The Reception of William Durant the Younger s Treatises in Late Medieval and Early Modern Times

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chapter 6 The Reception of William Durant the Younger s Treatises in Late Medieval and Early Modern Times 1 Introduction William Durant the Younger was born in about 1266 in Puimisson near Béziers in Southern
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chapter 6 The Reception of William Durant the Younger s Treatises in Late Medieval and Early Modern Times 1 Introduction William Durant the Younger was born in about 1266 in Puimisson near Béziers in Southern France and served as bishop of Mende and count of Gévaudan, an extended territory in the south of the Massif Central, from 1296 until his death in He is not {61 62} to be confused with William Durant the Elder, his * Originally published as Die Rezeption der Traktate des Wilhelm Durant d. J. im späten Mittelalter und in der frühen Neuzeit, in Das Publikum politischer Theorie im 14. Jahrhundert: Zu den Rezeptionsbedingungen politischer Philosophie im späteren Mittelalter, ed. Jürgen Miethke (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1992), This essay is an expanded version of a paper I gave in Munich at a colloquium on the reception of political thought in the later Middle Ages organized by Jürgen Miethke. I would like to thank Jürgen Miethke cordially for his invitation to present my work on the reception of William Durant the Younger s ideas to the colloquium. I would similarly like to thank the participants for their valuable suggestions and observations. 1 The best edition of Durant s treatise was published by Jean Crespin in Lyon, 1531, under the title De modo generalis concilii celebrandi tractatus. In references to the text of this edition I will distinguish between Tractatus maior, that is, the treatise Durant submitted to the Council of Vienne, and Tractatus minor, that is, the treatise Durant wrote at the Council of Vienne, most likely in response to the opposition he encountered. I will quote the number of part and/or chapter as they appear in Durant s original version, followed by the number of part and chapter in the printed edition in square brackets whenever the numbering in the printed edition differs from Durant s version. I will also identify the folio and column in Crespin s edition, with superscript r and v standing for recto and verso, and a and b for the first and second columns, e.g., Tractatus maior 2.78 [3.9], fol. 22va. On abbreviations in references to legal texts see Kuttner, Notes on the Roman Meeting ; Ochoa and Diez, eds. Indices canonum, i v; and Brundage, Appendix I. For all questions concerning the text of Durant s treatise in particular the differences between the original version and the printed editions, the distinction between Tractatus maior and Tractatus minor, the organization of both treatises, and the nature, origin, and stemma of manuscripts and printed editions see above, chaps. 1 2, and Fasolt, Council and Hierarchy. On Durant s life and work see Viollet, Guillaume Durant, Tierney, Foundations, 190 9, Sieben, Konzilsidee, , 351 7, and Fasolt, Council and Hierarchy. For additional references to the secondary literature see above, chap. 3. There is a question about the correct spelling of Durant s name. The literature wavers koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2014 doi / _008 The Reception of Durant s Treatises 271 uncle, namesake, and predecessor as bishop of Mende, the author of works as famous as the Speculum judiciale and the Rationale divinorum officiorum.2 The younger Durant is best known for a great treatise on the reform of the church that he submitted to the Council of Vienne In this treatise he demanded that in the future general councils ought to be assembled every ten years, and that the pope ought not to be allowed to pass new laws without the participation of such councils.3 In so doing he anticipated the main provisions of the Council of Constance s decrees Haec sancta and Frequens by more than a hundred years and earned himself a well-deserved