First published in 1924, Max Beer's work comprises the history of social thought from the fourth to the fourteenth century. He considers in detail the heretical social movement and the story is brought up to the period of the peasants' wars and the social struggles in the towns, which form the prelude to modern times. The work also deals with the period from the latter half of the fourteenth century to the outbreak of the French Revoluion.
Part I: The Social Thought of the Middle Ages 1. The Essence and Sources of Medieval Communism 2 Gnosticism and Mysticism 3. Neo-Platonism: Plotinus 4. Natural Law in the Middle Ages 5. Roman and Christian Natural Law Part II: Migration of Nations and Reorganisation 6. The Teutonic Races 7. The Church 8. The Cloistral-Communistic Settlements Part III: From Communism to Private Property 9. The Economic Conditions of Western and Central Europe 10. Joachim of Floris; Amalric of Bena 11. S. Francis of Assisi; Duns Scotus; Marsilius of Padua; William of Ockham 12. S. Dominic de Guzman; S. Thomas Aquinas Part IV: The Essence of the Heretical-Social Movement 13. Spirtual Tendencies 14. The Cathari 15. The Cathari and Communism 16. The Inquisition Part V: The Spread and Persecution of the Cathari 17. Bulgaria and Bogomili 18. Italy: The Struggle Between the Pope and the Emperor; Arnoldists, Humiliati, Apostolic Brethren 19. France: Waldenses, Languedoc, Albigenses 20. Flanders: Beguins and Beghards, Lollards 21. Germany: Waldenses, Bguins and Beghards, Ortliebians, Brethren of the Free Spirit, the German Mystics, the Brethren of the Common Lot