The Relationship Between Temporal And Ecclesiastical Authority

1285 Words Nov 14th, 2014 6 Pages
The period from 1296 to the early 1500s was an era that saw significant change in the relationship between temporal and ecclesiastical authority. The driving force in relations between these two entities shifted from assessing the role of canon law to the strength of new ideas and political thought. Historians such as Ullmann place emphasis on the translation of Aristotelean ideas for this change whereas others, like Black and Coleman argue the change was as the result of a natural progression of political thought. Regardless, these changes sparked profound crises for ecclesiastical and temporal rulers signified by the disputes between King Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII and the Great Schism of 1378-1418. Despite the existence of a variety of historiographical approaches, the general consensus is that the relationship changed and evolved over time. However, historians disagree as to what specifically sparked these developments in the latter middle-ages, which form of authority ended this era with more power and whether it is possible to describe late medieval political thinkers as simply theocratic or democratic.
Primarily there is debate about the spark that caused ideas towards authority to change in the latter medieval years. Historiographically, Ullmann is the traditional heavyweight on this period of medieval authority and whilst his ideas still have influence in the debate today, they are often challenged and contradicted. Black argues Ullmann’s opinion…

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