Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Conciliarism, Humanism and Law
Justifications of Authority and Power, c. 1400–c. 1520


  • Date Published: July 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108831796

£ 75.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • How was power justified in late medieval Europe? What justifications did people find convincing, and why? Based around the two key intellectual movements of the fifteenth century, conciliarism in the church and humanism, this study explores the justifications for the distribution of power and authority in fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century Europe. By examining the arguments that convinced people in this period, Joseph Canning demonstrates that it was almost universally assumed that power had to be justified but that there were fundamentally different kinds of justification employed. Against the background of juristic thought, Canning presents a new interpretative approach to the justifications of power through the lenses of conciliarism, humanism and law, throwing fresh light on our understanding of both conciliarists' ideas and the contribution of Italian Renaissance humanists.

    • Offers a fresh interpretation of conciliar and humanist political thought
    • Deconstructs assumptions about authority and examines how power can be justified
    • Fills a genuine gap in the history of political thought by focusing on the 15th century, a period often overlooked in favour of the canonical works of the 14th and 16th centuries
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book does something new: no-one has looked at the justifications of power through the lenses of conciliarism, humanism and law in this way before. Canning refreshes the study both of conciliarists' ideas and of the political thought of Italian Renaissance humanists.' David D'Avray, University College London

    'This comprehensive survey demonstrates the wide range of political ideas current on the eve of the Reformation. As such, it is crucial for understanding theories of power during the transition from medieval to modern Europe.' Antony Black, University of Dundee

    'The particular merit of the present study is that it places three formative forms of late medieval political culture on an equal footing and follows their characteristics and developmental tendencies.' Thomas Wolki, Sehepunkte

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2021
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108831796
    • length: 200 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Conciliarism and Changes of Mind
    2. Conciliarism and Papalism
    3. Italian Humanism
    4. The Law

  • Author

    Joseph Canning, University of Cambridge
    Joseph Canning is Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, he is the author of The Political Thought of Baldus de Ubaldis (1987), A History of Medieval Political Thought, c.300-c.1450 (1996) and Ideas of Power in the Late Middle Ages, 1296-1417 (2011).

Related Books

also by this author

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.