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A History of Political Thought : From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance - Janet Coleman

A History of Political Thought

From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance

Hardcover Published: 22nd June 2000
ISBN: 9780631186526
Number Of Pages: 316

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This volume continues the story of European political theorising by focusing on medieval and Renaissance thinkers. It includes extensive discussion of the practices that underpinned medieval political theories and which continued to play crucial roles in the eventual development of early-modern political institutions and debates. The author strikes a balance between trying to understand the philosophical cogency of medieval and Renaissance arguments on the one hand, elucidating why historically-suited medieval and Renaissance thinkers thought the ways they did about politics; and why we often think otherwise.

Industry Reviews

"This is a very well-informed, thoughtful and scholarly account that is destined to be read closely (and with great profit) by specialists in the field as well as by the students for whom it is primarily intended." Francis Oakley, Edward Dorr Professor of the History of Ideas and President Emeritus of Williams College

"Professor Coleman demonstrates an admirable grasp of the detail and subtlety of the philosophical arguments, and their relation to social and historial circumstances, including trends in wider spheres of thought [...] I found the chapter on Plato particularly illuminating and students will find much of ambiguity in The Republic clarified by Coleman's discussion.[...] Students of specialist courses in Greek, Stoic and early Christian political thought will gain much from this scholarly and erudite book by an acknowledged expert in the field"
David Boucher, Cardiff University English Historical Review Vol 117, June 2002



1. Medieval Political Ideas and Medieval Society.

Medieval Sources.

The Historical Context of Early Medieval Political Thought.

Carolingian Christian Kingship and Feudal Society.

Translatio Imperii.

Theocratic Kingship.

The Origins of Papal Authority and the Gelasian Doctrine.

Two Swords Theory.

The Twelfth-century 'Renaissance': Canon Lawyers and their Heirs.

The Twelfth-century 'Renaissance' and Civil Lawyers.

Civilians and Canonists.

Individual and Collective Liberties.

Sovereignty and Corporations.

Natural Law, Rights and the Lawyers Concern for Individual Autonomy.

Origins of Property Rights.

Medieval Education: Practical Moral Philosophy of Ethics, Economics and Politics.

The Contribution of Arabic and Jewish Thinking to the Twelfth-century 'REnaissance'.

Aristotle in the Universities.

Ethics and Politics in the Liberal Arts Course.

The Purpose of Aristotelian Rhetorical Persuasion.

The Thirteenth 'Aristotelian' Century.

The Later Thirteenth-century Understanding of Rhetoric's Service to a Prince: Giles of Rome.

Aristotelian Rhetoric.

Returning to Giles of Rome's Rhetorical De regimine principum.

Rhetoric outside the University and Aristotle within the University.

Aristotle's Ethics for Medieval University Students.

Lawyers Versus the Arts Faculty Philosophers.

The New Mendicant Orders: Franciscans and Dominicans and Political Theory.

2. St Thomas Aquinas.

Philosophy of Man.

Reality and Metaphysics.

Naming, Natures and Actual Existents.

Natures and Definitions.

Substantial Form and Corporeal Individuation.

Being and Essence.

Cause and Effect.

Grace Added to and Perfecting, Not Destroying, Nature.

Sense Origin of Knowing.

Reason and Will.

The Will's Relation to Justice as Universal Principal and as Historically Contingent Conclusion.

Eudaomonia/beatitudo: Imoorality and the Completion of Desire.

Rationality and the Freedom of the Will.

The Will and the Doctrine of Original Sin.

Natural Theology.

State and Church: The Consequences of Natural Theology.

Free Will and Responsibility.

Aquinas on Law and Ploitics.

Natural Law and Politics.

Natural Law beyond Cicero.

Natural Human Community.

The Consequences of the Fall.

Individual Rights and the States's Law.

The Contrast with Augustine.

The Mixed Constitution.

Private Property Rights.

3. John of Paris.

Biographical Details.

The Franciscan Position.

The Dominican Position.

The Origin of Government.

The Thomistic Underpinning of dominium in rebus, Lordship and Ownership of Things.

The Justification of Private Ownership.

Limitations on Government.

The Origin of the Priesthood.

The Relation of the Church to its Property.

Deposition Theory.

4. Marsilius of Padua.

Biographical Details.

A Reading Discourse 1.

Some Observations from Discourse 2.


5. William of Ockham.

Biographical Details.

Ockham's Positions on Church and State.

Ockham's Epistemology.

Ockham's Dualism Concerning Secular and Spiritual Government: Continuing the Narrative.

Comparisions with Marsilius.

The Exceptional Exercise of Coercive Authority.

Natural Rights.

Corporattion Theory.

Ockham's 'Absolutism'. How did Ockham Come to Hold These Views?.

Right Reason.

Scriptural Hermeneutics.

Ockham's Ethics.


The Late Medieval Fortunes of Corporation Theories in the Church's 'Concilar Theory.'.

6. The Italien Renaissance and Machiavelli's Political Theory.

The Italien City-States Compared with Other European Cities.

The Unconventional AIms of this VChapter.

Communal Discourses and Citizenship.

Community, Civitas, Ranked Citizenship and Local Patriotisms.

The Involvement of Citizens in Late Thirteenth-century Communal Government.

The Communal Ideal and the Menace of Factions.

The Evolution of the Florentine Governing Class.

Who Wanted to Play an Active Role in Fifteenth-century Florentine Government?.

Humanism and Humanist Conceptions of Florentine Republicanism.

Fifteenth-century Florentine Ideology.

Niccolo Machiavelli.

Machiavelli's Political Morality.

Founding and Maintaining the 'Stato'.

The Fixity of Man's Nature.

Character Formation.

The 'Fit' Between Character and the Times.


The Impetuous Prince Who Must Learn How Not to Have Fixed Dispositions.

Learn to Imitate Foxes and Lions.

Machiavelli's 'Popular' Government: His Views of the Popolo.




ISBN: 9780631186526
ISBN-10: 0631186522
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 316
Published: 22nd June 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 26.26 x 18.28  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.75
Edition Number: 1

Earn 352 Qantas Points
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