Francisco de Vitoria

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Francisco de Vitoria, statue in front of San Esteban in Salamanca

Francisco de Vitoria OP (* around 1483 in Burgos or Vitoria ; † August 12, 1546 in Salamanca ) was a Catholic moral theologian and natural law teacher and founder of the late Spanish scholasticism and the school of Salamanca .

Life and thought

Francisco de Arcaya y Compludo, as Vitoria's real name was called, joined the Dominican order in Burgos in 1505 , which had just undergone a profound reform. This reform was part of a comprehensive reform program by the Spanish king, which was intended to help transform Spain into a centralized state and also made it a center of theology and science. The young religious was sent to the prestigious University of Paris to study, where he became a student of Pierre Crockaert . It was above all the impressions of this time that decisively shaped his thinking: the legacy of scholasticism , especially of his friar Thomas Aquinas - Vitoria is active in Paris, among other things, as co-editor of part of his main work Summa theologiae -, nominalism , humanism and conciliarist or . Gallican tendencies , the subordination of the pope under a general council demanded and straight at the Paris University found many followers.

After his return to Spain (1523) he taught in Valladolid and from 1526 at the University of Salamanca , the spiritual center of Spain. By replacing the previously used textbook, the Sentences of Peter Lombard , with the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas , based on the Paris model , he laid the foundation for the Thomas Renaissance of the 16th century and founded the School of Salamanca . His students include Domingo de Soto , Melchior Cano , Bartolomé de Medina and Domingo Báñez , all famous a. a. for their Thomas comments. But the canonist Diego de Covarrubias y Leyva is also one of his students.

Vitoria's importance lies in the fact that, based on the differentiated scholastic tradition of the Middle Ages, he sought answers to the new, mostly practical questions of his time. Particularly noteworthy are the question of a peaceful order among the early modern European states, whose rulers usually no longer recognize any authority over themselves, the concern about church reform and the question of the legitimacy of the presence of Europeans in the new world (conquests, Trade). He proceeded very carefully, mediated between opposing positions and placed particular emphasis on the theological and philosophical foundations. His moderate but well-founded considerations on the Indian question and the associated criticism of the Spanish practice of conquest prompted Charles V , who incidentally held Vitoria very highly, to intervene.

Vitoria was an important proponent of the theory of just war at the beginning of modern times and contributed to the development of international law with its conception of the law of peoples ( ius gentium ) . Particularly influential for the future development was the conception of the one “international community” and an “international law” binding all states. In his political theory he developed - albeit cautiously and covertly - the concept of popular sovereignty . In the criminal Vitoria influence is felt by the first applicable only for spiritual penalties subjective concept of guilt here punishment rendered on all "penalties" in the strict sense.

In the course of the confessional conflicts of the 16th and 17th centuries, Vitoria was almost completely forgotten and was only rediscovered in the 19th century.


Francisco de Vitoria, statue in Vitoria

Since Vitoria published next to nothing during his lifetime, he achieved fame primarily through his university- public festival lectures ( relectiones ). These have only been preserved as transcripts from his students and were published for the first time posthumously in Lyon in 1557 and then in Salamanca in 1565 under the title Relectiones theologicae . The regular lectures ( lecturae ), also only preserved in transcripts, were only edited and published in the 20th century. The festive lectures are bilingual in:

  • Francisco de Vitoria: Lectures (Relectiones) international law, politics, church. 2 volumes. Edited by Ulrich Horst, Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven , Joachim Stüben ( Theology and Peace. 7/8). Stuttgart 1995/1997:
    • De potestate civili / On political violence (1528) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. I, pp. 114–161
    • De homicidio / About human killing (June 11, 1529 or 1530) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. I, pp. 436–501
    • De matrimonio / About marriage (January 25, 1531) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. I, pp. 502–579
    • De potestate ecclesiae I & II / First (end of 1532) and second lecture on the violence of the church - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. I, pp. 162-277. 278-351
    • De Indis / About the Indians (1532) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 370–541
    • De jure belli / On Martial Law (1532) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 542–605
    • De potestate papae et concilii / On the power of the Pope and the Council (1534) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. I, pp. 352–435
    • De augmento caritatis et diminutione / About the growth and decline of love (April 11, 1535) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 38–91
    • De eo, quod tenetur homo, cum primum venit ad usum rationis / On what man is obliged to do as soon as he has reached the use of reason (June 1535) - Latin-German: Lectures ( see above ), Vol. II, Pp. 92-187
    • De simonia / About the Simony (end of May or beginning of June 1536) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 188–307
    • De temperantia / About moderation or more correctly: De usu ciborum / About the use of food (end of 1537) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 308–369 - Vitoria discusses this through the Conquests in the New World, problems of cannibalism and human sacrifice that have become virulent.
    • De arte magica / On the art of magic (July 18, 1540) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 606–687
    • De regno Christi / About the rule of Christ (around 1528) - Latin-German: Lectures (see above), Vol. II, pp. 688–701

His extensive Thomas commentary is also only preserved through transcripts of the regular lectures ( lecturae ) and only partially edited:

