Preaching the body politic: John of Wales and Franciscan political thought in the late thirteenth century

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This chapter explores how John of Wales, OFM, integrated extensive citation from the De XII abusiuis saeculi with Stoic thought in the tradition of John of Salisbury to generate a new vision of the Christian body politic in his popular manual for preachers, the Communiloquium. Unusually, he prioritized the twelfth abuse, a people without law, rediscovering the original social emphasis of the Twelve Abuses. John probably encountered the Twelve Abuses in the context of the baronial rebellion in mid-thirteenth century England, but used it to encourage guided conversation as a means of promoting moral and socio-political reform, rather than advocating violence. The popularity of his Communiloquium may have promoted wider acquaintance with the Twelve Abuses in the later Middle Ages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAddressing Injustice in the Medieval Body Politic
EditorsConstant J. Mews, Kathleen Neal
Place of PublicationAmsterdam Netherlands
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9789048555277
ISBN (Print)9789463721271
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameCrossing Boundaries: Turku Medieval and Early Modern Studies
PublisherAmsterdam University Press


  • Medieval history
  • Religion and society
  • Governance
  • Justice
  • Virtue ethics
  • Political history

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