Friday, January 08, 2010

Cajetan Responds: 16th Century Roman Catholic Apologist (Part 1)

I usually buy myself one Christmas present that no one would ever be able to figure out to get for me. This year I purchased the book, Jared Wicks tr., Cajetan Responds: A Reader in Reformation Controversy (Washington: The Catholic University Press of America, 1978). It finally arrived today.

I've been eying this one for quite a while. Copies were fairly expensive, but I managed to track down one within my budget. It appears I may have found the penultimate copy, because the only other copy for sale on Amazon is priced at $999.99 (as of 1/7/10). The copy I purchased was tight, clean, and unmarked. Usually I write in all my books, I may skip this one.

Cardinal Cajetan was one of the leading 16th century Roman Catholic theologians, and a direct opponent of Martin Luther. To my knowledge, this is the only translation of his writings into English.

Why buy such a volume?

First, I benefit from hearing both sides of an argument (I also have books by John Eck and Cochlaeus as well, plus other opponents of Luther's).

Second, Cajetan represents what a leading, educated, 16th Century Roman Catholic believed. That is, I benefit from comparing his argumentation and Romanism to modern day argumentation and Romanism. The two are often not the same thing.

Third, Cajetan's views on the canon and textual criticism have some similarities to Luther's, and this confounds those who attack Luther to no end. How is it Luther was so evil about the canon of sacred scripture, yet a leading Romanist contemporary isn't? Well, either both were evil, or another answer is in order. It's the "other answer" that often confuses zealous Roman Catholics.

Well to save everyone $999.99, I plan on posting some entries on Cajetan.

25 comments:

louis said...

I look forward to those posts. I have been interested in obtaining books from the Roman Catholic side during that period. Could you possibly provide some specific recommendations?

James Swan said...

Louis- begin with the book mentioned in this post:

http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2009/12/my-snarky-little-exaggeration-on-16th.html

David V.N. Bagchi, Luther's Early Opponents: Catholic Controversialists 1518-1525 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991)

It's a great overview of Roman Catholic argumentation against Luther.

Frank said...

I'm jealous. :)

That is, I benefit from comparing his argumentation and Romanism to modern day argumentation and Romanism. The two are often not the same thing.

If only more Protestants, especially those thinking of converting to Rome, would think this way.

louis said...

Thanks, I'll check it out.

Matt said...

The introduction to that book by Wicks is a real gem of historical scholarship as well.

Carrie said...

That is so weird. I was just about to add that book yesterday to my Amazon wish list until I noticed the only copy was $1000. Guess I'll have to stick with the library. Or I could actually read all the books I already have. I seem to be more of a collector than a reader at this point.

As far as your recommendation to Louis, I am just about to start that book and looking forward to it. I just finished up Mark Edwards' "Printing, Propaganda, and Martin Luther" which gives a general overview of how Luther was received in print. What I noticed though after reading that book and checking some of the references is that most of the Catholic works from that time are not available in English (unfortunately).

James Swan said...

Carrie-


Yes, it is odd about the Cajetan book. The person selling it for $1000 is... well, not thinking clearly. Perhaps it was a typo. I can see asking $99.99 for it.

It's true, these earlier Romanist polemical works are often not available in English. But even if they were, they're probably a bit cumbersome. As Bagchi explains:

The problem was to a large extent one of presentation. Defenses of the Roman Church were more likely to be in Latin and were often written in a heavy, "scholastic" style. They were rarely as short as their Reformation counterparts. Their content was also unexciting compared with that of their rivals. The controversialists' work lacked the appeal of the new, and unlike the reformers they could not draw upon the anti-curialism that was particularly prevalent in Germany. Romanist pamphlets did not sell because they were too long and boring.

I know a bit of this first hand. When I tracked down John Eck, Enchiridion of Commonplaces, trans. by Ford Lewis Battles, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979 a few years ago, it wasn't all that long of a book, but it was exactly as Bagchi describes. After thumbing through the Cajetan book, it appears to be somewhat similar.

What is a long read, but fascinating is:

Luther's Lives: Two Contemporary Accounts of Martin Luther by Johannes Cochlaeus, Philip Melanchthon, Elizabeth Vandiver, and Ralph Keen

The Amazon version has a "look inside" feature, and if I recall Google books has a limited preview. Together you'll probably get the entire book, but it isn't all that expensive. I have the paperback copy.

This is again why I recommend Bagchi's book, at least for a good overview of the arguments put forth from the Roman Catholic side.

James Swan said...

Hi Matt,

I've benefitted from the work put forth by Wicks over the years:

http://www.ntrmin.org/Catholic%20Understanding%20of%20Luther%202.htm#C1

louis said...

What about Francis De Sales' "the Catholic Controversy"? I noticed there was a 1989 paperback edition. Anybody know anything about it?

