may have made this commentary, early on, in Paris, Weisheipl insisted that Dominicans did not lecture on the Bible in Paris as bachelors; instead, and following biographers that held that Thomas was sent to Paris ad legendum sententias, Weisheipl said that the Isaiah commentary was most likely done in Cologne, where Thomas was with St Albert; the paucity of rich doctrine in this commentary—along with the Jeremiah commentary—could all the more be explained, Weisheipl thought, by dating it to the period before Thomas lectured on the Sentences in Paris (usually dated from 1252-1256).
  • Most biographers had agreed with Weisheipl (even Torrell in 1st edition, pp. 27-28). But it now seems, Torrell notes, citing Adriano Oliva, that Thomas may well have written the Isaiah commentary (on the basis of the parchment Thomas was using!) in Paris during the very early 1250’s. Two interesting results of this: 1) this would likely alter received dating for Thomas’s commentary on the Sentences, so usually and comfortably dated from 1252-1256; 2) Thomas, while a young bachelor at Paris, would be among the first to lecture consistently on the Bible, before becoming a Master.
  • [p. 412]: As noted above, Torrell is now less committed to the view of Leonard Boyle as regards the authenticity of the Lectura romana. John Boyle gave a paper at Pamplona that addresses many of Torrell’s concerns (see below, in the conference round-up).
  • [pp. 420-422]: Arguments in favor of a late dating of Thomas’s Psalms commentary to the Naples period (1272-1274) are much stronger than the suspicions of earlier historians. Martin Morard, who is working on the critical edition of the Commentary on the Psalms for the Leonine Edition, has noted that Thomas uses some texts from Aristotle known in the Latin translation of Moerbeke only in 1270 (i.e., on the Ethics and the Rhetoric). Further, Fr Bataillon notes that Thomas uses material from the Vocabularium of William of Breton only known to have circulated after 1272—thus pointing in the direction of a 1272-1273 dating. But the fact that the Commentary is incomplete should not be taken as an indication that Thomas was solum morte preventus from completing the thing; Morard notes that most Psalms commentaries of the period are incomplete.
  • [pp. 422-423]: some updates of literature—and indeed controversy—surrounding the condemnations of 1277 are intriguing (e.g., Hissette, Thijssen, Wipple, Wielockx,).
  • [pp. 424-425]: Following the doctoral dissertation of Adriano Oliva (now praeses of the Leonine Commission in Paris), Torrell notes that the dating surrounding Thomas’s Scriptum super Sententias from Paris should be revised and tightened. Some scholars in the past certainly had provided dating for the work, usually settling things into the four-year period from 1252-1256 (as did Torrell in the 1996 first edition of the book). Walter Principe didn’t like at all devoting so much time—four full years—to the one enterprise of teaching, then writing up, the Sentences. Torrell is inclined to follow Oliva’s contention that Thomas came to Paris in September, 1251, and wrote the Isaiah commentary then. Thereafter, yes, from the 1252-1256 period, he did the Sentences (beware an egregious typo on page 425, which dates the Sentences to 1225-1226—but then, Thomas was a precocious child).
  • [pp. 427-428]: Reporting the findings of Carlos Bazán (editor of Leonine vol. 24/1), Torrell notes that the Quaestiones disputatae de anima do date from the Roman Period (1265-1268) and could be dated with greater precision to 1266-1267. Bazán also advanced that the work is the outgrowth of 21 distinct public disputations on the topic.
  • [p. 431]: The Expositio super Iob, following Gauthier, Torrell suggests a more precise time-frame for the work of 1263-1265.
  • [p. 433]: The De hebdomadibus in the second sojourn at Paris, 1271-1272—man, I missed this one, always having linked it subconsciously to the early Super librum Boethii de trinitate.

The Torrell biography of Saint Thomas will remain the de-facto standard in Thomistic studies for years to come.

