Unn Falkeid uncovers the dispute’s origins in Dante’s Paradiso and Monarchia, where she identifies a sophisticated argument for the separation of church and state. In Petrarch’s writings she traces growing concern about papal authority, precipitated by the curia’s exile from Rome. Marsilius of Padua’s theory of citizen agency indicates a resistance to the pope’s encroaching power, which finds richer expression in William of Ockham’s philosophy of individual liberty. Both men were branded as heretics. The mystical writings of Birgitta of Sweden and Catherine of Siena, in Falkeid’s reading, contain cloaked confrontations over papal ethics and church governance even though these women were later canonized.
While each of the six writers responded creatively to the implications of the Avignon papacy, they shared a concern for the breakdown of secular order implied by the expansion of papal power and a willingness to speak their minds.
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Table of Contents
1 The Eagle's Flight: Dante's Paradiso VI and the Monarchia 25
2 Marsilius of Padua and the Question of Legitimacy 52
3 Individual Freedom in William of Ockham's Breviloquium 75
4 Petrarch, Cola di Rienzo, and the Battle of Rome 95
5 The Prophetic Widow: Birgitta of Sweden and the Revelaciones 121
6 Catherine of Siena and the Mystical Body of the Church 146