Skip to main content

Terill, Anthony (Bonville)


Jesuit moral theologian; b. Canford (Dorsetshire), 1621; d. Liège, Oct. 11, 1676. His family name was Bonville, or Boville. Although his mother was a Catholic, his father was not, and Terill was brought up in heresy. At the age of 15 he was converted, whereupon he went to the English College of Saint-Omer, taking the name Terill in accordance with the practice, common among Catholics going abroad for study, of using an alias. After several years at St. Omer, Terill went to the English College at Rome to prepare for the priesthood. He was ordained March 6, 1647, and on June 20 of that year he entered the Jesuits. For some time after completing his novitiate he was penitentiary at Loreto and then he taught, successively, philosophy at Florence, philosophy and theology at Parma, and theology and mathematics at the English College at Liège where he was also director of studies and, for three years, rector.

In addition to several theological works, he wrote two books that earned him some distinction as a moral theologian. The first of these was Fundamentum totius theologiae moralis seu tractatus de conscientia probabili (Liège 1668). Most moralists who discussed proba bilism did so as part of their treatment of broader topics. Terill was among the first to devote an entire book to the subject, which happened to interest him profoundly, perhaps because he himself was much tortured by scruples. In this book he devised an ingenious explanation of how a person, transgressing a law of which he is invincibly ignorant, does not in fact violate the law of God. Foreseeing in His scientia media of future free events that some individuals would be inculpably ignorant of the law or its applications, God incorporated those exceptions or departures from the general formula of the law into the law itself. This explanation, besides being open to all the objections against probabilism, outraged those to whom the concept of scientia media was unacceptable, and evoked a storm of protest. In reply to his critics Terill wrote his Regula morum, published posthumously at Liège in 1677, and directed especially against his chief adversaries, the Jesuit Miguel de elizalde, and the Dominican daniel concina.

Bibliography: Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus 7:193031, to be used cautiously because of errors in dates. Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae 3 4:284286. h. foley, ed., Records of the English Province of the Society of Jesus, 7 v. (London 187782) 3.1:420421; 6.1:352353. r. brouillard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 15.1:127129.

[p. k. meagher]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Terill, Anthony (Bonville)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 16 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Terill, Anthony (Bonville)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (February 16, 2019).

"Terill, Anthony (Bonville)." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.