When it was first published by D.C. Heath in 1963 as part of their Problems in European Civilization series, this small volume alone offered readers a broad representation of the scholarly discussion on Pope Innocent III in an accessible format. Now revised and updated, the new edition presents the latest scholarship on the role of Innocent III in the development of the medieval papacy, while enlarging the treatment of the Crusades, Innocent III's importance in theology, his political life, and his pastoral and reform activities. Eight new selections have been added, along with a revised and expanded introduction.
At the time the first edition appeared more than thirty years ago, its title aptly summed up the main lines of discussion about the pontificate of Pope Innocent III. Although extreme statements criticizing Innocent for claiming secular power or defending his conception of papal authority no longer commanded major support, modified versions of these views continued to dominate scholarship; to a lesser degree they continue to do so today. Yet in the past three decades, important studies have emerged that emphasize Innocent's place as theologian, his role in the crusade movement, and his involvement in efforts to reform the church and Christian society.
The papacy as a developing historical institution is now more firmly established in the context of the important changes that were taking place in late twelfth- and early thirteenth-century Europe. If Innocent III is no longer seen by most as pursuing secular dominance, he is perhaps more realistically viewed as struggling within the limits of his age to find ways to make a better Christian world. Offering an impressive sampling of current and established scholarship, this new paperback edition will prove especially valuable as a supplementary text in both undergraduate and beginning graduate courses in religious studies, European history, medieval history, and the history of Christianity.
James M. Powell is professor of medieval history at Syracuse University. He is the author of Albertanus of Brescia: The Pursuit of Happiness in the Early Thirteenth Century (1992) and Anatomy of a Crusade (1986) and has edited a number of works, including Medieval Studies: An Introduction (second edition, 1992) and Muslims under Latin Rule, 1100-1300 (1990).
Contributors: Brenda Bolton; Alexander J. and Robert W. Carlyle; Christopher Cheney; Augustin Fliche; Johannes Haller; Albert Hauck; Friedrich Hurter; Wilhelm Imkamp; Friedrich Kempf; Elizabeth T. Kennan; Achille Luchaire; Michele Maccarrone; Charles H. McIlwain; John C. Moore; Kenneth Pennington; James M. Powell; Brian Tierney; Helene Tillmann
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