Renaissance Thomism at the University of Padua, 1465-1583
University of Padua
Thomism had an official position at the University of Padua from the second half of the fifteenth century until the middle of the eighteenth century. Through lectures as well as published works, the Dominican professors who taught theology and metaphysics in via S. Thomae made important contributions to the spread of the thought of Thomas Aquinas in Italy beyond the Dominican order. But the Thomists who taught at the University of Padua in the sixteenth century were also shaped by the Renaissance intellectual currents in this major academic center. They participated in a fruitful, even friendly, exchange with the so-called secular Aristotelians like Pietro Pomponazzi who taught natural philosophy at the university. In so doing, these Thomists refined their articulation of the relationship of philosophy to Christian faith. The connection between the Dominicans and humanism also contributed to Renaissance Thomism at Padua. While critical of certain perceived excesses in humanism, the Paduan Dominicans recognized and embraced the progress in Latin eloquence, Greek learning, and historical and textual scholarship over the past century or so. Their historical awareness even led to an acknowledgment that the circumstances of the "age of Thomas Aquinas" hindered medieval thinkers in certain ways, a perspective that required a nuanced defense of the achievements of the high scholastics.