Canon Law, the Expansion of Europe, and World Order: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Canon Law, the Expansion of Europe, and World Order

1st Edition

By James Muldoon


319 pages

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Hardback: 9780860786856
pub: 1998-07-23
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The articles in this volume trace the development of the theory that humanity forms a single world community and that there exists a body of law governing the relations among the members of that community. These ideas first appeared in the writings of the medieval canon lawyers and received their fullest development in the writings of early modern Spanish intellectuals. Conflict and contact with ’the infidel’ provided a stimulus for the elaboration of these ideas in the later Middle Ages, but major impetus was given by the English subjugation of Ireland, and by the discovery of the Americas. This body of work paved the way for the modern notions of an international legal order and universal norms of behavior usually associated with the publication of Hugo Grotius’s work in the seventeenth century.


'…an important distillation of scholarship…of interest to all historians of canon law and international law.' Studia Canonica , Vol. 33, No. 2 ’ Muldoon has done historical scholarship a service by exploring numerous works of canon law bearing on European expansion and seeking to understand the legal dimension of that process in all its complexity.’ Sixteenth-Century Journal, vol XXXI/3

Table of Contents

Contents: Canon Law and Expansion: Extra ecclesiam non est imperium: the canonists and the legitimacy of secular power; A canonistic contribution to the formation of international law; The contribution of the medieval canon lawyers to the formation of international law; Papal responsibility for the infidel: another look at Alexander VI’s Inter ceatera; The Avignon papacy and the frontiers of Christendom: the evidence of Vatican register 62; John Wyclif and the rights of the infidels: the requerimiento re-examined; The development of group rights. World Order: Solórzano’s De Indiarum iure: applying a medieval theory of world order in the 17th century; The conquest of the Americas: the Spanish search for global order. Ireland and America: Spiritual conquests compared: Laudabiliter and the conquest of the Americas;The remonstrance of the Irish princes and the canon law tradition of the just war; The Indian as Irishman; Index.

About the Author

James Muldoon is Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University, and Invited Research Scholar at The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, USA

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General