The Rights And Powers Of The Roman Emperor What Are Temporal Matters? Chapter 4 ~ William Ockham

CRANACH, Lucas the Elder 

The rights and powers of the Roman Emperor 

What Are Temporal Matters? 

Chapter 4

Student I think that many other such distinctions which you need not bring forward are found in writing. For I reckon that from those [above] I will have the opportunity of understanding the others and of investigating the power which the emperor is known to have over various temporal affairs. Yet because I still do not know from the above [examples] how temporal, carnal, secular and human affairs are distinguished from spiritual, ecclesiastical and divine affairs, would you therefore mark out some small difference between them, according to the opinion of some people?

Master There are some people who say that the above words, temporal, spiritual, carnal, etc, are taken equivocally in various writings. Yet when it is asked what power the laity have in temporal affairs and clerics in spiritual affairs, these words are confined to one meaning, so that by temporal affairs are understood those matters which pertain to the rule of the human race considered purely naturally without any divine revelation. Those who assumed only natural and positive law and on whom no other law has been imposed preserved this rule. By spiritual affairs are understood those matters which pertain to the rule of the faithful in so far as that rule is drawn up by divine revelation.

Student According to that, emperors and other unbelievers, in ruling those subject to them, interfered in many matters which pertained neither to temporal nor to spiritual affairs.

Master This is granted. For everything that pertained to the worship of false gods and to wickedness should be reckoned as among neither temporal nor spiritual matters but should be considered as superstitious.


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