Thomas Cajetan and Ambroius Catharinus

Steven Avery

The pair of Thomas Cajetan and Ambrosius Catharinus

Often give an interesting window to the early 1500s.

Cajetan prefigures Richard Simon with a type of scholastic skepticism.

does have an interesting Dionysius reference, which however seems to be a Ps-Dionysius of little relevance, as well as referencing the Vulgate Prologue.

The Two Gentlemen

Thomas Cajetan
Catholic Encyclopedia - Herbermann

Ambrousius Catharinus == Lancelotto Politi - (1483–1553) - Dominican canon lawyer

Epistolae Pauli et aliorum Apostolorum / ad graecam veritatem (1531)

Epistolae Pauli et aliorum Apostolorum ad graecam veritatem castigate [et] per ... Thomam de Vio ... iuxta sensum literalem enarratae / recens in lucem editae. (1536)
Cajetan -

Annotationes in commentaria Caietani denuo multo locupletiores et castigatiores redditae (1542)
Jerome's Vulgate Prologue
Dionysius and the celestial harmony!

Ad reverendissimum patrem... Joannem de Fenario... Annotationes fratris Ambrosii Catharini Politi,... in excerpta quaedam de commentariis reverendissimi cardinalis Caietani S. Nisti, dogmata Catharinus (1535)

Catharinus (1953)

Catharinus (1984)[]=all&lookfor[]=Catharinus&filter[]=authorStr:Ambrosius Catharinus, Archbishop of Conza, 1484-1553&ft=

Cajetan Latin - from the 1531 above

[190r, Line 34-45]
"QVONIAM tres sunt qui testimonium dant in coelo: pater verbum & spiritus sanctus, & hi tres vnum sunt.

(Grantley quote)
Si hęc verba sunt de textu, afferuntur ad manifestandum quod dictum est quod spiritus est veritas. Dixi autem si sunt de textu: quoniam non inueniuntur in omnibus codicibus græcis, sed in aliquibus. Vnde autem ista diuersitas processerit nescimus.

ET TRES sunt qui testimonium dant in terra: spiritus / aqua & sanguis, & hi tres vnum sunt]. Non sic græce habetur, sed sic. QVONIAM tres sunt qui testificantur: spiritus / aqua & sanguis, & tres in vnum sunt.] Ita quod postquam dictum est quoniam spiritus est veritas / subiungitur quoniam tres sunt qui testificantur, spiritus aqua & sanguis. directe reddendo rationem propositorum: videlicet quod iesus venit in aqua & sanguine / & spiritus est qui testificatur. Horum enim dictorum ratio redditur ex hoc quoniam hi tres (sanguis aqua & spiritus) testificantur quidem, sed in vnum coeunt: videlicet testimonium spiritus. Spiritus enim est qui testificatur: sanguis autem & aqua sub spiritu testificantur. immo ipse spiritus testificatur & de sanguine christi oblato in cruce & de aqua baptismali. Ecce officium spiritus, quod (vt diximus) intendit manifestare.


Commentary and Background

The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus (1997)
Craig S. Farmer

2. Cajetan’s indebtedness to the humanists is seen in three main areas. First, he argued for exegesis based upon the original Greek and Hebrew. Although he lacked the necessary skills for independent linguistic analysis, Cajetan compensated for his deficiencies by employing assistants to help him understand the meaning of the original languages. Second, Cajetan purposefully limited himself to a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible. While he did not assert that the spiritual levels of meaning were entirely invalid, he believed that misguided interpretations of the Bible had often been introduced under the guise of spiritual exegesis. Third, Cajetan published opinions that were rooted in the textual and canon criticism of the humanists. Thus, he doubted the authenticity of passage lacking a strong textual witness (Mk I6:9ff., Jn 8: l-i 1), and he expressed suspicion concerning the canonicity of Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 John, and Jude. Cajetan also argued that the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament should be placed on a level of secondary authority.
Pre-Tridentine Doctrine : A review of the Commentary on the Scriptures of Cardinal Cajetan (1891)
Robert C. Jenkins

