(English) Summer School „Baroque Scholasticism“ and Workshop „Baroque Scholasticism and Early Modern Thought“

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Date: 26.-30.08.2019
Place: MPIeR, Lecture Hall (Z01)

The Summer School looks at the contribution of the Baroque Scholastics to the development of modern philosophy. It offers all students and doctoral researchers with a serious interest in scholastic thought of the Baroque era (roughly between the 1560s, the end of the Council of Trent, to 1789, the French Revolution) an occasion to deepen their involvement with this subject under the guidance of internationally renowned scholars in the field.

The aim of Summer School and Workshop is to increase the visibility of Baroque scholastic thought and to promote its investigation as the rise of modern philosophy during this period cannot be understood satisfactorily without accounting for the still flourishing and dynamically developing contemporaneous scholastic thought.

Summer School and Workshop are organized and led by Rudolf Schuessler (Bayreuth) and Marko Fuchs (Bamberg) in cooperation with the team of the Salamanca project.

From the project team, Andreas Wagner will hold a lecture about Political Theory Between Scholastic Theology, Aristotelian Philosophy and Law, whereas José Luis Egío will offer a workshop on the topic of Fighting Canonists with Probabilities. Juridical and Theological Truths in Some Masters of the School of Salamanca (Vitoria, Vera Cruz, Báñez).

The lectures and workshops will be held in English.


(English) How to Get to „Seuilla“: Dealing with Early Modern Orthography in a Search Engine

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One of the central tools for working with the texts in the School of Salamanca’s digital collection of sources is our digital edition’s search functionality, which is supposed to provide an easy-to-use means for querying single texts or the whole corpus for search terms. Speaking from a technical perspective, the quality of this search functionality – or, more precisely, the search engine that it is powered by – depends on several resources that it needs to be provided with, such as high-quality dictionaries for the languages in the corpus as well as a suitable setup for the search engine’s ‚indexing‘ of the texts. As we recently encountered a demand to adjust the functioning of our search engine in a rather fundamental way due to some specific orthographic properties of the texts we are dealing with, I would like to use this opportunity to give a rough (and, hopefully, not too technical) overview of the functioning of our search before going into detail about the problem at hand.

In the case of our digital edition, the search functionality is currently based on a Sphinxsearch engine that provides our web application with search results in the following way: whenever a user triggers a search (say, for the Latin term „lex“), the web application sends a request to the Sphinxsearch engine (that is, a data server independent from the web application) asking for all text snippets that include the search term, or a term derived from its lemma (such as „leges“ or „legum“), or even – if they are available in the engine’s dictionaries – translated forms of the term (hence, in this case, we would also find the Spanish term „ley“). These snippets, which are returned by the search server after it has gone through its indexes, are then displayed in the search results view in our webpage. Of course, this works only if the search server has already indexed these snippets beforehand (where ‚indexing‘ generally means the process of storing and making the text snippets searchable), so that it can quickly fetch them on demand. Therefore, whenever a new work is being published in our digital collection, text snippets for the respective work are created through the web application, and a nightly indexing routine of the search server regularly requests all available snippets from the web app, thus making sure that the snippets it holds are updated on a day-to-day basis. As one might already guess with regards to the prevalence of the term ‚index(ing)‘ in this paragraph, a suitable configuration of the indexing routine is of central importance for a well-functioning search engine, and it is precisely the configuration of the indexing which we recently had to revise fundamentally due to a problem that we were hinted at by users of the search function.

In our Latin and Spanish texts, a frequent orthographic pattern is the interchangeability of certain characters like „u“ or „i“ such that a word may occur in different forms throughout texts from the same period, or even within the same text, without varying in its meaning. To take a concrete example, it is not unusual in our texts to find a word like „Sevilla“ (the city in Spain) also as „Seuilla“ or, potentially, even as „Sebilla“. In this example, the interchangeability of characters applies to the characters „v“, „u“, and „b“, but it may also involve other frequently-used character pairings such as „i“ and „j“ (e.g., „ius“ vs. „jus“), as well as some more rarely and, for the modern reader, more unexpectedly occurring pairings such as „j“ and „x“ (e.g., „dejar“ vs. „dexar“).

