By way of a personal update, it’s vaguely interesting to me that when I first started this blog almost 5 years ago, I had just begun working on my B.A. thesis on Medieval conciliarism and its relationship to the Reformation. Many of my early entries here chronicled my research for that thesis, and, if I have any time at all this summer to blog, imost of my entries will chronicle my research for yet another thesis – this time, the M.A. one. (Though, honestly, with the need to prepare over the summer for my new teaching job in the Fall, it isn’t very likely I will be able to blog much).
It looks like I’ll be doing my M.A. thesis on the political theory and practice of the eleventh century English ruler King Edward the Confessor. One possibility is to examine the relationship of the regnum (civil power) and sacerdotium (ecclesiastical power) during Edward’s reign. This is an important issue because Medieval thinkers always “in theory” accepted a distinction between these two powers which would require them to have real independence of each other, yet, “in practice” almost nobody ever got the distinction right. This was the basis of the centuries-long conflict between Church and State, and it’s a very fascinating question of Christian political theory. Alternatively, I’d do the thesis on the later political use of Edward’s saint cult by bishops to resist kings who tried to restrict the liberty of the church. I’ve talked to one professor about the ideas, and he will be getting back to me as to which he thinks is the best route to go.
In the meantime, I’m working to finish my final papers for my last two classes (Augustine’s City of God, and Plato’s Gorgias), and trying to find time to brush up on my Latin so that I can take and pass an exam that is part of the graduation requirements.