From Personal Duties Towards Personal Rights

From Personal Duties Towards Personal Rights: Late Medieval and Early Modern Political Thought, 1300-1600

Arthur P. Monahan
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 472
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    From Personal Duties Towards Personal Rights
    Book Description:

    Part One examines the late medieval northern Italian city-state republics and the humanist depiction of their form of polity. Part Two reviews the legal (principally canonical) and political thought behind the development of a theory of popular consent and limited authority employed to resolve the Great Schism in the Western church. Part Three describes sixteenth-century Spanish neoscholastic political writings and their application to Reformation Europe and Spanish colonial expansion in the New World. Part Four examines the political thought of some of those who responded to new problems in church/state relations caused by the fracturing of medieval Christendom in the West: Luther, Calvin, and other Reformation writers; the Protestant resistance pamphleteers; and Richard Hooker.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6411-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xxv-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    THE TASK OF AN HISTORIAN of late-medieval political thought is not unlike that of the zealous and erudite canonical glossators of the fourteenth century who strove to formulate an ecclesiology. A vast cornucopia was available from which to extract earlier views on the nature and structure of the Church, and of the character and authority of the various elements of which it was constituted: pope, college of cardinals, bishops and other ranks of clergy, the laity, the Roman church and the Church universal. Withal, however, the sources were not only polyglot but even contradictory. The plethora of papal decretals and...

  7. PART ONE Civic Republicanism and Renaissance Liberty
    (pp. 13-49)

    THERE ARE TWO REASONS for beginning this examination with the Italian city-states. Firstly, a simple form of republican constitutionalism did develop in these communities in the medieval period even though it did not last long. Secondly, its advocates stressed a conceptual trace element integral to any constitutionalist and democratic theory of polity: popular consent. The history of the medieval northern Italian city-states provides the most graphic illustration of the fact that conscious formulation of political thought usually rests on practice of genuinely popular and direct democracy—i.e. all-citizen assembly—in northern Italy dates from slightly different periods in individual city-states...

  8. PART TWO Constitutionalism in the Church
    (pp. 50-127)

    ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT problems in presenting the history of later medieval political thought involves the organization of material. Much of the evidence can be fitted into two or more categories, even though to do so would result in repetition. Alternatively, separating the material by placing each element in only one location can produce fragmentation and make the account even more unsatisfactory. I have blended these two approaches to provide a continuous account, while keeping the element of repetition to a minimum.

    Human thought, however, is expressible only through concepts and language, the intrinsic limitations of which make some...

  9. PART THREE Consent and Limit in Spanish Neo-Scholasticism
    (pp. 128-184)

    THE MATERIAL DEALT WITH HERE illustrates the organizational difficulties mentioned earlier: in many instances individual thinkers treated under the category of Spanish neo-scholastics could be placed equally well in other sections. Juan de Segovia, for example, has been mentioned already as a conciliarist and leading figure at the Council of Basle. Molina was Portuguese rather than Spanish. Both Cajetan and Bellarmine were Italian. Bellarmine could also be treated as a leading figure both in the post-Tridentine reaction to the Reformation and in the treatment of resistance theory, as could also be treated as a leading figure both in the post-Tridentine...

  10. PART FOUR Emerging Rights as a Basis for Resisting Authority: Reformation Political Thought
    (pp. 185-293)

    The fracturing of the unity of western Christendom in the early sixteenth century by the several distinguishable threads of the Reformation movement brought significant and lasting changes to the political and social map of western Europe, as well as to its theology, religious practices, and ecclesiastical institutions. That this monumental upheaval in the doctrine, structure, and institutions of the Christian church was to have a large-scale effect on the political thought of the period and on the subsequent history of Western political institutions, both secular and ecclesiastical, goes without saying.

    The reasons behind the fracturing of western ecclesiastical unity into...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 294-300)

    Despite the length of this manuscript, the addition of some kind of conclusion is necessary to ensure the object is not obscured by the details of thick a slice of the history of Western political thought. As already noted, the material cannot readily be organized into a simple assessment or perspective on, the meaning or value of what I have called core concepts in political thinking, even though consent and limit were both successfully appealed to in resolving the scandal of the Great Schism and were transferred directly to the temporal sphere in a relatively coherent theory of resistance to...

  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 301-430)
  13. Index
    (pp. 431-445)