The Legal History of the School of Salamanca

Allegorie der Justitia und ihrer Begleiterinnen (Veritas, Jus, Fortitudo) - Kupferstich aus Luis de Molina: De Justitia et Jure.Tomus I. Genf 1732.

The modern western concepts of law, politics, religion and morality have emerged from a long and complex process of adoption, criticism and further development of traditions from Antiquity and the Middle Ages. The scholasticism of the 16th and 17th centuries was an important component of this process.

Particularly at the University of Salamanca, theologians, philosophers and jurists examined their intellectual traditions in light of the political and moral challenges presented by Spain’s colonial expansion in Latin America, the confessional and political differences in Europe, and the emergence of new forms of trade and commerce. A thriving intellectual culture developed rapidly and was reproduced at various locations around the world. This contributed significantly to the formulation of universally understood human rights, the basic categories of guilt, punishment, responsibility and modern international law. It also served as an echo chamber for claims about the importance of law and legal procedures to legitimate politics.

The research projects in this Special Research Field approach the texts of the School of Salamanca from a broad variety of thematic interests and methodologies in order to do justice to the transdisciplinarity of their thinking – seen from a contemporary perspective —and to enable an valuation of their significance for legal history that goes beyond selective observations. This relevance derives from the juristic and political language of the School of Salamanca as well as the interaction between moral theology, canon law and politics; the presence and translation of early modern scholastics in colonial America; and the influence of church institutions, canonists and theologians on conflict resolution in both hemispheres. To this end, we devote special attention to the media dimension and the location of pragmatic literature in the economy of normative knowledge in early modernity.


Discussion: Translating Early Modern Books

May 29, 2019 15:00 - 16:00
MPIeR, Room: Z02


Research Projects

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