Rewards and Hazards of the Legal Profession

in The Medieval Origins of the Legal Profession

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780226077598
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226077611 | DOI:
Rewards and Hazards of the Legal Profession

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter discusses the rewards and hazards of the legal profession. In addition to material prizes, the legal profession's intangible rewards were far from negligible. Some students considered law a more attractive field of study than theology because it afforded them a measure of intellectual freedom. Lawyers were less hemmed in than theologians were by dogmatic boundaries that they could cross only at personal peril. This was crucial for canon law, which lay at the point where law and theology intersected. Canonists explored and developed novel ideas about such basic issues as natural rights, representation and consent, the corporate structure of ecclesiastical and civil government, the right to wage war, limits on the authority of popes, bishops, and cardinals, or even monarchs, more freely than their colleagues in the theological faculty could entertain novel hypotheses about such matters as the Trinity, the Eucharist, free will, or apostolic poverty.

Keywords: civil government; hazards; legal profession; law; lawyers; theologians; canon law; canonists; popes; bishops

Chapter.  9403 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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