UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Situation of Dominican political thought and activities in France and England Brill, Barrie Alfred


This thesis investigates the political thought and activities of the French and English Dominicans. It began historically with a question concerning the nature of the work of John of Paris. Can his De potestate regia et papali be described as a fundamentally theological and philosophical exposition? Such a description would seem to imply a partial separation from the political situation in which he wrote and would see his treatise in relation to the vast mass of the theological literature of the day. In order to test this it would be sensible to undertake a comparative study and to try to see the situation of John of Paris and other Dominicans to discern the effects of this situation on their thought. To understand the major issues of medieval political thought, the preliminary chapter gives a brief account of the development of this thought. The influence which the Order of Preachers exerted on its members cannot be neglected. The heart of this thesis is found in two rather lengthy chapters dealing with the thought and activities of the members of the Dominican Order in both France and England. The result of this examination placed the political writings of the Dominicans in France -- of which John of Paris is the major example--in a position apart from that of their other theological and philosophical works. In England, the philosophical and theological productions of the Dominicans are similar to those which were produced by the Dominicans in France except in one major respect, that of treatises dealing with political thought. The conclusion of this thesis is that the total situation in which these men found themselves must be taken into account in any attempt to understand their thought. In view of this it is evident that Leclercq's view must be modified to the extent that the political situation in which John of Paris wrote explains in part the fact that he wrote a treatise dealing with political affairs. The De potestate regia et papali cannot be regarded merely as a theological and philosophical exposition comme les autres.

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