Studia Neoaristotelica

Volume 20, Issue 2, 2023

Claus A. Andersen
Pages 195-226

Middle Knowledge in the Middle of the 17th Century
Notes on a Recent Book by Sven K. Knebel

The year 2021 saw the publication of Sven K. Knebel’s new book on Middle Knowledge. It is an exceedingly important research publication which deserves scholarly attention. The book contains a long introduction (consisting of various studies) and an edition of the fourth book of the Irish Jesuit theologian Luke Wadding’s incomplete work on scholastic theology. This present review article first recapitulates the origins and historical significance of the doctrine of Middle Knowledge. Then Knebel’s book as well as the career of Luke Wadding are introduced. I then discuss the place of Wadding’s work in the Jesuit discourse of ‘concordia’ and its relation to Molinism. In the subsequent sections, I investigate various doctrines defended by Wadding. These include his view of disjunctive necessity, his variant of the doctrine known as ‘connectionism’, and his use of various kinds of distinctions in theology. The study concludes with a critical assessment of Knebel’s publication. Despite all praise, I disagree with Knebel’s all too pessimistic view of the research landscape: We will soon be pondering over why Early Modern scholasticism has received so much attention in recent scholarship, rather than why it did not do so in the past.