Medina, Bartolomé de
MEDINA, BARTOLOMÉ DE
Dominican theologian; b. Medina de Rioseco, near Valladolid, 1527 or 1528; d. Salamanca, Jan. 29, 1580. He entered the Dominican Order at Salamanca. With Dominic Bañez, he was the pupil of Dominic Soto and Melchior Cano. Though well versed in Greek and Hebrew, Medina devoted his life almost entirely to teaching theology, at Alcalá and then at Salamanca, first in the chair of Durandus, and afterward as the principal professor. He was appointed, in 1576, to the cathedra primaria after a successful public debate against the learned Augustinian, John of Guevara. Medina's principal works are his commentaries on the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas. Only the commentaries on the prima pars (Salamanca 1577) and the tertia pars to question 60 (Salamanca 1578) are published. He also wrote the Breve instucción de comme se ha administrar el Sacramento de la Penitencia (Salamanca 1580). Medina is usually called the father of probabilism, but scholars are not agreed about his teaching on this question. Some hold that he only formulated probabilism when he wrote: "An opinion is probable when we can follow it without censure and reproof. An opinion is not said to be probable because apparent reasons are adduced in its favor and many assert and defend it. If this were true, all errors would be probable. But an opinion is probable when wise men assert and confirm it with excellent proofs" (Comment. in ST, 1a2ae, 19.6). Others say he proposed the principle but did not use it in practice. Quétif and Échard and also Billuart maintain that Medina's system differed greatly from later probabilism. Quétif and Échard admit that Medina opened the way for a flood of probabilist theory and said: "St. Thomas is our master, others only insofar as they follow his teaching" (Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum 2:257). Probabiliorists, when such were still to be found, were loath to admit that he proposed a new doctrine; probabilists do not wish to give him all the credit for introducing a new system of forming the conscience in doubtful cases.
Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum 2.1:256–257. m. m. gorce, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 10.1:481–485. t. deman, ibid. 13.1:463–470, esp. bibliog. 463.
[e. m. rogers]