reputation among historians as a precursor of the conciliar movement. Yet he did not only demand a new role for general councils in the constitution of the church, but also made an immense number of other recommendations, some of them significant, some less so, some widely echoed, others specific to him, all of them meant to lead to a reformatio in capite et membris a concept he seems to have been the first to use in public4 but in very different ways. To mention only a few examples: in addition to criticisms of pluralism, nepotism, and absenteeism that were little short of commonplace, Durant demanded that a tenth of the income from all prebends held by secular and regular clergy should be set aside in order to support the studies of poor students;5 that priestly celibacy ought to be abolished;6 that the finances of the papacy should be thoroughly overhauled, but only on condition that the pope declared himself willing to exercise his plenitudo potestatis according to the wishes of the council;7 that the church ought to stop temporal lords from between Durant, Durand, Durandus, Durantis, Durandis, Duranti, und Durandi. R. Heckel, Eine Kanzleianweisung, 110n4, establishes Duranti as the correct form. (I am grateful to Reinhard Elze for pointing me to this article, which is regularly overlooked and has been overlooked by me as well.) Nonetheless I follow Viollet, Guillaume Durant, 2n2, who was well informed about the advantages of Duranti, in his preference for the modernizing form Durant. 2 See Falletti, Guillaume Durand. The correct title is Speculum iuris. I use Speculum judiciale because that is the title given to the work in the early modern printed editions I have used. 3 Item quod [Romana ecclesia] nulla iura generalia deinceps conderet nisi vocato concilio generali, quod de decennio in decennium vocaretur. Tractatus maior 2.96 [3.27], fol. 59ra. 4 Thus J. T. McNeill, Emergence of Conciliarism, 298 9, and Lecler, Pape ou concile, 49. Gert Melville, however, points out to me that among the Cluniacensians the concept of reformatio in capite et membris had already occurred much earlier. Cf. Frech, Reform an Haupt und Gliedern. 5 Tractatus maior 2.38, fol. 32va. 6 Tractatus maior 2.46, fol. 35va. 7 Item quod de bonis ecclesiasticarum personarum superabundantibus talis provisio fieret supradicte Romane ecclesie quod absque omni taxationis nota et infamia posset communiter 272 chapter 6 debasing the coinage;8 that radical cuts ought to be made in the scholarly literature in every faculty, since much of it was superfluous and too expensive for students, and that it should be replaced with concise handbooks and binding decisions {62 63} by the papacy on disputed legal issues;9 that newfangled motets ought to be prohibited;10 that the papacy ought to leave jurisdiction over local disputes to provincial councils;11 that theological studies ought to be focused on the Bible and vera theologia;12 that exemptions ought to be abolished;13 that impoverished bishoprics ought to be merged with other bishoprics;14 and so on. 2 The Character of the Tractatus maior Durant s treatise thus differs in several respects from the writings to which this colloquium is primarily devoted. It is an occasional piece of writing on et divisim honorabiliter vivere et [M] onera incumbentia supportare, proviso tamen quod ultra et contra predicta et alia que concilio rationabilia viderentur contra divinas et humanas leges non posset absque generali concilio habenas extendere plenitudinis potestatis. Tractatus maior 2.96 [3.27] fol. 59rb. The emendation is taken from Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Clm 6605, fol. 56ra. 8 Tractatus maior 2.93 [3.24], fol. 57va. 9 Item cum nimia prolixitas et etiam similitudo confusionem inducant, sicut habetur prohemio decretalium, et ut alibi scribitur: ars longa, vita brevis, et experimentum difficile et diversitas interpretantium frequenter confusionem et [P] materiam litium et discordiarum inducunt, videretur utile quod de qualibet facultate sumerentur literati et experti viri et arbitri, ad quorum iudicium