2006 | 15 | 2(58) | 19-33
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Marsilius of Padua's 'Defensor Pacis' in the Light of old and current Opinions

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Marsilius of Padua is often called 'the greatest political philosopher of the Latin Middle Ages' and his treatise the 'Defensor Pacis' is perceived as 'the most original and most remarkable literary product of that time'. Marsilius is primarily 'a defender of the peace, not the faith' and he is rather 'a philosopher than a theologian'. His conflicting interpretations of the relationship between the spiritual and the temporal power led him to the papal condemnation. Marsilius was called by the Roman Church 'pernicious to the human race' and his work was castigated as an 'infernal machine'. The Protestants' interpretation of Marsilius thought was almost panegyric, he was called 'the great prophet of modern times, the precursor of nearly every significant modern theory, doctrine and development'. From 1324 to the middle of 17thC the 'Defensor Pacis' was attaced by subsequent popes and on the other hand it was used as an effective weapon in the hands of their opponents. Since the 19thC to the present times waves of new interpretations of the 'Defensor Pacis' have been observed (Georges de Lagarde, Alan Gewirth, Jeannine Quillet, Stephen F. Torraco, Michael Löffelberger). Most of modern scientists tend to agree that Marsilius of Padua is not an eclectic but an original and independent philosopher.
  • L. Krusinski, Uniwersytet Marii Curie-Sklodowskiej w Lublinie, Instytut Filozofii, ul. M. Curie-Sklodowskiej 4, 20-031 Lublin, Poland
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