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Damnation, individual and community in Remigio Dei Girolami's De Bono Communi

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The fourteenth-century Florentine Dominican Remigio dei Girolami has traditionally been regarded as an extreme anti-individualist. As evidence for his extremism, commentators typically point to objection eleven of his 1302 treatise De bono communi, which appears to argue that the superiority of the common good over individual good requires that a citizen be willing to be damned to hell in preference to his commune's damnation. I believe, however, not only that this traditional interpretation has been influenced by historiographical cirumstances, but also that the argument of the crucial objection eleven has been misunderstood. When read correctly, taking into consideration Remigio's use of both Aristotelian (wholes and parts) and Biblical (the order of charity) political languages, both the passage and the treatise as a whole are seen to be more interesting and more complex than can be dismissed with the phrase ‘extreme anti-individualism’.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of History, Mount St Mary's College, Emmitsburg, MD 21727, USA.

Publication date: 2000-02-01

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