per summum pontificem omnes probabiles dubitationes circa quaslibet scientias exorte, resecatis omnibus similibus et superfluis, remanentibus tamen ipsarum scientiarum textibus originalibus, tollerentur. Tractatus maior 2.73 [3.4], fol. 53ra b. The emendation is taken from Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, ms. lat. 1443, fol. 79vb. Durant s critique is chiefly directed against glossators and commentators, as is confirmed by the parallel in Tractatus minor 22 [3.45], fol. 68vb: Quod diversitas glossarum et scriptorum que est in singulis facultatibus, que diversitas et varietas cum multiplicitate et prolixitate ac similitudine dictorum et recitatorum studentium sensus ebetat, tempus et facultates consumit, confusionem et ignorantiam inducit, cum ex hoc textuum et originalium notitia contemnatur, reduceretur per certos magistros in qualibet facultate approbatos et deputatos, resecatis superfluis, similibus, et contrariis, ad compendium veritatis, quod compendium approbaretur per apostolicam sedem. 10 Tractatus maior 2.68, fol. 45rb; Tractatus maior 2.75 [3.6], fol. 53va b. 11 Tractatus maior 2.11, fol. 18rb va; Tractatus maior 2.32, fol. 28va. 12 Tractatus maior 2.85 [3.16], fol. 55vb. 13 Tractatus maior 1.4, Rubrica de exemptionibus, fols. 8rb 13rb. 14 Tractatus maior 2.7, fol. 17va; Tractatus maior 2.91 [3.22], fol. 56va b. The Reception of Durant s Treatises 273 the reform of the church. By no means does it deal systematically with anything that could be called political theory. That does not mean that Durant did not make statements of considerable significance for understanding the political thinking of his time. Nor does it mean that he was a monarchist or anti-aristotelian the opposite seems closer to the truth. But it does mean that he was concerned to give effect to an understanding of order that was based on law and not at all designed to support the autonomy of politics, neither in political theory nor in political practice. Instead, Durant insisted on the subordination of every exercise of power to law and had accordingly little sympathy for the study of politics as a subject in its own right. Similarly he considered it to be reasonably self-evident that all temporal power was subject to the church, not at all because he doubted the existence of separate temporal institutions in and of themselves, but because the church exercised divine law, that is, a higher form of law binding both state and church to the same degree.15 He located the foundations of this {63 64} understanding of order in, on the 15 On the one hand, Durant therefore insisted solemnly on the respect that was owed to the king and on the obligation of the clergy to observe their fealty to him, frequently referring to Visigothic texts; see Tractatus maior 2.6, fol. 16rb, and Tractatus maior 2.71 (in the printed editions this chapter is broken into pieces that can be found at the beginning of chapter 2.71, in the middle of 3.30, and towards the end of 3.1, fols. 49rb 51va, 60va 61rb, and 52rb vb, in that order). On the other hand, he insisted energetically on the supremacy of the church and quoted the relevant classic texts, from the Donation of Constantine (D. 96 cc ), via Pope Nicholas II s canon Omnes (D. 22 c. 1), Innocent III s canons Solite (X ) and Novit (X , the famous foundation for ecclesiastical interference in temporal affairs ratione peccati), down to Pope Nicholas III s Fundamenta militantis ecclesie (VI ); see Tractatus maior 2.9, fols. 17vb 18ra; 2.93 [3.24], fols. 57va 58ra. Durant thus maintained a thoroughly characteristic combination of a dualism of temporal and spiritual powers with a monistic conception of order that entailed the supremacy of the church: Videretur ideo utile, si absque scandalo fieri posset, hec taliter secularium principum auribus inculcari quod cognoscerent nullam sibi fieri iniuriam cum ecclesia se de aliquibus casibus secularibus intromittat, et quod distinguerentur iura ecclesiastica et secularia, cum hoc videatur consonum iuri, x. di. quoniam, xcvi. di. cum ad verum, et ca. duobus. Tractatus maior 