Politics and Eternity: Studies in the History of Medieval and Early-Modern Political Thought

Politics and Eternity: Studies in the History of Medieval and Early-Modern Political Thought

Politics and Eternity: Studies in the History of Medieval and Early-Modern Political Thought

Politics and Eternity: Studies in the History of Medieval and Early-Modern Political Thought

Synopsis

This collection of studies in the history of political thought from late antiquity to the early-eighteenth century ranges broadly across themes of kingship, political theology, constitutional ideas, natural-law thinking and consent theory. The studies are linked together by three shared characteristics. First, all of them explore the continuities that existed during those centuries between legal/political thinking and theology. Second, nearly all of them transgress the sharp dividing line traditionally drawn between the medieval" and the " modern" which did so much in the past to distort our understanding of intellectual developments in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Third, all of them raise historiographic questions or probe the metahistorical/methodological questions which have troubled the field for the past quarter-century and more."

Excerpt

The essays gathered together in this book and written across the past three decades were conceived, in general, as contributions to the history of ideas and, in particular, as interventions in that currently very lively (if stubbornly loose-limbed) subfield that we are accustomed to calling "the history of political thought." Although their chronological reach extends at its most ambitious from GraecoRoman antiquity down to the late-seventeenth century, and although they range broadly across theories of kingship, prerogative law, natural-law thinking, ecclesiology, constitutionalist ideas, consent theory and the like, the individual essays are linked together by three shared characteristics.

First, and as the book's title suggests, all of them explore the important, if persistently underestimated, continuities that existed in the medieval and early-modern centuries between religious and theological notions, on the one hand, and patterns of legal and political thinking on the other. Second, nearly all of them focus their attention on the period running from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries and insist, accordingly, on transgressing the sharp dividing line that for long it was customary to draw between "the medieval" and "the modern," and that served to introduce so many distortions into our understanding of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century intellectual developments. Third, all of the essays, at one level of abstraction or another, address historiographic questions or touch upon the interpretative debates that have come of late to characterize the field.

From pagan Germanic Geblütsheiligkeit, for example, or the quasidivinity that hedged even Christian kings (ch. 2), to the harmonics in prerogative law and natural-law thinking of scholastic attempts to grapple with the divine attribute of omnipotence (chs. 7, 8 and 9) —

Distortions still evident in some of the most recent contributions to the field.
See below, ch. 5.

Or again, from the parallels between conciliarist ecclesiology and the arguments

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.