William of Peraldus Web Site

Alain Nadeau in Switzerland has created and keeps a web site devoted originally to manuscript copies of William of Peraldus’s Summa de viciis et virtutibus (SOPMÆ 3:133-152, no. 1622). He says:

The whole project draws its name from the the 13th-century French Dominican preacher Willelmus Peraldus (Guillaume Peyraut), author of the popular Summa de viciis et virtutibus (the project actually got started as I undertook to prepare a definitive list of witnesses of the Summa). Guillaume is a most interesting character in many respects and it is hoped to provide here some day a few pages dedicated to his life and works.

The project is a bit broader, however, and now includes references to manuscripts found in all sorts of publications. Currently there are bibliographical links to over 37,000 MSS: “A scholar or student interested in a particular codex will find here a fast entry point to a wide collection of bibliographical, philological and codicological data.” A helpful tool, to be sure.

Oh, this isn’t his day-job; Alain does this for fun!

On-line Canon Law Resources

On occasion my research requires me to look up some canon law references in the work of Thomas and his contemporaries. While my university’s library thankfully has the key printed books for such work, it’s nice to know that things are available on-line. Here are a few that serve as starting points:

  • Stephan Kuttner Institute of Medieval Canon Law: a fabulous site for introductory material on canon law, this site also includes links to all the works of Stephen Kuttner (1907-1996).
  • Decretum Gratiani : an on-line version of Gratian’s Decretum, in both HTML and PDF-scans of the Friedberg edition.
  • Yperliberextra: as its name implies, this is a hyper-linked rendering of the Liber Extra of Pope Gregory IX (published in 1234, under the auspices of the Dominican, Raymond of Peñafort). It contains the text for the whole, which you can cut and paste, as well as links the standard edition of Aemilius Friedberg from 1879. The site is in Italian, and requires the simple registration of your e-mail address.
  • Kenneth Pennington’s web site at Catholic University of America: ‘Nuf said.

Conferences on Aquinas

Here’s a hopelessly incomplete run-through of some conferences from the past year, along with a listing of papers for this year’s Kalamazoo Medievalist’s Conference on Aquinas.

For 3 days the Center of Thomism lay in Pamplona (Spain)

(From Jörgen Vijgen)

The city of Pamplona, in the province of Navarra (Spain), is probably by many best known from the passionate descriptions of the running of the bulls and the bullfighting by Ernest Hemingway in his first novel Fiesta. It is also one of the important cities on the Route of Santiago. In fact, the Route runs exactly across the campus of the University of Navarra, the host of a 3 day-conference entitled “A Panorama of Current Research of Thomas Aquinas” which aimed at presenting a status quaestionis of Thomistic research in order to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the proclamation of Aquinas by Leo XIII as patron of the schools and academic centers.

Thus, from Monday 25 to Wednesday 27 April 2005, the University of Navarra (see ), located in a parkland of 113 hectares on a hillside just outside the center of the city, welcomed some 120 participants, for many of whom Pamplona formed the goal of their journey as they traveled from the US, the Netherlands, Peru, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Scotland, Colombia, Mexico, etc.

The first day of the conference was devoted to the history of Thomistic research. In the morning session, the President of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas, Abelardo Lobato OP, traced the history of the Academy and its renewed start following John Paul II’s Motu proprio Inter munera academiarum of 1999. The vitality of Thomistic research was exemplified by the lecture of Dr. Enrique Martinez on the activities of the Sociedad Internacional Tomás de Aquino or SITA, which currently comprises more than 40 different sections worldwide. The renewed interest into the history of the Thomist tradition, often depicted as a falsification of Thomas Aquinas, was the topic of the lecture by the German scholar Dr. David Berger. Following the research by Romanus Cessario and others, he explored the various meanings of ‘Thomism’ throughout history and suggested that a definition of Thomism should find a via media between an exaggerated emphasis on concrete Thomistic principles on the one hand and an abstract method on the other. After the presentation of some 15 papers in the afternoon sessions, a panel was organized to present other Thomistic institutions and ongoing projects. The archbishop of Addis Abeba for instance talked about the ongoing foundation of a Catholic University of St. Thomas in Ethiopia. Other projects that were presented are the Opera Omnia by Cornelio Fabro (see Thomistica Newsletter March 2005), the research project “El pensamiento clásico espanol (ss. XIV-XVII)”of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Navarre, etc.

