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Chapter Summary

The idea of studying biblical commentary and theological thought in its social and political context is, not a new one, we need only think of the work of Beryl Smalley in The Becket Conflict and the Schools, Sir Maurice Powicke on Stephen Langton, or John Baldwin's Masters, Princes and Merchants, but we see that the ten commandments reveal themselves to be particularly fruitful ground for this approach. This chapter discusses two stone tablets: the first contained the commandments which referred to God; and the second those that concerned one's neighbour. Rather than approach the commandments one by one, the author considers them according to a medieval scheme which asked what, of thought, word and deed, they were intended to restrain. This allows us to address further questions raised by scholars of the comparative burden of the law in relation to the Gospel and its salvific power.

Keywords: Becket Conflict; biblical commentary; Gospel; Stephen Langton; ten commandments; theological thought



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