chapter  IX
6 Pages


We have attempted to represent, in a varying degree of detail, the leading thoughts of Lucas de Penna, the Neapolitan scholar without an academic chair and without an academic public. He was a lonely figure grappling with the intricacies of law, keeping himself aloof from the more turbulent and ostentatious life which the position of an academic teacher entails, who wrote solely for his own delight and, we may reasonably assume, out of an innate urge to find the truth underlying the idea of law. It is due precisely to his craving for knowledge and for a better understanding of the various and complicated forces by which social life is effectively regulated that his doctrines reveal everywhere a genuine spirit of profound scholarship, permeated by an unshakable and unerring sense of morality. His scholarly mind was repulsed by the superficiality and commonplaces which he condemned in contemporary scholarship. He knew that his doctrines and disquisitions could not appeal to the broad public. He undertook the laborious and unspectacular task of commenting upon the neglected Tres Libri merely to satisfy his own thirst for knowledge, as he so often points out in his commentaries. As a practical lawyer, he strongly felt the inadequacies of current legal thought. Out of an inexhaustible urge for creative and constructive work he wrote his prolific commentaries. The very fact that there was no necessity for him to undertake this difficult task, which he set himself, bears testimony to his scientific zeal. And this fact the more deserves our regard, because it is in this that the internal value of his work lies.