This work demonstrates that in the thirteenth century there existed a variety of beliefs concerning the papal office. It departs from previous books, which have argued that the hierocratic theory of papal monarchy was systematic in character and the dominant way of understanding the papacy. Much has been written about the papacy, particularly the institution at what was arguably its zenith in the Middle Ages. Out of all the centuries which comprise this nebulous period, the thirteenth captures the papacy identifying itself in ever-more exalted language. By this time the pope is no mere Vicar of St. Peter, but now is the Vicar of none other than Christ himself. The figure most associated with self-identification of this nature is Innocent III, one of the most discussed popes of all time. Similarly, the word 'paradigm' is so familiar a term that it has long since moved beyond the semantic fields of academia into the lexicon of the everyday educated person. Justification has to be given, then, for a book on not one familiar topic, but two. Admittedly, one seldom sees these two subjects written about together.
Nevertheless, it shall be shown that the paradigm concept can function as a means not only to critique longstanding assumptions about the nature of beliefs held in the thirteenth-century concerning the papal monarchy, but also as a methodological tool to analyse the differences between religious and scientific communities in hitherto unexplored ways.