Roselli, Salvatore Maria

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Dominican philosopher and theologian; b. Naples, date unknown; d. Rome, 1784. He taught at the College of St. Thomas at Rome (Minerva), and while there he furnished the basis for the Thomistic reconstruction of the 19th century. Personally reacting against the philosophy of descartes, Roselli supported the directives of the masters general of the order to promote the philosophy of St. thomas. He wrote a Summa philosophiae (6 v. Rome 177783; Madrid 1788; 4 v. Bologna 1857), in which he presented authentic scholastic philosophy "ad mentem Angelici Doctoris." It was widely disseminated in Italy and Spain and frequently reprinted. A compendium of the work (3 v.) appeared at Rome in 1837. Roselli gave evidence of a comprehensive knowledge of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy. In his Summa he offered, in the form of a dialogue, a comparison between the classical thomistic philosophy and modern systems of empiricism, rationalism, Cambridge Platonism, and naturalism. He wisely substituted contemporary questions for the minutiae and subtleties characteristic of the medieval writers and their commentators. Because of the number of sources that Roselli employed in his Summa, some historians question his adherence to St. Thomas, suggesting that he might be better described as eclectic. In general, Roselli's work can be said to have marked the beginning of everything in the movement that goes by the name of neothomism.

Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae (Innsbruck 190313) 5.1:259. i. e. narciso, "Tomismo e filosofia moderna nella Summa philosophiae del Domenico Salvatore Roselli," Aquinas 7.2 (1964) 203237. a. walz, Dottrina e scuola (Rome 1943) 1112. a. masnova, Il neo-tomismo in Italia (Milan 1923).

[f. j. roensch]