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Rodríguez de Mendoza, Toribio


Peruvian priest, educator, and politician; b. San Juan de la Frontera (Chachapoyas), April 15, 1750; d. Lima, June 10, 1825.

His early education was in his home with a tutor. He soon went to the seminary of San Carlos of Trujillo, and in 1766 he entered the seminary of Santo Toribio of Lima. He was a brilliant student, and on Sept. 22, 1770, he received the degree of doctor of theology in the Real y Pontificia Universidad de San Marcos. A year later, while still a student, he was named professor of philosophy and theology in the Colegio Mayor de San Carlos in Lima. On Feb. 5, 1773, he was made regent of the Cátedra del Maestro de las Sentencias. He was ordained on July 18, 1778 and became curate in Marcaval, a lowly town in the district of Huamachuco, where he carried out his duties as pastor and teacher of the indigenous peoples. On Feb. 3, 1785 he was named vice rector of the Convictorio de San Carlos in Lima; and on Aug. 16, 1786 he became rector, a position he held for 30 years.

Rodríguez de Mendoza is famous, first of all, in the field of education. He took a new approach to teaching, with the advice of Diego Cisneros and the help of Mariano Rivero and Juan Ignacio moreno. They formed a triumvirate that transformed San Carlos by revising the curriculum. They did not make any substantial change in the courses of philosophy, rejecting the methodic doubt of Descartes and the analysis of Condillac as the definitive way for philosophical studies. Mathematics was added to the curriculum. Jurisprudence included natural law, international law, and constitutional law. The courses they settled on for the curriculum of the Convictorio were philosophy, theology, law, mathematics, and humanities. Rodríguez was to teach philosophy and theology; Rivero, natural law, international law, Newtonian physics, and Peruvian law; and Moreno, mathematics. The innovations brought a slow transformation in the education at San Carlos. Lecture halls were filled more and more, for not only the sons of the old conquistadores and the nobility of Lima and Peru came to study, but "from distant lands of all America students came to be instructed in literature, law, and to get new ideas." Rodríguez in later years said: "The Convictorio is a light that brightens the whole continent." It produced a galaxy of intellectual and patriotic leaders: Sánchez Carrión, Mariátegui, Pérez de Tudela, Olmedo, Muñoz, Pedemonte, Figuerola, Cuellar, Colmenares, Herrera, Oricaín, León, and Andueza.

[v. trujillo mena]

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