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Abstract

Theologians and the Conceptions of Heresy, c.1250-c.1350
At the turn of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries theologians were involved in a series of controversies on the doctrine of mendicant poverty, which compelled them to use the language of heresy. Following a brief survey of theological and canonistic discourses on heresy in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, the paper will discuss theologians' discourses on heresy in the period c.1250-c.1350 by introducing two dichotomies: a) the theological and legal conceptions of heresy and b) the distinction between a heretical doctrine and a heretical person. By contextualising discourses on heresy in the interplay between theology and canon law studies, the first half of the paper will highlight the polarised trends in the early fourteenth century: the Dominicans' juristic focus on the heretical person and the Franciscan theological focus on heretical doctrine(s). The Dominicans' legalistic discourse constituted a part of the contemporary juridicization of theological scholarship.

Although the language of heresy became ubiquitous in theological scholarship during the Poverty Controversy, few theologians ever wrote on heresy extensively or exclusively. The second half of the paper will single out William of Ockham's Part I of the Dialogus, one of the rare substantial treatises on heresy. Mapping Dialogus in contemporary theological literature will help us to see that Ockham made a unique contribution to the discourse on heresy in a twofold manner: one is that Ockham produced a general, synthetic discourse on both heretical assertions and heretical persons. The other is that Ockham's well-known replacement of the traditional authoritative definition of Christian doctrine with his 'cognitive' definition radically redefined the concept of heresy by de-juridicizing (and theologizing) it.

Biographical Sketch

Takashi Shogimen, formerly a Research Fellow of Clare Hall in the University of Cambridge , is a specialist in the political thought of medieval Europe . His research has focused on the political thought of William of Ockham (c.1285-1347), a Franciscan theologian and philosopher, which will bear fruit in his forthcoming book Beyond Hierarchy: William of Ockham and Late Medieval Political Discourse. His current research revolves around 'Scholastic Republicanism', a medieval tradition of republican discourses that permeates theological, canonist and philosophical writings on politics and ecclesiology. He is also exploring a cross-cultural approach to the history of political thought, which identifies the differences in political vocabularies, discourses, and doctrines between differing cultural, ethnic, or regional units. He is writing a book on a comparative study of political thought in medieval and Renaissance Europe and Tokugawa .

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