The second day dealt with doctrinal aspects of Thomas’ thought. Prof. Leo Elders SVD, following his forthcoming volume on the ethics of Aquinas, presented in a very clear and systematic fashion the main elements of Aquinas’ ethics by reviewing some important objections and contemporary interpretations but also by applying it to contemporary questions. The lecture by Prof. Enrique Alarcón, the director of the Corpus Thomisticum (see and driving force behind the conference was postponed until the following day. In stead, father Roberto Busa SJ, 92 years of age, gave an inspiring talk on ‘his’ Index Thomisticus and on his newest project the “Lessico tomistico biculturale” which aims at providing an electronic tool for research into the exact meaning of the Tomistic vocabulary. The second major lecture by Prof. Ángel Luis González of the University of Navarre was devoted to recent interpretations of Aquinas’ metaphysics. The afternoon session comprised, besides a presentation of papers, a presentation of Prof. Alarcon’s newest project “A lexical Map of Aquinas’ Works based on the Index Thomisticus Database” which will be made available shortly on the website of the Corpus Thomisticum. It provides the researcher with a tool for investigating the use and the frequency of the Thomistic vocabulary. As Prof. Alarcón himself has shown, this tool can also be helpful to corroborate the authenticity and chronology of Aquinas’ works.

On the third day of the conference, Enrique Alarcón started with an overview of the recent advances regarding the life of Aquinas and the chronology and authenticity of his works. This was exemplified by a very erudite lecture by John F. Boyle of the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota, USA) on his edition of Aquinas’ Roman Commentary on Peter Lombard which is forthcoming. Prof. Boyle portrayed the intellectual vigor by which Aquinas sought to ameliorate his reading of Peter Lombard and exemplified the importance of this text for understanding the origin of the Summa theologiae. Finally, the president of the Leonine Commission, the Italian dominican Adriano Oliva presented a status quaestionis (see Thomastica Newsletter March 2005) of the work of the Commission and gave an insight into the procedures and methods of preparing a critical edition of Aquinas’s work. Although several young scholars are currently engaged in the edition of several works, fr. Oliva, in answering a question from the audience, expressed his doubts as to wither he would live to see the completion of the critical edition for the edition of a single work takes 20 to 25 years to complete, he said. During the afternoon session, the Internet edition of the Index Thomisticus, which has recently become available online, was presented and introduced to the participants of the conference. In his closing speech, fr. Lobato encouraged the participants to read closely Aquinas’ works, stressing that the electronic tools available could never replace the need to familiarize ourselves with his thought. He also vigorously defended the need to critically confront Aquinas with contemporary trends of thought for only than, and not through a mere repetition of his thought, can his enduring originality be made apparent.

The publication of the key-note lectures and selected papers is foreseen for 2006 as a special issue of the philosophical journal of the university: Anuario Filosofico.

It is often being said that the most important thing at such conferences is the opportunity for informal meetings with international scholars. And indeed, the hospitality and friendliness of the organizing university and the opportunity to become more acquainted with the immensity of Thomistic research being done in the Spanish-speaking countries were a strong encouragement to improve one’s knowledge of the Spanish language. The conference also established a fruitful dialogue between scholars from Northern Europe and the US on the one hand and Spanish-speaking scholars on the other, something which is often, so it seems, overlooked in contemporary Thomistic research. In that respect, the conference was innovatory. More importantly however, many of the contributions opened up new ways and areas of research. In particular, the contributions by David Berger and fr. Adriano Oliva sparked lively discussions and showed how the study of the history of Thomism and the work on the critical edition can and must mutually benefit from each other. The various projects and topics of research, which were formally and informally discussed, and the conference in general formed a telling example of “the new Thomistic renaissance” (Adrian Nichols OP).

