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Intentional ethics and hermeneutics in the Libellus de symoniacis: Bruno of Segni as a papal polemicist

Intentional ethics and hermeneutics in the Libellus de symoniacis: Bruno of Segni as a papal polemicist

By Leidulf Melve

Journal of Medieval History, Vol. 35:1 (2009)

Abstract: The Investiture Contest has at regular intervals been considered as a ‘revolution’, largely because it contributed forcefully to the reorganisation of the Church in the centuries to come. But the Contest has also been seen as heralding a new and more critical way of thinking, in which the traditional reliance on authorities was giving way to new approaches to the textual past. These new approaches are best evident in an extensive polemical literature that accompanied the struggle. From the 1030s and until the end of the Contest with the Concordat of Worms in 1122, a number of contending issues were discussed by contemporary churchmen. One issue scrutinised was that of simony and the validity of sacraments of simoniacs. In the following, the Libellus de symoniacis of Bruno of Segni will be analysed in order to address several aspects. First, the Libellus shows a new and more critical approach to the textual past, foreshadowing the juggling with auctoritas of the twelfth century. Second, Bruno’s analysis is a witness to the efforts taken to justify papal reform in the last decades of the eleventh century.

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