Zeger-Bernard Van Espen at the Crossroads of Canon Law, History, Theology and Church-State Relations (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium)

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9789042913707: Zeger-Bernard Van Espen at the Crossroads of Canon Law, History, Theology and Church-State Relations (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium)

The volume contains the text of 23 papers read at the colloquium (Louvain, 21st-23rd September 2000) on Zeger-Bernard van Espen (1646-1728), the most important canonist of the ancient Louvain University.Several contributions seek to gauge the influence of Van Espen in a number of European countries: France, Italy, Spain, the German Empire and the United Provinces. Van Espen's influence was not merely investigated from a geographical perspective. The question was also raised as to how well his ideas survived the passage of time. How was Van Espen viewed in the 19th century? How was he used or misused?Hitherto, those who inquired into the personality and work of Van Espen have treated him almost exclusively from a 'Jansenist' perspective. The present volume seeks to break through this one-sidedness by approaching the man and his work from a legal and theological viewpoint, and from that of canon law and ecclesiology.From Gratian's "Concordia discordantium canonum" to Van Espen's "Separando certa ab incertis explicare et conciliare": the Louvain canonist was eminently aware of the canonical tradition within which he developed and formulated his ideas. More than being a Jansenist or a regalist or a Gallican, Van Espen was a jurist, who thought and reasoned on the basis of the law and structures of the Church. The protection of "that which is right", including the subjective rights of clerics and lay people, was his subject, his goal and his duty. On the basis of a sincere scientific, historical and philological approach to canon law, he came to conclusions which did not necessarily correspond to Rome's views on Church and State, moral theology, law and ecclesiology. This is not merely attributable to his Jansenist, rigorist, Gallican and regalist prejudices in these sensitive areas, but, probably to a greater extent than has been assumed hitherto, to his training as an academic, as a jurist, and as a canonist.

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