The problem with such interchangeable characters, from a search engine’s point of view, is that the engine does not know about their equivalence and thus cannot yield the whole set of search results for certain queries. For example, if a user searches for the above-mentioned „Sevilla“ in its modern spelling, the engine will only return results in which the exact character string „Sevilla“ occurs, but not strings like „Seuilla“ or „Sebilla“.

There are, however, certain ways to cope with this problem. One quick (and, from a system administrator’s perspective, quite lazy) solution would be to advise the user to be aware of this problem and to anticipate it in her search queries. For instance, our search engine allows for the use of ‚regular expressions‘ in queries, which makes it possible to replace certain characters by so called ‚wildcards‘: in this way, all possible forms of „Sevilla“ could be found by using a query string such as „Se?illa“, where the „?“ question mark stands for any character. As this „solution“ would demand quite a lot of anticipation from the user, who may not be aware of all the pitfalls of early modern orthography, it is not a very good option. In general, we want to facilitate the usage of our digital tools for the user as much as possible, and this certainly includes the search functionality as a central component of the toolset.

A second possible solution, then, would be to extend the dictionaries of word forms that are used to index the text snippets in such a way that for any word form containing one or more interchangeable characters we also add all its different forms to the respective dictionary. Unfortunately, this is practically unfeasable in a manual and „scholarly controlled“ way, since our dictionaries of word forms currently hold between 600.000 (Spanish) and over 2.000.000 (Latin) word forms (and counting). Any endeavour to manually add word forms – even if one would only stick to important ones, such as names – would always represent an open-ended task. The only comprehensive and (ideally) complete solution thus seems to be an automatic replacing of word forms, and fortunately, this is where the Sphinxsearch engine offers quite handy configuration options.

In the configuration for the indexing routine, Sphinxsearch allows for the definition of certain directives that can be used to enhance, speed up, or tweak the indexing (and, thus, the searchability of words). In particular, there is a charset_table directive that can be used for stating which symbols should be relevant for the index, and this directive also makes it possible to map characters to other characters. Until now, for example, the character mapping configuration read as follows:

charset_type = utf-8
charset_table = 0..9, A..Z->a..z, a..z, U+C0..U+FF, U+100..U+17F, U+1C4..U+233, U+370..U+3E1, U+590..U+5FF, U+400..U+7FF, U+500..U+8FF

Here, we first declare the „utf-8“ encoding (which is one of the prevalent encodings for the nowadays ubiquitous Unicode character set) as the encoding to be applied for indexing text snippets. The charset_table field then determines which characters are relevant for the indexing routine, and, if required, which of those characters shall be regarded as equivalent to other characters. In this setting, for example, we have stated that we consider digits between 0 and 9 as relevant (0..9), and that all capitalized characters are to be treated as lowercased characters (A..Z->a..z) such that a query for the term „Sevilla“ will also find the lowercased form „sevilla“ (of course, we also need to declare these lowercased characters as relevant for indexing through the , a..z, segment). Furthermore, we have extended the set of relevant symbols by including the Latin Extended A character block (that is, Unicode symbols in the range between codepoints „U+0100“ and „U+017F“: U+100..U+17F) and certain parts of other Unicode blocks such as Latin Extended B, Greek and Coptic, etc.

Now, the solution to our problem lies in the possibility of mapping characters to other characters. Similar to the above-mentioned way of mapping capitalized characters to lowercased characters, we can map a character such as „u“ to a completely different character such as „v“, thereby evoking the desired effects of character normalization:

charset_table = 0..9, A..I->a..i,J->i,j->i,K..T->k..t,U->v,u->v,V..Z->v..z,a..i,k..t,v..z,U+C0..U+FF, U+100..U+17F, U+1C4..U+233, U+370..U+3E1,U+590..U+5FF, U+400..U+7FF, U+500..U+8FF

What simply was A..Z->a..z (the mapping of all capitalized characters „A-Z“ to their lowercased equivalents) in the previous configuration has now become slightly more complicated:


Here, we first map all capitalized characters „A..I“ to their lowercased equivalents, but then we map the capitalized and lowercased „J“/“j“ to the lowercased „i“ (not „j“). Equally, after mapping all characters between „K..T“ to their equivalents „k..t“, we apply a mapping for „U“/“u“, which are both to be treated as „v“ by the indexing routine. Like this, we effectively declare „J“/“j“ and „i“ as well as „U“/“u“ and „v“ as equivalent characters, thus normalizing j/i and u/v for any search query. Note that the mapping/replacement of characters stated here has effect only for the „internal“ indexing of the snippets in the search engine, but does not actually transform the text snippets displayed to the user in the end by any means.

