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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the key themes discussed in the book. John of Salisbury is one of the main figures of the "12th-century Renaissance" and a major contributor to the political debates that took place between 1150 and 1180. His work stands at a crossroads between administrative and diplomatic activity as shown by his correspondence in the service of the archbishops of Canterbury and his Historia pontificalis; and philosophical and political thoughts as expressed in two exceptional works: the Metalogicon and the Policraticus. The book analyses the nature of the theological education he received in Paris, and examines the place of theology in the context of John's scepticism. The presence of Vacarius in Theobald's entourage probably also influenced his knowledge of Roman law. John's approach to Canon law may probably be analysed anew in the light of recent studies on Gratian's Decretum.

Keywords: archbishops of canterbury; Canon law; Gratian's Decretum; Historia pontificalis; John of Salisbury; Metalogicon; Policraticus; Roman law; scepticism



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