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The Watershed of Modern PoliticsLaw, Virtue, Kingship, and Consent (1300-1650)$
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Francis Oakley

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300194432

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300194432.001.0001

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The Politics of Sin

The Politics of Sin

From Aegidius Romanus, Fitzralph, and Wycliffe to Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and the Radical Reformers

Chapter:
(p.91) 4. The Politics of Sin
Source:
The Watershed of Modern Politics
Author(s):

Francis Oakley

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300194432.003.0004

This chapter identifies three prevailing modes of political thought in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century humanistic education. Firstly, the political community was viewed in positive and naturalistic terms to the humanists—as a school for character, and as the arena wherein man might fulfill his moral potentiality and reach out to attain a life of virtue. Secondly, the Augustinian understanding of political subordination as a state not natural to humankind was nudged to the side by the humanists during both centuries—as the outcome of man’s primordial fall from grace, and of political authority as a divinely ordered punishment and remedy for sin. Lastly, it was assumed that, in the primitive state of innocence, all things were held in common so that private property was “really another disciplinary institution intended to check and counteract the vicious dispositions of men.”

Keywords:   humanistic education, political community, moral potentiality, political subordination, political authority, private property

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