Amid the religious tumult of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, English scholars, preachers, and dramatists examined, debated, and refashioned tales concerning Pope Joan, a ninth-century woman who, as legend has it, cross-dressed her way to the papacy only to have her imposture exposed when she gave birth during a solemn procession.
The legend concerning a popess had first taken written form in the thirteenth century and for several hundred years was more or less accepted. The Reformation, however, polarized discussions of the legend, pitting Catholics, who denied the story’s veracity, against Protestants, who suspected a cover-up and instantly cited Joan as evidence of papal depravity. In this heated environment, writers reimagined Joan variously as a sorceress, a hermaphrodite, and even a noteworthy author.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan examines sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates concerning the popess’s existence, uncovering the disputants’ historiographic methods, rules of evidence, rhetorical devices, and assumptions concerning what is probable and possible for women and transvestites. Author Craig Rustici then investigates the cultural significance of a series of notions advanced in those debates: the claim that Queen Elizabeth I was a popess in her own right, the charge that Joan penned a book of sorcery, and the curious hypothesis that the popess was not a disguised woman at all but rather a man who experienced a sort of spontaneous sex change.
The Afterlife of Pope Joan draws upon the discourses of religion, politics, natural philosophy, and imaginative literature, demonstrating how the popess functioned as a powerful rhetorical instrument and revealing anxieties and ambivalences about gender roles that persist even today.
Craig M. Rustici is Associate Professor of English at Hofstra University.
Aquinas and Analogy
Ralph McInerny Catholic University of America Press, 1996 Library of Congress B765.T54M236 1996 | Dewey Decimal 169.092
The basic distinctions McInerny introduces, his criticism of the central piece in the literature, Cajetan's De nominum analogia, the applications he makes to problems such as that of the nature of metaphysics or of logic, his knowledge of contemporary debates on related topics, combine to make his contribution unique
Though often invoked by pro-life supporters, Thomas Aquinas in fact held that human life begins after conception, not at the moment of union. But in following the twists and turns of Aquinas’ thinking about the beginning and end of human life, Fabrizio Amerini reaches a nuanced interpretation that will unsettle both sides in the abortion debate.
For the past several decades, French historians have emphasized the writing of history in terms of structures, cultures, and mentalities, an approach exemplified by proponents of the Annales school. With this volume, Bernard Guenée, himself associated with the Annalistes, marks a decisive break with this dominant mode of French historiography. Still recognizing the Annalistes' indispensable contribution, Guenée turns to the genre of biography as a way to attend more closely to chance, to individual events and personalities, and to a sense of time as people actually experienced it. His erudite, lively, elegantly written study links in sequence the lives of four French bishops, illuminating medieval and early modern history through their writings.
Guenée chooses as his frame the momentous period from the height of Saint Louis's reign in the mid-thirteenth century to the beginning of the Italian wars two hundred years later. During this time of schism in the church, of war between nascent states, and of treachery among princes, Bernard Gui (1261-1331), Gilles Le Muisit (1272-1353), Pierre D'Ailly (1351-1420), and Thomas Basin (1412-1490) all rose from modest circumstances to the dignity of office. Guenée shows us how these prelates used their talent, ambition, patrons, zeal, and experience to juggle the competing demands of obedience to church and state; to overcome competition from an upcoming new generation; and to cope with plague, war, and violence. Free of jargon yet steeped in learning, Between Church and State reveals the career patterns and politics of an era while forging a new model for points of departure in historical scholarship.
In Blessing the World, Derek A. Rivard studies liturgical blessing and its role in the religious life of Christians during the central and later Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the blessings of the Franco-Roman liturgical tradition from the tenth to late thirteenth centuries.
The pallium was effective because it was a gift with strings attached. This band of white wool encircling the shoulders had been a papal insigne and liturgical vestment since late antiquity. It grew in prominence when the popes began to bestow it regularly on other bishops as a mark of distinction and a sign of their bond to the Roman church. Bonds of Wool analyzes how, through adroit manipulation, this gift came to function as an instrument of papal influence. It explores an abundant array of evidence from diverse genres - including chronicles and letters, saints' lives and canonical collections, polemical treatises and liturgical commentaries, and hundreds of papal privileges - stretching from the eighth century to the thirteenth and representing nearly every region of Western Europe. These sources reveal that the papal conferral of the pallium was an occasion for intervening in local churches throughout the West and a means of examining, approving, and even disciplining key bishops, who were eventually required to request the pallium from Rome.
Exploding the myth that the Bible was largely unknown to medieval lay folk, Book and Verse presents the first comprehensive catalog of Middle English biblical literature: a body of work that, because of its accessibility and familiarity, was the primary biblical resource of the English Middle Ages. The medieval Bible, much like the Bible today, consists in practical terms not of a set of texts within a canon but of those stories which, because of a combination of liturgical significance and picturesque qualities, form a provisional "Bible" in the popular imagination. As James Morey explains in his introduction, although the Latin Bible was not accessible to the average English-speaker, paraphrases— systematic appropriation and refashioning of biblical texts—served as a medium through which the Bible was promulgated in the vernacular. This explains why biblical allusions, models, and large-scale appropriations of biblical narrative pervade nearly every medieval genre. Book and Verse is an indispensable guide to the variety and extent of biblical literature in England, exclusive of drama and the Wycliffite Bible that appeared between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries. Entries provide detailed information on how much of what parts of the Bible appear in Middle English and where this biblical material can be found. Comprehensive indexing by name, keyword, and biblical verse allows a researcher to find, for example, all the occurrences of the Flood Story or of the encounter between Elijah and the Widow of Sarephta. An invaluable resource, Book and Verse provides the first easy access to the "popular Bible" assembled before and after John Wyclif's translation of the Vulgate into English.
Challenges conventional views of medieval piety by demonstrating how the ideology of charity and its vision of the active life provided an important alternative to the ascetical, contemplative tradition emphasized by most historians
The line that separated Eastern Christendom from Western on the medieval map is similar to the "iron curtain" of recent times. Linguistic barriers, political divisions, and liturgical differences combined to isolate the two cultures from each other. Except for such episodes as the schism between East and West or the Crusades, the development of non-Western Christendom has been largely ignored by church historians. In The Spirit of Eastern Christendom, Jaroslav Pelikan explains the divisions between Eastern and Western Christendom, and identifies and describes the development of the distinctive forms taken by Christian doctrine in its Greek, Syriac, and early Slavic expression.
