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7 William Durant the Younger and Conciliar Theory

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Chapter Summary

William Durant the Younger (ca. 1266-1330) had a sharp mind, deep familiarity with the law of his times, and the practical experience necessary to understand exactly what was wrong with what he, like others, called 'the state of the church'. The significance of Durant's ideas ought not to be confused with their influence. In this regard Durant deserves to be ranged with rationalists and optimists like Socrates and Diderot, as opposed to men like Augustine or Luther. Once good examples were given, Durant was convinced that the success of reform was assured. The trouble was that priests and bishops were in no position to go ahead with good examples. If Durant's investigations of the ancient laws served mainly to increase the split between the letter and the spirit of the law to desperate proportions, the council was supposed to heal that split.

Keywords: Diderot; Socrates; William Durant



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