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OCKHAM'S FIRST POLITICAL TREATISE? THE IMPUGNATIO CONSTITUTIONUM PAPAE IOHANNIS [APRIL/MAY 1328] The newly identified text edited below is possibly Ockham's earliest extant polemic work. We owe the actual discovery of the text to Alban Heysse.1 Ockham's premier biographer, the abbé Léon Baudry (1882-1961), subjected Heysse's brief general description to an equally cursory review, and was unable to precisely locate the item in question within the corpus of Ockham's productions. He did, however, add a mention of it in the bibliography of his master work where it remained in peaceful obscurity for a generation.2 No one admittedly verified Baudry's casual note in subsequent decades. I tangentially examined the Laurenziana manuscript in the summer of 1975 but did not follow up with a thorough dissection of the appropriate folios until late in 1998. Only then did I realize the significance of this neglected piece. It is attributed to Ockham by the scribe and the many parallels of form and substance with the Venerabilis Inceptor's subsequent works provide very strong if not yet fully conclusive arguments in favour of its authenticity.3 The grammatical structure of his introduction suggests that the scribe may have borrowed both the attribution and the fuller title "Impugnado constitutionum Papae Iohannis Ad conditorem et Cum inter" from a lost source document close to if not identical with the original. The scribe used a separate sextern to recopy this (and adjunct) early Michaelist controversial material: the Impugnarlo now numbered as fo. 190r-192v of the Laurenziana 1A. Heysse, "Descriptio Codicis Bibliothecae Laurentianae Florentinae S. Cruris, Plut. 31 Sin, Cod. 3", Archivum Franciscanum Historicum 11 (1918), p. 253. The Impugnarlo was copied on folios 190r-192v of this Codex. 2L. Baudry, Guillaume d'Occam. Sa vie, ses oeuvres, ses idées sociales et politiques. Tome 1: l'homme et les oeuvres, Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin 1949, p. 294. 'Evidence of this has been provided in die accompanying notes. 237 Franciscan Studies 58 (2000) 238George Knysh Codex was originally fo. 9r-llv of the sextern, whose folio 11 [=Laurenziana 192] has the obvious characteristics of a palimpsest.4 Internal analysis indicates that the treatise was composed at a time when its author still recognized the legitimacy of Pope John XXII, but was willing to confront and debate the "contradictions" which existed between Nicholas Ill's famous Exiit qui seminat (1279) and Pope John's Ad conditorem canonum (1322/1323), Cum inter nonnullos (1323), and Quia quorundam mentes (1324) This readiness gives us the terminus a quo. Not until the explosive meeting of 9 April 1328 was the circle of Franciscans gathered around General Michael of Cesena prepared to move away from the policy of quiet accommodation Cesena had made his own since the promulgation of John's second major "anti-Franciscan" bull in late 1323, a policy which included the sponsoring of official "concordances" proving the compatibility of John's positions with those of Nicholas.s We infer from Ockham's letter to the Franciscans gathered at Assisi in 1334 that it is precisely at that nerve wracking moment in the early spring of 1328 that he was given the assignment of studying and dissecting the relevant writings.6 The terminus ante quem is equally clear. After the flight from Avignon on 26 May 1328 Cesena and his supporters openly The earlier text, imperfectly erased, was a version of Pope John XXII's bull Quia quorundam mentes: see G.Gal, D. Flood, eds., Nicolaus Minorita: Chronica. Documentation on Pope John XXII, Michael of Cesena and The Poverty of Christ with Summaries in English. A Source Book, St. Bonaventure, N.Y.: Franciscan Institute Publications 1996, pp. 159-171(henceforth cited as NM). The still sporadically discernible reproduction of Quia quorundam ends on fol. 192v of the Laurenziana ms. with the words "in sua declaratione subvenit ad Sedem Apostolicam declarationem eorum et circa ea quae ipse declaravit pertinere"(NM, p. 168. The word content of die palimpsest differs slightly from that of NM). Some lines of the Impugnado in the palimpsest segment are difficult (and a few are impossible) to decipher, but the general sense remains clear. 5L. Baudry, op...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1945-9718
Print ISSN
0080-5459
Pages
pp. 237-259
Launched on MUSE
2013-07-03
Open Access
No
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