"It is a pleasure to salute this masterpiece of exposition. . . . The book flows like a great river, slipping easily past landscapes of the utmost diversity—the great Christological controversies of the seventh century, the debate on icons in the eighth and ninth, attitudes to Jews, to Muslims, to the dualistic heresies of the high Middle Ages, to the post-Reformation churches of Western Europe. . . . His book succeeds in being a study of the Eastern Christian religion as a whole."—Peter Brown and Sabine MacCormack, New York Review of Books
"The second volume of Professor Pelikan's monumental work on The Christian Tradition is the most comprehensive historical treatment of Eastern Christian thought from 600 to 1700, written in recent years. . . . Pelikan's reinterpretation is a major scholarly and ecumenical event."—John Meyendorff
"Displays the same mastery of ancient and modern theological literature, the same penetrating analytical clarity and balanced presentation of conflicting contentions, that made its predecessor such an intellectual treat."—Virgina Quarterly Review
"A magnificent history of doctrine."—New York Review of Books
"In this volume Jaroslav Pelikan continues the splendid work he has done thus far in his projected five-volume history of the development of Christian doctrine, defined as 'what the Church believes, teaches, and confesses on the basis of the word of God.' The entire work will become an indispensable resource not only for the history of doctrine but also for its reformulation today. Copious documentation in the margins and careful indexing add to its immense usefulness."—E. Glenn Hinson, Christian Century
"This book is based on a most meticulous examination of medieval authorities and the growth of medieval theology is essentially told in their own words. What is more important, however, then the astounding number of primary sources the author has consulted or his sovereign familiarity with modern studies on his subject, is his ability to discern form and direction in the bewildering growth of medieval Christian doctrine, and, by thoughtful emphasis and selection, to show the pattern of that development in a lucid and persuasive narrative. No one interested in the history of Christianity or theology and no medievalist, whatever the field of specialization, will be able to ignore this magnificent synthesis."—Bernhard W. Scholz, History
"The series is obviously the indispensable text for graduate theological study in the development of doctrine, and an important reference for scholars of religious and intellectual history as well. . . . Professor Pelikan's series marks a significant departure, and in him we have at last a master teacher."—Marjorie O'Rourke Boyle, Commonweal
This penultimate volume in Pelikan's acclaimed history of Christian doctrine—winner with Volume 3 of the Medieval Academy's prestigious Haskins Medal—encompasses the Reformation and the developments that led to it.
"Only in America, and in this case from a Lutheran scholar, could we expect an examination so lacking in parti pris, a survey so perceptive, so free—and, one must say, the result of so much immense labor, so rewardingly presented."—John M. Todd, New York Times Book Review
"Never wasting a word or losing a plot line, Pelikan builds on an array of sources that few in our era have the linguistic skill, genius or ambition to master."—Martin E. Marty, America
"The use of both primary materials and secondary sources is impressive, and yet it is not too formidable for the intelligent layman."—William S. Barker, Eternity
The Chronicle of Andres
Leah Abbot William of Andres Catholic University of America Press, 2017
Dewey Decimal 271.1044272
Translated with Notes and Commentary by Leah Shopkow
In 1220 Abbot William of Andres, a monastery halfway between Calais and Saint-Omer on the busy road from London to Paris, sat down to write an ambitious cartulary-chronicle for his monastery. Although his work was unfinished at his death, William’s account is an unpolished gem of medieval historical writing. The Chronicle of Andres details the history of his monastery from its foundation in the late eleventh century through the early part of 1234. Early in the thirteenth century, the monks decided to sue for their freedom and appointed William as their protector. His travels took him on a 4000 km, four-year journey, during which he was befriended by Innocent III, among others, and where he learned to negotiate the labyrinthine system of the ecclesiastical courts. Upon winning his case, he was elected abbot on his return to Andres and enjoyed a flourishing career thereafter. A decade after his victory, William decided to put the history of the monastery on a firm footing.
This text not only offers insight into the practice of medieval canon law (from the perspective of a well-informed man with legal training), but also ecclesiastical policies, the dynamics of life within a monastery, ethnicity and linguistic diversity, and rural life. It is comparable in its frankness to Jocelin of Brakelord’s Chronicle of Bury. Because William drew on the historiographic tradition of the Southern Low Countries, his text also offers some insights into this subject, thus composing a broad picture of the medieval European monastic world.
The roles of popes, saints, and crusaders were inextricably intertwined in the Middle Ages: papal administration was fundamental in the making and promulgating of new saints and in financing crusades, while crusaders used saints as propaganda to back up the authority of popes, and even occasionally they ended up being sanctified. Yet current scholarship rarely treats these three components of medieval faith together. This book remedies that by bringing together scholars to consider the links among the three and the ways that understanding them can help us build a more complete picture of the working of the church and Christianity in the Middle Ages.
"An outstanding contribution not only to Spanish but to European history at large. Pick's book is the first to clarify the unity of purpose that drove Archbishop Rodrigo, a major figure not only as a historian and controversialist, but as a churchman whose military campaigns advanced the conquest of Muslim Spain and shifted the whole balance of power in the Iberian peninsula."
---J. N. Hillgarth, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
"By focusing on the diversified activities of the talented mid-thirteenth-century archbishop of Toledo, Lucy Pick brilliantly illuminates the complex relations between the Christian conquerors of Spain and the conquered Muslim and Jewish populations. Students of medieval Spain, of the medieval Roman Catholic Church, of medieval Muslims and Islam, and of medieval Jews and Judaism will benefit from this excellent study."
---Robert Chazan, New York University.
In Conflict and Coexistence, Lucy Pick sets out to explain how Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived alongside one another in medieval Spain. By examining the life and works of Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, the Archbishop of Toledo (1209-47), Pick explains that the perceived threat of the non-Christian presence was managed through the subordination of Muslims and Jews.
Rodrigo stood at the center of a transformative period of history in the Iberian peninsula. During his long and varied career as archbishop, he acted as scholar, warrior, builder, and political leader. The wave of victories he helped initiate were instrumental in turning back the tide of Muslim attacks on Christian Spain and restarting the process of Christian territorial conquest. However, Toledo was still a multiethnic city in which Christians lived side by side with Jews and Muslims. As archbishop, he was faced with the considerable challenge of maintaining peace and prosperity in a city where religious passions and intolerance were a constant threat to stability.
This work seeks to examine Rodrigo's relations with the Muslims and Jews of his community both as he idealized them on paper and as he worked through them in real life. Though Rodrigo wrote an anti-Jewish polemic, and set out to conquer Muslim-held lands, he also used scholarly patronage and literary creation to combat internal and external, Christian and non-Christian threats alike. His intended and actual consequences of these varied techniques were to allow Christians, Muslims, and Jews to live together under Christian authority. Rodrigo was bound by practical necessity to find a means of accommodating these groups that was both effective and theologically satisfactory. Throughout this influential work, Pick examines the various aspects of Rodrigo's life and career that led to his policies and the consequences that his work and beliefs brought about in medieval Spain.
This book will be of interest to anyone who studies the history, religion, and literature of medieval Spain, to those interested in the transmission of learning from the Muslim to the Christian world, and to those who study intellectual life and development in medieval Europe.
This work, which forms an important bridge between medieval and Counter-Reformation sanctity and canonization, provides a richly contextualized analysis of the ways in which the last five candidates for sainthood before the Reformation came to be canonized.
Detective, monk, father, herbalist, Crusader, sailor, Celt, friend—author Ellis Peters bestows all these attributes on her twelfth-century Benedictine monk-detective Brother Cadfael. As a detective, Cadfael uses his analytic mind to solve crimes and administer justice. As a man of God, he also dispenses mercy along with his famous cordials.