James Swan said...

Ah yes, Francis De Sales... Hoffer seems to be M.I.A., but perhaps he'll smell that someone mentioned De Sales and post an infomercial for his work. DeSales was later than those who directly interacted with Luther (a number of decades away from the heated battle), so I don't consider him to be all that relevant to the Reformation battle.

Save your money:

http://www.catholictradition.org/Classics/catholic-controversy.htm

While Luther is mentioned and analyzed, the book itself has those awful Calvinists in view:

"But the fact is that St. Francis wrote these pages between the ages of 27 and 29, beginning about one year after his ordination to the priesthood. He wrote them during a seemingly hopeless mission to win back to the Faith the 72,000 Calvinists in the Chablais (now eastern France)."

"It was these pamphlets that would be gathered together after St. Francis' death and published as Controversies, or The Catholic Controversy. They are remarkably to the point, showing a thorough grasp of the Calvinist claims, courage in standing up to them, and a keen intelligence in exposing them."

Matt said...

I wouldn't take Bagchi's comment too seriously. Depending on who is reading, theological debates could be considered boring, no matter what confession the writers are from. Luther's style is the exception, don't you think?

Even if they are written in a dry style, however, some of the better responses to Reformation soteriological doctrines, like those of Cajetan, Soto, Vega, and others are, IMHO, very interesting and even surprising.

In dealing with Luther, Cajetan develops certain images and reflections of "union with Christ" that become popular among the so-called Italian spirituali. His influence has interesting consequences. For example, one of his followers and friends (who was the major advisor to Contarini at Regensburg), Badia, didn't allow Sadoleto's (one of Calvin's major opponents) commentary on Romans to be published because it was insufficiently Augustinian. In responding to the Reformers, Badia thought that Sadoleto had slipped into semi-Pelagianism. This is something that was commented upon quite often, especially by the Dominicans! If only there were more Dominicans on the blogosphere. :-)

Domingo de Soto (a bit less willing to favorably gloss Luther than Cajetan was, at least at the beginning) still states quite clearly that Luther was *rightly* scandalized by the Scotist and nominalist (Biel) positions on merit and justification. Of course, he thinks that there were better options than those that Luther took (understatement!); still, he grasps Luther's anger on these points. In some ways, Soto already sounds a bit like Joseph Lortz, no?

It would be cool if more of this stuff was translated. I bet that Reformed Christians would be a great market for these books actually! It is wonderful that they are still seriously engaging with these questions.

Matthew Bellisario said...

James, are you familiar with the literary styles and language of Cajetan's day? You may want to do yourself a favor before you start cutting and pasting quotes from your new book. You may want to actually study up on the literary styles and historical background of the age. You may want to procure a Latin to English lexicon if you don't already own one. There are also many scholarly works available on the writings of the Middle ages to help you in your endeavor. Just a suggestion to save you some problems in the future. Take care.

James Swan said...

Mr. Bellisario,I have the tools you suggest already, and will proceed with the utmost care when transcribing quotes from Cajetan on to my blog.

As gratitude for concern over my endeavor, I'd like to return similar concern with your methodology in researching Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the ECF's, like when you read Cyril Lecture 17, Cyril lecture 18, wrote on Zwingli's death, quoting Luther, quoting Luther, and Magdelena Luther's death. I suggesting sticking with primary sources, reading contexts more than once, and doing the background work necessary to understand the context a particular historical fact occurred in.

Best Wishes, James

Convenor said...

Would you mind letting your readers know about the most recent issue of our Catholic Heritage Journal from Ireland:

http://catholicheritage.blogspot.com/2009/12/christvs-regnat-december-2009.html

It would also be very kind if you would link/blogroll/follow our blog:

www.catholicheritage.blogspot.com

Please pray for me!

God bless you!

James Swan said...

Hi Matt,

Someone could find that which Bagchi describes as "unexciting," but keep in mind, it was in comparison to their Protestant "rivals". Bagchi was primarily concerned with responses to Luther. In terms of writing style, I find Luther a much better communicator and far more tickling to the ear (but who wouldn't?). Overall, I think Bagchi is right on: part of the lack of success for Roman Catholic polemicists was that their tradition of scholasticism and method of writing and dialog slowed down their efforts and appeal.

In fact, if you haven't read Bagchi's book, he does a great job in making the arguments interesting. He's prompted me to dig further into the actual responses to Luther from his contemporaries. I wrote him a while back, and he mentioned a revised edition was forthcoming. Track it down if you get the chance.

Indeed, if more of these sources like Cajetan were published, I think a much better picture of the actual struggles between the two sides will emerge. Given a choice between buying yet another book on Luther, or getting a fresh translation of an early Roman Catholic controversialist, the later would be my pick each time.

