Conciliarism and Church Law in the Fifteenth Century : Studies on Franciscus Zabarella and the Council of Constance book cover
1st Edition

Conciliarism and Church Law in the Fifteenth Century
Studies on Franciscus Zabarella and the Council of Constance

ISBN 9781472423870
Published April 10, 2014 by Routledge

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Book Description

Crises are never the best of times and the era of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417) easily qualifies as one of the worst of times. As a professor of canon law at the University of Padua and later cardinal, and as a major theorist in the conciliarist movement, Franciscus Zabarella (1360-1417) tried to do what a good legal mind does: find and explicate a viable and legal solution to the crises of his time, a solution that would stand up in his own era and for the generations that followed. In this volume Thomas Morrissey looks at what he said, wrote and did, and places him and his thought in the context of the late medieval and early modern era, how he reflected that world and how he influenced it. Particular studies elucidate what he wrote on the authority and on the duty of the people in power, what they could do and should do, as well as what they should not do. They also show how he explored the area of early constitution law and human rights in civil and religious society and that his work leads down the road to our modern constitutional democratic societies. The volume includes two previously unpublished studies, on the situation in Padua c. 1400 and on a sermon from 1407, together with an introduction contextualizing the articles.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Nicholas of Cusa and Zabarella: Cardinal Zabarella and Nicholas of Cusa: from community authority to consent of the community; Ein unruhiges Leben. Franciscus Zabarella an der Universität von Padua (1390-1410): die welt, die Nikolaus von Kues vorfand; Ecce sacerdos magnus: on welcoming a new bishop. Three addresses for bishops of Padua by Franciscus Zabarella; Canonists in crisis ca.1400-1450: Pisa, Constance, Basel. Constance and Conciliarism: The decree ‘Haec Sancta’ and Cardinal Zabarella. His role in its formulation and interpretation; Emperor-elect Sigismund, Cardinal Zabarella, and the Council of Constance; The call for unity at the Council of Constance: sermons and addresses of Cardinal Zabarella, 1415-1417; Cardinal Franciscus Zabarella (1360-1417) as a canonist and the crisis of his age: schism and the Council of Constance; ‘More easily and more securely’: legal procedure and due process at the Council of Constance; Natural rights, natural law and the canonist: Franciscus Zabarella, 1360-1417; Radicalism and restraint in a late medieval canonist; Reform at the Council of Constance in the view of a canonist and cardinal, Franciscus Zabarella. Zabarella: Cardinal Zabarella on papal and episcopal authority; Franciscus Zabarella (1360-1417): papacy, community and limitations upon authority; The art of teaching and learning law: a late medieval tract; Padua in crisis and transition around 1400; A sermon for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, June 29 1407: a mixed papalist response. Index.

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Thomas E. Morrissey is Distinguished Teaching Professor in the History Department at SUNY Fredonia, USA.


"Morrissey’s studies provide an excellent account of Zabarella as both a man of thought and a man of action, a friend of humanists, and above all a consummate jurist. The author also nicely illustrates Zabarella’s practical realism by editing and translating a little handbook of advice that the great canonist wrote for the university teachers and students of his age. Most of it would apply just as well to their present-day counterparts." - Catholic Historical Review

"Morrisey’s articles are an indispensable resource for studying the Conciliar Movement. So this is a book for libraries of law, history and theology, and one that scholars working on the history and theory of conciliarism will need to use." - Paul Avis, University of Exeter