Why, essays ask, is a cloistered monk solving murders? How can an author combine a valid detective and an effective healer?
Demons in the Middle Ages
Juanita Feros Ruys Arc Humanities Press, 2017 Library of Congress BT975.R89 2017 | Dewey Decimal 235.40902
The medieval world was full of malicious demons: fallen angels commissioned to tempt humans away from God. From demons disguised as beautiful women to demons that took frightening animal-like forms, this book explores the history of thought about demons: what they were, what they could and could not do, and how they affected human lives. It considers the debates, stories, and writing that eventually gave shape to the witchcraze of the early modern period.
Dominion of God
Brett Edward Whalen Harvard University Press, 2009 Library of Congress BX1069.5.W53 2009 | Dewey Decimal 282.40902
Brett Whalen explores the compelling belief that Christendom would spread to every corner of the earth before the end of time. During the High Middle Ages - an era of crusade, mission, and European expansion - ;the Western followers of Rome imagined the future conversion of Jews, Muslims, pagans, and Eastern Christians into one fold of God's people, assembled under the authority of the Roman Church.
In the global marketplace of ideas, few realms spark as much conflict as religion. For millions of people, it is an integral part of everyday life, reflected by a widely divergent supply of practices and philosophical perspectives. Yet, historically, the marketplace has not always been competitive. While the early Common Era saw competition between Christianity, Judaism, and the many pagan cults, Roman Christianity came eventually to dominate Western Europe.
Using basic concepts of economic theory, Robert B. Ekelund Jr. and Robert D. Tollison explain the origin and subsequent spread of Roman Christianity, showing first how the standard concepts of risk, cost, and benefit can account for the demand for religion. Then, drawing on the economics of networking, entrepreneurship, and industrial organization, the book explains Christianity's rapid ascent. Like a business, the church developed sound business strategies that increased its market share to a near monopoly in the medieval period. This book offers a fascinating look at the dynamics of Christianity’s rise, as well as how aspects the church’s structure—developed over the first millennium—illuminate a number of critical problems faced by the church today.
In this study of the manner in which medieval nuns lived, Penelope Johnson challenges facile stereotypes of nuns living passively under monastic rule, finding instead that collectively they were empowered by their communal privileges and status to think and act without many of the subordinate attitudes of secular women. In the words of one abbess comparing nuns with monks, they were "different as to their sex but equal in their monastic profession."
Johnson researched more than two dozen nunneries in northern France from the eleventh century through the thirteenth century, balancing a qualitative reading of medieval monastic documents with a quantitative analysis of a lengthy thirteenth-century visitation record which allows an important comparison of nuns and monks. A fascinating look at the world of medieval spirituality, this work enriches our understanding of women's role in premodern Europe and in church history.
"This innovative, well-researched study looks at anti-Judaic rhetoric in the Old English and Latin texts of Anglo-Saxon England-a land lacking real Jews. The author isolates a common pool of inherited images for portraying the Jew, and teaches us to hear, especially in the vernacular, their increasingly dark and disturbing inflections."
---Roberta Frank, Yale University
"The Footsteps of Israel is a fascinating study of a pervasive stereotype. Scheil's analysis of how Jews, with no real physical presence in Anglo-Saxon England, captured the imagination of writers of the period, is a superb achievement."
---Louise Mirrer, President and CEO, New-York Historical Society
"The elegance of Scheil's prose weaves a unifying thread through the vast literary and historical tapestry he presents, moving with grace from Latin to Old English, from Bede to later authors, from Wordsworth and Blake to modern writers. He speaks elegantly of these texts' conversations with the past, and the Jews emerge as both enemies and spiritual antecedents of the 'New Israel' of Anglo-Saxon England."
---Stephen Spector, State University of New York, Stonybrook
Jews are the omnipresent border-dwellers of medieval culture, a source of powerful metaphors active in the margins of medieval Christianity. This book outlines an important prehistory to later persecutions in England and beyond, yet it also provides a new understanding of the previously unrecognized roles Jews and Judaism played in the construction of social identity in early England.
Andrew P. Scheil approaches the Anglo-Saxon understanding of Jews from a variety of directions, including a survey of the lengthy history of the ideology of England as the New Israel, its sources in late antique texts and its manifestation in both Old English and Latin texts from Anglo-Saxon England. In tandem with this perhaps more sympathetic understanding of the Jews is a darker vision of anti-Judaism, associating the Jews in an emotional fashion with the materiality of the body.
In exploring the complex ramifications of this history, the author is the first to assemble and study references to Jews in Anglo-Saxon culture. For this reason, The Footsteps of Israel will be an important source for Anglo-Saxonists, scholars of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, scholars of medieval antisemitism in general, students of Jewish history, and medievalists interested in cultural studies.
In this remarkable study of over 2,200 female and male saints, Jane Schulenburg explores women's status and experience in early medieval society and in the Church by examining factors such as family wealth and power, patronage, monasticism, virginity, and motherhood. The result is a unique depiction of the lives of these strong, creative, independent-minded women who achieved a visibility in their society that led to recognition of sanctity.
"A tremendous piece of scholarship. . . . This journey through more than 2,000 saints is anything but dull. Along the way, Schulenburg informs our ideas regarding the role of saints in the medieval psyche, gender-specific identification, and the heroics of virginity." —Library Journal
"[This book] will be a kind of 'roots' experience for some readers. They will hear the voices, haunted and haunting, of their distant ancestors and understand more about themselves." —Christian Science Monitor
"This fascinating book reaches far beyond the history of Christianity to recreate the 'herstory' of a whole gender." —Kate Saunders, The Independent
Through this vivid study, Jean-Claude Schmitt examines medieval religious culture and the significance of the widespread belief in ghosts, revealing the ways in which the dead and the living related to each other during the middle ages. Schmitt also discusses Augustine's influence on medieval authors; the link between dreams and autobiographical narratives; and monastic visions and folklore. Including numerous color reproductions of ghosts and ghostly trappings, this book presents a unique and intriguing look at medieval culture.
"Valuable and highly readable. . . . [Ghosts in the Middle Ages] will be of interest to many students of medieval thought and culture, but especially to those seeking a general overview of this particularly conspicuous aspect of the medieval remembrance of the dead."—Hans Peter Broedel, Medieval Review
"A fascinating study of the growing prevalence of ghost imagery in ecclesiastical and popular writing from the fifth to the fifteenth century."—Choice
Jan-Heiner Tück presents a work that explores the sacramental theology, lived spirituality, and Eucharistic poetry of the Church’s doctor communis, St. Thomas Aquinas. Although Aquinas’ Eucharistic poetry has long occupied an important place in the Church’s liturgical prayer and her repertoire of sacred music, the depth of these poems remains hidden until one grasps the rich sacramental theology underlying it. Consequently, Tück first offers a detailed but approachable primer of Aquinas’ theology of the sacraments, before diving deeply into the Angelic Doctor’s theology and poetry of the Eucharist. The Scriptural accounts stand at the heart of the systematic framework developed by Aquinas, and thus significant attention is devoted to showing the harmony between the accounts of Christ’s passion and the detailed exposition of the Summa theologiae. Moreover, the Eucharistic controversies of the ninth and eleventh centuries provide the contrapuntal context in which Aquinas did his thinking, praying, and writing. Not surprisingly, therefore, the response he crafts to these controversies draws upon both speculative powers and contemplative prayer, brought together in the unity of Aquinas’ theology and spirituality. The net result is a twofold treasure for the Church: a careful systematic presentation of Eucharistic theology and the lived devotional expression of the same in the carefully constructed—and now much beloved—stanzas of Pange lingua gloriosi, Lauda Sion, Adoro te devote, etc. By revealing the lively interplay of the saint’s powerful speculative intellect and a heart steeped in love for the Eucharistic Lord, Tück offers a sophisticated exposition of Aquinas’ Eucharistic poetry and the roots it sinks into a wider theological framework. Finally, the contemporary significance and power of Aquinas’ work is drawn out, not only in the rarefied realm of intellectual inquiry but also in the everyday expanse of ordinary life.
