Summer School “Baroque Scholasticism” and Workshop “Baroque Scholasticism and Early Modern Thought”

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.

Program

How to Get to “Seuilla”: Dealing with Early Modern Orthography in a Search Engine

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:

[...,]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,[...]

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.

The School of Salamanca: New Digital Edition of Melchor Cano’s “Relectio de Poenitentia” now online

Melchor Cano (1509-1560) is one of the most important authors of the School of Salamanca: as a pupil of Francisco de Vitoria, he entered the Dominican Order at the age of fifteen. Ten years later, Cano received his first theological chair in Valladolid; after the death of his academic teacher Vitoria in 1546 he took over the renowned cátedra de Prima in Salamanca himself. Cano participated in the political debates about the Spanish conquest of the Americas, among other things as a commission member in the so-called controversy of Valladolid, in which the different points of view clashed in the persons of the protagonists Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda.

In 1547, one year after becoming professor in Salamanca, Cano held the public lecture De Poenitentia, in which he dealt with central questions of confession and the sacrament of penance. The elaborated version of this unusually long and detailed text, which comprises more than 170 printed pages, he prepared for publication in 1550. This first edition is now available in full text and digital images in the source collection of the project “The School of Salamanca”.

The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language is a joint project of the MPIeR, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz.

The School of Salamanca: New Digital Edition of Domingo Báñez` “De Iustitia et Iure Decisiones” now online

Domingo Báñez (1528-1604) was one of the most influential authors of the School of Salamanca: a disciple of Melchor Cano, Báñez joined the Dominican order at the age of eighteen and became one of the most influential Spanish Theologians of the 16th century. „De Iustitia et Iure Decisiones“ stands in the literary tradition begun by Domingo de Soto and is considered a pivotal work of the Iberian Scholastic. Now the full text and digital images of the edition printed 1594 in Salamanca are available online in open access on the website of the project „The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language“.

https://www.salamanca.school

The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language is a joint project of the MPIeR, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz.

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

Date: 19.08.2019
Time: 15:00 – 17:00
Lecturer(s):
– 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”

Date: 12.06.2019
Time: 14:30 – 16:00
Speaker: Simona Langella (Genova)
Organisation: Christiane Birr, José Luis Egío
Location: MPIeR
Room: Z01

Juan Gil Fernández de Nava († 1551) studied theology under Francisco de Vitoria in the 1530s before becoming himself a professor at the University of Salamanca in 1538. When in the last years of his life Vitoria could no longer fulfil his lecture duties due to health reasons, it was Nava who stood in for him. From this lecture context originates the manuscript, which is now kept in the Vatican Library and whose edition and Spanish translation Simona Langella is working on during her stay at the MPIeR. The encounter with Nava allows a more detailed look at the intellectual panorama of the University of Salamanca in the 1530s to 1550s.

The Colloquium will be held in Spanish.

The School of Salamanca: New Digital Edition of Juan de Solórzano Pereira`s ‘Politica Indiana’ now online

The latest publication in the Digital Collection of Sources edited by the Salamanca project was one of the standards works of reference regarding the colonial administration of the Spanish Americas: Juan de Solórzano Pereira’s Politica Indiana draws the sum of the author’s rich experience in administrative and judicial matters in the Spanish colonies. The full text of this seminal book (printed in Madrid in 1648) is now available online and in open access on the project’s website.

The School of Salamanca. A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language is a joint project of the MPIeR, the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz.

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

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.

Digital Approaches to Early Modern History: Frameworks, Tools and Resources (Workshop)

Textual sources from the early modern period pose specific challenges with regards to their digital acquisition, analysis, and representation. First, the full-text digitization of sources is elaborate and time-consuming, and it still is far away from being fully automatable in a way sufficient to the needs of scholarly researchers. Second, the digital analysis of such data relies on specific historical and textual data models and ontologies and needs to be conducted, on the one hand, through time-consuming scholarly studying and manual annotation of the texts; automatic applications, on the other side, face a significant shortage of natural language processing tools applicable to “low-resourced” languages such as early modern Spanish or Latin, or of linguistic and semantic resources appropriate for these specific periods and languages. Finally, while discussions about (textual) data representations and visualizations lie at the very heart of current digital humanities endeavours, there still is only rudimentary consensus about best practices in representing early modern texts and data in all their (multimedial/multimodal) variety in digital forms, as well as about their versioning, forms of readerly participation, underlying software architectures, etc.