For the time being, we have refrained from defining further normalizations such as with „v“ and „b“, or „j“ and „x“, since it is not yet fully clear to us what (unexpected) effects such all-encompassing character normalizations might have, especially in „exotic“ use cases that we cannot even imagine. In particular, ‚transitive‘ normalization effects are something that we still need to experiment with: If „j“ and „i“ are equivalent and „j“ and „x“ are equivalent, then „i“ and „x“ are also equivalent, although „i“ and „x“ might not have been used in such an interchangeable manner in early modern texts. Therefore, we very much welcome any further suggestions – also beyond the character pairings mentioned here – that we can use for enhancing our search engine further.

Die Schule von Salamanca: Neue digitale Edition von Melchor Canos „Relectio de Poenitentia“ jetzt online

Melchor Cano (1509-1560) gehört zu den bedeutendsten Autoren der Schule von Salamanca: Bereits mit fünfzehn Jahren trat er als Schüler Francisco de Vitorias in Salamanca in den Dominikaner-Orden ein. Mit fünfundzwanzig erhielt er seinen ersten theologischen Lehrstuhl in Valladolid; nach dem Tod seines akademischen Lehrers Vitoria 1546 übernahm er dessen renommierten Lehrstuhl in Salamanca selbst. Cano war Teilnehmer der politischen Debatten über die Eroberung Amerikas durch die Spanier, u.a. als Teilnehmer der sog. Kontroverse von Valladolid, in der mit den Protagonisten Bartolomé de Las Casas und Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda die unterschiedlichen Standpunkte aufeinanderprallten.

1547, ein Jahr nach einem Lehrstuhlantritt in Salamanca, hielt Cano die öffentliche Vorlesung De Poenitentia, in der er sich mit zentralen Fragen der Beichte bzw. des Bußsakraments beschäftigt. Die ausgearbeitete Fassung dieser ungewöhnlich langen und detailliert argumentierenden Grundlagentextes, die mehr als 170 Druckseiten umfasst, gibt er selbst 1550 in den Druck. Diese Erstausgabe ist nun in Volltext und Bild-Digitalisaten in der Quellensammlung des Projekts „Die Schule von Salamanca“ verfügbar.

Die Schule von Salamanca. Eine digitale Quellensammlung und ein Wörterbuch ihrer juristisch-politischen Sprache ist ein gemeinsames Projekt der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur │ Mainz, des MPIeR und der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

Die Schule von Salamanca: Neue digitale Edition von Domingo Báñez‘ „De Iure et Iustitia Decisiones“ jetzt online

Domingo Báñez (1528-1604) gehört zu den bedeutendsten Autoren der Schule von Salamanca: der Schüler von Melchor Cano trat mit achtzehn Jahren in den Dominikaner-Orden ein und gehört zu den einflussreichsten spanischen Theologen des 16. Jahrhunderts. Mit „De Iure et Iustita Decisiones“ reiht er sich in die von Domingo de Soto begründete literarische Tradition ein und schafft ein zentrales Werk der spanischen Spätscholastik. Volltext und Digitalisate der Ausgabe 1594 in Salamanca entstandenen Ausgabe sind nun online im open access auf der Webseite des Projekts „Die Schule von Salamanca. Eine digitale Quellensammlung und ein Wörterbuch ihrer juristisch-politischen Sprache“ verfügbar.