Gratian the Theologian
John C. Wei Catholic University of America Press, 2016 Library of Congress BX4705.G61835W45 2016 | Dewey Decimal 262.922
Gratian the Theologian shows how one of the best-known canonists of the medieval period was also an accomplished theologian. Well into the twelfth century, compilations of Church law often dealt with theological issues. Gratian's Concordia discordantium canonum or Decretum, which was originally compiled around 1140, was no exception, and so Wei claims in this provocative book. The Decretum is the fundamental canon law work of the twelfth century, which served as both the standard textbook of canon law in the medieval schools and an authoritative law book in ecclesiastical and secular courts. Yet theology features prominently throughout the Decretum, both for its own sake and for its connection to canon law and canonistic jurisprudence.
Gratian's Decretum is one of the major works in European history, a text that in many ways launched the field of canon law. In this new volume, Atria Larson presents to students and scholars alike a critical edition of De penitentia (Decretum C.33 q.3), the foundational text on penance, both for canon law and for theology, of the twelfth century. This edition takes into account recent manuscript discoveries and research into the various recensions of Gratian's text and proposes a model for how a future critical edition of the entire Decretum could be formatted by offering a facing-page English translation. This translation is the first of this section of Gratian's De penitentia into any modern language and makes the text accessible to a wider audience. Both the Latin and the English text are presented in a way to make clear the development of Gratian's text in various stages within two main recensions. The edition and translation are preceded by an introduction relating the latest scholarship on Gratian and his text and are followed by three appendices, including one that provides a transcription of the relevant text from the debated manuscript Sankt Gallen, Stiftsbibliothek 673, and one that lists possible formal sources and related contemporary texts. This book provides a full edition and translation of the text studied in depth in Master of Penance: Gratian and the Development of Penitential Thought and Law in the Twelfth Century (CUA Press, 2014) by the same author.
The High Middle Ages
Kari Elisabeth Børresen SBL Press, 2015 Library of Congress BS521.4.H54 2015 | Dewey Decimal 220.0820902
An international collection of ecumenical, gender-sensitive interpretations
The latest volume in the Bible and Women series examines the relationship between women and the Bible's reception in the centuries of the High and Late Middle Ages in Europe. Contributors bring a variety of new insights to questions of how women of the Bible were treated in literary, mystical, and doctrinal texts as well as in art and music. Though the Bible was used to legitimize the subordination of women to men and to exclude them from power, during this period women produced works of theology and biblical interpretation. Contributors include Gemma Avenoza, Marina Benedetti, Dinora Corsi, Maria Laura Giordano, Elisabeth Gössmann, Maria Leticia Sánchez Hernández, Hildegund Keul, Linda Maria Koldau, Martina Kreidler-Kos, Rita Librandi, Gary Macy, Constant J. Mews, Magda Motté, Rosa María Parrinello, María Isabel Toro Pascua, Claudia Poggi, Carmel Posa, Marina Santini, Valeria Ferrari Schiefer, Andrea Taschl-Erber, Adriana Valerio, and Paola Vitolo.
Essays on the treatment of women in commentaries and didactic moral literature written by men
Close study of women as scholars and interpreters of the Bible from the twelfth through the fifteen centuries
Twenty-one essays from twenty-three scholars from around the world
"Through well-informed and nuanced readings of key documents from the fourth through fourteenth centuries, this book challenges historians' long-held beliefs about how concepts of Greco-Roman theater survived the fall of Rome and the Middle Ages, and contributed to the dramatic triumphs of the Renaissance. Dox's work is a significant contribution to the history of ideas that will change forever the standard narrative of the birth and development of theatrical activity in medieval Europe."
---Margaret Knapp, Arizona State University
"...an elegantly concise survey of the way classical notions of theater have been interpreted in the Latin Middle Ages. Dox convincingly demonstrates that far from there being a single 'medieval' attitude towards theater, there was in fact much debate about how theater could be understood to function within Christian tradition, even in the so-called 'dark ages' of Western culture. This book makes an innovative contribution to studies of the history of the theater, seen in terms of the history of ideas, rather than of practice."
---Constant Mews, Director, Centre for the Study of Religion & Theology, University of Monash, Australia
"In the centuries between St. Augustine and Bartholomew of Bruges, Christian thought gradually moved from a brusque rejection of classical theater to a progressively nuanced and positive assessment of its value. In this lucidly written study, Donnalee Dox adds an important facet to our understanding of the Christian reaction to, and adaptation of, classical culture in the centuries between the Church Fathers and the rediscovery of Aristotle."
---Philipp W. Rosemann, University of Dallas
This book considers medieval texts that deal with ancient theater as documents of Latin Christianity's intellectual history. As an exercise in medieval historiography, this study also examines biases in modern scholarship that seek links between these texts and performance practices. The effort to bring these texts together and place them in their intellectual contexts reveals a much more nuanced and contested discourse on Greco-Roman theater and medieval theatrical practice than has been acknowledged. The book is arranged chronologically and shows the medieval foundations for the Early Modern integration of dramatic theory and theatrical performance.
The Idea of the Theater in Latin Christian Thought will be of interest to theater historians, intellectual historians, and those who work on points of contact between the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. The broad range of documents discussed (liturgical treatises, scholastic commentaries, philosophical tracts, and letters spanning many centuries) renders individual chapters useful to philosophers, aestheticians, and liturgists as well as to historians and historiographers. For theater historians, this study offers an alternative reading of familiar texts which may alter our understanding of the emergence of dramatic and theatrical traditions in the West. Because theater is rarely considered as a component of intellectual projects in the Middle Ages, this study opens a new topic in the writing of medieval intellectual history.
The Ideal Bishop
Michael G. Sirilla Catholic University of America Press, 2017 Library of Congress BV670.3.S57 2017 | Dewey Decimal 262.12
St. Thomas Aquinas’s commentaries on the Pastoral Epistles are distinctive and overlooked theological resources, offering invaluable insights into the exercise of the episcopal office in bringing about the spiritual perfection of the faithful in Christ. The Ideal Bishop includes a review of the theology of the episcopacy found in St. Thomas’s principal contemporaries, including Peter Lombard, St. Albert the Great, and St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio. The heart of this book is an examination of the theology and spirituality of the episcopacy found in the lectures on 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus. Particular attention is devoted to Aquinas’s treatment of the nature, purpose, requisite virtues, disqualifying vice, special duties, and particular graces of the episcopal office.
