I. Introduction

The Neoscholastic tradition formed the mainstream of Western Catholic theology and philosophy from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Neoscholasticism is also called–sometimes pejoratively–the Manualist tradition, after the textbooks (Handbooks, Manuals or Enchiridia) that were its distinguishing literary output; or (in some cases accurately) Thomism or Neo-Thomism, because most of its authors adhered to the mind and method of St. Thomas Aquinas and his disciples, particularly those in the Silver Age of Scholasticism.

The Neoscholastics shared three major characteristics: first, their fidelity to Divine Revelation as interpreted by the teaching Church; second, their openness to rational speculation; and third, their reliance on the dialectical method, technical language, and theological insights of Medieval and Renaissance Scholasticism. In sum, Neoscholastic literature is marked by logical rigor and precision of expression, and manifests an abiding confidence in the supremacy of Faith, the capacity of Reason, and the authority of the Church.

To take one example: The Pohle-Preuss Dogmatic Theology series, in discussing each article of the Christian Faith, carefully distinguished (a) the definitions of the teaching Church on the basis of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason, adherence to which is non-negotiable; (b) the consensus of theological opinion, adherence to which is recommended; and (c) the issues that remain open for inquiry. In doing so it would summarize the centuries of debate that led to each definition or point of consensus, methodically refute errors and contrary opinions, and set out the parameters for further research.

Neoscholastic works thus read like scientific treatises, which was exactly what they were, albeit in a field of study higher than natural science. Their dry precision helped secure the moorings of Western Catholic thought, even as the poetry and passion of devotional literature elevated Western Catholic piety. Together, Neoscholastic theology and devotional spirituality allowed the Latin half of the Church to flourish despite the crises of the 19th and 20th centuries: the assault of secular humanism, the rise of totalitarian ideology, and the emergence of post-Christian civilization.

From the mid-20th century onwards, Neoscholasticism was eclipsed by the Nouvelle Theologie, an array of schools that promoted recourse to pre-Scholastic theology, engagement with Modern Western philosophy, the use of non-technical language, and employment of experiential thought-forms. Today these schools are predominant in Western Catholic theology; and while some of their adherents have fallen away into error and “dissent” through intellectual pride and love of the world, others have remained humble servants and even become steadfast champions of God-given truth and law, like Dietrich Von Hildebrand and Pope Benedict XVI.

Nonetheless, Neoscholasticism remains a valuable resource for Catholic Christians, especially theologians and apologists, whose work could benefit from using its precise methodology in confronting new questions and erroneous opinions; so that, even as we explore uncharted waters, we would be guided by the stars. We could also draw strength from the insight and example of the Neoscholastics who, faithful to the Church and nourished by her tradition, fearlessly faced the cavils of the world–not by ignoring contrary opinions or thundering with proof-texts, but by considered argument and rational discourse.

I pray with joy and hope that we will come to see Neoscholasticism and the descendants of la Nouvelle Theologie as complementing and not clashing viewpoints: that, to paraphrase the Blessed Pope John Paul II, Latin theology may see with its two eyes. For just as the fusion of Scholasticism and Humanism, once bitter rivals, made the Tridentine period a most brilliant age of Christian thought and culture, so the combined insights of Neoscholasticism and Nouvelle Theologie–logic and experience, tradition and development–could usher in an Age of Wonders for the one true Church.

Lord Jesus Christ, you shower wisdom upon Your Church by the gift of Your Spirit. As we obey to Your Vicar’s call to follow the mind and method of Your servant St. Thomas Aquinas, move us to imitate his holiness, his humble obedience, and his openness to truth, that we might bring Your light to all the nations. Amen.

Posted on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. (BTW, This is our 300th post, blessed be God!) You may also see our earlier post, Free ebooks by and about St. Thomas Aquinas, which was posted on the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite.

II. Index of Neo-Scholastic Works
This list is unfinished, and more books will be listed down as the Project progresses. Please comment if you know of any book that should be included, or of any book we should omit. Deus tecum.