  • Comentarios a la Secunda secundae de Santo Tomás , ed. V. Beltrán de Heredia (6 vols.). Salamanca 1932-1952.
  • Textos inéditos de F. de V. In: Friedrich Stegmüller: Francisco de Vitoria y la doctrina de la gracia en la Escuela salmantina . Barcelona 1934, pp. 166-482.
  • De Indis recenter inventis et de jure belli Hispanorum in barbaros. Relectiones: Lectures on the recently discovered Indians and the right of the Spaniards to wage war against the barbarians , 1539, Latin text with German translation, ed. by Walter Schätzel. Introduction by Paul Hadrossek. Mohr / Siebeck, Tübingen 1952.
  • De bello / About the war (Latin / German). In: Can war be allowed? A collection of sources on the political ethics of the Spanish late scholasticism (= Theology and Peace. Vol. 27). Edited by Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven , Joachim Stüben. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2006, pp. 78-107.
  • De lege. About the law (= political philosophy and legal philosophy of the Middle Ages and modern times. Series I, Volume 1). Ed., Introduced and translated into German by Joachim Stüben. Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2010, ISBN 978-3-7728-2503-3 .
  • De iustitia. About justice. Part I (= Political Philosophy and Legal Philosophy of the Middle Ages and Modern Times. Series I, Volume 3). Ed., Introduced and translated into German by Joachim Stüben. Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2012, ISBN 978-3-7728-2506-4 .

His sentence commentary has seen numerous editions since 1560:

  • Summa sacramentorum Ecclesiae ex doctrina Fratris Francisci de Vitoria , ed. by Thomas de Chaves. Valladolid 1560


  • Norbert M. Borengässer:  Francisco de Vitoria. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 12, Bautz, Herzberg 1997, ISBN 3-88309-068-9 , Sp. 1525-1530.
  • Norbert Brieskorn, Gideon Stiening (ed.): Francisco de Vitorias> De Indis <in an interdisciplinary perspective (= political philosophy and legal philosophy of the Middle Ages and modern times. Series II, Volume 3). Frommann-Holzboog. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2011. ISBN 978-3-7728-2605-4
  • Kirstin Bunge, Stefan Schweighöfer, Anselm Spindler, Andreas Wagner (eds.): The normativity of law in Francisco de Vitoria (= political philosophy and legal philosophy of the Middle Ages and modern times. Series II, Volume 2). Frommann-Holzboog. Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2011. ISBN 978-3-7728-2561-3
  • Daniel Deckers : Justice and Law. A historical-critical examination of the doctrine of justice of Francisco de Vitoria , Academic Press, Friborg 1991
  • Fernando Domínguez: Francisco de Vitoria OP. In: LThK 3 Vol. 10 (2001), Col. 830-831.
  • Juan Goti Ordeñana: Del Tratado de Tordesillas a la doctrina de los derechos fundamentales en Francisco de Vitoria . Universidad de Valladolid, Valladolid 1999. ISBN 84-7762-942-0 .
  • Rolf Grawert : Francisco de Vitoria. Natural law - system of rule - international law . In: The State . Journal of State Theory, Public Law and Constitutional History . 39 Vol., 2000, pp. 110-125.
  • Ramón Hernández Martin: Francisco de Vitoria. Vida y pensamiento internacionalista . Biblioteca de autores cristianos (BAC), Madrid 1995. ISBN 84-7914-191-3 .
  • Ulrich Horst : Life and Works of Francisco de Vitorias. In: Francisco de Vitoria: Lectures (Relectiones) International Law, Politics, Church. Edited by Ulrich Horst, Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven , Joachim Stüben ( Theologie und Frieden. 7/8, edited by the Institute for Theology and Peace Hamburg). Stuttgart 1995/1997, Vol. I (1995), pp. 13-99.
  • Heinz-Gerhard Justenhoven : Francisco de Vitoria on war and peace . Stuttgart 1991 ( Theology and Peace. 5).
  • Carlos López Hernández: Ley, Evangelio y Derecho Canónico en Francisco de Vitoria . Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca. Salamanca 1981.
  • Heinrich Kipp : Modern problems of martial law in late scholasticism. A legal philosophical study on the requirements of the right to war in Vittoria and Suarez (= Görres Society for the Care of Science in Catholic Germany . H. 68). Schöningh, Paderborn 1935.
  • Harald Maihold: Punishment for someone else's guilt? The systematization of the concept of punishment in the Spanish late scholasticism and natural law theory. Cologne u. a. 2005, pp. 174-181.
  • Harald Maihold: The killing of the innocent, especially in war. Guilt and arguments of benefit in the Thomistic moral theory of the 16th century. In: Ancilla Iuris , article from August 14, 2007.
  • Demetrio Ramos et al. a .: La ética de la conquista de America. Francisco de Vitoria y la Escuela de Salamanca (= Corpus Hispanorum de pace, vol. 25). Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), Madrid 1984. ISBN 84-00-05562-4 .
  • Marcelino Rodríguez Molinero: La doctrina colonial de Francisco de Vitoria o el derecho de la paz y de la guerra . Libreria Cervantes, Salamanca, 2nd, revised and expanded edition. 1998. ISBN 84-85664-93-0 .
  • Michael Sievernich : Tolerance and Communication. The right to a mission with Francisco de Vitoria. In: Frank Grunert, Kurt Seelmann (Ed.): The order of the practice. New studies on late Spanish scholasticism. Tübingen 2001, pp. 183-203.
  • Johannes Thumfart: The foundation of global political philosophy: Francisco de Vitorias lecture on the discovery of America in the context of the history of ideas. Berlin 2012 ( digitized version ).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Fernando Inciarte : Natural and / or Reason Law. 30 theses and one attempt . In: Fernando Inciarte, Berthold Wald (ed.): Human rights and development. In dialogue with Latin America (= Bibliotheca Ibero-Americana, vol. 39). Vervuert, Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-89354-539-5 , pp. 87-99, here p. 89.