Biblical Scholarship and the Church: A Sixteenth-century Crisis of Authority
Allan K. Jenkins, Patrick Preston
Chapter 7
Reaction of the Dominicans to Cajetan's Biblical Commentaries
And heavenly witnesses is p. 58-59
Erasmus' Debates with Traditionalists
see also p. 186-188

David Martin

Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534 AD) : "only in some Greek MSS"
In the year 1529, Cardinal Cajetan (1469-1534 AD) wrote a Comment upon the Epistles, and being come to the first Epistle of John, he declares himself not fully satisfied, that the words of the seventh verse, "for there are three, etc." were St. John's; because, tho they were in some, he had not found them in all Greek MSS.

"If these words," says he, "belong to the Text, they are added to prove what before was observed, that the Spirit is truth: I say, if they belong to the Text because they are to be met with only in some Greek MSS not in all: But whence," adds he, "this diversity proceeds, I must profess, I'm unable to determine."

Martin, David.
A Critical Dissertation Upon the Seventh Verse of the Fifth Chapter of St. John's First Epistle: There Are Three, That Bear Record in Heaven, &C. Wherein the Authentickness of This Text Is Fully Prov'd against the Objections of Mr. Simon and the Modern Arians. Written Originally in French by Mr. Martin, and Now Translated into English. London: Printed for William and John Innys, at the Prince's Arms at the West End of St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1719.
Grantley McDonald

Biblical Criticism

The dramatic opposition of Lee, Stunica, Pio and the Paris faculty might lead one to conclude that Catholic scholars inevitably disagreed with Erasmus’ position on the comma, but this was not the case. The Dominican Tommaso de Vio Caetano (Cajetan), Luther’s adversary at the Diet of Augsburg in 1518, agreed with Erasmus on the doubtful status of the comma:

‘If these words belong to the text, they are applied to make manifest what was just said: namely, that the Spirit is truth. But I said, "If these words belong to the text,” since they are not found in all the Greek codices, but only in some. We do not know how that diversity came about.’107

Some took Cajetan’s admission badly. Ambrosius Catharinus (1535) criticised Erasmus for calling into doubt what the church had accepted in its liturgical practice for so long, and accused him of striving after pointless and potentially heretical novelty. Catharinus also excoriated Cajetan for following Erasmus’ example. To interfere with the textual integrity or interpretation of the comma was to invite a revival of Arianism.108 In a second edition of his critique (1542), Catharinus noted pseudo-Jerome’s opinion that the comma been omitted by careless translators.109

107 Cajetan 1531,1901-; cf. Bludau 1903a, 402-403.
108 Catharinus 1535, 43-44.
109 Catharinus 1542, 33; cf. Bludau 1903a, 403.

Cajetan, Tommaso de Vio. Epistolae Pauli et aliorum apostolorum adgraecam veritatem castigatae. Venice: Giunta, 1531.

Catharinus, Ambrosius. Annotationes [...] in excerpta quaedam de commentarijs Reuerendissimi Cardinalis Caietani S. Xisti, dogmata. Paris: Simon de Colines, 1535.
Annotationes in Commentaria Caietani denuo multo locupletiores & castigatiores redditae. Lyon: Bonhomme, 1542.
Additional commentary available from:

Disputatio Theologica Ex dicto Apostolico 1. Joh. 5. v. 7. Tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum & Spiritus sanctus, & hi tres unum sunt:
A Johanne Gerhardo




Cattharinus WIP

The two had the earliest back-and-forth on the Mark ending:

[TC-Alternate-list] EoM - Cajetan and Catharinus
Steven Avery - Nov, 2008

The Turning Point for Mark 16:9-20

Cajetan's Biblical Commentaries (2017)
Michael O'Connor

James Morison
Last edited: