June 30, 2018

Originally published by Medievalists.net July 2, 2018.

As I argued in my last column, by the thirteenth century Latin Christians shared an understanding of governed political community that was corporate, territorial and organic in nature. But what were the ends of such...

June 30, 2018

“The Early Church: Not as Pacifist as Some Would Have us Believe,” first appeared in the March/April 2017 edition of Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity.  You can read it in full here.

Following a recent gathering in Rome sponsored by Pax Christi International, t...

June 24, 2018

In my previous three columns I examined the ways in which material changes – the military, fiscal and judicial revolutions – gave rise to the medieval state.  In this and the following few instalments, I will examine a parallel development: the way in which changes in...

June 20, 2018

This column -- one that has gone pretty viral, prompting me to think maybe a follow-on piece is in order -- was first published on Medievalists.net on June 20, 2018.

One of the biggest problems confronting humanity in the late modern era is that we have yet to develop a...

June 17, 2018

So far in this series, we have talked about medieval “revolutions” in military power and judicial authority. A third great change in the late medieval era was in the control of money.


During the tenth to twelfth centuries, the right to mint coins had slipped from the e...

June 10, 2018


There are those who believe there was a “Great Divide” in Europe between the medieval and the modern, which happened in the 17th century. They call this the “rupture thesis” – when feudalism withered and was replaced by the sovereign state. Here I will present element...

June 3, 2018

In the following three columns, I trace the roots of the “modern state” – not in the 16th or 17th centuries as in most conventional accounts, but in the 13th and 14th. I begin by looking at the emergence of the late medieval “war state”.

Feudal Warmaking

From the late 12...

April 8, 2018

When it comes to warfare in the Middle Ages, the common belief is that it was always motivated by feudal concerns, religious convictions, or by what Thucydides called the eternal drivers of “honour, fear and interest.” The reality is that medieval wars were often the p...

January 13, 2017

This article was first published under the title “Pope Francis and the Pacifist Jesus” in the 13 January 2017 edition of Crisis Magazine: A Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity. In his message on the occasion of the 50th World Day of Peace on 1 January 2017, Pope Fran...