  1. A Brief Text-Book of Logic and Mental Philosophy, by Charles Coppens, 1835-1920 (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1891). Available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: University of California Libraries).
  2. A Brief Text-Book of Moral Philosophy, by Charles Coppens, 1835-1920 (New York: Schwartz, Kirwin & Fauss, 1895; copyright 1895 by the Catholic School Book Company). Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: University of California Libraries).
  3. Christ the Savior: A Commentary on the Third Part of St. Thomas‘ Theological Summa, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. May be read online on EWTN Library and TheSumma.info.
  4. Christian Apologetics; a Defense of the Catholic Faith, by Walter Devivier, 1833-1915, edited by Sebastian Gebhard Messmer, 1847-1930 (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1903). With Imprimatur. Available on Open Library and Internet Archive; and may be read on Catholic Tradition (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: University of California Libraries).
  5. A Christian apology: Volume 1, God and Nature, by Paul Schanz, translated by Michael F. Glancey and Victor J. Schobel (Ratisbon, Rome, New York, Cincinnati: Frederick Pustet & Co., 1891). Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  6. A Christian apology: Volume 2, God and Revelation, by Paul Schanz, translated by Michael F. Glancey and Victor J. Schobel (Ratisbon, Rome, New York, Cincinnati: Frederick Pustet & Co., 1891). Available in various formats at Internet Archive, with a second copy here.
  7. A Christian apology: Volume 3, The Church, by Paul Schanz, translated by Michael F. Glancey and Victor J. Schobel (Ratisbon, Rome, New York, Cincinnati: Frederick Pustet & Co., 1891). Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  8. Dogmatic Theology I. God: His Knowability, Essence, and Attributes, a dogmatic treatise, prefaced by a brief general introduction to the study of dogmatic theology, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss. St. Louis: Herder. 1916. With Imprimatur. Available in multiple formats on Internet archive and Open LibraryOpen Library and Internet Archive, (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Robarts – University of Toronto) as of 12 February 2012
  9. Dogmatic theology II. The Divine Trinity, a dogmatic treatise Pohle, Joseph, translated by Arthur Preuss. St. Louis: Herder, 1916. With Imprimatur. Available in multiple formats at Internet archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto) as of February 12, 2012. The 1912 edition is also available at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: Google, Book from the collections of: New York Public Library)
  10. Dogmatic theology III. God: The Author of Nature and the Supernatural, a dogmatic treatise, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss. St. Louis : Herder, 1916. Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto). The 1912 edition with Imprimatur is also available at Open Library and Internet archive(Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Robarts – University of Toronto)
  11. Dogmatic theology IV. Christology: a dogmatic treatise on the Incarnation, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis: Herder, 1916). With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto). The 1913 2nd edition with Imprimatur is also available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto)
  12. Dogmatic Theology V. Soteriology: a dogmatic treatise on the redemption, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo. : Herder, c1913). With Imprimatur. Available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  13. Dogmatic Theology VI. Mariology; a dogmatic treatise on the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: Herder, 1914). With Imprimatur. Available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: Boston Library Consortium Member Libraries, Book contributor: Wellesley College Library). 1919 edition with Imprimatur also available on Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly – University of Toronto)
  14. Dogmatic Theology VII. Grace, actual and habitual: a dogmatic treatise, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: Herder, 1919). With Imprimatur. Available in PDF, Full Text and DjVu at Internet Archive (Book contributor: University of Toronto). Another copy of the 1919 edition with Imprimatur is available in PDF, Full text, and EPUB formats at Internet Archive and Project Gutenberg (Book contributor: Project Gutenberg). [NB, These are the best PDF copies online]. Still another copy of the 1919 edition is available in mutiple formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto). The 1915 edition with Imprimatur is available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: New York Public Library).
  15. Dogmatic Theology VIII. The sacraments: a dogmatic treatise. Vol 1. The Sacraments in General, Baptism, Confirmation, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1917) With Imprimatur. Available on multiple formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Regis Library, University of Toronto).
  16. Dogmatic Theology IX. The sacraments: a dogmatic treatise. Volume II, The Holy Eucharist, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1915) With Imprimatur. Available on multiple formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  17. Dogmatic Theology X. The sacraments: a dogmatic treatise. Vol. III, Penance, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1915). With Imprimatur. Available on multiple formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: New York Public Library).