Die Schule von Salamanca. Eine digitale Quellensammlung und ein Wörterbuch ihrer juristisch-politischen Sprache ist ein gemeinsames Projekt der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur │ Mainz, des MPIeR und der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

(English) Workshop: “The Global Face of the School of Salamanca: Asian and American perspectives”

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Date: 19.08.2019
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
– Natsuko Matsumori (University of Shizuoka)
– Rômulo da Silva Ehalt (Sophia University, Tokyo/JSPS)
Organisation: Christiane Birr, Luisa Stella Coutinho (MPIeR)
Place: MPIeR, Room B316

The global dimensions of the School of Salamanca and Iberian Scholasticism is one of the topics of intense research at the MPIeR, i.a. in the projects „The School of Salamanca“, „Salamanca in America“ und „Christian Japanese in the Portuguese Empire: circulation and production of normativities in Japanese lay communities (1540s-1630s)“. In this workshop we will discuss questions arising from the confrontation of Iberian normative ideas and traditions with American and Asian realities in the 16th and 17th centuries, focussing on Bartolomé de Las Casas and the discourses on communication and hospitality (Matsumori) and legal issues regarding Japanese slavery in Portuguese Asia (Ehalt).

Simona Langella: „Una edición y traducción del tratato De Lege de Juan Gil Fernández de Nava“

Datum: 12.06.2019
Uhrzeit: 14:30 – 16:00
Vortragende: Simona Langella (Genua)
Organisation: Christiane Birr, José Luis Egío
Ort: MPIeR
Raum: Z01

Juan Gil Fernández de Nava († 1551) studierte in den 1530er Jahren Theologie unter Francisco de Vitoria und war ab 1538 selbst Professor an der Universität Salamanca. Als Vitoria in den letzten Lebensjahren seinen Vorlesungspflichten aus gesundheitlichen Gründen nicht mehr nachkommen konnte, war es Juan Gil Fernández de Nava, der ihn vertrat. Aus diesem Vorlesungskontext stammt auch das Manuskript, das heute in der Vatikanischen Bibliothek aufbewahrt wird und an dessen Edition und spanischer Übersetzung Simona Langella während ihres Gastaufenthaltes am MPIeR arbeitet. Die Begegnung mit Nava erlaubt es, einen detailreicheren Blick auf das intellektuelle Panorama der Universität Salamanca in den 1530ern bis 1550ern Jahren zu werfen.

Das Kolloquium wird in spanischer Sprache gehalten.

Die Schule von Salamanca: Neue digitale Edition von Juan de Solórzano Pereiras ‚Politica Indiana‘ jetzt online

Das jüngst veröffentlichte Werk in der vom Salamanca-Projekt herausgegebenen Digitalen Quellensammlung gehörte zu den Standardwerken der juristischen Literatur im hispanischen Amerika: Juan de Solórzano Pereiras Politica Indiana zieht die Summe aus der reichen administrativen und juristischen Praxis des Verfassers in den spanischen Kolonien. Der Volltext des 1648 in Madrid gedruckten Werkes ist nun online im open access auf der Webseite des Projekts verfügbar.

Die Schule von Salamanca. Eine digitale Quellensammlung und ein Wörterbuch ihrer juristisch-politischen Sprache ist ein gemeinsames Projekt der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur │ Mainz, des MPIeR und der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt.

(English) Joost Possemiers: „Business ethics, contract law and moral theology in Conrad Summenhart’s monumental ‚Opus de contractibus‘ (1500)“

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Date: 21.05.2019

Time: 15:00 – 17:00

Speaker: Joost Possemiers (Leuven)

Organisation: Christiane Birr (MPIeR)

Location: MPIeR

Room: Z01


The German theologian Konrad Summenhart (c.1450-1502) studied in Paris and taught in Tübingen. Especially with his opus magnum „De contractibus licitis atque illicitis“ he became an important reference author of the school of Salamanca, whose arguments were taken up and critically discussed by Francisco de Vitorias and others.

Joost Possemiers is Ph.D. student at the university of Leuwen and presents a part of his ongoing research project.

The Colloquium will be held in English.

(English) Salamanca-Kolloquium: Observaciones sobre edición crítica de Melchor Cano (métodos y subsidios para el trabajo)

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Date: 18 March 2019
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Lecturer: Dr. Juan Belda Plans (Valencia)
Organisation: Dr. Christiane Birr
Place: MPIeR, Room Z01

Juan Belda Plans is the leading expert on Melchor Cano, the most influential theologian of the School of Salamanca. After the ground-breaking Spanish translation of Cano’s magnum opus “De locis theologicis“, Belda Plans has embarked on a critical edition (plus a Spanish translation) of Cano’s “Relectio de Poenitentia“. Held in 1549, the lecture was published in print in Salamanca in the following year and saw three more editions until Cano’s death in 1560.

