Jaume Balmes i Urpià

Nineteenth Century Catalan Catholic Philosopher

Jaume Balmes i Urpià was a Catalan Catholic priest, philosopher and theologian, who was born in Vic on August 28th 1810 and died on July 9th 1848 aged only 38.
Throughout the 19th century and early 20th century, Balmes was one of the most influential Catholic thinkers not only in Catalonia and Spain but throughout Europe.

His best-known work was El criterio, although the Encyclpedia Britannica says of him "The best of his philosophical works, which are clear expositions of the scholastic system of thought, are the Filosofia Fundamental (Basic Philosophy), and the Curso de Filosofia Elemental (A Course of Elementary Philosophy), which he translated into Latin for use in seminaries."

His importance was recognised by the Spanish state when he was on the five peseta note in the 1950s and one of the main streets in Barcelona City Centre, Carrer de Balmes, is named after him.

Jaume Balmes is well-known for the quote "Reading is like eating; the benefits are not in proportion to what is consumed, but to what is digested."


Published Works

La Religión Demostrada al Alcance de los Niños, La Sociedad de Operarios, 1847.
Consideraciones Políticas sobre la Situación de España, Imprensa de José Tauló, 1840.
Observaciones Sociales, Políticas y Económicas sobre los Bienes del Clero, Reimpreso en la Oficina de M. Brambila, 1842.
La Civilización, Tom. II, Tom. III, Brusi, 1841-1842.
El Protestantismo Comparado con el Catolicismo en sus Relaciones con la Civilización Europea, Tom. II, Tom. III, Tom. IV, José Tauló, 1842-1845.
El Criterio, A. Brusi, 1845.
El Pensamiento de la Nación; Periódico Religioso, Político y Literario, Tom. II, Tom. III, Imprensa de E. Aguado, 1844-46.
Cartas a un Escéptico en Materia de Religión, Impr. de A. Brusi, 1846.
Pio IX, Impr. y fundicion de D. E. Aguado, 1847.
Escritos Politicos, Sociedad de Operarios del Mismo Arte, 1847.
Curso de Filosofía Elemental, Tom. II, Impr. y Fund. de E. Aguado, 1847.
Escritos Póstumos del Dr. D. Jaime Balmes, Imp. de A. Brusi, 1850.
Filosofía Fundamental, Tom. II, Garnier, 1852.
Poesías Póstumas, Imprensa del Diario de Barcelona, 1870.
Obras Completas del Dr. D. Jaime Balmes, Pbro. Primera Edición Crítica Ordenada y Anotada por el P. Ignacio Casanovas, S.J. Biblioteca Balmes, 33 Vol., 1925.
"Verdadera idea valor o reflexiones sobre el origin, naturaleza y variedad de los precios", in Obra Completas, vol. 5, Madrid, BAC, 1949

Works in English translation

European Civilization: Protestantism and Catholicity Compared in their Effects on the Civilization of Europe, Murphy & Co., 1850.
Protestantism and Catholicity Compared in their Effects on the Civilization of Europe,'' J. Murphy, G. Quigley, 1851.
Fundamental Philosophy, Vol. II, D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1858.
Fundamental Philosophy, Vol. II, D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1871-1880.
Letters to a Sceptic on Religious Matters, William B. Kelly, 1875.
Elements of Logic, P. O'Shea, 1876.
In Menczer, Béla, 1962. Catholic Political Thought, 1789-1848, University of Notre Dame Press. "Faith and Liberty," pp. 185–191.

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