This study offers a major reinterpretation of medieval political thought by examining one of its most fundamental ideas. If it was axiomatic that the goal of human society should be the common good, then this notion presented at least two conceptual alternatives. Did it embody the highest moral ideals of happiness and the life of virtue, or did it represent the more pragmatic benefits of peace and material security? Political thinkers from Thomas Aquinas to William of Ockham answered this question in various contexts. In theoretical terms, they were reacting to the rediscovery of Aristotle's Politics and Ethics, an event often seen as pivotal in the history of political thought. On a practical level, they were faced with pressing concerns over the exercise of both temporal and ecclesiastical authority - resistance to royal taxation and opposition to the jurisdiction of the pope. In establishing the connections between these different contexts, The Common Good questions the identification of Aristotle as the primary catalyst for the emergence of 'the individual' and a 'secular' theory of the state. Through a detailed exposition of scholastic political theology, it argues that the roots of any such developments should be traced, instead, to Augustine and the Bible.
`This detailed analysis of the common good ... in scholastic philosophical and theological discourse throws critical light on the history of political ideas.' History of Political thought, vol.XXII, issue 1 `No historian of medieval political ideas can ignore so thoughrough and well-documented a case for the verdict that, in the author's closing words, 'the truely radical texts in scholastic politcal thought were provided, not by Aristotle, but by Augustine and the Bible'.' J.H. Burns, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 51.2, April 2000. `the book goes beyond context to provide an elaborate, difficult, but rewarding analysis of texts.' J.H. Burns Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 51.2, April 2000. `This new, magisterial study in medieval ecclesiastical and civil polity.. the author's ability to elucidate the complex philosophical thought of many of his chosen theologians is not the least impressive aspect of the book. For those who are not specialists in medieval studies, much of the interest of this book will lie in the way the author shows how attention to his central subject casts light upon some of the most vexing and disturbing questions of philosophy and theology.' Brian Horne, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol.51 No.1 `A volume of considerable scholarship and intellectual force... the volume is an important contribution to understanding of the developmaent of scholastic ideas on political philosophy at a vital stage of their evolution.' R.N. Swanson, The Heythrop Journal Vol.41 No. 2 `So extensive and intimate is his understanding of the thought of late medieval Europe and so authoritative is his handlig of the texts that we are compelled to see the issues through the eyes of those who debated them... It is... fascinating for it brings to the reader's attention figures from the late Middle Ages who, perhaps, have not yet received the recognition they might have deserved.' Brian Horne, Journal of Theological Studies, Vol.51 No.1
Number Of Pages: 412
Published: 1st April 1999
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.2 x 2.7
Weight (kg): 0.72