À la recherchE de l’ésprit laïque in the late middle ages

Authored by: Roberto Lambertini

The Medieval World

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138848689
eBook ISBN: 9781315102511
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315102511-22

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Abstract

De rigueur, any account of the ‘ésprit laïque’ in the medieval world, must start with the work of Georges de Lagarde (Lagarde 1956–1970). Revised time and again over some four decades, La naissance de l’ésprit laïque au déclin du Moyen Âge has long enjoyed favoured status as one of the classics of the history of medieval political thought. For his remarkable knowledge of innumerable texts, such was Lagarde’s eminence that some of his suggestions retain their freshness and topicality still. As manifestations of l’ésprit laïque Lagarde assembled a variety of phenomena allied to both political practice and intellectual debate and related to various aspects of Church influence in the temporal sphere. This broad meaning of ésprit laïque allowed Lagarde to include a wide range of fourteenth-century developments as expressions of that spirit, culminating in the work of two authors: Marsilius of Padua’s Defensor pacis and William of Ockham’s Dialogus – political masterpieces both, and their common denominator: laicism (Lagarde 1956–1970, vol. II, Secteur social de la Scolastique: 329–336).

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