Thomas Instituut Conference in Utrecht

(The people at the Thomas Institut in Utrecht held a conference this past December [which I noted in the News section of the web site]. A colleague of mine, Robert Masson, attended, and sent me this short note):

It was a great conference. It took place December 15-17, 2005 at the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht. It was the Instituut’s third international conference. It was held at the conference centre ISVW at Leusden (NL) a very comfortable little retreat center. The topic was “Divine Transcendence and Immanence in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas.” There were 50 participants from 12 countries. Sessions were focused on Thomas Aquinas’ thoughts about God, creation, Christ and his sacraments, and grace and life eternal. Friday night there was an excursion to the new library at Utrecht University. The building itself is quite amazing architecturally and the chance to spend time with the curator exploring some of their manuscripts was a real treat. The conference papers were stimulating and high level scholarship; the presenters, participants and host wonderfully unpretentious; and the food outstanding.

You can see more about the conference here.

41st International Conference on Medieval Studies

Known to the rest of us as “Kalamazoo,” this year’s conference will feature, as always, plenty in the way of papers on Aquinas. Here is a list of papers from the Conference’s schedule that I scraped from their downloadable PDF files):


  • Conscience and Self-Reflection in Aquinas ( Carl N. Still, St. Thomas More College)
  • Saint Thomas and the Divine Origin of Law (Lawrence Dewan, OP, Dominican College of Philosophy and Theology)
  • The Mosaic Law as a Textbook of Prudence (Randall Smith, Univ. of St. Thomas, Houston)
  • Prudence and Conscience in the Summa Theologiae (James Carey, St. John’s College)
  • Aristoteles latinus, Nicomachean Ethics 6.3: Dialectical or Demonstrative Argument? (E. M. Macierowski, Benedictine College)
  • Prudence without the Unity of Virtue: Imperfect or Partial? (Thomas M. Osborne, Center for Thomistic Studies, Univ. of St. Thomas, Houston)
  • Prudence and the Link to Action (Daniel Westberg, Nashotah House)
  • Prudence and Solidarity: A Legal Test (James G. Hanink, Loyola Marymount Univ.)
  • Of Gnome and Gnomes: The Virtue of Higher Discernment and the Production of Monsters (Steven J. Jensen, Univ. of Mary)
  • Prudence and Filial Piety (Charles Zola, College Misericordia)


  • The Reception of Pseudo-Dionysius East and West: Thomas Aquinas and Gregory Palamas on Unities and Differentiations in God (Bogdan G. Bucur, Marquette Univ.)
  • Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas on Person and Hypostasis (Corey Barnes, Univ. of Notre Dame)
  • Aquinas on the Individuation and Identity of Material Substances (Andrew Payne, Saint Joseph’s Univ.)
  • Seminalia Virtutum : Aquinas on Natural Law and Virtue (David Horner, Biola Univ.)
  • Liberty and the Virtue of Obedience in Aquinas (Paul Cornish, Grand Valley State Univ.)
  • Aquinas on Whether Acts of Religion Should Be Commanded by Civil Law (Tedmund Chan, Boston College)


  • Thomas Aquinas, Prime Matter, and the Cosmogonical Fallacy (Michael W. Tkacz, Gonzaga Univ.)
  • Aquinas and Oral Teaching (Kevin White, Catholic Univ. of America)
  • Saint Thomas on the Family and the Political Common Good (John Goyette, Thomas Aquinas College)
  • Natural Law and Prudence: Some Important, Elementary, and Overlooked Themes (John J. Liptay, St. Thomas More College)
  • Aquinas on Prudence and Perfect Virtue (Andrew J. Dell’Olio, Hope College)
  • Aquinas on Prudence and the Unity of the Moral Virtues (David M. Gallagher, Independent Scholar)
  • Scotus and Aquinas on Signification in Theological Discourse (Alexander Hall, Clayton State Univ.)
  • Who Gets Aristotle’s Understanding of Prudence Right: Nussbaum or Aquinas? (Janet E. Smith, Sacred Heart Major Seminary)
  • Aporiai in Thomas Aquinas on Happiness (Philip Lyndon Reynolds, Emory Univ.)
  • On a Contemporary Misunderstanding of Thomas Aquinas (Steven A. Long, Ave Maria Univ.)
  • Reading the Divine Names in John Saracen’s Translation: Some Problems for Albert and Aquinas (John D. Jones, Marquette Univ.)
  • Historians of Psychology on the Inner Senses: A Look at How Aquinas’s Faculty Psychology Is Treated in the History of Psychology (Anthony J. Lisska, Denison Univ.)


