Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2021
As the noble elites in Elizabethan England were preparing their anti-imperial and anti-papal strategies, they received welcome assistance from the civil lawyer Alberico Gentili, a protestant refugee interested in combining his Roman law expertise with the kind of humanist statesmanship that was appreciated by his English interlocutors and that had flourished among North Italian city-states at the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici. Gentili wrote on the need to combine insights from history with a critical “philosophical” attitude – an orientation he identified in jurisprudence. He insisted on limiting the jurisdiction of theologians to the internal world of the faithful and on the absolute duty of obedience to the king, even when he had turned a tyrant. But Gentili remained blind to the principles of good government that were being developed under the anti-legal vocabulary of the ragion di stato by Italian Counter-Reformation strategists such as Giovanni Botero.
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