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JOHN PONCE, FRANCISCAN SCOTIST OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY Scholastic philosophy has suffered at the hands of historians. Not only is there a painful lack of histories of philosophy treating the Scholasticism of this period, but the few historians that mention it usually present an incomplete and distorted view. In the general histories of Scholastic Philosophy, the seventeenth century Scholasticism receives as much treatment as the Middle Ages in the older histories of civilization. Both are passed over with a silence that is contemptuous of their achievements. In very recent times, some of the Scholastics of the seventeenth century are beginning to receive due recognition, as is attested by the many monographs and dissertations that are being written about them and their doctrines. The great Thomistic commentators of this age, e.g., John of St. Thomas, together with Suarez and Vasquez , have slowly earned a well-deserved acknowledgement. Karl Werner, in his voluminous histories of Scholasticism, acquainted the world with some of the most brilliant minds of the seventeenth century.1 Unfortunately, his works, which have never been translated from their original German have, to some extent, become antiquated due to the enormous strides of modern research. However, in all these histories there is an unscholarly dismissal of everything Scotistic. In Werner's histories, Scotists are dismissed with a mere recital of their names and occasionally a reference to their outstanding works. In a very modern Scholastic historian, Maurice de Wulf, the entire Scotistic School of the seventeenth century is dismissed in one paragraph consisting of a single sentence . To De Wulfs credit, we must admit that the sentence is correct. It reads: "The seventeenth century witnessed a brilliant development of the Scotist School." 2 1.Cf. Werner, Karl, Franz Suarez und die Scholastik der letzen Jahrhunderte (Regensburg, 1861); Die Scholastik des späteren Mittelalters (Wien, 1881-87, 5 vols.); Grundriss der Geschichte der Moralphilosophie (Wien, 1859). 2.De Wulf, Maurice, History of Medieval Philosophy, (trans, by E. C. Messenger , London, 1926), vol. II, p. 297. In a footnote to this amazing paragraph, De Wulf mentions about six Scotists of this age. In the 3rd English edition and in the 6th French edition of this work, the third volume has not been published; it is hoped that a more generous consideration and a more just appraisal of the Scotistic School will be forthcoming. 54 MAURICE GRAJEWSKI55 Such a peremptory treatment of the Scotist School of the seventeenth century is blameworthy in the highest degree. That the seventeenth century saw the most remarkable Scotistic revival, that Scotistic authors outnumbered all other Schools combined and, finally, that Scotism was generally accepted in the universities of Europe during this age, make such an omission a crime against truth and justice. Such a neglect is inexplicable except on grounds of culpable ignorance. To awaken interest in this glorious period of Scotism and to present at least a partial study of a great Scotist of this time, we have chosen Father John Ponce, O.F.M. as the subject of the present paper. Scarcity of bio-bibliographical material has encouraged us to gather the available data into a compendium that will, no doubt, prove useful for future studies of this period and of this School of Philosophy. For the sake of clarity and logical procedure, the paper will be subdivided as follows: I. The Scotistic Revival in the XVIIth Century; II. Biographical Sketch of John Ponce; III. Bibliography of John Ponce; IV. Philosophical Doctrines of John Ponce; V. Appreciation. I. THE SCOTISTIC REVIVAL IN THE XVIIth CENTURY Neutral sources, which cannot possibly be accused of partiality towards the Scotistic School, attest to the predominantly Scotistic character of seventeenth-century Scholastic philosophy. The wellknown Cistercian, John Caramuel Lobkowitz, attests that at this time Scott schola numeriosior est aliis simul sumptis.3 A glance through the compendious Nomenclátor Literarius of Hurter will alleviate us of all doubts in this matter. Rather than multiply quotations from various sources to establish the historical fact of the triumph of the Scotistic School in the seventeenth century, we will limit ourselves to a lengthy and, generally unknown, quotation bearing on this point and taken from one of the works...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 54-92
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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