Inventing the Public Sphere (set 2 volumes)

The Public Debate during the Investiture Contest (c. 1030–1122)


This book deals with public debate during the Investiture Contest (ca. 1040-1122). During this revolutionary struggle between the secular and the religious powers, polemical writers contributed to the arguably first 'public debate' in medieval Europe. A close reading of a selection of these polemics offers new views on the functioning of the medieval public sphere as well as how the public framework circumscribing the writers led to argumentative innovations. These include an increasing concern with interpretation and contextualisation, resulting in a more critical and probing intellectual community. Public debate during the Contest taught intellectuals how to argue in public and in that respect transferred a lasting legacy to the later Middle Ages and beyond.
Restricted Access


EUR €185.00USD $249.00

Biographical Note

Leidulf Melve, Ph.D. (2005) in History, University of Bergen, is Post-Doctoral fellow at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen. He has published on intellectual history, historical theory and method, literacy-studies and political history.

Review Quotes

"Ein systematischer Zugriff auf das polemische Schrifttum des späten 11. und frühen 12.Jh...Wer eine umfassende Charaktisierung wichtiger Streitschriften auf den neuesten Forschungsstand benötigt, is mit M.s Arbeit gut bedient".
Oliver Münsch, Deutsches Archiv für Erforschung des Mittelalters 65,1 (2009), 225-226.

"(...)Das Werk schärft den Blick auf die Wirkung der Streitschriften erheblich und wird daher zum Standardwerk der libelli de lite avancieren."
Florian Hartmann, Quellen und Forschungen 88 (2008) 660-661.

Table of contents



1. Structural Changes in the Public Sphere during the Investiture Contest
2. The Early Period Polemics and Public-Sphere Formation: The De ordinando pontifice
3. Polemical Warfare in the Papal and Royal Chanceries (1073-1082)
4. Gebhard, Wenrich, Manegold, and Guido Debating the Papal Letter to Hermann of Metz
5. Peter Crassus and the Legal Renaissance of the Eleventh Century (c. 1080-1084)
6. The ‘Right Order of the World’ according to the De unitate ecclesiae conservanda
7. The Political-Theoretical Orientation of the Late Period: De investitura episcoporum (1109)
8. The Public Debate on the Investiture Question (1058-1122)

Name Index
Subject Index


All those interested in intellectual history, history of ideas, political history, and the history of the Investiture Contest.

Index Card

Collection Information