Middeleeuse Konsilieteorie, Marsilius van Padua en Johannes Althusius se Politieke Filosofie


  • Andries Raath


Marsilius of Padua was the first political theorist in the Christian fold to offer a solution to the conflict between the spiritual and political powers, different from the dualistic solutions proposed at the time. Marsilius seriously attempted to demarcate the sphere of political life from that of ecclesiastical institutions and to distinguish the political role of the civitas from the spiritual domain of the Church. Regarding the proper functioning of the civitas, Marsilius introduced a new political approach, mediating between the antagonistic rivals locked in a conflict apparently insoluble. In his Defensor Pacis, Marsilius attacked the papal claims to plenitudo potestas and showed that these claims constitute an usurpation by the ecclesiastical authorities over the governmental part of the state. Marsilius argues in favour of a theory ensuring both tranquillity and legitimacy in society. His approach is based on an analysis of the origin, causes, and the end of the State, the formulation of a theory explaining the foundation of the State, and the exposition of the parts of the State. To Marsilius the purpose of the community is the sufficient life; which end is only attainable if the parts of the community work in harmony like the members of the body of an animal, a biological metaphor reflecting the organismic images of medieval times for explaining the need for the proper functioning of the State as a political entity. To Marsilius political authority proceeds from the whole corporation of citizens (universitas civium) which he identified with the human legislator (legislator humanus), which in turn elects the executive or ruling part (pars principans) and could depose it. Marsilius’ political thought appealed to Reformational authors like Johannes Althusius and contributed in essential respects to the formulation of modern Reformational theories of politics and law. Two aspects of Marsilius’ theory were fruitfully exploited by Calvinists like Johannes Althusius viz. the delimitation of State membership to the universal symbiotic community, and his view that every type of organized community has its own inner laws whereby it is governed, and that the laws in each differ as required by its kind.




How to Cite

Raath, A. (2019). Middeleeuse Konsilieteorie, Marsilius van Padua en Johannes Althusius se Politieke Filosofie. Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 55(3), 1-37. Retrieved from https://pubs.ufs.ac.za/index.php/tcw/article/view/464



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