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Treatise on Law




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STEP - St. Thomas Education Project
Collegio Universitario ARCES Universitat Internacional de Catalunya Pázmány Péter Catholic University

  Rediscovering the Roots of Western Culture and Civilization

The Concept of Law in Thomas Aquinas



STEP is an international multi-language cultural project on Thomas Aquinas’s concept of law, which is being co-financed by the European Commission and co-organized by:



The following cultural and academic institutions congratulated this project and offered their collaboration to its scientific undertakings:



STEP aims to enhance and enrich the cultural debate on the foundation of political community, on the relationship between law and morals, and on the cultural patrimony of Western civilization by focusing on the concept of law as developed by Thomas Aquinas.


In Europe, the public debate on the common values and cultural patrimony of Western civilization flared up recently, especially after the monetary union was established and the constitution of the European Union was drafted and approved. The process of Europe’s political unification is currently moving so quickly that it is difficult to identify and maintain clear foundational principles to guide it. This is unfortunate because politics is strong and healthy when culture adequately supports and orients its activities.


In America, the ongoing and very fruitful debate on liberalism and multiculturalism keeps raising the question about the relevance of tradition to the foundation of political community. What is the real ground of political community, consent or tradition? What values should be part of political discussion and action? Can a political community be neutral to the values and history of its own civilization? Some modern trends of the US Supreme Court’s jurisprudence would seem to be opposed to basic principles of the Nation’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence, especially the references to God as the basic ground of the inalienable rights of the human person.


Aquinas, undoubtedly, has been one of the most influential authors in the European culture both during the middle age and during the modern age; today his work is also a subject of renewed interest in America, especially in the United States. As far as the current debate is concerned, one of the most interesting features of Aquinas’s philosophy of law and political philosophy is the intrinsic connection between the concept of law and the ideals that a sound political community should pursue.



STEP pursues its goal


a)      by means of three international conferences: respectively, in Barcelona, in Budapest and in Palermo;


b)      by making freely available on this website both Aquinas’s Treatise on Law and a number of essays related to it in English, Hungarian, Italian, and Spanish.


The Treatise on Law will also be made available in its original language (Latin). The essays will be solicited from leading scholars in the disciplines relevant to Aquinas’s concept of law, such as ethics, metaphysics, philosophy of law, political, legal and economic theory, and theology. These scholars will be asked to focus particularly on the questions that make Aquinas’s thought interesting for the contemporary public debate. The present website will include biographical and bibliographical information, and useful links as well.


The scholars who take part in the project will not necessarily belong to the institutions that promote it. These institutions and scholars will actively collaborate both in carrying out a critical work on the text of the Treatise on Law in the four languages involved in the project and in discussing the many issues covered by the essays.


This collaboration will greatly facilitate and improve the scientific debate and exchange between the European and the American scientific communities. The scientific debate that will accompany and follow the project will positively contribute to the worldwide public debate in political, ethical and legal theory.


Moreover, this scientific work on Aquinas’s concept of law will greatly contribute to the rediscovery and promotion of the study and thought of one of the most important sources of Western culture. Needless to say, this recovery of the roots of Western culture is a high priority for both the United States and Europe. People without a past are people without a future.


Every scholar, student, and professional in law, economics, politics, etc., will benefit from the material available on the website. More generally, the public debate both national and international, will benefit from this specialized study of Aquinas’s concept of law and its relevance to the contemporary world.



General Coordinator

Fulvio Di Blasi

National Coordinator for Hungary

Csaba Varga

National Coordinator for Spain

David Lorenzo



Grand Rapids, Michigan