  • A Dialogue in Political Philosophy: Aquinas and Avicenna on Man as Politikon Zoon (Sarah Donahue, Catholic Univ. of America)

The Letter of the Parisian Arts Masters

File this under ruminations: I was going through some Xeroxes I have from the Chartularium universitatis parisiensis, (vol. 1 [Paris: Delalain, 1889], no. 447, pp. 504-505) the other day when I re-read the letter, dated May 2, 1274, which the Paris Arts Masters sent to the Dominican Order’s General Chapter, meeting at Lyon. The Masters expressed their grief at the death of Thomas, and then asked for Thomas’s body—after all, they said, we’re the ones who taught him (“…omnino est indecens et indignum ut altera [natio] aut alius locus, quam omnium studiorum nobilissima Parisiensis civitas, que ipsum prius educavit, nutrivit, et fovit…ossa hec humata et supulta habeat et detineat…”). Failing that, the Masters continued, could we please get from you (i.e., the Dominicans) some books that Thomas told us he’d send back to us? According to the Arts Masters, upon his departure from Paris in the spring of 1272 Thomas had promised to send back to them the following works that he would write: something on the book by Simplicius’s commentary on Aristotle’s De caelo et mundo, something on Hero of Alexandria’s De aquarum conductibus et ingeniis erigendis and…something on Plato’s Timeus. Boy would our understanding of Thomas’s debt to, and use of, Greek philosophy be different if he had gotten to that Commentary on the Timeus.


  • The Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas held their annual plenary session in Rome in June. They have a new president (Fr. Abelardo Lobato turns 80 this year). The new President is a Polish Dominican, Edward Kaczynski. His nomination to the position occurred on March 29, 2005, so it fell right right at the end of John Paul II’s pontificate. Fr Kaczynski was Dean of the Theology Faculty at the Angelicum from 1980-1986, and rector of the university from 1993-2001.
  • I remain fascinated by medieval heresies. If you need to get information about them, check out the Eresie medievali web site. The site, in Italian, has a chronology of the 12th and 13th heresies, a welcome glossary, as well as several sources, including the important Summa on the Cathars of the Cathar-turned-Catholic-turned-Dominican, Rainerius Sacconi (SOPMÆ 3:293-294).
  • Christopher Baglow has generously agreed to allow the downloading of his St. Thomas Aquinas and the Bible: A Bibliography which you can find in MS Word format on the web site.
  • The Angelicum in Rome is working to bring several interesting things on-line: the theses written there and the Press’s holdings.
  • The journal, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Âge (AHDLMA) has an on-line presence that lets you see the abstracts of its articles; it’s behind (the last one published is from 2001) but it’s also a quick way to get some lit-review done.
  • The Leonine Commission web site does not have an official web site as of this writing, but the place where the Commission is located, the Saulchoir, does have a page devoted to it. In addition you can, if you are interested, rummage through scanned copies of the 3x5 cards containing the Leonine Commission’s Library-holdings (but be careful; I’ve found these downloads to be slow).

Books of Interest

A Lexicon of Thomists: “Thomistenlexikon” edited by David Berger and Jörgen Vijgen (Nova et Vetera Verlag, Bonn, August 2006):

The fact that the current “Thomas-Renaissance” (A. Nichols) is accompanied by a renewed interest into the history of Thomism wouldn’t probably come as a surprise to a scholar of Thomas Aquinas. Throughout the centuries scholars of Aquinas have intentionally made use in some way or another of the results of their colleagues in the past. Without this commentatorial tradition little of Aquinas’ thought would have survived the seven centuries that separates us from Aquinas. As Serge-Thomas Bonino O.P. has put it: “To abstract saint Thomas from the tradition that has brought him to us winds up falling into the trap that one had hoped to avoid: that is, to make of St. Thomas a thinker removed from history and of Thomism a platonic idea.” It is on this assumption that Romanus Cessario O.P. published his “A short history of Thomism”, a sketch which explicitly calls for a multi-volume history of Thomism. Such a project should include not only various philosophers and theologians but also the history of Thomistic institutions, universities and journals.


