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MELCHIOR CANO (1525-1560)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 189 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MELCHIOR CANO (1525-1560), Spanish theologian, born at Taranpon, in New Castile, joined the Dominican order at an early age at Salamanca, where in 1546 he succeeded to the theological chair in that university. A man of deep learning and originality, proud and a victim to the odium theologicum, he could brook no rivalry. The only one who at that time could compare with him was the gentle Bartolomeo de Caranza, also a Dominican and afterwards archbishop of Toledo. At the university the schools were divided between the partisans of the two professors; but Cano pursued his rival with relentless virulence, and took part in the condemnation for heresy of his brother-friar. The new society of the Jesuits, as being the fore-runners of Antichrist, also met with his violent opposition; and he was not grateful to them when, after attending the council of Trent in 1545, he was sent, by their influence, in 1552, as bishop of the far-off see of the Canaries. His personal influence with Philip II. soon procured his recall, and he was made provincial of his order in Castile. In 1556 he wrote his famous Consultatio theologica, in which he advised the king to resist the temporal encroachments of the papacy and, as absolute monarch, to defend his rights by bringing about a radical change in the administration of ecclesiastical revenues, thus making Spain less dependent on Rome. With this in his mind Paul IV. styled him " a son of perdition." The reputation of Cano, however, rests on a posthumous work, De Locis theologicis (Salamanca, 1562), which stands to-day unrivalled in its own line. In this, a genuine work of the Renaissance, Cano endeavours to free dogmatic theology from the vain subtleties of the schools and, by clearing away the puerilities of the later scholastic theologians, to bring religion back to first principles; and, by giving rules, method, co-ordination and system, to build up a scientific treatment of theology. He died at Toledo on the 3oth of September 156o. (E. TN.)
End of Article: MELCHIOR CANO (1525-1560)
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