contributor.author: Donald S. Prudlo

title.none: Horst, Dominicans and the Pope (Donald S. Prudlo)

identifier.other: baj9928.0711.020 07.11.20

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Donald S. Prudlo, Jacksonville State University, dprudlo@gmail.com

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2007

identifier.citation: Horst, Ulrich. Translated by James D. Mixson. The Dominicans and the Pope: Papal Teaching Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Thomist Tradition. Conway Lectures in Medieval Studies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. Pp. xi, 132. ISBN: $28.00 (pb) 0-268-0077-4 (pb).

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 07.11.20

Horst, Ulrich. Translated by James D. Mixson. The Dominicans and the Pope: Papal Teaching Authority in the Medieval and Early Modern Thomist Tradition. Conway Lectures in Medieval Studies. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006. Pp. xi, 132. ISBN: $28.00 (pb) 0-268-0077-4 (pb).

Reviewed by:

Donald S. Prudlo
Jacksonville State University
dprudlo@gmail.com

Father Ulrich Horst, O.P. is one of the world's leading authorities on the development of the doctrine of papal infallibility. In spite of this, none of his work has ever made its way into English translation, and scholars must rely on his magisterial works, such as Papst, Konzil, Unfehlbarkeit, in German. The University of Notre Dame Press and James Mixson have therefore done a signal service in bringing at least a slice of Fr. Horst's thought into English in this readable introductory study.

The work under consideration consists of Thomas Prugl's excellent bio-bibliographical foreword to Horst's work, followed by three lectures the Dominican scholar gave at Notre Dame in 2002. These lectures are respectively: "Thomas Aquinas on Papal Teaching Authority," "The Medieval Thomist Discussion," and "Papal Teaching Authority in the Dominican School of Salamanca." It is not clear from the book whether Horst delivered the lectures in German, and it seems that the work we have here is a collaborative effort to turn lecture notes into a manuscript. A short translator's introduction would have been helpful here, both to describe the origin of the text and to show how the work related to Horst's corpus as a whole.

Like most scholars, Horst situates the first discussion of papal teaching authority in the context of the mendicant controversy, with both St. Thomas and St. Bonaventure offering original defenses of Roman authority as a prelude to the defense of their orders. This is fairly standard stuff and, while Horst gives a tour through the Thomistic corpus with all of its loci classici for papal teaching authority, it is cursory at best. Significant passages that are nuanced and multilayered are dealt with in a page or two here. Obviously this is a limitation imposed by the format of the lecture itself, but one would need to go much further into Horst's own work, as well as that of other scholars, to get to the heart of the texts. Horst also seems to rely too much on the mendicant controversy and the poverty question as the origin of the infallibility debate, a position he shares with Brian Tierney. This approach fails to realize the place that the canonization debates of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries served in refining the terms of the discussion over authority in the Church. Though Horst begins his lecture with the canonization of Thomas, he fails to follow up on the role that this canonization, and the opposition to it, played in setting the terms of the infallibility controversy.

In the second lecture Horst begins to show his strength in introducing the reader to lesser known luminaries in the Dominican tradition who contributed to the development of a Thomistic position on church authority. Horst makes the excellent point that we should not expect Thomas to answer questions he never faced. He may have provided the material that later thinkers used in subsequent generations, but it was their creative interaction with the problems they encountered that furthered the debates. Even so, Horst provides the reader a good introduction to the fourteenth-century poverty debates, and skillfully situates contemporary Dominican thinkers within it. Especially good is the sensitive treatment of the transition from the infallibility of the Roman Church to the personal infallibility of the Roman bishop, which runs through all three essays and serves as a theme of the lectures. Horst is especially penetrating and convincing in his analysis of John of Torquemada (Johannes de Turrecremata). He refutes those who want to make this first author of a Summa de ecclesia into a unambiguous defender of personal infallibility. The few short pages on Torquemada here demonstrate that, while he had a very high ecclesiology, he still displayed many inconsistencies when writing about the infallibility and authority of the Roman pontiff.

In the final chapter, Horst really demonstrates his expertise in early modern theology, which is the subject of two of his most influential works. He shows how the Dominican order still exhibited a marked freedom in construing the doctrine of infallibility, even to the point of Francisco de Vitoria's disregarding the opinion expressed by Master-General Cajetan in the early 1500s. In Cajetan we begin to see Dominicans making the logical conclusion that the only irreducible and indispensable member of the Roman Church is the pope himself, and therefore the infallibility of the Roman Church must reside in him personally. Vitoria (and to a certain extent, his student Soto) deviates from this course, and Horst does a good job of pointing out his soft conciliarism regarding the infallibility debate. Horst fixes the great change for Dominican theology on Melchior Cano in the mid- 1500s, who vigorously rejected any appeal to even moderate conciliarism. Following several more theologians who traveled further down Cano's line of thought, Horst describes how the Jesuits asserted their influence and became the primary order defending the personal infallibility of the Pope up to the First Vatican Council.

Overall this is an excellent introduction both to Horst's thought and to the development of the infallibility doctrine as a whole. Horst's presentation gets stronger as the lectures progress, a testament to his groundbreaking work on early modern theology. His Thomistic section is the least original, yet still provides a good presentation for the student. This being said, the work is too impressionistic and quick. This is not the fault of the author, merely of the lecture medium. It is also a regret that the work of such an important scholar as Horst remains untranslated. Even this short summation however could prove useful both for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in a classroom setting.

There are a few minor details to criticize. The practice of double- spacing the first page of a chapter is discomfiting to the reader, though all the other pages are clear and very readable. I suppose I will continue to tilt at windmills by asserting the superiority of footnotes over endnotes. In any case the endnotes are copious, informative, and eminently useful, as is the bibliography. It is also a bit disconcerting that some of the names have been Anglicized, as medievalists would be more familiar with Johannes de Turrecremata than John Torquemada. In other cases, the Spanish original is used for thinkers of the Salamanca School (Francisco de Vitoria) while others were left in Latin (Dominicus Soto). A common policy on orthography would have been helpful here. There are also minor grammatical details such as the mixed capitalization of "Pope" on page 31. But these are of little significance and all of the things I have mentioned are the merely the pedantic duty of a reviewer and detract in no way from the value of the text.

Finally we have some of the contributions of this important Dominican scholar in English. Hopefully this will serve as a gateway to the employment of his large corpus of significant work in many more studies.