The Commentary Tradition on Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae from the 15th to the 17th Centuries

Edited by Lidia Lanza and Marco Toste

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The importance of the Summa theologiae on late scholasticism
Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae is one of the classics in the history of theology and philosophy. Beyond its influence in the Middle Ages, its importance is also borne out by the fact that it became the subject of commentary. During the sixteenth century it was gradually adopted as the official text for the teaching of scholastic theology in most European Catholic universities. As a result, university professors throughout Europe and the colonial Americas started lecturing and producing commentaries on the Summa and using it as a starting point for many theological and philosophical discussions. Some of the works of major authors such as Vitoria, Soto, Molina, Suárez and Arriaga are for all intents and purposes commentaries on the Summa. This book is the first scholarly endeavour to investigate this commentary tradition. As it examines late scholasticism against its institutional backdrop and contains studies of unpublished manuscripts and texts, it will remain an authoritative source for the research of late scholasticism.

Contributors: Igor Agostini (University of Salento), Monica Brînzei (CNRS–IRHT, Paris), William Duba (University of Fribourg), Matthew Gaetano (Hillsdale College), Helen Hattab (University of Houston), Lidia Lanza (University of Lisbon), Mauro Mantovani (Salesian Pontifical University), Daniel D. Novotný and Tomáš Machula (University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice), Chris Schabel (University of Cyprus), Jean-Luc Solère (Boston College), Marco Toste (University of Fribourg), Andreas Wagner (Goethe University of Frankfurt), Ueli Zahnd (University of Geneva)

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

Part 1: Framing the commentary tradition

1.The Commentary Tradition on the ‘Summa Theologiae’
Lidia Lanza – Marco Toste

2. Thomas Aquinas as Authority and the ‘Summa Theologiae’ as Auctoritas in the Late Middle Ages
Monica Brinzei – Chris Schabel

3.The Genesis of a Genre? Late Medieval Commentaries on the ‘Summa Theologiae’
Ueli Zahnd

4.Theology in ‘via sancti Thomae’ at the University of Padua and the ‘Summa Theologiae’
Matthew Gaetano

Part 2: Discussions in the commentary tradition

5.Remarks on the Debate on ‘Summa Theologiae’ I, q. 2, art. 2 in 17th-Century Dominican Theology
Igor Agostini

6.The Proofs of God’s Existence: The Discussion of the Value of the ‘Five Ways’ in the 16th-Century Iberian Commentaries on the ‘Summa Theologiae’ 
Mauro Mantovani

 7.The Light of Glory in Molina, Vázquez, and Suárez
William Duba

8.Creation and Subsistence: Early Modern Commentators on the Subsistence of Prime Matter
Helen Hattab

9.Ways of Angelic Location: 16th-Century Dominican Summistae on ‘Summa Theologiae’ I, q. 52, art. 1
Daniel D. Novotny – Tomaš Machula

10.From Invincible Ignorance to Tolerance: Arriaga, Vázquez, and Bayle
Jean-Luc Solere

11.The Approach of Some Major Commentators on ‘Summa Theologiae’ II-II, q. 10: ‘De Infidelitate’
Andreas Wagner

12.Between Self-Preservation and Self-Sacrifice: The Debate in 16th-Century Scholasticism
Marco Toste

13.“Si peccavit per hoc quod fregit ostium, páguelo!”: The Debate on Whether the Prisoner Condemned to Death Can Lawfully Escape in the 16th-Century Commentary Tradition on the ‘Summa Theologiae’
Lidia Lanza

Index of Manuscripts 427
Index of Names ( –19th Century)
Index of Names (19th Century– )

Format: Edited volume - hardback

Size: 234 × 156 × 26 mm

456 pages

ISBN: 9789462702622

Publication: March 10, 2021

Series: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Series 1 58

Languages: English

Stock item number: 140766

Lidia Lanza is research fellow at the Centre of Philosophy of the University of Lisbon.
Marco Toste is a research fellow at the Institute for Philosophical Studies of the University of Coimbra.

Overall, this collection of essays provides a sampling of the fruitful exchanges that 'Summa' commentators carried on within the centuries indicated. - Romanus Cessario, The Thomist, October 2023,


The overall achievement of this volume shows that the tradition of commenting on the *Summa should be studied as a subject in its own right.* Joerg Alejandro Tellkamp, Renaissance Quarterly, 76(1), 316-317,


Accanto a tutti gli altri meriti già menzionati, un pregio indiscutibile del volume curato da Lidia Lanza e Marco Toste è il bilanciamento molto ben studiato, nell’analisi della tradizione dei commentari, tra le questioni metafisiche e quelle etico-giuridiche (per quanto le une e le altre compaiano, in questa stessa tradizione, in un quadro d’insieme che resta – com’è anche naturale che sia – squisitamente teologico). Maria Evelina Malgieri, «Quaestio», 22 (2022), 533-561,


Äußerlich überzeugt der Band durch seine Kompaktheit und Struktur. Alle Beiträge liegen in zumeist sehr gutem Englisch vor; zudem achten die Herausgeber auf eine einheitliche Zitation der Summa Theologiae und anderer historischer Quellen. Die im Anhang befindlichen Indizes verwendeter Handschriften wie auch (vor-)moderner Autoren ermöglichen den raschen Zugriff auf Detailergebnisse. Gabriel J. Theis OP, Wien, Archa Verbi 18 (2021).

Trotzdem zeichnet es den Sammelband aus, eine jedenfalls bis ins frühe 20. Jahrhundert einflussreiche Epoche der Philosophie und Theologie mit wichtigen Beispielen sehr kundig zu präsentieren und damit hoffentlich weitere Forschungen anzuregen.
Bernhard Knorn SJ, Zeitschrift für Theologie und Philosophie, Bd. 144 Nr. 3 (2022), DOI: 10.35070/ztp.v144i3.3839

A highly instructive, even outstanding, review article by the editors is followed by several detailed case studies.
Benjamin Dahlke, Theologische Rundschau (ThR), Jahrgang 87 (2022) / Heft 2, S. 227-237 (11), DOI: 10.1628/thr-2022-0009

No fim desta algo inusitadamente longa recensão, creio que ficou bem claro todo o nosso apreço por esta tão relevante publicação e acima de tudo pelo louvável trabalho dos seus editores. Qualquer que seja a sua proveniência – a teologia, a filo-sofia, a história e a história das ideias, o género comentarístico, etc . – encontrará o/a leitor/a um rico manancial de informações e um opulento cadinho de pistas para fu-turas e cada vez mais aprofundadas pesquisas. Resta ­nos, por isso, deixar sem qual-quer reserva os parabéns e votos de continuação de tão notável e competente inves-tigação aos dois tão jovens investigadores, Lidia Lanza e Marco Toste.
Mário Santiago de Carvalho, Revista Filosófica de Coimbra — n.o 60 (2021),

[...] overall the collection is impressive and all the contributions are of a high standard.
Dominic Ryan OP, New Blackfriars, Volume 104, Issue 1110, Mar 2023,