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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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Providential History from the Fall of Man to the Conversion of Constantine

Providential History from the Fall of Man to the Conversion of Constantine

(p.49) 2 Providential History from the Fall of Man to the Conversion of Constantine
Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'


Oxford University Press

This chapter begins by showing how closely interlinked are the first and second discourses of the Defensor Pacis. They were intended as complementary investigations of the most grievous cause of discord in the modern world. Discourse I investigates it on the basis of reason, which means primarily Aristotle, and discourse II on the basis of Christian truth, based on Scripture and other sources for the early history of Christianity. Marsilius argues that this particular cause of discord is the papacy. He sketches a providential history that began at the Fall, and looks forward to the Last Judgement. He sees Christ's advent under the newly established Roman Empire as a providential sign of the Empire's unique, ordained role in God's scheme to redress the effects of the Fall. The ultimate source of this view is Orosius. With Constantine's conversion, recorded in the Donation he made to Sylvester, bishop of Rome, the Empire and church began to be elided, at the emperor's instigation.

Keywords:   the Fall, the Last Judgement, providential history, scriptural history, Orosius, Donation of Constantine

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