Under the broad umbrella of the Christian religion, there exists a great divide between two fundamentally different ways of thinking about key aspects of the Christian faith. Eugene Webb explores the sources of that divide, looking at how the Eastern and Western Christian worlds drifted apart due both to the different ways they interpreted their symbols and to the different roles political power played in their histories. Previous studies have focused on historical events or on the history of theological ideas. In Search of the Triune God delves deeper by exploring how the Christian East and the Christian West have conceived the relation between symbol and experience.
Webb demonstrates that whereas for Western Christianity discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity has tended toward speculation about the internal structure of the Godhead, in the Eastern tradition the symbolism of the Triune God has always been closely connected to religious experience. In their approaches to theology, Western Christianity has tended toward a speculative theology, and Eastern Christianity toward a mystical theology.
This difference of focus has led to a large range of fundamental differences in many areas not only of theology but also of religious life. Webb traces the history of the pertinent symbols (God as Father, Son of God, Spirit of God, Messiah, King, etc.) from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament through patristic thinkers and the councils that eventually defined orthodoxy. In addition, he shows how the symbols, interpreted through the different cultural lenses of the East and the West, gradually took on meanings that became the material of very different worldviews, especially as the respective histories of the Eastern and Western Christian worlds led them into different kinds of entanglement with ambition and power.
Through this incisive exploration, Webb offers a dramatic and provocative new picture of the history of Christianity.
Who are the familiar spirits of classical culture and what is their relationship to Christian demons? In its interpretation of Latin and Greek culture, Christianity contends that Satan is behind all classical deities, semi-gods, and spiritual creatures, including the gods of the household, the lares and penates.But with In the Company of Demons, the world’s leading demonologist Armando Maggi argues that the great thinkers of the Italian Renaissance had a more nuanced and perhaps less sinister interpretation of these creatures or spiritual bodies.
Maggi leads us straight to the heart of what Italian Renaissance culture thought familiar spirits were. Through close readings of Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola, Strozzi Cigogna, Pompeo della Barba, Ludovico Sinistrari, and others, we find that these spirits or demons speak through their sudden and striking appearances—their very bodies seen as metaphors to be interpreted. The form of the body, Maggi explains, relies on the spirits’ knowledge of their human interlocutors’ pasts. But their core trait is compassion, and sometimes their odd, eerie arrivals are seen as harbingers or warnings to protect us. It comes as no surprise then that when spiritual beings distort the natural world to communicate, it is vital that we begin to listen.
The Incarnate Lord
Thomas Josepth White Catholic University of America Press, 2015 Library of Congress BT198.W463 2015 | Dewey Decimal 232
The Incarnate Lord, then, considers central themes in Christology from a metaphysical perspective. Particular attention is given to the hypostatic union, the two natures of Christ, the knowledge and obedience of Jesus, the passion and death of Christ, his descent into hell, and resurrection. A central concern of the book is to argue for the perennial importance of ontological principles of Christology inherited from patristic and scholastic authors. However, the book also seeks to advance an interpretation of Thomistic Christology in a modern context. The teaching Aquinas, then, is central to the study, but it is placed in conversation with various modern theologians, such as Karl Barth, Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar. Ultimately the goal of the work is to suggest how traditional Catholic theology might thrive under modern conditions, and also develop fruitfully from engaging in contemporary controversies.
There have been numerous studies in recent decades of the medieval inquisitions, most emphasizing larger social and political circumstances and neglecting the role of the inquisitors themselves. In this volume, Karen Sullivan sheds much-needed light on these individuals and reveals that they had choices—both the choice of whether to play a part in the orthodox repression of heresy and, more frequently, the choice of whether to approach heretics with zeal or with charity.
In successive chapters on key figures in the Middle Ages—Bernard of Clairvaux, Dominic Guzmán, Conrad of Marburg, Peter of Verona, Bernard Gui, Bernard Délicieux, and Nicholas Eymerich—Sullivan shows that it is possible to discern each inquisitor making personal, moral choices as to what course of action he would take. All medieval clerics recognized that the church should first attempt to correct heretics through repeated admonitions and that, if these admonitions failed, it should then move toward excluding them from society. Yet more charitable clerics preferred to wait for conversion, while zealous clerics preferred not to delay too long before sending heretics to the stake. By considering not the external prosecution of heretics during the Middles Ages, but the internal motivations of the preachers and inquisitors who pursued them, as represented in their writings and in those of their peers, The Inner Lives of Medieval Inquisitors explores how it is that the most idealistic of purposes can lead to the justification of such dark ends.
Works prior to this book focused on Bede as not only a European, but also as an English scholar, historian, scientist, or a biographer of saints, and have used a traditional approach towards his explanation of the Bible. Bede's interpretation of his work, its continuous progress, and the reasons behind his hurried appointment to an authority almost as high as the Church Fathers are all topics examined within the text. Essays are by Roger Ray, Faith Wallis, Calvin B. Kendall, George Hardin Brown, Scott DeGregorio, Arthur G. Holder, Lawrence T. Martin, Walter Goffart, and Joyce Hill.
In this startling original work of historical detection, Mark D. Jordan explores the invention of Sodomy by medieval Christendom, examining its conceptual foundations in theology and gauging its impact on Christian sexual ethics both then and now. This book is for everyone involved in the ongoing debate within organized religions and society in general over moral judgments of same-sex eroticism.
"A crucial contribution to our understanding of the tortured and tortuous relationship between men who love men, and the Christian religion—indeed, between our kind and Western society as a whole. . . . The true power of Jordan's study is that it gives back to gay and lesbian people our place in history and that it places before modern theologians and church leaders a detailed history of fear, inconsistency, hatred and oppression that must be faced both intellectually and pastorally."—Michael B. Kelly, Screaming Hyena
"[A] detailed and disturbing tour through the back roads of medieval Christian thought."—Dennis O'Brien, Commonweal
"Being gay and being Catholic are not necessarily incompatible modes of life, Jordan argues. . . . Compelling and deeply learned."—Virginia Quarterly Review
This book, the first English-language monograph on William of Auxerre, traces the motif of the spiritual senses through his Summa Aurea, using it as an illuminating and unifying lens through which to appreciate his theology
Laughing at the Devil is an invitation to see the world with a medieval visionary now known as Julian of Norwich, believed to be the first woman to have written a book in English. (We do not know her given name, because she became known by the name of a church that became her home.) Julian “saw our Lord scorn [the Devil's] wickedness” and noted that “he wants us to do the same.” In this impassioned, analytic, and irreverent book, Amy Laura Hall emphasizes Julian's call to scorn the Devil. Julian of Norwich envisioned courage during a time of fear. Laughing at the Devil describes how a courageous woman transformed a setting of dread into hope, solidarity, and resistance.