The project of critically editing and translating this central text of moral theology in the School of Salamanca is financed by the MPIeR and developed in close association with the Salamanca project at the institute. In the colloquium, Belda Plans will talk about the practical and intellectual challenges of working on a critical edition of a sixteenth-century relectio as well as about his observations of text changes and adaptations in the early modern editions of the text.

The Colloquium will be held in Spanish.

(English) “Just dominion: whatever may have been the right and justice in the beginning”: Reading Course of Alonso de la Vera Cruz’ Relectio De dominio infidelium et iusto bello, 10-12 April 2019

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The project „The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language“ invites applications for its second Reading Course:

The discovery and conquest of America in the Early Modern era gave rise to intense debate among European jurists, theologians, and philosophers. Due to the leading role played by the Spanish monarchy in this process of conquests and assimilation of American indigenous peoples, most of the Iberian ‘intellectuals’ took part in the polemic. One of the major figures of this debate – as well as of the School of Salamanca – was the Augustinian monk and professor of theology Alonso de la Vera Cruz († 1584).

While doctrines of authors such as Vitoria and Soto, considered by the historiography as founders of the School of Salamanca, are well known and have aroused the interest of the international scientific community, little attention has so far been paid to Alonso de la Vera Cruz. First holder of the chairs of Sacred Scripture and S. Thomas at the newly established University of Mexico, he can be considered as the teacher who first introduced western philosophy in America.

Vera Cruz wrote the Relectio De dominio infidelium et iusto bello for the inauguration of the University of Mexico (1553). The text is a polemical reflection about the dilemmas related to the process of conquest and subordination of native American peoples which was then still in progress. Having always in mind the famous Relectio De Indis (1539) held by Francisco de Vitoria at the University of Salamanca some years before (with Vera Cruz already overseas), we will discuss the similarities and differences between the legal and political thinking of both authors.

Vera Cruz focusses on two aspects of the Spanish colonial presence in America: the justification of Spanish rule and of the power change from the indigenous rulers to the king of Castile, and that of the legal and moral relations between Spanish settlers, the so-called encomenderos, and the indigenous population. We will analyse Vera Cruz’ juridical positions regarding political dominion, socio-economic domination and questions of private property in America, but we will also look at the religious elements inextricably linked to the political issues, and, in particular, at strategies of evangelization and conversion.

On a methodological level, we will discuss the structure of argumentation as well as the handling of authors, authorities, and citations. By approaching these quintessential features of early modern scholasticism, the participants will gain experience in handling the complex texts of early modern European academia.

The Reading Course addresses advanced students, doctoral students and post-docs from legal studies, philosophy, history, theology, and political sciences. Working language will be English.

Participants working on a research project of their own (master or doctoral thesis) are invited to present and discuss their work during a special section of the Reading Course.


Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Hansaallee 41
60323 Frankfurt am Main

Program’s Draft

Wednesday, 10.4.2019

Greeting, Introduction: Historical Context and Sources
Question: What is dominium? Legal/moral foundations and practical experiences after 60 years of Spanish presence in America

Thursday, 11.4.2019

Reading and Discussion
Project presentations of the participants and of the School of Salamanca

Friday, 12.4.2019

Reading and Discussion
Reading and Discussion
Final Discussion


Please send your application documents until March 17, 2019 to salamanca@rg.mpg.de.
Required documents for the application are a CV, a letter of motivation, and, if applicable, a project summary.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Advanced students, early-stage graduates, PhD candidates, post-docs
  • Working knowledge of English is required; German is not a prerequisite
  • Basic knowledge of Latin is of advantage


There is no participation fee. Accommodation will be provided by the organisers. Participants, however, will be responsible for covering their travel expenses.


Project The School of Salamanca
Dr. Christiane Birr, Dr. José Luis Egío, Dr. Andreas Wagner