Suárez on distributive justice

Daniel Schwartz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Suárez departed from Aquinas and Aristotle on a number of issues. Justice is among these. In this chapter I offer an exposition of Suárez’s theory of distributive justice, which, until very recently, has not been the subject of scholarly attention. While De legibus contains little in the way of a sustained analysis of justice and its types, such treatment can be found in some of his other works. Principal among these is his De iustitia Dei, the fruit of a controversy between Suárez and fellow Jesuit Gabriel Vázquez, whose relationship was marked by overt, often bitter, personal rivalry. What triggered the controversy was Suárez’s criticism of some of the views put forth in the second book of Vázquez’s De cultu adoratione of 1593. Suárez discussed divine justice in more detail in a public lecture delivered at Coimbra four years later, which was harshly criticized by Vázquez in his Commentary on the First Part of the Summa Theologiae. Suárez retaliated by including the lecture that was attacked in his 1599 Opuscula theologica, by reiterating his views on justice in a Lecture on Merit prepared for the academic year 1598–9 (undelivered as classes were adjourned because of an epidemic), and by writing the Disputatio de iustitia Dei.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationInterpreting suárez
Subtitle of host publicationCritical essays
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781139018753
ISBN (Print)9780521509657
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2012.


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