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Neo-Thomism in Action. Law and Society Reshaped by Neo-Scholastic philosophy

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Neo-Thomism in Action. Law and Society Reshaped by Neo-Scholastic philosophy



This workshop, aims to provide an opportunity for an explicitly international audience of scholars to reflect on the societal impact of Neo-Thomism, especially in the domains of law and socio-economic thinking. It indeed starts from the hypothesis that Neo-Thomism above all had a social and apologetic vocation. Neo-Scholastic philosophy offered a holistic view of society, while shielding it against the secularizing forces of the modern world and striving towards a 'shared', 'hybrid' or 'integrated modernity'. The Neo-Thomist project expressly called for greater involvement by lay people in the Church's apologetic and pastoral strategies.

Through scholarly education, periodicals, study circles and other networks involving current and former students and other participants from very different societal domains, these neo-Scholastic institutions pervaded society, with a holistic philosophical framework that showed explicitly apologetic objectives. They offered intellectual breeding grounds for a new Catholic elite to grow. During the decades preceding World War I, the interwar period and even post-World War II, neo-Thomist learning centres acted as hubs for various Catholic networks permeating society as a whole, and cemented these connections within civil society, education, the civil service and judiciary, the worlds of labour and business and especially their interest groups.

Welcome drink and conference dinner :

On Sunday Evening 8 October, the organizers gladly invite you to a welcome drink and a guided tour to the Institute of Philosophy, the Leo XIII seminar and the Sacred Hart House, locations that are closely intertwined with the Thomist revival in Leuven at the end of the 19th century. We will meet at 19 h. at the front desk of the Irish College.

The conference dinner will take place on Monday 9 October, 20h00 in Restaurant d'Artagnan, Naamsestraat 72, Leuven.

On Monday and Tuesday a light lunch will be served in the vicinity of the conference room. In order to avoid all misunderstandings, please advise us on special food requirements or restrictions.




Sunday 8 October



19h00 : Guided visit to the Institute of Philosophy, the Leo XIII seminar and the Sacred Hart House
Jan De Maeyer, KU Leuven

Welcome adress
Bart Raymaekers, vice-rector of KU Leuven


Monday 9 October


Wim Decock (LAW-KU Leuven)


Morning session

Chair : Emmanuel Gerard (KU Leuven)


9h30 : Key-notes

Religious, Political and Social Settings of the Revival of Thomism (1870-1960)
Emiel Lamberts (KU Leuven)

Contraception, Usury, and the Formation of Modern Catholic Ethics, 1880-1940
James Chappel (Duke University)


A Neo-Scholastic Scientific Revolution
Cajetan Cuddy, O.P. (Université de Fribourg)

The influence of Neo-Thomism on Catholic Social-Policy Making in Belgium, 1880-1914
Jo Deferme (KU Leuven)


13h00 : Lunch


Afternoon session

Chair : Andrea Robiglio (Institute of Philosophy KU Leuven)


14h00 : Keynote

Into Neo-Thomism. Reading the Fabric of an intellectual Movement.Papers
Rajesh Heynickx (KU Leuven)

Luigi Taparelli d'Azeglio's Thomism : semantic History of a Graft
Cinzia Sulas (La Sapienza, Roma)

Joannes Aengenent : the Appeal of a thomistic Sociologist for a more humane Economy
Erik Sengers (Bonifatiusinstitute, Diocese Haarlem-Amsterdam)

Antoine Pottier and the neo-thomist Roots of Christian-democracy
Jean-Pierre Delville (Diocese of Liege)

17h00 : Break

20h00/22h00 : Conference dinner


Tuesday 10 October


Morning session

Chair : James Chappel (Duke University)


9h30 : Keynote

Between Lublin and Leuven : Transnational Neo-Thomism and Europe's Twentieth-Century Personalist 'Revolution'.Papers
Piotr H. Kosicki (University of Maryland)

A forgotten Connection. The Influence of the Catholic University of Leuven and Neo-Thomism on interwar Quebec Nationalism.
Kasper Swerts (University of Edinburgh)

Reception and Adaptation of Neo-Thomism in East-central Europe, between the intellectual and social involvement of the Catholic Church
Jakub Štofaník (Masaryk Institute, Czech Academy of Sciences)

Moderate, Conservative, Neo-Scholastic. Bravo Murillo's Reformal Projects on the Spanish Constitution : Goals and Influences
Faustino Martinez Martinez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)


13h00 : Lunch


Afternoon session

Chair : Cécile Vanderpelen (CIERL-ULB)


14h00 : Thomas Aquinas, Neo-Thomism, and the Transnationally-Entangled Emergence of the Indian Judiciary as a Politico-Theological Institution, 1973-2015
Milinda Banerjee (Presidency University Kolkata / LMU Munich)

What a Legal Historian can learn from the Neo-Thomist Revival of John Poinsot's Tractatus de Signis (1632-4) Adolfo Giuliani (Roma III / University of Helsinki)

17h00 : Closing discussion

Panel of the keynote speakers chaired
Wim Decock (KU Leuven)

18h00 : End



Questions : KADOC-KU Leuven

Documentation and Research Centre for Religion, Culture and Society
Vlamingenstraat 39 • B-3000 Leuven - Tel. +32 (0)16 32 35 00
Mobile Peter Heyrman +32 (0)479 74 22 59

Jointly organized by KADOC, the Institute of Philosophy and the Research Unit of Roman Law and Legal History of KU Leuven

Irish college
Janseniusstraat 1
3000 Leuven - Belgique


Conférence des Doyens
Université numérique juridique Francophone
Avec le soutien de l'Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques
Avec le soutien du Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de l'Innovation.
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