Some methods and infrastructures that address these challenges are well-known: For instance, the acquisition of historical (text) data may be enhanced through forms of crowdsourcing and collaborative digital editing and technically facilitated by collaborative annotation tools; linked open data models and related infrastructures aim to provide means for annotating data in a way conforming to interoperable, semantic web standards. But also, there is an ever-increasing amount of specific linguistic and geographic resources as well as tools tailored by and for individual early modern research projects – projects that could potentially benefit through communicating and exchanging their resources and tools. In order to strengthen the community-driven use of already existing frameworks and tools, and to communicate methods and tools that were hitherto unknown outside specific use cases, an exchange of theoretical as well as methodological and practical knowledge about digital approaches to early modern historical questions seems crucial.

With the aim of enabling such an exchange on an interdisciplinary and, in a way, also intercultural scale, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History and the project “The School of Salamanca: A Digital Collection of Sources and a Dictionary of its Juridical-Political Language” organize a workshop with digital humanities experts from Latin America and Europe. The workshop will comprise a small number of individual project presentations as a common ground for in-depth, hands-on discussions about technical tools, methods and frameworks as well as about (linguistic, geographical, ontological, etc.) resources for the study of early modern sources and contexts.

Date: 23 October 2018
Place: Instituto Max Planck Argentina – Instituto de Investigación en Biomedicina de Buenos Aires, C1425FQD, Godoy Cruz 2390, Buenos Aires
The workshop will be held in Spanish, although contributions may be in English as well.

For registration, please contact us until 15 October 2018 at: salamanca@rg.mpg.de.

Program
14:00 Thomas Duve: Welcome
14:05 Andreas Wagner / David Glück: Introduction
14:15 Andreas Wagner: Digital Humanities Research Related to Ibero-America at the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
14:45 David Glück: Methods, Frameworks, and Linguistic Resources in the Digital Edition of “The School of Salamanca”
15:15 Discussion
15:30 Hands-On Session: Frameworks, Methods and Tools for Digital Early Modern History
16:30-17:00 Coffee Break
17:00 Gimena del Rio Riande, Romina De León, Nidia Hernández (HD CAICYT Lab, CONICET): Integrating annotation, digital edition tools and GIS resources: Practical experiences from the LatAm project (project presentation and hands on session)
18:00 Discussion
18:30 Closing of the Workshop and Farewell

Presentation of the Digital Edition Platform of the Project “The School of Salamanca”: Francisco de Vitoria’s “Confessionario”

As a result of several years of working on the digital edition of texts of the School of Salamanca, and although the edition still is (and will remain) a ‘work in progress’, the School of Salamanca project will officially release its digital edition as an online portal for research on the texts of the School of Salamanca on 9 May 2018.

The release of the digital edition will take place within the scope of a workshop on the Confessionario Útil y Provechoso by Francisco de Vitoria, one of the texts in the central group of works of the digital edition, and a work that is already edited to a great extent following the project’s extensive text preparation and annotation processes.

Following the discussion of Vitoria’s ‘Confessionario’, the project will present the web application of the digital edition by means of a small ‘tech demo’, during which the web application’s functionalities shall be explained by taking the example of the previously discussed work.

Organization: The ‘School of Salamanca’ Project
Place: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History
Date & time: 9 May 2017, 18.00-19.30

Programme:
– Christiane Birr: Introduction
– José Luis Egío Garcia: Epitomisation Processes and the Historiography on Vitoria’s “Confesionario”
– Manuela Bragagnolo: Epitomizing Knowledge between Portugal and Spain. On Martin de Azpilcueta’s “Manual de Confessores”
– David Glück / Andreas Wagner: The Online Edition of The School of Salamanca as a Digital Research Platform
(The papers will be complemented by further discussions involving the audience.)