Citizens to Lords: A Social History of Western Political by Ellen Meiksins Wood

By Ellen Meiksins Wood

A significant new historical past of Western political concept because it advanced via clash and communities.

In this groundbreaking paintings, Ellen Meiksins wooden rewrites the heritage of political idea. She lines the advance of the Western culture from classical antiquity via to the center a while within the point of view of social history—a major departure not just from the traditional summary historical past of rules but in addition from different contextual methods.

Treating canonical thinkers as passionately engaged people, wooden examines their principles no longer easily within the context of political languages yet as inventive responses to the social family members and conflicts in their time and position. She identifies a particular relation among estate and kingdom in Western background and indicates how the canon, whereas mostly the paintings of contributors or consumers of dominant periods, used to be formed via advanced interactions between vendors, employees and states. Western political idea, Wodd argues, owes a lot of its power, and in addition many ambiguities, to those complicated and infrequently contradictory relations.

From the traditional Greek polis of Plato, Aristotle, Aeschylus and Sophocles, throughout the Roman Republic of Cicero and the Empire of St Paul and St Augustine, to the medieval global of Averroes, Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, Citizens to Lords offers a wealthy, dynamic exploration of thinkers and concepts that experience indelibly stamped our smooth international.

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Extra resources for Citizens to Lords: A Social History of Western Political Thought from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

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R. evans The sources for what we know of medieval thinking on law and nature include the Church Fathers and scholastic theologians, as well as Roman legal writings, and the somewhat confused cluster of texts that were drawn together in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries to constitute a body of recognized “canon law” for academic study. Of the first importance here is Gratian’s Decretum from the 1140s, the ground-breaking manual of canon law on which many subsequent treatises and commentaries would rely.

Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961) p. 7. 17). Accordingly, echoing Aristotle’s claim that rationality is central to being human, Cicero takes lex to be ratio – the reason inherent in human nature and according to which a person ought to direct his actions. 19). This accords well enough with Aquinas’s Christian version of the same basic cluster of ideas. The belief that natural law is innate in human nature and is known by reason rather than biblical revelation also provides a basis for rational assessment of positive law.

Others argued that it was a Christ-appointed law, as some of the Franciscans taught, that the observation of perfect poverty as exemplified by Christ involved renunciation not only of property but also of the “right of use in exterior things” – and even, perhaps, the actual use. Pope John XXII stated in 1323 that this was to be deemed heresy. ) Behind these refinements loomed still more fundamental questions. How, for example, could one justify the first appropriation for personal use of property taken from a stock of creation God gave to everyone, so that some came to possess what others did not, while those others were deprived even of the freedom to use it?

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