2.9, fol. 18ra; cf. D. 10 c. 8, D. 96 c. 6, D. 96 c. 10. It is telling that precisely this combination of dualism and monism is particularly clearly expressed in his decisive demand for general councils, where he speaks of a single res publica embracing both temporal and spiritual powers and treats pope and kings exactly the same: Videretur esse salubre consilium pro re publica et pro dictis administratoribus rei publice quod sic sub ratione, ut premissum est in rubricis proximis, limitaretur potestas eorundem quod absque certo consilio dominorum cardinalium dominus papa, et reges ac principes absque aliorum proborum consilio, sicut hactenus in re publica servabatur, non uterentur prerogativa huiusmodi potestatis, potissime aliquid concedendo contra concilia et contra iura approbata communiter, et quod contra dicta concilia et iura nihil possent de novo statuere vel concedere nisi generali concilio convocato, cum illud quod omnes tangit 274 chapter 6 one hand, the well-known canon of Pope Gelasius on the two powers (which, by the way, he intentionally misquoted in order to give it a meaning favorable to the king, thereby countering, as it were, Pope Gregory VII, who had quoted the same canon with an omission that was equally misleading, but designed to give it a meaning favorable to the papacy),16 and, on the other hand, in the thirteenth chapter of Paul s letter to the Romans, which in Durant s judgment required all powers to subject themselves entirely {64 65} to the law, not although, but because they were ordained by God.17 secundum iuris utriusque regulam ab omnibus debeat communiter approbari. Tractatus maior 1.4, fol. 7rb. 16 In Gratian s Decretum, D. 96 c. 10, Gelasius s text runs as follows: Duo sunt quippe, inperator auguste, quibus principaliter hic mundus regitur: auctoritas sacra pontificum, et regalis potestas. In quibus tanto gravius est pondus sacerdotum, quanto etiam pro ipsis regibus hominum in divino sunt reddituri examine rationem. Gratian s version relied on Pope Gregory VII s omission of the significant restriction that Gelasius had added to his declaration of priestly superiority in writing to Emperor Anastasius: Si enim quantum ad ordinem pertinet publicae disciplinae, cognoscentes imperium tibi superna dispositione collatum, legibus tuis ipsi quoque parent religionis antistites, ne vel in rebus mundanis exclusae videantur obviare sententiae; quo, oro te, decet affectu eis obedire, qui praerogandis venerabilibus sunt attributi mysteriis? Cf. Miethke and Bühler, Kaiser und Papst, 20 1, 63, with Carlyle, History, 1:191n1. Durant, by contrast, wrote in Tractatus maior 1.2, fol. 4vb: Si itaque duo a quibus regitur humanum genus sicut a ministris dei, videlicet ecclesiastica autoritas et regalis potestas, sicut Gelasius papa scribit Anastasio imperatori, xcvi. distinctione, duo sunt, vellent intendere ad dictam reformationem et salubre regimen humani generis,.... He thus replaced principaliter with sicut a ministris dei and auctoritas sacra pontificum with ecclesiastica autoritas and omitted the rest, a pretty clear dig at Unam sanctam. Similarly to Durant, John of Paris, De regia potestate 10, ed. Bleienstein, , 113, wrote: Sic sunt distinctae [spiritualis potestas et secularis] quod una in aliam non reducitur, sed sicut spiritualis immediate a Deo, ita et temporalis.... Dicit enim Apostolus Ad Romanos xiii (4 6) de rege et principe: Si malefeceris, time! Non enim sine causa gladium portat. Dei enim minister est, vindex malorum in ira etc. Et infra: Ideo praestatis tributa. Ministri enim Dei sunt. Non dicit papae sed Dei! It is telling that in Tractatus minor 8 [3.31], fol. 61vb, Durant refrained from changing the text to suit his purposes: Duo a quibus secundum Gelasium papam principaliter hic mundus regitur, videlicet auctoritas sacra pontificum et regalis potestas Quod dominus papa et reges debeant servare premissa in lege et in evangelio, conciliis, et iuribus approbatis contenta, de facili potest ostendi. Nam potestas eorum a deo est et que ab eis ordinata sunt a deo ordinata existunt sicut ait Apostolus ad Romanos