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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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Christian Providential History: A Dialectic of Perfection and Perversion

Christian Providential History: A Dialectic of Perfection and Perversion

Chapter:
(p.146) 4 Christian Providential History: A Dialectic of Perfection and Perversion
Source:
Marsilius of Padua and 'the Truth of History'
Author(s):

GEORGE GARNETT

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291564.003.0004

Under papal leadership, the clergy were led further away from the ideal of apostolic poverty espoused in Marsilius's time by the Franciscans. Although the Christianization of the Empire had been perverted from the very start, the Empire was nevertheless being progressively Christianized pari passu with the perversion of the clergy. Only when Christianized could the Empire, or ‘human legislator’, be perfect, in the Aristotelian sense of complete or fully realized, for only Christians had a correct understanding of the eternal life to which man was directed. Only then would the ‘human legislator’ be ‘faithful’. Perfection only became possible with Constantine's conversion, but his actions at that time sowed the seed from which perversion grew. This dialectical conflict had reached a crescendo in Marsilius's own day, when John XXII had attempted to keep the imperial office vacant so that he could usurp its functions himself. With the pope and Ludwig as self-proclaimed emperor both attempting to exercise imperial power, catastrophe would ensue.

Keywords:   perversion, perfection, papal greed, clergy, apostolic poverty, Franciscans, Christianization, human legislator, Roman Empire

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