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Lorenzo Valla between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: The Encomium of St. Thomas – 1457

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Chapter Summary

This chapter finds a determining factor that seems to characterize the fifteenth century in particular and that constitutes a significant shift in the tradition of Thomas Aquinas's thought. On the basis of Martin Grabmann's research, Kristeller formulated and contextualized the phenomenon in the study to which one referred: "What may be called the second period of the history of Thomism is marked by the tendency to adopt the Summa theologiae instead of the Sentences as the basic text in theology". The Summa's rise over the course of the fifteenth century, first in Germany and then in Italy, to the status of an academic text - as a substitute to the work of Peter Lombard - involved a precise reappraisal of Aquinas's doctrinal preeminence. This fact requires emphasis, as it becomes a unique and extremely illuminating point of reference for understanding the intended objective of Lorenzo Valla's Encomium of St. Thomas.

Keywords: Encomium of St. Thomas; Lorenzo Valla; Martin Grabmann; Thomas Aquinas



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