The First French Reformation

The First French Reformation : Church Reform and the Origins of the Old Regime

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The political culture of absolute monarchy that structured French society into the eighteenth century is generally believed to have emerged late in the sixteenth century. This new interpretation of the origins of French absolutism, however, connects the fifteenth-century conciliar reform movement in the Catholic Church to the practice of absolutism by demonstrating that the monarchy appropriated political models derived from canon law. Tyler Lange reveals how the reform of the Church offered a crucial motive and pretext for a definitive shift in the practice and conception of monarchy, and explains how this first French Reformation enabled Francis I and subsequent monarchs to use the Gallican Church as a useful deposit of funds and judicial power. In so doing, the book identifies the theoretical origins of later absolutism and the structural reasons for the failure of French Protestantism.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1 b/w illus. 1 table
  • 1139899406
  • 9781139899406

Table of contents

Introduction: the harvest of medieval ecclesiology; 1. Law and political culture in late medieval France; 2. 'The true Church is in the Kingdom of France'; 3. Absolute monarchy and ministerial monarchy, 1515-1526; 4. Heresy and the absolute power; 5. The practice of sovereignty; Conclusion: the emergence of the Old Regime; Bibliography.
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Review quote

'In this ambitious book on an understudied area of French history, Tyler Lange argues that the basic political structures of the French Old Regime had their roots in canon law theories and in the ecclesiastical jurisprudence of the Parlement of Paris in the last decades of the fifteenth and the first decades of the sixteenth century.' Jotham Parson, The Journal of Modern History 'Lange's impressive research in the manuscript registers of the Parlement has produced an important book that widens our understanding of early modern France.' James K. Fargec, H-France
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About Tyler Lange

Tyler Lange currently holds a postdoctoral fellowship in the LOEWE Research Focus 'Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution', Goethe-Universitat, Frankfurt-am-Main. He is a historian of legal doctrine and practice in the late medieval and early modern periods, and his research focuses on political thought, canon law, serfdom, and credit.
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