Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 4, “The Ecclesiopolitical Traditions” pp. 135-181 Part 1, “Secular and Theocratic Concepts of Government” pp. 135-137
Ozment begins this chapter with a discussion of Walter Ullmann’s work at Cambridge. Ullmann considers that “diametrically opposed concepts of government and law competed in the Middle Ages and that their conflict gave the political history of the period its dynamic” (Ozment 1980, 135). In one view, power comes from the many and ascends to the few. The other view sees authority in the sovereign descending to the general population. Ullmann sees the ascending theme rooted in pagan classics and the secular mind, counter to the descending view rooted in clerical leadership. Counter to Ullmann, some scholars such as Francis Oakly consider Ullmann to oversimplify, observing that Christian tradition is a source of political egality, while pagan classics show power rightly held by individuals. Ozment adduces John Morrall and Bernard Guenge as observers who consider the Middle Ages as a very complex time. Ozment observes that “in each tradition we can discern a strong movement favoring the lay and the secular world against the official clerical and religious world and encouraging innovation beyond tradition as the eve of the Reformation approaches” (Ibid., 137). Ozment suggests the fragmentation of Europe as states sought autonomy “to transform the medieval church into a docile department of the inchoate sovereign state” (Ibid.).