The Theoretical Cornerstones
This chapter examines the fullest formulation of probabilism as it was articulated by the Jesuit theorists and professors of theology at the Roman College, which by the end of the sixteenth century had become the center of Jesuit knowledge. This chapter focuses in particular on Francisco de Toledo, Gregorio de Valencia, Francisco Suárez, and Gabriel Vázquez. Through an analysis of a substantial number of these authors’ manuscripts alongside their printed work, this chapter shows how probabilism evolved into a coherent and wide-ranging intellectual system for dealing with human uncertainty. Furthermore, tracing the development of probabilism through the lecture notes of the Jesuit theologians who taught at the Roman College and moved within a larger, pan-European, educational and intellectual milieu allows us to understand how a distinctive, complex, and hugely influential school of theological thought took its shape.
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