Soto, Domingo de
SOTO, DOMINGO DE
Theologian; b. Segovia, 1494; d. Salamanca, Nov. 15, 1560. He received his early education in Segovia. Poverty forced him to seek employment as a sacristan in the church of a neighboring village, Ocando, where he began to develop a true spirit of piety and a love of study. At the University of Alcalá he studied logic and philosophy under thomas of villanova and became a close friend of Pedro Fernandez de Saavedra, who later became a missionary to America. After his studies at Alcalá, De Soto attended the University of Paris, received his baccalaureate, and immediately began his theological studies; but a longing for Spain cut short his stay in Paris and he returned to Alcalá. The chair of philosophy was vacant and De Soto won an appointment to it in 1520. He established himself as a brilliant scholar, pitting Aristotelian thought against the nominalism of his day.
Quite suddenly he resigned his post and made a retreat at the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat. His original intention was to become a Benedictine but the retreat master directed him to the Dominicans. He made his profession in the Dominican priory of Burgos on July 23, 1525. Domingo de Soto was immediately assigned to the house of studies in Segovia as a professor of dialectics. He taught there for seven years and during that time compiled a manual of logic, Summulae F. Dñci Soto Segobiensis, Ord. Praed. Magistri (Burgos 1529). This treatise was renowned for its simplicity, precision, and clarity. In 1532 his superiors sent him to Salamanca to occupy one of the order's chairs at the University in that city.
The Emperor Charles V selected him to be his imperial theologian at the Council of Trent. De Soto's work at the Council was varied. He won recognition as a man of sterling character, true piety, and deep learning. He labored diligently in the task of formulating schemata and solving difficult questions. He defended the doctrines of original sin, predestination, justification, merit, and others against the attacks of the Protestant theologians. He also wrote the treatise De Natura et Gratia (Venice 1547) and dedicated it to the conciliar fathers. In the meantime, he acted in another capacity. When the Dominican master general Albertus Casuas died before the opening of the Council, De Soto was appointed to serve as the order's representative during the first four sessions. Although a new general was elected in 1546, De Soto continued to serve as the Dominican representative during the fifth and sixth sessions.
When in 1547 the Council was interrupted, Charles requested that De Soto be appointed his confessor and spiritual advisor. He also sought to nominate De Soto for the vacant See of Segovia, but De Soto refused the honor and returned to Salamanca in 1550. Here he was elected prior of the ancient Dominican priory founded in the time of St. Dominic. In 1552, when Melchior cano resigned from the first chair of theology at the University of Salamanca in order to accept a bishopric, De Soto was chosen to succeed him, a choice approved by the university and student body. This was his crowning glory, and he taught with success the doctrines of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine. He retired from his professorship in 1556.
His principal works are: In dialecticam Aristotelis commentarii (Salamanca 1544), Commentarii in libros Physicorum (ibid. 1545), In tres libri De anima (unedited), Quaestiones in libros Physicorum (ibid. 1545), Deliberatio in causa pauperum (Venice 1547), In Epistolam divi Pauli ad Romanos commentarii (Antwerp 1550), In quartam sententiarum commentarii (Salamanca 1557), and De institia et iure (ibid. 1556).
Bibliography: j. quÉtif and j. Échard, Scriptores Ordinis Praedicatorum, 5 v. (Paris 1719–23) 2.1:171–174. a. m. viel, "Dominique Soto 1494–1560: Étude historico-doctrinale," Revue thomiste (Paris 1893–) 12 (1904) 151–166; 13 (1905) 174–193. a. touron, Histoire des hommes Illustres de l'ordre de St. Dominique, 6 v. (Paris 1743–49) 4:205–216. v. beltrÁn de heredia, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50; Tables Générales 1951–) 14.2:2423–31.
[f. d. nealy]