Foundations of the Conciliar Theory: The Contribution of the Medieval Canonists from Gratian to the Great Schism

Enlarged New Edition


Author: Tierney
A major problem which occupied thinkers in the later Middle Ages was the question of the internal structure of the Church and the proper interrelationship of its members. This book is an account of those canonistic theories of Church government which contributed to the growth of the conciliar theory, and which were formulated between Gratian's Decretum (c. 1140) and the Great Schism (1378). It is concerned particularly with the juristic development of the fundamental conciliar doctrine, the assertion that the universal Church was superior to the Church of Rome, with a consequent denial of the Pope's supreme authority.
Foundations of the Conciliar Theory is considered by many to be one of those rare books that significantly influenced twentieth century medieval studies. Now again available in a new enlarged edition, it will continue to be an indispensable work for all those interested in Church history and the Middle Ages.

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Brian Tierney, Ph.D. (1951), Cambridge University, is Bryce and Edith M. Bowmar Professor of Humanistic Studies Emeritus at Cornell University. A past president of the American Catholic Historical Association, he has received the honorary degrees of Doctor of Theology (University of Uppsala, Sweden) and Doctor of Letters (Catholic University, Washington, DC).