THE NOTIONS OF STATE, JUSTICE AND ORDER IN MEDIEVAL POLITICAL THOUGHT
A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF AUGUSTINE AND AQUINAS
This paper examines the political thought and ideas which flourished in Western Europe during the medieval era, otherwise known as the European Middle Ages. The major objective of the paper is to compare and contrast the thought-contents of Augustine and Aquinas, whose contributions to the world of philosophical thought – especially in an era of mounting religious zeal marked by massive strife and tension and mutual distrust in the understanding of what really constituted the doctrines of faith and the role of the state – form a major canon in the development and understanding of Western philosophical tradition of the time. The focus here is to reveal areas of agreement and possible nuances as regards the notions of state, justice and order in the political thought of the two great thinkers, and to identify the early and later impulses which gave rise to their respective bodies of thought. The theory of justice is the choice of theoretical framework for the paper. Data gathering was from secondary sources and data analysis largely historical and based on coherent and logical reasoning and textual analysis of works on the subject of study. The paper arrived at the conclusion that although Augustine and Aquinas hold different notions with respect to state, justice and order, they both agree that the state exists to provide some form of justice and order.