Past Sense — Studies in Medieval and Early Modern European History 


The twenty studies collected in this volume focus on the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern world. The method leads from technical investigations on William Durant the Younger (ca. 1266-1330) and Hermann Conring (1606-1681) through reflection on the nature of historical knowledge to a break with historicism, an affirmation of anachronism, and a broad perspective on the history of Europe. The introduction explains when and why these studies were written, and places them in the context of contemporary historical thinking by drawing on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. This book will appeal to historians with an interest in historical theory, historians of late medieval and early modern Europe, and students looking for the meaning of history.

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Constantin Fasolt is the Karl J. Weintraub Professor of History and the College at the University of Chicago. He obtained his Ph.D. at Columbia University in 1981. He is the author of Council and Hierarchy: The Political Thought of William Durant the Younger (Cambridge, 1991) and The Limits of History (Chicago, 2004).
“There are many layers to this insightful, learned, and thought-provoking book. Taken individually, each essay is a masterful piece of research in the field of premodern political thought lato sensu and represents some of the methodological challenges and potentialities of intellectual history as a specific approach to people, ideas, and texts. Taken as a whole, this collection provides several important contributions to the wider historical and historiographical debate.”
Stefania Tutino, University of California, Los Angeles. In: The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 88, No. 2 (June 2016), pp. 416-417.
Acknowledgments ix
Illustrations xi
Abbreviations xii
Permissions xiv
Changes and Revisions xvi
Manuscript Sigla xviii

Introduction: A Program of Research 1

PART 1 — Holding On: William Durant the Younger (ca. 1266–1330) 107

1 The Manuscripts and Editions of William Durant the Younger’s Tractatus
de modo generalis concilii celebrandi—Revised 109

2 A New View of William Durant the Younger’s Tractatus de modo
generalis concilii celebrandi 152

3 Research on William Durant the Younger’s Tractatus de modo generalis
concilii celebrandi: A Critical Review 193

4 Quod omnes tangit ab omnibus approbari debet: The Words and the
Meaning 222

5 At the Crossroads of Law and Politics: William Durant the Younger’s
‘Treatise’ on Councils 258

6 The Reception of William Durant the Younger’s Treatises in Late
Medieval and Early Modern Times 270

7 William Durant the Younger and Conciliar Theory 294

PART 2 — Moving On: Hermann Conring (1606–81) 313

8 Conring on History 315

9 From Helmstedt via Mainz to Paris: Hermann Conring and Hugues
de Lionne 339

10 A Question of Right: Hermann Conring’s New Discourse on the
Roman-German Emperor 350

11 Hermann Conring and the Republic of Letters 374

12 Author and Authenticity in Conring’s New Discourse on the
Roman-German Emperor: A Seventeenth-Century Case Study 385

13 Political Unity and Religious Diversity: Hermann Conring’s Confessional
Writings and the Preface to Aristotle’s Politics of 1637 416

14 Hermann Conring and the European History of Law 445

PART 3 — Come and Gone: Past Sense 465

15 Visions of Order in the Canonists and Civilians 467

16 Sovereignty and Heresy 493

17 Empire the Modern Way 503

18 The Limits of History in Brief 512

19 Religious Authority and Ecclesiastical Governance 525

20 Hegel’s Ghost: Europe, the Reformation, and the Middle Ages 546

Works Cited 597

Index 659
All those interested in the history of late medieval and early modern Europe, the theory and philosophy of history, history of historical thought, periodization, history of political thought, legal history, conciliar theory, Protestant Reformation, sovereignty, William Durant the Younger, and Hermann Conring, especially graduate students and academics in history and political theory.
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