JI research fellow Andrew M. McGinnis recently co-edited a special issue of Reformation & Renaissance Review: “Interconfessional Dialogues in Early-Modern Ethics and Economics.”
The issue features a contribution from McGinnis, “Charity and Commerce: Joseph Hall’s Reception of Catholic Casuistry and Economic Thought.” As McGinnis observes, Hall makes significant use of Roman Catholic casuistry in the development of his own treatise on conscience, Resolutions and Decisions of Divers Practicall Cases of Conscience. This shows that, in contrast to the claims of some of the scholarly literature on this question, “some English Protestants were not only reading Jesuit moral texts, but were willing to adapt and adopt ideas from their arch theological opponents.”
I have also co-authored a piece with Cornelis van der Kooi for this issue, “The Moral Status of Wealth Creation in Early-Modern Reformed Confessions.” In this piece we survey the exposition of the 8th commandment against theft, particularly as it is expounded positively, in a variety of Reformed confessional documents. We find that there is a generally positive evaluation of wealth creation in these texts, which although they are not absolutely uniform in their treatments, do present a broadly unified perspective. This piece is available via open access, and all of the contents of the issue are available digitally to subscribers.
This is a project that has been in the works a long time, and so I’m very happy to announce that Beyond Dordt and De Auxiliis: The Dynamics of Protestant and Catholic Soteriology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries will be appearing in the Studies in the History of Christian Traditions series, published by Brill.
I had the distinct honor of co-editing this volume along with David S. Sytsma, research curator at the Junius Institute, as well Matthew T. Gaetano, associate professor of history at Hillsdale College. The origin of the project was conversations some years ago concerning intriguing cross-confessional dialogue among and between the Reformed, Dominicans, Arminians, and Jesuits in the early modern era, particularly over issues related to predestination and free choice.
Here’s more detail about this volume:
Beyond Dordt and De Auxiliis explores post-Reformation inter-confessional theological exchange on soteriological topics including predestination, grace, and free choice. These doctrines remained controversial within confessional traditions after the Reformation, as Dominicans and Jesuits and later Calvinists and Arminians argued about these critical issues in the Augustinian theological heritage. Some of those involved in condemning Arminianism at the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619) were inspired by Dominican followers of Thomas Aquinas in Spain who had recently opposed the vigorous defense of free choice by Jesuit Molinists in the Congregatio de auxiliis (1598-1607). This volume, appearing on the 400th anniversary of the closing of the Synod of Dordt, brings together a group of scholars working in fields that only rarely speak to one another to address these theological debates that cross geographical and confessional boundaries.
More details will be forthcoming as the volume progresses through the publishing process. But in the meantime, I have posted a document including the table of contents, list of contributors (including JI senior fellow Richard A. Muller), and a draft of the substantive introduction to the volume.
There remains lots to catch up on related to work of Junius Institute members, but a few recent items related to Thomas Aquinas are worthy of particular note:
1) JI research curator David Sytsma has an article in Reformation & Renaissance Review, “Vermigli Replicating Aquinas: An Overlooked Continuity in the Doctrine of Predestination.” From the abstract: “Vermigli not only drew upon Aquinas’s doctrine in general, as he does elsewhere, but reproduced the details of Aquinas’s article in the Summa on whether foreknowledge of merits is the cause of predestination.”
2) JI senior fellow Richard A. Muller has a three-part review essay of a recent study of Aquinas at Reformation21 (part 1, part 2, part 3). A comprehensive version will be forthcoming in Calvin Theological Journal.
3) The edited volume Aquinas among the Protestants, edited by Manfred Svensson and David VanDrunen is out, and includes contributions from me, “Deformation and Reformation: Thomas Aquinas and the Rise of Protestant Scholasticism,” as well as David Sytsma, “Thomas Aquinas and Reformed Biblical Interpretation: The Contribution of William Whitaker.”
Andrew M. McGinnis, a JI research fellow, serves as a general editor for the Sources in Early Modern Economics, Ethics, and Law (Second Series), the successor to a series I worked on. He has issued a call for proposals, and more information is available here.
The first volume of the second series, On the Law of Nature: A Demonstrative Method, is by Niels Hemmingsen and is due out later this month. E. J. Hutchinson of Hillsdale College is the translator and editor, and wrote an introduction with fellow Hillsdale professor Korey D. Maas.
Over at Christian’s Library Press, Franciscus Junius’ De Politiae Mosis Observatione is now available for purchase in English translation as The Mosaic Polity.
If you are familiar with the archetypal and ectypal distinction found in Junius’ prolegomena of theology, De Theologia Vera (in translation as A Treatise on True Theology | RHB: 2014), you may be surprised to learn that this piece on law, jurisprudence, and the Mosaic polity deploys the distinction and predates that work. One of the happy results of having these two translations in print is that a broader audience can begin to see a conception of the relation between theology and law in the early modern period and how for Junius the character of God informs both.
This project is the fruit of the vision of Dr. Jordan Ballor and Dr. Stephen Grabill for early modern treatises on law, economics, and social thought from an array of Christian traditions. These scholars invited me to participate in this project as the translator several years ago, for which I am humbled, honored, and grateful. The first several chapters appeared in the Journal of Markets & Morality and led to conversations in various conference venues in the United States and abroad. The support and encouragement of the Acton Institute by way of Dr. Ballor and Dr. Grabill has been tremendous. After the draft was completed, Dr. Drew McGinnis, my friend and fellow colleague in the doctoral program at Calvin Theological Seminary, enriched the translation with his keen editorial insights over the past year or so as the editor of the work. We co-authored the introductory essay. Both Drew and I appreciated the opportunity to present on various aspects of this translation and Junius’ thought in colloquia sponsored by the Junius Institute and Calvin Theological Seminary in the Fall of 2014 and the Spring of this year. These conversations with other scholars and colleagues have assisted in some measure in spurring our thoughts to consider various lines of approach to this work. The collaboration and camaraderie on this piece has truly been a joy.
It is our hope that this piece penned for the Dutch Republic at the close of the sixteenth century will not only be of use to scholars of the period but also as a point of contact for further reflection on the Christian theological contributions to the natural law tradition that has shaped modern legal and political thought on the nature of justice, law, and human rights.