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How Can We Know Who Holds Legitimate Power? Dante On The Right And The Wrong Uses Of Knowledge

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Chapter Summary

The question of the right and the wrong uses of knowledge lay at the core of Dante's approach to politics in his tract, Monarchia. Dante's diminishing of the role of Scripture in political argument did not mean that he rejected God's role in human affairs - quite the reverse. The first fifteen of the sixteen chapters of Book I of Monarchia consisted of an attempt to demonstrate the proposition that the rule of one man was necessary for universal peace, the means for achieving the happiness and well-being of humanity. Dante set out to demonstrate that the papacy's arguments, whereby it claimed that the emperor derived his temporal power from the pope, were wrongly founded. Dante also had to confront juristic arguments to some extent because of the way in which the papacy elaborated its claims in terms of canon law.

Keywords: Dante; Monarchia ; papacy; Scripture



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