William of Ockham: A Short Discourse on Tyrannical Government

William of Ockham: A Short Discourse on Tyrannical Government

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William of Ockham (c. 1285-c. 1347) was the most eminent and influential theologian and philosopher of his day, a giant in the history of political thought. He was a Franciscan friar who came to believe that the Avignonese papacy of John XXII had set out to destroy the religious ideal on which the Franciscan order was based: the complete poverty of Christ and the apostles. This is the first complete text by Ockham to be published in English. The Short Discourse is a passionate but compelling statement of Ockham's position on the most fundamental political problem of the medieval period: the relationship of supreme spiritual authority, as represented by the pope, to the autonomous secular authority claimed by the medieval empire and the emerging nation-states of Europe. Professor McGrade's introduction, and the notes on the translation make the volume wholly accessible to a modern readership, while a full bibliography and chronology are included as further aids to the reader.show more

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"This book is enriched by an admirable introduction by McGrade, which places Ockham and his work in the framework of their time. Careful footnoting and a useful bibliography enhance the value of the book." H. Malcolm MacDonald, Social Science Quarterly "Ockham's argument combines lucidity with passion...it was the first complete Latin work I ever read. By the time I finished it I would gladly have followed Ockham out of Avignon and into the imperial entourage." David Burr, Church Historyshow more

Table of contents

Preface; Note on references; List of abbreviations; Introduction; Principal dates in Ockham's life; Suggestions for further reading; A Short Discourse on the Tyrannical Government over things; Divine and human, but especially over the Empire and those subject to the Empire; Usurped by some who are called Highest Pontiffs; Prologue; Book I; Book II; Book III; Book IV; Book V; Book VI; Appendix: text and translation; Bibliography; Index of references to the Bible; Index of references to canon law; Index of persons; Subject index.show more