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Rethinking the Significance of Early Modern Probabilism in Post-Reformation Catholicism: The Case of Alberto de Albertis

Rethinking the Significance of Early Modern Probabilism in Post-Reformation Catholicism: The Case... Rethinking the Significance of Early Modern Probabilism in Post-Reformation Catholicism: The Case of Alberto de Albertis* By Stefania Tutino First developed around the middle of the sixteenth century, probabilism repre- sented a significant and controversialnovelty in Catholic moral theology and in Catholic intellectual life more generally. Against a deep-seated tradition defend- ingtheneedforrigidmoralrulesanddictatingthatindoubtfulcasesoneshould always follow the safest course of action (the so-called tutiorist doctrine), early modern probabilists believed that one could legitimately follow a course of ac- tion if, in the absence of absolute theological norms governing the matter, such course of action was supported by a probable opinion, however tenuous the probable opinion in question might be. By the second half of the seventeenth century,probabilismbecameinextricablylinkedtotheJesuits,whowereitsmost vocal supporters, and to a system of morality which emphasized and in some cases exploited the elasticity of moral norms. As such, it became the subject of virulentanti-probabilistandanti-Jesuitpropaganda(attimesbrilliant,aswasthe casewith Pascal’s Provincial Letters). Intellectual and cultural historians of early modern Europe have generally ig- nored probabilism: most of the existing studies on probabilism tend to focus on thisdoctrinesimplyasabranchofmoraltheologyandtendtoanalyzeitsimpli- cations almostexclusivelyin thecontextof early modernormodern ethics. Be- cause of this lack of attention to the historical context and implications of pro- babilism, the traditional narrative concerning its http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte - Archive for Reformation History de Gruyter

Rethinking the Significance of Early Modern Probabilism in Post-Reformation Catholicism: The Case of Alberto de Albertis

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2021 by Gütersloher Verlagshaus
eISSN
2198-0489
DOI
10.14315/arg-2016-1070113
Publisher site
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Abstract

Rethinking the Significance of Early Modern Probabilism in Post-Reformation Catholicism: The Case of Alberto de Albertis* By Stefania Tutino First developed around the middle of the sixteenth century, probabilism repre- sented a significant and controversialnovelty in Catholic moral theology and in Catholic intellectual life more generally. Against a deep-seated tradition defend- ingtheneedforrigidmoralrulesanddictatingthatindoubtfulcasesoneshould always follow the safest course of action (the so-called tutiorist doctrine), early modern probabilists believed that one could legitimately follow a course of ac- tion if, in the absence of absolute theological norms governing the matter, such course of action was supported by a probable opinion, however tenuous the probable opinion in question might be. By the second half of the seventeenth century,probabilismbecameinextricablylinkedtotheJesuits,whowereitsmost vocal supporters, and to a system of morality which emphasized and in some cases exploited the elasticity of moral norms. As such, it became the subject of virulentanti-probabilistandanti-Jesuitpropaganda(attimesbrilliant,aswasthe casewith Pascal’s Provincial Letters). Intellectual and cultural historians of early modern Europe have generally ig- nored probabilism: most of the existing studies on probabilism tend to focus on thisdoctrinesimplyasabranchofmoraltheologyandtendtoanalyzeitsimpli- cations almostexclusivelyin thecontextof early modernormodern ethics. Be- cause of this lack of attention to the historical context and implications of pro- babilism, the traditional narrative concerning its

Journal

Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte - Archive for Reformation Historyde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2016

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