Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Theology, Renaissance

  • Gianluca De CandiaEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1047-1

Abstract

Renaissance theology is characterized by a profound demand for renewal that affects both academic theology and the theology pursued outside theological faculties.

In the fifteenth century, alongside the two greatest currents of scholastic theology, Thomism and Scotism (the via antiqua), Ockhamism (the via moderna) becomes more and more significant. The latter argues for a clear separation between metaphysics (as the science of being) and theology (as a practical science) and reaffirms the primacy of divine will (potentia absoluta Dei) over every effort of natural reason. In the early Renaissance, theological Ockhamism, as well as the Scotist notion of distinctio formalis, would give rise to a kind of hypothetical and formal theology. This “degeneration” of theological hermeneutics would contribute to a widespread demand for unification and essentiality that emerges, though in different ways and different degrees, in the movements of spiritual renewal, in the Platonic theology, in the project of biblical humanism, and in the Protestant Reformation.

Luther’s thesis of justification by grace through faith goes hand in hand with a radical mistrust of man’s natural forces and thus of reason. Against Luther’s antimetaphysical prohibition, the Catholic Church responds with a renewed return to scholasticism (second scholasticism), first by the Dominicans and then the Jesuits. A certain continuity between the natural order of reason and the supernatural order of faith, between metaphysics and revealed theology, is reestablished in the Disputationes Metaphysicae of Francisco Suarez (1548–1617). Returning to Scotist teachings, Suarez identifies the appropriate object of metaphysics with the concept of ens (as genuinely transcendens), in which both infinite being (God) and finite being are comprised, each according to its own order. The Disputationes would not only be imported into the reformed Schulmetaphysik that distanced itself from Luther’s skepticism about natural reason but would also contribute to the birth of modern ontology itself.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Seminar für Philosophische Grundfragen der Theologie, Katholisch-Theologische FakultätWestfälische Wilhelms-Universität MünsterMünsterGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Laura Puliafito
    • 1
  1. 1.Universität BaselBaselSwitzerland