Dyson, R. W. Books
About the author: Dr. R. W. Dyson was educated at the University of Durham (U.K.) where he now teaches. He specializes in classical and medieval political thought and related palaeographical and textual studies. He has published a number of editions and translations of texts from the period 1296-1303. He has also edited St. Augustine’s De civitate Dei and the political writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.2003 0-7734-6702-5
This book is a detailed scholarly examination of five major medieval thinkers who sought to bring out the implications, for social and political life and organizations, of the doctrines, thought-patterns and language of Christianity, and to define the role of the institutional Church in that life and organization. At the heart of their thought lies a large and pervasive question: is unaided human nature capable of genuinely moral activity, and hence of constructive political association? The study takes due account of biographical information, and an understanding of the cultural, historical and political circumstances in relation to which the chosen authors perceived their enterprise. It examines the development of the ‘ideology’ of the medieval Church with particular reference to three things: the emergence and career of the ‘Augustinian/Gelasian principle’; the contribution of Pope Gregory VII and the immediate and long-term issues underlying that contribution; and the decisive conflict at the turn of the 12th and 13th centuries between Pope Boniface VIII and King Philip IV of France. The book closes with a postscript which describes some of the developments that have transformed the agenda of political theory from ‘medieval’ to ‘modern.’1999 0-7734-7955-4
Long recognised as an important contribution to medieval political debate, a clear and intelligent answer to favourite arguments of the proponents of papal power, Rex Pacificus has hitherto been available only in early edition seemingly printed from a single incomplete manuscript. Dr. Dyson has gone back to the manuscript sources and produced a critical edition of the text, together with an accurate and readable English translation and a helpful introduction and notes.