Friday, December 2, 2011

Medieval Society


JN Figgis (Studies of Political Thought From Gerson to Grotius) writes, “In the Middle Ages the Church was not a State, but the State; the State or rather the civil authority (for a separate society was not recognized) was merely the police department of the Church. The latter took over from the Roman Empire its theory of the absolute and universal jurisdiction of the supreme authority, and developed it into the doctrine of the plenitudo potestatis of the Pope, who was the supreme dispenser of law, the fountain of honour, including regal honour, and the sole legitimate source of power, the legal if not the actual founder of religious orders, university degrees, the supreme ‘judge and divider’ among nations, the guardian of international right, the avenger of Christian blood.”

This is the opposite of the Yoder thesis: Not the church becoming an arm of the state, but the state of the church. Not that this form of church-as-polis would make Yoder happy."

No comments:

Post a Comment