Venerable Leonard Lessius

  • Barry Gordon


The high point of the development of Scholastic economic analysis was reached at about the turn of the sixteenth century. During the next 100 years, much of the impetus it had accumulated in the hands of Italian theologians in the fifteenth and Spanish moralists in the following century, was lost. Before the onset of the era of decline, however, scholastic economics was brought to a new pitch in the writings of the Belgian Jesuit, Leonard Lessius (de Leys) (1554–1623). Later contributors of some note were Juan de Lugo (1583–1660) and Giambattista de Luca (1613–83). The seventh and eighth volumes of Cardinal Lugo’s Disputationes scholasticae et morales (Lyons 1642, repub. Paris 1893), for example, contain comprehensive treatments of analytical issues of traditional concern for the schoolmen. Cardinal Luca’s scholarly Theatrum veritatis et justitiae (Rome, 1669–81) and his shorter Il dottor volgare (Rome 1673) are also wide-ranging in their examination of economic questions.


Sixteenth Century Economic Thought Cash Balance Wage Determination Loan Contract 
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  1. 1.
    J. T. Noonan, The Scholastic Analysis of Usury (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1957) p. 222.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See T. J. Campbell, introduction to Leonard Lessius, The Names of God and Meditative Summaries of the Divine Perfections (N.Y., The America Press, 1912) p. xii.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    J. B. Ferreres, Compendium Theologiae Moralis Vol. I (Barcelona, 1932) p. xxviii.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Charles G. Herbermann and others (eds), The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 9 (N.Y., Encyclopedia Press, 1910 ) p. 192.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Richard Ehrenberg, Capital and Finance in the Age of the Renaissance (London, 1928) p. 234.Google Scholar
  6. For details, see the outstanding study by Herman Van Der Wee, The Growth of the Antwerp Market and the European Economy ( The Hague, Nijhoff, 1963 ).Google Scholar
  7. 28.
    The money rate of interest was not determined by the rate of profit. Rather, for justice sake, it ought to be established as the equivalent of the capital return element in the prevailing rate of profit. On this point, see B. W. Dempsey, Interest and Usury (Washington, 1943 ) pp. 219–20.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Barry Gordon 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Gordon
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NewcastleAustralia

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