Concepts of law and justice
in Crime, Law and Society in the Later Middle Ages
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This chapter is comprised of annotated and translated source texts on the concepts of law and justice. In the later Middle Ages a broad intellectual background for concepts of law and justice existed based on a composite of the Bible and the tenets of Christianity, the corpus of Roman law and canon law, and the writings of Aristotle and St Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas was especially influential on medieval political thought, reconciling the teachings of Christ with Aristotelian logic to achieve a distinctive philosophy of law and the state. The emergence of parliament as a political institution is a phenomenon that is inextricably linked with the development of concepts of law, justice and kingship. The relationship of the king to the law and the obligations of kingship were crucial themes addressed by jurists and political commentators. The revival of interest in Roman civil law at the beginning of the twelfth century infused jurisprudential writing with ideas of strong centralist government under a divine emperor.


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