xiii., xi. q. iii. qui resistit, et c. imperatores, x. di. quoniam idem mediator, xcvi. di. cum ad verum, xxiii. q. iiii. quesitum. Ordo autem melior non potest esse in regimine eorundem quam quod in eorum regimine deo, a quo eorum processit potestas et cuius regimini debet conformari regimen orbis, lxxxix. di. ad hoc, xvi. q. i. ad hoc, inquantum possunt sunt conformes. Tractatus maior 1.3, fol. 5ra. Cf. C. 11 q. 3 cc. 97 8, D. 10 c. 8, D. 96 c. 6, C. 23 q. 4 c. 45, D. 89 c. 7, C. 16 q. 1 c. 63. The Reception of Durant s Treatises 275 This understanding of order was so broadly conceived that it allowed Durant to take positions without much ado that, from a modern point of view, seem to be irreconcilably opposed to each other. The conciliarist Durant had no trouble, for example, not merely to mention the papalist treatise De ecclesiastica potestate by his archbishop, Giles of Rome, on two separate occasions, but to recommend it emphatically to his readers as an unsurpassed account of the relationship between spiritual and temporal power.18 It does not follow that Durant was incapable of recognizing that his conciliar theory was impossible to reconcile with Giles s papal theory.19 What follows rather is that he regarded the evidently increasing tensions between the secular clergy and the papacy, as well as those between temporal and spiritual powers, as a mortal danger for the church. Quite like Gregory VII and Giles of Rome he was convinced that the freedom of the church depended on its unity except that he held the papacy responsible for the lack of such unity. {65 66} The purpose of his program was to put an end to the conflict between the different parties competing with each other in the church by reforming the church in head and members. This purpose cannot be captured by concepts such as conciliar and papal, which 18 De potestate ecclesiastica super temporales dominos et dominia temporalia. Istam rubricam non prosequor nec etiam lxxii. de presenti propter librum quem de contentis in dictis duabus rubricis reverendus in Christo frater Egidius Bituricensis archiepiscopus, in quo profunditas et sublimitas vigent scientie, copiose et utiliter edidit, in quo plenius videri possunt pertinentia ad istas duas rubricas quam posset hic explicari. Tractatus maior 2.95 [3.26], fol. 58rb va. Cf. the parallel in Tractatus maior 2.72 [3.3], fols. 52vb 53ra. Posch, Reformvorschläge, , and E. Müller, Vienne, 596n40, were evidently wrong to interpret this as a reference to Giles of Rome, De regimine principum. 19 Just as it does not follow that the papalist Giles ought to have refrained from fighting against papal exemptions side-by-side with William Durant the Younger, as he had been doing since the 1280s; cf. E. Müller, Vienne, 495 6; Congar, Aspects ecclésiologiques, 141 2; Douie, Conflict, 28 and n. 3; Gratien, Histoire, 349; and in particular the following passage from Giles s Tractatus contra exemptos 3 (1555), fol. 23v, quoted from Congar, Aspects ecclésiologiques, 142n358: Summus Pontifex intelligitur ordinarius ubique et posse ad se reservare ordinariam et immediatam cognitionem cujuslibet Ecclesiae. Hoc tamen non obstante quilibet praelatus in dioecesi habet cognoscere causas illius dioecesis, et est ordinarius in tota sua dioecesi: quod ideo contingit quia praelati sunt assumpti in partem sollicitudinis; sed Summus Pontifex assumptus est in totalem plenitudinem potestatis. Et quia totum stat simul cum parte, ideo simul stat immediata jurisdictio, etiam ordinaria, Summi Pontificis, cum ordinaria jurisdictione cujuscumque praelati. Et quia exemptio hoc tollit, et privat jurisdictionem mediam praelatorum, ideo quaedam inordinatio dici potest: quia facit de jure praelatorum non jus. That was Durant s opinion, too. 276 chapter 6 presuppose and thereby implicitly confirm the very polarization that Durant was struggling hard to prevent.20 3 Obstacles to Tracing the Reception of the Tractatus maior The preceding observations are sufficient to point to the main obstacle in the way of anyone wh
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