Antonio Gerace wrote his dissertation on Biblical Scholarship in Louvain in the “Golden” Sixteenth Century. We interviewed him in person about the book.
Antonio, you wrote your dissertation on biblical scholarship in Louvain. Why did you choose this topic?
Most of the people of our century would not ‘waste’ time discussing the role of grace in the economy of salvation, but in the 16th centuries, debates on this topic were very common since they were used to define who the ‘heretics’ were – and who were the ‘unfaithful’ to be converted or persecuted.
I was therefore interested in the impact that such a theoretical problem had on the real life of people, showing that the ideas may change through the time, but not the power that they have on people.
Can you tell us something on the conclusions you have drawn?
The 16th century Low Countries are a very interesting study case – for us who are not suffering religious war – and Louvain in particular proved that Catholicism was not a monolithic block after Trent. On the contrary, dynamism and pluriformity of theological views animated fierce debates among scholars, who wanted to find the ‘faithful’ answer to the troublesome questions: “If God knows everything, in which sense are people free in their decisions? And how does the divine grace relate with human free will?”
Many were the answers, but none of them received a unanimous consensus: since 1607 Catholics are still waiting for the definitive solution of this problematic issue.
Who is Antonio Gerace?
He is a researcher convinced that the knowledge of the past errors may be useful to build a better world for the future generations.