  18. Dogmatic Theology XI. The sacraments: a dogmatic treatise, Vol. IV, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, Matrimony, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1915). With Imprimatur. Available on multiple formats at Open Library and Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: New York Public Library).
  19. Dogmatic Theology XII. Eschatology: or, The Catholic doctrine of the last things: a dogmatic treatise, by Joseph Pohle, translated by Arthur Preuss (St. Louis, Mo.: B. Herder, 1918, c1917) With Imprimatur. Available on multiple formats at Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN, Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  20. Grace: Commentary on the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Dogmatic theology, Soteriology. May be read online on EWTN Library.
  21. Life Everlasting, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. May be read online at Catholic Treasury.
  22. A Manual of Apologetics, by Franz Xavier Jos. Koch, translated by Anna Maud Buchanan, ed. Charles Paul Bruehl (New York, J. F. Wagner, 1915). With Imprimatur. Apologetics. Available at Internet Archive (Digitizing sponsor: Google) and Open Library.
  23. A Manual of Ascetical Theology: or, The Supernatural Life of the Soul on Earth and in Heaven, by Arthur Devine (London; New York: R. & T. Washbourne, 1902). With Imprimatur. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  24. A Manual of Catholic Theology; based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik,” Volume 1, 4th ed., revised, by Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas Bartholomew Scannell, with a preface by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.; New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Bros., 1908). Based on the Dogmatik of Matthias Joseph Scheeben. Available at Internet Archive and Open Library [N.B., The Open Library index page incorrectly labels it as Volume 2.]
  25. A Manual of Catholic Theology; based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik,” Volume 2, 3rd ed., revised, by Joseph Wilhelm and Thomas Bartholomew Scannell (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1908). Based on the Dogmatik of Matthias Joseph Scheeben. With Imprimatur. Available at Internet Archive.
  26. Manual of Christian Perfection, by P.J. Stockman, adapted from the celebrated Method of Spiritual Direction by the Rev. J.B. Scaramelli, S.J. With Imprimatur. Available at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  27. A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy, Volume I: Cosmology, Psychology, Epistemology (Criteriology), General Metaphysics (Ontology), by Cardinal Mercier and Professors of the Higher Institute of Philosophy, Louvain, authorized translation and eighth edition by T.L. Parker and S.A. Parker, with a preface by P. Coffey, Ph.D. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.; St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916). Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  28. A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy, Volume II: Natural Theology (Theodicy), Logic Ethics, History of Philosophy, by Cardinal Mercier and Professors of the Higher Institute of Philosophy, Louvain, authorized translation and eighth edition by T.L. Parker and S.A. Parker, with a preface by P. Coffey, Ph.D. (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.; St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library. The third impression (1922) is available at Internet Archive.
  29. A Manual of Moral Theology for English-Speaking Countries, Volume I, 5th and revised edition, by Rev. Thomas Slater, S.J. (London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1925) With Imprimatur. From microfilm. Available in various formats at Open Library and Internet Archive.
  30. A Manual of Moral Theology for English-Speaking Countries, Volume II, 3rd edition, by Rev. Thomas Slater, S.J., with notes on American legislation by Rev. Michael Martin (New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers, 1908). With Imprimatur. Available in various formats at Internet Archive and Open Library.
  31. A Manual of Mystical Theology, or, The Extraordinary Graces of the Supernatural Life Explained, by Arthur Devine (London: R. & T. Washbourne, 1903). With Imprimatur. Available on Internet Archive and Open Library (Digitizing sponsor: MSN; Book contributor: Kelly Library, University of Toronto).
  32. Moral Theology: A Complete Course Based on St. Thomas Aquinas and the Best Modern Authorities, by John A. McHugh, O.P. and Charles J. Callan, O.P., revised and enlarged by Edward P. Farrell, O.P. (New York City: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc.; London: B. Herder). With 1958 Imprimatur. Available in multiple formats at Many Books.net.
  33. Predestination, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. The text, while not yet completely digitized, is available at The Summa.info.
  34. Providence, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Available at EWTN Library.
  35. Reality: A Synthesis Of Thomistic Thought, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Available at EWTN Library .
  36. The Three Ages of the Interior Life, by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. On Prayer and Spirituality. May be read online on Christian Perfection, accessed through Catholic Treasury. [According to the website, The summary of a course in ascetical and mystical theology given for over 20 years at the Angelicum in Rome].
  37. The Trinity and God the Creator, Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. Dogma. May be read online on EWTN Library.
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