Late Antique and Medieval Political Theology

Course Description: 

Medieval political thought is usually characterised by the opposition of Church and Empire, or the Pope and the secular ruler. The course will look at the development of these ideas from early Christianity’s conflict with the Roman Empire through the “Constantinian turn,” and then its ramifications into what is mistakenly called  “Byzantine caesaropapism,” and into the “two swords” theory characteristic of the Latin West, that is, it will cover the period from the second century to the fifteenth. The course will look at the theological principles of legitimation in both forms, and their implications in terms of modern theories.

Learning Outcomes: 

Understanding the main ideas of legitimacy, the problem of the conflict between the ideal of the empire (beginning with Alexander the Great) and the kingdom of God, the theological reasons for the variegated interpretations of this conflict, the idea of theocracy, nationhood and its role in the Biblical concept of the history of salvation, and the role of secular rule. 


10 class journals (500 words) 70%, participation in discussions 30%