"Fichtenau delivers a fascinating view of tenth-century Europe on the eve of the second millenium. He writes this hoping we, on the eve of the third millennium, will take time also to look at who we are and at our world. . . . This engaging book lucidly carries the reader through an amazing amount of material. Medieval scholars will find it resourceful and challenging; the nonscholar will find it fascinating and enlightening."—A. L. Kolp, Choice
"Living in the Tenth Century resembles an anthropological field study more than a conventional historical monograph, and represents a far more ambitious attempt to see behind the surface of avowals and events than others have seriously attempted even for much more voluminously documented periods. . . . It is remarkably rich and readable."—R.I. Moore, Times Higher Education Supplement
"Fichtenau offers a magnificent survey of all the main spheres of life: the social order, the rural economy, schooling and religious belief and practice in both the secular and monastic church. His command, especially of the narrative sources, their fine nuances of attitude emotion and underlying norms, is masterly and he employs them here with all the sensitiveness and feel for the subject that have always been the hallmarks of his work."—Karl Leyser, Francia
Siegfried Wenzel's groundbreaking study seeks to describe and analyze the linguistically mixed, or macaronic, sermons in late fourteenth-century England. Not only are these works of considerable religious interest, they provide extensive information on their literary, linguistic, and cultural milieux.
Macaronic Sermons begins by offering a typology of such works: those in which English words offer glosses, or offer structural functions, or offer neither of the two but yet are syntactically integrated. This last group is then examined in detail: reasons are given for this usage and for its origins, based on the realities of fourteenth-century England.
Siefriend Wenzel draws valuable conclusions about the linguistic status quo of the era, together with the extent of education, the audiences' expectations, and the ways in which the authors' minds worked.
Obviously of interest to scholars and students of early English literature, Macaronic Sermons also contains much valuable information for specialists in language development or oral theory, and for those interested in multicultural societies.
Master of Penance
Arrai A. Larson Catholic University of America Press, 2014 Library of Congress KBR1367.L37 2014 | Dewey Decimal 262.922
This book presents the first full-scale study of the Tractatus de penitentia (C.33 q.3) in Gratian's Decretum, which became the textbook for canon law and served as the basis of the church's developing jurisprudence, in theory and in practice
The subject of Mystical Languages of Unsaying is an important but neglected mode of mystical discourse, apophasis. which literally means "speaking away." Sometimes translated as "negative theology," apophatic discourse embraces the impossibility of naming something that is ineffable by continually turning back upon its own propositions and names. In this close study of apophasis in Greek, Christian, and Islamic texts, Michael Sells offers a sustained, critical account of how apophatic language works, the conventions, logic, and paradoxes it employs, and the dilemmas encountered in any attempt to analyze it.
This book includes readings of the most rigorously apophatic texts of Plotinus, John the Scot Eriugena, Ibn Arabi, Marguerite Porete, and Meister Eckhart, with comparative reference to important apophatic writers in the Jewish tradition, such as Abraham Abulafia and Moses de Leon. Sells reveals essential common features in the writings of these authors, despite their
wide-ranging differences in era, tradition, and theology.
By showing how apophasis works as a mode of discourse rather than as a negative theology, this work opens a rich heritage to reevaluation. Sells demonstrates that the more radical claims of apophatic writers—claims that critics have often dismissed as hyperbolic or condemned as pantheistic or nihilistic—are vital to an adequate account of the mystical languages of unsaying. This work also has important implications for the relationship of classical apophasis to contemporary languages of the unsayable. Sells challenges many widely circulated characterizations of apophasis among deconstructionists as well as a number of common notions about medieval thought and gender relations in medieval mysticism.
The Myth of Pope Joan
Alain Boureau University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress BX958.F2B6813 2001 | Dewey Decimal 262.13
In the ninth century, a brilliant young woman named Joan disguised herself as a man so that she could follow her lover into the then-exclusively male world of scholarship. She proved so successful that she ascended the Catholic hierarchy in Rome and was eventually elected pope. Her pontificate lasted two years, until she became pregnant and died after giving birth during a public procession from the Vatican.
Or so the legend goes—a legend that was fabricated sometime in the thirteenth century, according to Alain Boureau, and which has persisted in one form or another down to the present day. In this fascinating saga of belief and rhetoric, politics and religion, Boureau investigates the historical and ecclesiastical circumstances under which the myth of Pope Joan was constructed and the different uses to which it was put over the centuries. He shows, for instance, how Catholic clerics justified the exclusion of women from the papacy and the priesthood by employing the myth in misogynist moral tales, only to find the popess they had created turned against them in anti-Catholic propaganda during the Reformation.
The Peace of God
Geoffrey Koziol Arc Humanities Press, 2018 Library of Congress BT736.4.K69 2018
The Peace of God was one of the most important movements of the Middle Ages, yet is highly contested. It has been seen as both radically innovative and fundamentally traditional; as millenarian and not millenarian; as a popular movement and as a way of consolidating power for the elites. Geoffrey Koziol argues for the validity of all these differing viewpoints, because specific instantiations of the Peace of God varied greatly, and there were inherent contradictions in early ideas of peace and peace-making.
The Pope's Body
Agostino Paravicini-Bagliani University of Chicago Press, 2000 Library of Congress BX1069.5.P3713 2000 | Dewey Decimal 262.13
In contrast to the role traditionally fulfilled by secular rulers, the pope has been perceived as an individual person existing in a body subject to decay and death, yet at the same time a corporeal representation of Christ and the Church, eternity and salvation. Using an array of evidence from the eleventh through the fifteenth centuries, Agostino Paravicini- Bagliani addresses this paradox. He studies the rituals, metaphors, and images of the pope's body as they developed over time and shows how they resulted in the expectation that the pope's body be simultaneously physical and metaphorical. Also included is a particular emphasis on the thirteenth century when, during the pontificate of Boniface VIII (1294-1303), the papal court became the focus of medicine and the natural sciences as physicians devised ways to protect the pope's health and prolong his life.
Masterfully translated from the Italian, this engaging history of the pope's body provides a new perspective for readers to understand the papacy, both historically and in our own time.
In this original study of the making of saintly reputations, Aviad M. Kleinberg shows how sainthood, though frequently seen as a personal trait, is actually the product of negotiations between particular individuals and their communities. Employing the methods of history, anthropology, and textual criticism, Kleinberg examines the mechanics of sainthood in daily interactions between putative saints and their audiences. This book will interest historians, anthropologists, sociologists, medievalists, and those interested in the study of religion.
"[A] fascinating and sometimes iconoclastic view of saints in the medieval period." —Sandra R. O'Neal, Theological Studies
"[An] important new book. . . . [And] an excellent piece of scholarship." —Diane L. Mockridge, Method & Theory in the Study of Religion
"[Kleinberg's] style is clear and accessible and his observations insightful; the book is a pleasure to read." —Veronica Lawrence, Theological Book Review
"Original and interesting. . . . [Kleinberg] has made a major contribution." —Anne L. Clark, American Historical Review
"Kleinberg's concern is not just with perceptions of sanctity, but, refreshingly, with what actually happened: and he is especially good on the conflict of the two. . . . [This] is not just a book but a way of thought, and one that promises interesting conversations at all levels from the church porch to the tutorial and the academic conference." —Helen Cooper, Times Literary Supplement
Just as twenty-first-century technologies like blogs and wikis have transformed the once private act of reading into a public enterprise, devotional reading experiences in the Middle Ages were dependent upon an oscillation between the solitary and the communal. In Reading in the Wilderness, Jessica Brantley uses tools from both literary criticism and art history to illuminate Additional MS 37049, an illustrated Carthusian miscellany housed in the British Library. This revealing artifact, Brantley argues, closes the gap between group spectatorship and private study in late medieval England.
