Domingo de Soto (1494–1560)
De iustitia et iure libri decem
Salmanticae: excud. Andreas à Portonarijs (expensis Ioannis Morenae), 1556
S*.3.16(C), title page

Domingo de Soto studied at Alcalá and then Paris before becoming a Dominican in 1524. His textbook on logic, the Summulae, was first published in 1529 and reprinted numerous times before 1600. From 1532, he held the so-called ‘Chair of Vespers’ in Theology at the University of Salamanca. In his 1535 treatise, On Dominion (De Dominio) he denounced the rapacity of the conquistadores which had no justification in their right to preach the Gospel.

In 1550 Soto served as judge on a panel of theologians assembled at Valladolid to assess the arguments of Bartolomé de Las Casas and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda on the treatment of Indians in the New World. Two years later, he published a summary of these arguments, and was appointed to the ‘Chair of Prime’ in Theology at Salamanca. His work Ten Books on Justice and Right (De iustitia et iure libri decem) was first published at Salamanca in 1553–4. Soto produced a revised second edition in 1556, which was subsequently reprinted twenty-seven times before the end of the century. His account of justice as a virtue grounded it in the nature of law and human nature. Soto died in 1560.

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