Thomisten-LexikonThe forthcoming “Thomistenlexikon” intends to bring the realization of such a history of Thomism a bit closer. Relying on the most recent insights and after consulting various renowned scholars, the editors have compiled a list of some 220 Thomists. The various international collaborators give biographical and bibliographical information on each author as well as a sketch of their positions and their role within the history of Thomism starting from the early Thomists connected with the “Korrektorienstreit” until contemporary scholars as Karol Wojtyla and Joseph Owens. Also included are the main “eclectic Thomists” like Suarez and Rahner for their influence on the subsequent development of Thomism. The lexicon also takes into account various lesser known authors which are here treated for the first time.

Such a novel approach to the multi-faceted history of Thomism does justice tot he significant divergences that have developed among members of the Thomist School and at the same time contributes to the unity of this tradition as an intellectual movement within Western thought.

Raymond of Penyafort, Summa on Marriage, translated with an Introduction by Pierre Payer. Mediaeval Sources in Translation 41 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 2005).



Although the main item of interest to Thomists in the recent publications from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies will doubtless be the Lectura romana, another book has recently appeared that will be of interest to all those who study Thomas’s teaching on marriage. Pierre Payer, the expert on medieval penitential manuals, has translated and published through PIMS Raymond of Penyafort’s Summa on Marriage. This little summa, together with Raymond’s larger Summa de casibus formed the backbone of Dominican moral theology in Thomas’s era; Thomas himself was doubtless schooled in it. Payer is convinced that Thomas depended heavily upon Raymond in his treatment of marriage in Book 4 of the Sentences commentary, so he provides a chart on p. 91 of this little book that collates the treatment of a given topic of Raymond, a passage from Thomas’s Scriptum, book 4, and the corresponding location in the supplement to the Summa theologiae. A neat little project for someone to pursue. You can also download a PDF containing the table of contents and the Introduction to the work (i.e., free learning!).

Aux origines de la liturgie dominicaine: le manuscrit Santa Sabina XIV L I, eds. Gy Pierre-Marie, Boyle Leonard E., Paris-Rome, CNRS Éditions – École française de Rome, 2002 (Documents, études et répertoires, 67 ; Collection de l’École française de Rome, 327).



This past year’s Dominican History Newsletter 13 (2004) no. 239 announced—finally!—the appearance of a volume of proceedings from a 1995 conference devoted to the origins of the Dominican Order’s proper liturgy, centering upon a manuscript found today at Santa Sabina in Rome (the headquarters of the Dominican Order), which was long held to be the prototype copy from which all other “certified” copies were made. A conference was held to study this manuscript (Santa Sabina XIV L 1), with Leonard Boyle, Simon Tugwell, and Pierre-Marie Gy, participating. The book, entitled Aux origines de la liturgie dominicaine: le manuscrit Santa Sabina XIV L I, is now available. I have yet to see the book, but pestered Fr Tugwell about his contribution to the book—in a moment of despair about whether the conference proceedings would ever get published, he told me that I might as well believe in fairies if I truly held out hope that the book would ever appear. But Tugwell, ever the exploder of myths, did tell me that he was convinced that the MS currently at Santa Sabina was not the prototype manuscript, but was rather the St. Jacques (i.e., Paris) copy from the prototype. Does that mean that Thomas himself would have used this book for liturgical purposes during his time(s) in Paris? Time to order the book…

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Mark Johnson

Music listened to while writing this Newsletter : Mozart’s Clarinet, Oboe, and Horn Quintets; Kiri Te Kanawa singing Puccini Arias; Eros Ramazzotti’s Calma apparente; Nek’s Una parte di me. Anything by Laura Pausini.