Continuity and Change: The Harvest of Late Medieval and Reformation History: Essays Presented to Heiko A. Oberman on His 70th Birthday

Continuity and Change: The Harvest of Late Medieval and Reformation History: Essays Presented to Heiko A. Oberman on His 70th Birthday

Continuity and Change: The Harvest of Late Medieval and Reformation History: Essays Presented to Heiko A. Oberman on His 70th Birthday

Continuity and Change: The Harvest of Late Medieval and Reformation History: Essays Presented to Heiko A. Oberman on His 70th Birthday

Synopsis

Offered here for the first time, a wide variety of specialists explore continuity and change in pre-modern Europe. Collectively, they contribute to the current historiographical debates about continuity and discontinuity between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era. The themes reflect eminent scholar Heiko A. Oberman's vast range of interests in religious, cultural and political history across a broad chronological and conceptual spectrum that seeks to overcome the limits of the divide between Medieval and Early Modern History.Publications by Heiko A. Oberman: Edited by Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy, Handbook of European History 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. I: Structures and Assertions, ISBN: 978 90 04 09760 5 Edited by Thomas A. Brady, Jr., Heiko A. Oberman, and James D. Tracy, Handbook of European History 1400-1600: Late Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. II: Visions, Programs, Outcomes, ISBN: 978 90 04 09761 2 Edited by C. Trinkaus and H.A. Oberman, The pursuit of holiness in late medieval and renaissance religion, ISBN: 978 90 04 03791 5 (Out of print) Edited by H.A. Oberman and T.A. Brady, Jr., Itinerarium Italicum: The Profile of the Italian Renaissance in the Mirror of its European Transformations, ISBN: 978 90 04 04259 9 Edited by H.A. Oberman and F. A. James III, Via Augustini: Augustine in the later Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, ISBN: 978 90 04 09364 5 (Out of print) Edited by Peter A. Dykema and Heiko A. Oberman, Anticlericalism in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ISBN: 978 90 04 09518 2 Luther and the Dawn of the Modern Era, ISBN: 978 90 04 16199 3 (Out of print)Founding Editor of Studies in the History of Christian Traditions and Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions

Excerpt

Cary J. Nederman

During the Latin Middle Ages, as in the modern world, the language of liberty was applied in a bewildering array of contexts. in part, this is due to the large variety of traditions concerning liberty available to the Middle Ages. For example, the urban conception of civic freedom, derived from antiquity, was transmitted by classical sources such as Roman Law and Cicero. Liberty in this sense pertains to the corporate rights that accrue to the citizens of a selfgoverning republic. Christianity contributed a doctrine of liberty construed in terms of free choice, namely, the freedom to do God’s will or to refrain from following divine ordinance. This is essentially a moral and personal conception of volition; it concentrates attention on the orientation of the individual’s will. the feudal structure of social as well as political relations generated a distinctive discourse of liberty defined as a sphere of action and judgement independent of the control and supervision of any superior authority. Out of such “territorial immunity” arises a principle of “inviolability,” an exclusive and unabridgeable right of the lord to exercise power.

These manifestations of freedom in the medieval world, and their application in theory as well as practice, have received wide attention from recent scholars. in particular, we now enjoy an enhanced appreciation of how the discourses of liberty arising from the Latin Middle Ages were received, restated, and transformed in modern Europe. But one significant facet of the

* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the first National Convention
of the Historical Society, Boston University, May 1999.

** Professor of Political Science, Texas A&M University

Ch. Wirszubski, Libertas as a Political Idea at Rome during the Late Republic and Early Principate (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950).

Albrecht Dihle, The Theory of Will in Classical Antiquity (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982).

Alan Harding, “Political Liberty in the Middle Ages,” Speculum 55 (1980), 42343.

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