Alexander Murray has long had an intellectual interest in the
history of religion - struggling between his inbuilt anti-clericism
and his pronounced monastic leanings. The five essays in Conscience
and Authority in the Medieval Church take on this dialectic,
addressing the difficult relationship between private conscience
and public authority in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In
any organization, political, military, commercial, or religious,
the relationship of conscience and authority is always potentially
fraught, and can create dilemmas both for those in authority and
those without. This volume records how our European predecessors
approached and dealt with the same dilemmas as we face in the
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