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  • Presenza dei francescani conventuali nel Collegio dei Teologi dell’Università di Padova: Appunti d’archivio (1510–1806)
  • Paul F. Grendler
Presenza dei francescani conventuali nel Collegio dei Teologi dell’Università di Padova: Appunti d’archivio (1510–1806). By Antonino Poppi. (Padua: Centro Studi Antoniani. 2003. Pp. 222. €20,00 paperback.)

This is a detailed summary of the acts of the College of Doctors of Theology in Padua from 1510 until Napoleon suppressed it in 1806. The study is based on the manuscript atti of the college found in the Archivio Storico dell'Università di Padova. The members of the college possessed doctorates from the college and oversaw theology instruction and doctoral degree examinations. While the college included members from the various medieval monastic orders with convents in Padua, the Jesuits, Barnabites, Somaschans, and other new orders of the Catholic Reformation were not members. The book focuses on the participation in the affairs of the college by the Franciscan Conventuals, the friars from the famous convent of Saint Anthony (called Il Santo), the convent to which Poppi belongs. Well known for his numerous publications on Renaissance philosophy and theology at Padua, Poppi has taught at Il Santo and the University of Padua.

The college had few members in the early sixteenth century, but grew to one hundred at the end of the sixteenth century and about 180 in the middle of the [End Page 298] eighteenth century. About half were resident in Padua and participated in the activities of the college. The Conventual Franciscans, who espoused Scotist theological positions, were particularly prominent in the seventeenth century. Only four or five members of the college taught at the University of Padua. They held the professorships of Thomist theology, Scotist theology, Thomist metaphysics, Scotist metaphysics, and Sacred Scripture from 1551. They served most often as promoters for degree candidates. Other members of the college taught in their own convents or did not teach.

The records are sparse for the sixteenth century but ample for the following two centuries. They do not deal with issues of doctrine with one exception, but with everyday affairs of the college, especially the conferral of degrees, election of officers, and, later, responses to directives from the civil government. An issue throughout was the tendency of candidates to seek degrees outside of the college of theologians, from counts palatine, from individuals with papal authority to confer degrees such as generals of religious orders, and from institutions beyond Padua. These candidates sought to avoid the high doctoral fees of the college of theologians and sometimes the Paduan examinations altogether. Since every member of the college involved in a degree examination and ceremony received payment from the candidate, the college discovered that members of the college were pressuring degree candidates to nominate them as promoters. The college affirmed the right of candidates to choose freely. From time to time thecollege had to deal with the hostility of arts students and the college of doctors of arts. In the eighteenth century the civil government increasingly intervened in college affairs.

This book is carefully documented with extensive quotations from the acts. It includes useful bibliography and appendices listing all the Conventual Franciscans who held offices in the college. This is a limited study of an institution which has received little attention and a good building block for further studies. We look forward to Poppi's future studies, especially his edition of the statutes of the college.

Paul F. Grendler
University of Toronto (Emeritus)


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