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Ockham, Almain, and the Idea of Heresy

  • Takashi Shogimen
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Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

This chapter aims to shed new light on the impact of the English Franciscan and Oxford theologian William of Ockham’s (c.1285–1347) discourse about heresy on intellectuals of later generations. More specifically, I shall focus on the early sixteenth-century Parisian theologian Jacques Almain’s discourse about heresy and examine how he applied Ockham’s theory of heresy in both academic and polemical contextsIn my monograph on Ockham’s political thought, I elaborated on his sophisticated theory of heresy and its ecclesiological implications, thereby emphasizing that the theory of heresy was paradigmatic to his polemical activities.1 However, Ockham’s theory of heresy was not only central to his political thinking but also, in the context of late medieval scholasticism, highly idiosyncratic; it challenged the tacit assumptions underpinning contemporary discourse on heresy and heretics, and stripped it of hierarchical presumptions in a radical fashion. It is, however, not the primary purpose of this chapter to illuminate the novelty of Ockham’s discussions of heresy. Rather, the aim is to ascertain the degree of its influence on later generations by taking the example of Jacques Almain, who made explicit references to Ockham repeatedly in his works.

Keywords

Sixteenth Century Political Discourse True Proposition Christian Faith General Council 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Takashi Shogimen, Ockham and Political Discourse in the Late Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), especially 75–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    The most recent example is William Courtenay, Ockham and Ockhamism: Studies in the Dissemination and Impact of His Thought (Leiden: Brill, 2008).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
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  4. 4.
    James K. Farge, Biographical Register of Paris Doctors of Theology 1500–1536 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1980), 15–6.Google Scholar
  5. Also J. H. Burns and Thomas M. Izbicki, “Introduction,” in Conciliarism and Papalism, ed. Burns and Izbicki (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), vii–xxvi.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
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    Oakley, The Conciliarist Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 120–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    On the powerful influence of Ockhamism in Paris at the turn of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, see for instance, Augustin Renaudet, Préréforme et humanism a Paris pendant les première guerre d’Italie, 2nd ed. (Paris: Librairie d’Argences, 1953).Google Scholar
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    A. S. McGrade, The Political Thought of William of Ockham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 53. Also Shogimen, Ockham and Political Discourse, 85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  17. 23.
    Brian Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility 1150–1350, 2nd ed. (Leiden: Brill, 1988), 226–7.Google Scholar
  18. 36.
    John of Paris, De potestate regia et papali, ed. Fritz Bleienstein (Stuttgart: Klett, 1969), c.22; Augustinus Triumphus, Surnma de ecclesiastica potestate (Rome, 1584), q.7.Google Scholar
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    J. H. Burns, “Scholasticism: Survival and Revival,” in The Cambridge History of Political Thought, 1450–1700, ed. Burns with Mark Goldie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 153–4.Google Scholar
  20. 43.
    Francisco de Vitoria, Comentarios a la Secunda Secundae de Santo Tomás, ed. R. P. Vicente Beltrán de Heredía, 6 vols. (Salamanca: Apartado 1932), 1:213–7, especially 216, “Statim quod alicui constat sufficienter quod aliqua propositio continetur in sacra scriptura, vel quod est determinata ab Ecclesia, et cum hoc dissentit illi deliberate (secus si sit motus subitus), ille dicitur pertinaciter errare et per consequens est haereticus.”Google Scholar
  21. 44.
    Jean Gerson, Considerationes xii de pertinentia, in Oeuvres Complètes, ed. Palémon Glorieux, 10 vols. (Paris: Desclée, 1960–73), 6:165–7.Google Scholar
  22. 46.
    One pioneering work is J. D. Mann, “William of Ockham, Juan de Segovia and Heretical Pertinacity,” Mediaeval Studies 56 (1994): 67–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 47.
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Copyright information

© Karen Bollermann, Thomas M. Izbicki, and Cary J. Nederman 2014

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  • Takashi Shogimen

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