Juan Luís Vives

Juan Luís Vives

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Juan Luis Vives also Joan Lluís Vives i March (ʒuˈaɲ ʎuˈiz ˈvivez i ˈmaɾk) (6 March 1493 – 6 May 1540), was a Valencian
Valencian people
The Valencians are an ethnic group or nationality whose homeland is the Valencian Community, which is a historical region in eastern Spain. The official languages of Valencia are Catalan , and Spanish ....

 Spanish scholar and humanist
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....



Vives was born in Valencia
Valencia (city in Spain)
Valencia or València is the capital and most populous city of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third largest city in Spain, with a population of 809,267 in 2010. It is the 15th-most populous municipality in the European Union...

. As a child, he saw his father, grandmother and great-grandfather, as well as members of their wider family, executed as Judaizers
Crypto-Judaism is the secret adherence to Judaism while publicly professing to be of another faith; practitioners are referred to as "crypto-Jews"...

 at the behest of the Spanish Inquisition
Spanish Inquisition
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition , commonly known as the Spanish Inquisition , was a tribunal established in 1480 by Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. It was intended to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval...

; his mother was acquitted but died of the plague when he was 15 years old. Shortly thereafter, he left Spain never to return.

He studied at the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

 from 1509 to 1512, and in 1519 was appointed professor of humanities at the University of Leuven
Catholic University of Leuven
The Catholic University of Leuven, or of Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. The university was founded in 1425 as the University of Leuven by John IV, Duke of Brabant and approved by a Papal bull by Pope Martin V.During France's occupation of Belgium in the...

. At the insistence of his friend Erasmus, he prepared an elaborate commentary on Augustine
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

's De Civitate Dei, which was published in 1522 with a dedication to Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

. Soon afterwards, he was invited to England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and acted as tutor to the Princess Mary
Mary I of England
Mary I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death.She was the only surviving child born of the ill-fated marriage of Henry VIII and his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Her younger half-brother, Edward VI, succeeded Henry in 1547...

, for whose use he wrote De ratione studii puerilis epistolae duae (1523) and, ostensibly, De Institutione Feminae Christianae, on the education of girls (a book he dedicated to the English queen, Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...


While in England, he resided at Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
Corpus Christi College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom...

, where he was made doctor of laws and lectured on philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

. Having declared himself against the annulment of the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon
Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...

, he lost royal favour and was confined to his house for six weeks. On his release, he withdrew to Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

, where he devoted the rest of his life to the composition of numerous works, chiefly directed against the scholastic philosophy and the preponderant unquestioning authority of Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. The most important of his treatises is the De Causis Corruptarum Artium, which has been ranked with Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

's Organon.

His most important pedagogic work are Introductio ad sapientiam (1524), De disciplinis, which stressed the urgent importance of more rational programs of studying; De prima philosophia; and the Exercitatio linguae latinae, which is a Latin textbook consisting of a series of brilliant dialogues. His philosophical works include De anima et vita (1538), De veritate fidei Christianae and "De Subventione Pauperum Sive de Humanis Necessitatibus" (On Assistance To The Poor) (1526); the first tract of its kind in the Western world to treat the problem of urban poverty and propose concrete suggestions for a policy of social legislation. Vives detected through philological analysis
Textual criticism
Textual criticism is a branch of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification and removal of transcription errors in the texts of manuscripts...

 that the supposed author of the so-called Letter of Aristeas
Letter of Aristeas
The so-called Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates is a Hellenistic work of the 2nd century BCE, one of the Pseudepigrapha. Josephus who paraphrases about two-fifths of the letter, ascribes it to Aristeas and written to Philocrates, describing the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law by...

, purporting to describe the Biblical translation of the Septuagint, could not have been a Greek but must have been a Jew who lived after the events he described had transpired.

He died at Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 in 1540 at the age of 48.

Contemporary Relevance

Vives imagined and described a comprehensive theory of education; he may have directly influenced the essays of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. He was admired by Thomas More
Thomas More
Sir Thomas More , also known by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman and noted Renaissance humanist. He was an important councillor to Henry VIII of England and, for three years toward the end of his life, Lord Chancellor...

 and Erasmus, who wrote that Vives "will overshadow the name of Erasmus."

Vives is considered the first scholar to analyze the psyche directly. He did extensive interviews with people, and noted the relation between their exhibition of affect, and the particular words and issues they were discussing. While it is unknown if Freud was familiar with Vives's work, historian of psychiatry Gregory Zilboorg considered Vives a godfather of psychoanalysis. (A History of Medical Psychology, 1941) and the father of father of modern psychology by Foster Watson (1915.)

Vives taught monarchs. His idea of a diverse and concrete children's education long preceded Jean Jacques Rousseau, and may have indirectly influenced Rousseau through Montaigne. Vives altered classical rhetoric to express his own sort of pro-virginity half-feminism - which remains of interest to historians of gender. Among 16th century Spain's numerous "treatises for and against women," Vives "steers a middle path" (p. xxiv-xxv), neither misogynist nor sanctifying.

However influential he may have been in the 16th century, Vives now attracts minimal interest beyond specialized academic fields.

Major works

  • Opuscula varia (1519), collection of small works include Vives' first philosophical works, De initiis, sectis et laudibus philosophiae.
  • Adversus pseudodialecticos (1520)
  • De subventione pauperum. Sive de humanis necessitatibus libri II (1525), dealing with the problem of poverty.
  • De Europae dissidis et Republica (1526).
  • De concordia et discordia in humano genere (1529).
  • De pacificatione (1529).
  • Quam misera esset vita chistianorum sub Turca (1529).
  • De disciplinis libri XX (1531). An encyclopedical work, divided into three parts: De causis corruptarum artium, De tradendis disciplinis and De artibus
  • De conscribendis epistolis
    De conscribendis epistolis
    On the Writing of Letters was a popular Early Modern guide to the art of letter writing by Spanish humanist Juan Luis Vives. First published in 1534 in conjunction with Desiderius Erasmus' treatise of the same name, Vives's work attempts to teach letter writers how to engage a variety of...

     (1534), a treatise on letter writing.
  • De anima et vita (1538)
  • De Europeae statu ac tumultibus, a mediation addressing to the Pope to ask peace between the Christian princes.
  • Introductio ad sapientiam (1524), the most important of his pedagogical works.
  • De institutione feminae christianae, was dedicated to Catherine of Aragon
    Catherine of Aragon
    Catherine of Aragon , also known as Katherine or Katharine, was Queen consort of England as the first wife of King Henry VIII of England and Princess of Wales as the wife to Arthur, Prince of Wales...


External links

  • Juan Luis Vives (Joannes Ludovicus Vives) at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is a freely-accessible online encyclopedia of philosophy maintained by Stanford University. Each entry is written and maintained by an expert in the field, including professors from over 65 academic institutions worldwide...