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Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'$
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George Garnett

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291564

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291564.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'


Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by showing how the standard modern English translation of Defensor Pacis has encouraged an already existing Anglophone tendency to impose on the Defensor Pacis modern liberal, democratic assumptions. Nothing in the Latin original justifies this unhistorical misrepresentation of Marsilius. The chapter then considers the evidence for Marsilius's life in Paris, where he wrote Defensor Pacis, later in Ludwig of Bavaria's entourage, and the contemporary response to his book. That response was generally outrage, and it was led by Pope John XXII, who prepared a detailed critique of what he found most objectionable, and instigated a condemnation of the book — Licet iuxta doctrinam — in every diocese in Christendom. There was also much criticism by others, including some from William of Ockham, who, like Marsilius, had found political asylum at Ludwig of Bavaria's court. All criticism, whether pro- or anti-papal, agreed with John XXII about the book's most important message: a demolition of papal claims to plenitudo potestatis. No contemporary read it as so many modern commentators have done.

Keywords:   Defensor Pacis, Marsilius, Pope John XXII, Licet iuxta doctrinam, William of Ockham, plenitudo potestatis, Ludwig of Bavaria

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