Drawing on the work of W. J. T. Mitchell, Michael Camille, and others working at the image-text crossroads, Reading in the Wilderness addresses the manuscript’s texts and illustrations to examine connections between reading and performance within the solitary monk’s cell and also outside. Brantley reimagines the medieval codex as a site where the meanings of images and words are performed, both publicly and privately, in the act of reading.
Christopher M. Bellitto Catholic University of America Press, 2012 Library of Congress BV600.3.R43 2012 | Dewey Decimal 262.0017
Now, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversaries of the publication of The Idea of Reform and the Second Vatican Council, Reassessing Reform explores and critiques the enduring significance of Ladner's study, surveying new avenues and insights of more recent reform scholarship, especially concerning the long Middle Ages.
This book tells the fascinating story of Robert of Arbrissel (ca. 1045-1116). Robert was a parish priest, longtime student, reformer, hermit, wandering preacher, and, most famously, founder of the abbey of Fontevraud
The Sacred Image East and West
Edited by Robert Ousterhout and Leslie Brubaker University of Illinois Press, 1995 Library of Congress BX380.5.S23 1995 | Dewey Decimal 246.5309
A new generation of American medieval art historians explores how sacred images were perceived during the Middle Ages in Byzantium and Europe. The essays cover a full range of images, including panel paintings, altarpieces, manuscripts, and wall paintings, and a rich variety of socioreligious settings, private, monastic, and imperial. Also examined are the differences between images produced for a single viewer and those produced for communities; images produced for private contemplation or devotion and those functioned within a liturgical setting; and the varying ways in which sacred images affected women and men, religious and secular communities, rulers and ruled.
Sainted Women of the Dark Ages
Jo Ann McNamara, John E. Halborg, and Gordon Whatley, eds. Duke University Press, 1992 Library of Congress BX4656.S28 1992 | Dewey Decimal 282.092244
Sainted Women of the Dark Ages makes available the lives of eighteen Frankish women of the sixth and seventh centuries, all of whom became saints. Written in Latin by contemporaries or near contemporaries, and most translated here for the first time, these biographies cover the period from the fall of the Roman Empire and the conversion of the invading Franks to the rise of Charlemagne's family. Three of these holy women were queens who turned to religion only after a period of intense worldly activity. Others were members of the Carolingian family, deeply implicated in the political ambitions of their male relatives. Some were partners in the great Irish missions to the pagan countryside and others worked for the physical salvation of the poor. From the peril and suffering of their lives they shaped themselves as paragons of power and achievement. Beloved by their sisters and communities for their spiritual gifts, they ultimately brought forth a new model of sanctity. These biographies are unusually authentic. At least two were written by women who knew their subjects, while others reflect the direct testimony of sisters within the cloister walls. Each biography is accompanied by an introduction and notes that clarify its historical context. This volume will be an excellent source for students and scholars of women's studies and early medieval social, religious, and political history.
Before the end of the thirteenth century, theologians had little interest in demons, but with Thomas Aquinas and his formidable “Treatise on Evil” in 1272, everything changed. In Satan the Heretic, Alain Boureau trains his skeptical eye not on Satan or Satanism, but on the birth of demonology and the sudden belief in the power of demons who inhabited Satan’s Court, setting out to understand not why people believed in demons, but why theologians—especially Pope John XXII—became so interested in the subject.
Depicting this new demonology, Satan the Heretic considers the period between the mid-thirteenth and mid-fourteenth centuries when demons, in the eyes of Church authorities, suddenly burst forth, more real and more terrifying than ever before in the history of Christianity. Boureau argues that the rise in this obsession with demons occurs at the crossroads of the rise of sovereignties and of the individual, a rise that, tellingly, also coincides with the emergence of the modern legal system in the European West.
Teeming with original insights and lively anecdotes, Satan the Heretic is a significant contribution to the history of Christian demonology from one of the most original minds in the field of medieval studies today.
Sin: A Thomistic Psychology
Steven J. Jensen Catholic University of America Press, 2018 Library of Congress B765.T54J474 2018 | Dewey Decimal 241.3092
If the human soul is made for good, then how do we choose evil? On the other hand, perhaps the human soul is not made for good. Perhaps the magnitude of human depravity reveals that the human soul may directly choose evil. Notably, Thomas Aquinas rejects this explanation for the prevalence of human sin. He insists that in all our desires we seek what is good. How, then, do we choose evil? Only by mistaking evil for good. This solution to the difficulty, however, leads Aquinas into another conundrum. How can we be held responsible for sins committed under a misunderstanding of the good? The sinner, it seems, has simply made an intellectual blunder. Sin has become an intellectual defect rather than a depravity of will and desire. Sin: A Thomistic Psychology grapples with these difficulties. A solution to the problem must address a host of issues. Does the ultimate good after which we all strive have unity, or is it simply a collection of basic goods? What is venial sin? What momentous choice must a child make in his first moral act? In what way do passion, a habitually evil will, and ignorance cause human beings to sin? What is the first cause of moral evil? Do human beings have free will to determine themselves to particular actions? The discussion of these topics focuses upon the interplay of reason, will, and the emotions, examining the inner workings of our moral deliberations. Ultimately, the book reveals how the failure to maintain balance in our deliberations subverts our fidelity to the one true good.
Sisters and Workers in the Middle Ages
Edited by Judith M. Bennett, Elizabeth A. Clark, Jean F. O'Barr, B. Anne Vilen, University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress HQ1143.S55 1989 | Dewey Decimal 305.40902
Focusing on medieval women with a wide range of occupations and life-styles, the interdisciplinary essays in this collection examine women's activities within the patriarchal structures of the time. Individual essays explore women's challenges to a sexual ideology that confined them strictly to the roles of wives, mothers, and servants. Also included are sections on women and work, cultural production and literacy, and religious life.
These essays provide a greater understanding of the ways in which gender has played a part in determining relations of power in Western cultures. This volume makes a vital contribution to the current scholarship about women in the Middle Ages.
William Langland's Piers Plowman provides a highly charged picture of England near the end of the fourteenth century, a time of political, religious, and moral crises. The period in which Langland wrote was volatile and full of colorful and contentious people: Edward III, Richard II, Chaucer, Wyclif--and Langland. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Lawrence M. Clopper presents the voice of this powerful disputant who lived in a period marked by dissent and discontent.
In the late Middle Ages, Franciscan friars had a significant impact on all levels of society.
