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The Mortgage of the PastReshaping the Ancient Political Inheritance (1050-1300)$
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Francis Oakley

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780300176339

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300176339.001.0001

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Recuperating the Past (ii)

Recuperating the Past (ii)

The Encounter with Christian and Roman Antiquity

(p.66) 4. Recuperating the Past (ii)
The Mortgage of the Past

Francis Oakley

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses Charles Homer Haskins' view of the twelfth century, which described it as “rather a slack period in the history of political theory.” Haskins noted that “the pamphlet literature dealing with church and state had just spent its force during the controversy over investiture, and the more systematic discussion awaited the translation of Aristotle's Politics circa 1260 and the Summa of Thomas Aquinas,” as a somewhat indifferent appraisal of the significance of John of Salisbury's Policraticus or Statesman's Book. Even though it is a plausible judgment, one should not underestimate the importance of “the mighty iceberg of change,” especially in relation to the subsequent history of political thinking and the history of intellectual life at large.

Keywords:   twelfth century, Charles Homer Haskins, political theory, John of Salisbury, iceberg of change

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