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Indeed, the basic configuration of casuistical analysis is paradoxical: it posits, on the one hand, synderesis, which supposes the existence of stable general laws which are "always right", and on the other, conscience as involving the variability of perhaps infinite circumstances: "As an epistemological procedure, casuistry fostered a habit of dwelling on particularities and nuances of individual experience, a habit that resisted the putative purpose of casuistry: to reach a certain judgment of acts based on a clear definition of the boundary between culpability and innocence.
The casuistical turn of the late scholastics, however, urged them to modify this general scheme.
17) Creses' casuistical "seeming not to contend" echoes Roxana's earlier advice to Cloria that she give her "seeming consent" to an unwanted proposal of marriage: "which promise cannot binde at all, not onely in respect of your former obligation to Narcissus, but also in regard you are a prisoner, and therefore not tied to any contract made in such a state.
124); equally, `Being of a casuistical turn of mind, whenever theology seemed to be at odds with profit he was always able to dispose of such apparent contradictions without embarrassment' (p.
A Study in Seventeenth-Century English Protestant Moral Theology (London: Geoffrey Chapman, 1967); Henry McAdoo, The Structure of Caroline Moral Theology (London: Longmans, 1949); John McNeill, "Casuistry in the Puritan Age," Religion in Life 12 (Winter 1942-43) 76-89; Elliot Rose, Cases of Conscience: Alternatives Open to Recusants and Puritans Under Elizabeth I and James I (New York: Cambridge University, 1975); Thomas Wood, English Casuistical Divinity during the Seventeenth Century (London: SPCK, 1952).
So the second generation developed a religion of the Word--preached and read and discussed--including casuistical moral divinity, household devotional practice, and diary keeping.
Similarly, they responded to Puritan charges of Anglican sophistry by criticizing the Puritans' own style of argument and by incorporating a tendency for casuistical quibbling into the Martin caricatures on which Shakespeare would partly base Falstaff.
Keith Thomas, shouldering the huge task of examining cases of conscience, dissects casuistical thinking and equivocation in seventeenth-century England which, he argues, deserves to be called the Age of Conscience.
I have argued here that the Roman Catholic casuistical tradition needs to be developed to include a new category of appropriation of evil, if it is adequately to encompass the full range of ways in which one agent's activity can intersect with the illicit actions of another.
In terms of the local English history that directly involved Donne, the Jacobean Oath of Allegiance created a whole new territory for casuistical debate, since English Catholics, forbidden by the pope to take the Oath, were faced by a conflict between two binding imperatives.