As to your other fascinating comments, I appreciate that you stopped by. I'm more used to people stopping over here that are virtually clueless as to the men you mention. Who are you? no need to post info here, but I'd be interested to know who you are (my contact info is on the sidebar).

James Swan said...

Would you mind letting your readers know about the most recent issue of our Catholic Heritage Journal from Ireland: http://catholicheritage.blogspot.com/2009/12/christvs-regnat-december-2009.html It would also be very kind if you would link/blogroll/follow our blog: www.catholicheritage.blogspot.com
Please pray for me! God bless you!


Sir, perhaps you should be a bit more cautious where you solicit readers from... so yes, I would mind.

beowulf2k8 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viisaus said...

Folks, check out this free old online book that shows how many "Protestant" things an orthodox Roman cardinal was allowed to believe before Trent - many Prods may already know that Cajetan supported the Hebrew OT canon, but there's much more besides here:


"Pre-Tridentine Doctrine: A review of the Commentary on the Scriptures of Cardinal Cajetan"

http://www.archive.org/details/pretridentine00cajeuoft

Tim MD said...

Hi James,

About a year ago I told you that I would like to be one of the first ones to buy your book about Luther when it was completed, which I was quite certain that I had seen you mention some months earlier. You, of course, chastised me in several different ways as you always do, suggesting that I was “delusional” (or something equivalent), and told me that you had no plan to write a book about Luther. Not being able to find the quote that I thought I remembered, and counting on your sincerity, I backed down.

Now I find Matt referring to some book which, at least he believes is already published, or so it seems from his post and your subsequent failure to condemn him also.

So what gives here exactly?

God Bless You James,

Tim, Still not an MD but still from MD

Tim MD said...

PS: I am still very interested in any book that you might write. If there in fact is one, how do I obtain a copy? If there is not one, then are you still maintaining that you have no plans to write one?

Again, May God Bless You James, Tim

James Swan said...

About a year ago I told you that I would like to be one of the first ones to buy your book about Luther when it was completed, which I was quite certain that I had seen you mention some months earlier.

Every so often, I make a joke about writing a book on Luther. I've had a few colleagues exhort me to do so, I've even had one person offer to put me in touch with a publisher. At this point, I have no plans to write a book.

You, of course, chastised me in several different ways as you always do, suggesting that I was “delusional” (or something equivalent), and told me that you had no plan to write a book about Luther.

Yes, I probably did. I also probably did use a word similar to "delusional" or that very term.

Not being able to find the quote that I thought I remembered, and counting on your sincerity, I backed down.

I commend you for an intelligent decision.

Now I find Matt referring to some book which, at least he believes is already published, or so it seems from his post and your subsequent failure to condemn him also. So what gives here exactly?


Hmm, Tim, you've got your antenna on your head a bit more tangled up this time. I re-read Matt's comments and I have no idea what you're talking about. The books mentioned are Bagchi's and other Romanist voices from yesteryear. If you can extract an X-files-esque comment from Matt that I've written or am going to write a book, it would be another strong indicator that you're "delusional (or something equivalent)."

I am still very interested in any book that you might write. If there in fact is one, how do I obtain a copy? If there is not one, then are you still maintaining that you have no plans to write one?

Well, I appreciate that I would at least make one sale. There isn't a book, nor one in planning.

Speaking of books, if you haven't saved your magnum-opus-book-length thread on the CARM boards, I suggest you do soon. Once Slick gets the new boards working, the old boards will vanish as if they've never existed. That's one of the reasons I initially started a blog. I got tired of the boards dumping every discussion I had been in.

James Swan said...

Viisaus said...
Folks, check out this free old online book that shows how many "Protestant" things an orthodox Roman cardinal was allowed to believe before Trent - many Prods may already know that Cajetan supported the Hebrew OT canon, but there's much more besides here:
"Pre-Tridentine Doctrine: A review of the Commentary on the Scriptures of Cardinal Cajetan" http://www.archive.org/details/pretridentine00cajeuoft


Thanks for the reminder, I came across this book a while back, and forgot about it. Earlier I was lamenting that the Wicks Cajetan book I just purchased was lacking any of Cajetan's commentary writings.

James Swan said...

Frank said...I'm jealous. :)

Well, my wife, when she found out Amazon was now selling it for $999.99, demanded I sell my copy.

Matt said...

For Cajetan's Biblical commentaries, you all might enjoy Michael O'Connor's articles on the subject, which began with his dissertation on them. Pretty solid. They definitely improve upon Jenkins...

Melanchthon said...

Jared Wicks is wonderfully learned, sympathetic, and kind. he befriended me when i was writing my dissertation on Melanchthon, and i've always gained from his insights. good choice of reading!