Aristotelian Practical Philosophy from Melanchthon to Eisenhart: protestant Commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics 1529–1682

Manfred Svensson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The place of the Nicomachean Ethics as the standard textbook for the teaching of ethics remained unaltered during the Reformation and post-Reformation era. As a result, close to forty commentaries on this work were published in Protestant territories between 1529 and 1682. Most of these commentaries have previously been listed in studies of the history of Aristotle’s reception, but only a very small number have been the object of more specific study. This article presents a survey of this tradition in both its Lutheran and Reformed trajectory, and it deals with the elements of the medieval and the Renaissance traditions of Aristotelian commentary that permeate Protestant Aristotelianism. Finally, it discusses the way in which the Aristotelian understanding of practical philosophy was received by these early modern Protestants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-238
Number of pages21
JournalReformation and Renaissance Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research for this article was made thanks to the generous funding of the Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Cient?fico y Tecnol?gico (Fondecyt), [grant number 1170628], ?De Felipe Melanchthon a Johannes Eisenhart. La distincio?n entre lo justo legal y lo justo natural en los tempranos comentarios protestantes a E?tica a Nico?maco V, 7 1134b18-1135a5?. I thank Alfonso Herreros, Jos? Antonio Poblete, Joaqu?n Garc?a-Huidobro, Eric Hutchinson, and the editors of this RRR Special Issue for their comments. Very special thanks go to David Sytsma for his expert advice and help in finding some of these commentaries.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, © 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Aristotelian commentators
  • Aristotle
  • Melanchthon
  • Nicomachean Ethics
  • Protestant Aristotelianism
  • moral philosophy


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