But because of the apparent discrepancy between the poverty the Franciscans claimed and the life they lived, a large body of antifraternal literature arose, including, supposedly, Piers Plowman. Since the sixteenth century, when it was first put into print, Piers Plowman has been understood to be a proto-Protestant work that revealed the failures of the medieval clergy, but especially of the mendicant orders. In "Songes of Rechelesnesse," Clopper establishes the presence of a Franciscan reformist position in Piers Plowman.
Clopper maintains that the poem articulates a reformist agenda, presenting the internal Franciscan debate, in a bid to return the order to its initial foundation. Clopper believes that Langland is deeply imbued with a Franciscan mentality that reaches deep into the structure of the poem. It manifests itself at the level of the alliterative long line in his exemplarist poetics and is the source of his imagery and politics. In short Clopper identifies Franciscanism as holding the poem together.
"Songes of Rechelesnesse" is a historical, political, and religious history of late fourteenth-century England. It will be of interest to literary scholars, historians of the late Middle Ages, and scholars in religious studies.
Lawrence M. Clopper is Director, Medieval Studies Institute, and Professor of English, Indiana University.
Medieval European culture encompassed Judaic, Christian, Muslim, and pagan societies, forming a complex matrix of religious belief, identity, and imagination. Through incisive readings of a broad range of medieval texts and informed by poststructuralist, queer, and feminist theories, The Spectral Jew traces the Jewish presence in Western Europe to show how the body, gender, and sexuality were at the root of the construction of medieval religious anxieties, inconsistencies, and instabilities.
Looking closely at how medieval Jewish and Christian identities are distinguished from each other, yet intimately intertwined, Kruger demonstrates how Jews were often corporealized in ways that posited them as inferior to Christians—archaic and incapable of change—even as the two mutually shaped each other. But such attempts to differentiate Jews and Christians were inevitably haunted by the knowledge that Christianity had emerged out of Judaism and was, in its own self-understanding, a community of converts.
Examining the points of contact between Christian and Jewish communities, Kruger discloses the profound paradox of the Jew as different in all ways, yet capable of converting to fully Christian status. He draws from central medieval authors and texts such as Peter Damian, Guibert of Nogent, the Barcelona Disputation, and the Hebrew chronicles of the First Crusade, as well as lesser known writings such as the disputations of Ceuta, Majorca, and Tortosa and the immensely popular Dialogues of Peter Alfonsi.
By putting the conversion narrative at the center of this analysis, Kruger exposes it as a disruption of categories rather than a smooth passage and reveals the prominent role Judaism played in the medieval Christian imagination.
Steven F. Kruger is professor of English and medieval studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY. He is author of several books and editor with Glenn Burger of Queering the Middle Ages (Minnesota, 2001).
The history of the Late Roman Empire in the West has been divided into two parallel worlds, analysed either as a political and economic transformation or as a religious and cultural one. But how do these relate one to another? In this concise and effective synthesis, Ian Wood considers some ways in which religion and the Church can be reintegrated into what has become a largely secular discourse. The Church was at the heart of the changes that look place at the end of the Western Empire, not only regarding religion, but indeed every aspect of politics and society. Wood contends that the institutionalisation of the Church on a huge scale was a key factor in the transformation which began in the early fourth century with an incipiently Christian Roman Empire and ended three hundred years later in a world of thoroughly Christianised kingdoms.
As war, pestilence, and famine spread through Europe in the Middle Ages, so did reports of miracles, of hopeless victims wondrously saved from disaster. These "rescue miracles," recorded by over one hundred fourteenth-century cults, are the basis of Michael Goodich's account of the miraculous in everyday medieval life.
Rescue miracles offer a wide range of voices rarely heard in medieval history, from women and children to peasants and urban artisans. They tell of salvation not just from the ravages of nature and war, but from the vagaries of a violent society—crime, unfair judicial practices, domestic squabbles, and communal or factional conflict. The stories speak to a collapse of confidence in decaying institutions, from the law to the market to feudal authority. Particularly, the miraculous escapes documented during the Hundred Years' War, the Italian communal wars, and other conflicts are vivid testimony to the end of aristocratic warfare and the growing victimization of noncombatants.
Miracles, Goodich finds, represent the transcendent and unifying force of faith in a time of widespread distress and the hopeless conditions endured by the common people of the Middle Ages. Just as the lives of the saints, once dismissed as church propaganda, have become valuable to historians, so have rescue miracles, as evidence of an underlying medieval mentalite. This work expands our knowledge of that state of mind and the grim conditions that colored and shaped it.
The War on Heresy
R. I. Moore Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress BT1319.M67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 273.6
Some of the most portentous events in medieval history—the Cathar crusade, the persecution and mass burnings of heretics, the papal inquisition—fall between 1000 and 1250, when the Catholic Church confronted the threat of heresy with force. Moore’s narrative focuses on the motives and anxieties of elites who waged war on heresy for political gain.
Between the twelfth and the sixteenth centuries, women assumed public roles of unprecedented prominence in Italian religious culture. Legally subordinated, politically excluded, socially limited, and ideologically disdained, women's active participation in religious life offered them access to power in all its forms.
These essays explore the involvement of women in religious life throughout northern and central Italy and trace the evolution of communities of pious women as they tried to achieve their devotional goals despite the strictures of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. The contributors examine relations between holy women, their devout followers, and society at large.
Including contributions from leading figures in a new generation of Italian historians of religion, this book shows how women were able to carve out broad areas of influence by carefully exploiting the institutional church and by astutely manipulating religious percepts.
Caterina Vigri (later Saint Catherine of Bologna) was a mystic, writer, teacher and nun-artist. Her first home, Corpus Domini, Ferrara, was a house of semi-religious women that became a Poor Clare convent and model of Franciscan Observant piety. Vigri’s intensely spiritual decoration of her breviary, as well as convent altarpieces that formed a visual program of adoration for the Body of Christ, exemplify the Franciscan Observant visual culture. After Vigri’s departure, it was transformed by d’Este women patrons, including Isabella da Aragona, Isabella d’Este and Lucrezia Borgia. While still preserving Observant ideals, it became a more elite noblewomen’s retreat. Grounded in archival research and extant paintings, drawings, prints and art objects from Corpus Domini, this volume explores the art, visual culture, and social history of an early modern Franciscan women’s community.
A trickster saint whose miracles reportedly included the healing of an inguinal hernia via a hammer and anvil, Sainte Foy inspired one of the most important collections of miracle stories of the central middle ages. Kathleen Ashley and Pamela Sheingorn explore the act of "writing faith" as performed both by the authors of these stories and by the scholars who have used them as sources for the study of medieval religion and society.
As Ashley and Sheingorn show, differing agendas shaped the miracle stories over time. The first author, Bernard of Angers, used his narratives to critique popular religion and to establish his own literary reputation, while the monks who continued the collection tried to enhance their monastery's prestige. Because these stories were rhetorical constructions, Ashley and Sheingorn argue, we cannot use them directly as sources of historical data. Instead, they demonstrate how analyzing representations common to groups of miracle stories—such as negative portrayals of Muslims on the eve of the Crusades—can reveal the traces of history.