Neo-Thomism in Action

Law and Society Reshaped by Neo-Scholastic Philosophy, 1880-1960

Edited by Wim Decock, Bart Raymaekers, and Peter Heyrman

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Multifaceted and in-depth analysis of the neo-scholastic movement

In his encyclical Aeterni Patris (1879), Pope Leo XIII expressed the conviction that the renewed study of the philosophical legacy of Saint Thomas Aquinas would help Catholics to engage in a dialogue with secular modernity while maintaining respect for Church doctrine and tradition. As a result, the neo-scholastic framework dominated Catholic intellectual production for nearly a century thereafter.

This volume assesses the societal impact of the Thomist revival movement, with particular attention to the juridical dimension of this epistemic community. Contributions from different disciplinary backgrounds offer a multifaceted and in-depth analysis of many different networks and protagonists of the neo-scholastic movement, its institutions and periodicals, and its conceptual frameworks. Although special attention is paid to the Leuven Institute of Philosophy and Faculty of Law, the volume also discloses the neo-Thomist revival in other national and transnational contexts. By highlighting diverse aspects of its societal and legal impact, Neo-Thomism in Action argues that neo-scholasticism was neither a sterile intellectual exercise nor a monolithic movement. The book expands our understanding of how Catholic intellectual discourse communities were constructed and how they pervaded law and society during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century.

Contributors: Philippe Chenaux (Pontifical Lateran University), Jo Deferme, Jean-Pierre Delville, Joeri De Smet (KU Leuven), Kwinten Dewaele (KU Leuven), Vincent Genin (KU Leuven), Emiel Lamberts (KU Leuven), Faustino Martinez Martínez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Erik Sengers (Tilburg School of Catholic Theology), Jakub Štofaník (Masaryk Institute Prague), Cinzia Sulas (Sapienza Rome), Kasper Swerts (ADVN/Antwerp University)

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Neo-Thomism, Law and Society 
Prolegomenon to Further Study
Wim Decock


Religious, Political and Social Settings of the Revival of Thomism, 1870-1960
Emiel Lamberts

The 1920s Francophone Thomistic Revival
Philippe Chenaux

Neo-Thomism at Leuven’s Faculty of Law
Joeri De Smet


Vetera novis augere or Leuven Quebec augere: Lionel Groulx, Neo-Thomism and French-Canadian Nationalism
Kasper Swerts

Reception and Adaptation of Neo-Thomism in East-Central Europe, between the Intellectual and Social Involvement of the Catholic Church
Jakub Štofaník

The Influence of Neo-Thomism on Catholic Social Policy-Making in Belgium, 1880-1914
Jo Deferme

Between Gospel and Constitution. Neo-Scholastic Traces in the Legal World of Nineteenth-Century Spain
Faustino Martínez Martínez

The Notion of War in the Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica, 1914-1918 
Cinzia Sulas


A Conservative Reading of Rerum Novarum through a Neo-Scholastic Lens
The Jesuit Auguste Castelein (1840-1922) and the Belgian Patrons Catholiques
Peter Heyrman

Arthur Vermeersch on Colonial and Conjugal Morality
A Presentist Approach to Saint Thomas
Vincent Genin

Joannes Aengenent (1873-1935)
A Thomistic Sociologist’s Call for a More Humane Economy
Erik Sengers

Antoine Pottier and the Neo-Thomistic Roots of Social Justice
Jean-Pierre Delville

Neo-Thomism and the Debates on the Just Wage in Belgium (1879-1914)
Kwinten Dewaele


Format: Edited volume - ebook - PDF

336 pages

Illustrated b/w

ISBN: 9789461664211

Publication: December 13, 2021

Series: KADOC-Studies on Religion, Culture and Society 29

Languages: English

Bart Raymaekers is professor in moral philosophy and philosophy of law at the Institute of Philosophy, KU Leuven. Bart Raymaekers is hoogleraar aan het Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte aan KU Leuven. - Hoger Instituut van Wijsbegeerte, KU Leuven
Peter Heyrman is a historian and head of Research at KADOC-KU Leuven, Documentation and Research Centre on Religion, Culture and Society.
Wim Decock is professor of legal history at KU Leuven and Université de Liège.
In het overzichtswerk Neo-Thomism in Action, een publicatie van het Katholiek Archief-en Documentatiecentrum (KADOC) van de KU Leuven, zijn een reeks bijdragen gebundeld die een licht werpen op verschillende aspecten van de neothomistische impact op recht en samenleving in de periode 1880-1960.
Olivier Boehme, Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Nieuwste Geschiedenis 2022/4

Sammantaget ger bokens författare oss god förståelse för hur dessa intellektuella religiösa diskurser uppstod från tiden för Första Vatikankonciliet, hur de formulerades samt hur de kom att genomsyra den katolska synen på både rätt och samhälle från 1800-talets slut och fram till Andra Vatikankonciliet 1960. Det utlovas att denna viktiga interdisciplinära
forskning fortsätter.
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