Medieval Political Ideas - Vol. 1

Medieval Political Ideas - Vol. 1

Medieval Political Ideas - Vol. 1

Medieval Political Ideas - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This book was planned in the hope that it might be useful to teachers and advanced students of political theory and of medieval history who feel the need of a more intimate acquaintance with the political ideas of the Middle Ages but find considerable difficulties in their way.

The source material is voluminous, and a great deal of it is inaccessible to the non-specialist. Only a small fraction of the important writings of medieval publicists can be found in English translation; modern editions even of Latin texts are lacking in many instances, so that firsthand acquaintance with such well-reputed works as, for example, the De Regimine Principum ofAegidius Romanus, the Dialogus of Occam, or the conciliarist pamphlets of Gerson can be pursued only under the rather forbidding auspices of the rare book rooms of the largest university libraries. Some progress, indeed, is being steadily made, especially in the modern publication of Latin texts. But much remains to be done; and the barriers imposed by language and sheer extent do not yield readily to attack. It is hard to imagine a day when the average professor of political theory, preparing his lecture on the conciliar movement, will be able to dip into his well-underlined copy of Cusa's De Concordantia Catholica with the same facility as that with which, earlier in the semester, he had turned to the Politics ofAristotle or that with which he will later turn, with a sigh of relief, to the Second Treatise on Civil Government. If ever a book of 'readings' is justified, it would seem to be justified in the field of medieval political thought.

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