So Great a Light, So Great a Smoke
The Beguin Heretics of Languedoc
Publication Year: 2008
In So Great a Light, So Great a Smoke, Louisa A. Burnham takes us inside the world of a little-known heretical group in the south of France in the early fourteenth century. The Beguins were a small sect of priests and lay people allied to (and sharing many of the convictions of) the Spiritual Franciscans. They stressed poverty in their pursuit of a Franciscan evangelical ideal and believed themselves to be living in the Last Days. By the late thirteenth century, the leaders of the order and the popes themselves had begun to discipline the Spirituals, and by 1317 they had been deemed a heresy. The Beguins refused to accept this situation and began to evade and confront the inquisitorial machine.
Burnham follows the lives of nine Beguins as they conceal themselves in cities, construct an "underground railroad," solicit clandestine donations in order to bribe inquisitors, escape from prison, and venerate the burned bones of their martyred fellows as the relics of saints. Their actions brought the Beguins the apocalypse they had long imagined, as the Church's inquisitors pursued them along with the Spirituals and began to arrest them and burn them at the stake. Reconstructing this dramatic history using inquisitorial depositions, notarial records, and the previously unknown Beguin martyrology, Burnham vividly recreates the world in which the Beguins lived and died for their beliefs.
Published by: Cornell University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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LIST OF MAPS
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I am very grateful for the fi nancial support I have received for the research and writing of this book. A year of archival research in Paris and Montpellier was sponsored by a Fulbright grant, and several months of idyl-lic research and writing in Cassis were supported by a residential fellowship from the Camargo Foundation. The Northwestern Alumnae Association ...
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ALKG Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des MittelaltersBaluze-Mansi Giovanni Mansi, Stephani Baluzii Tutelensis Miscellanea, BF Conrad Eubel, ed., Bullarium Franciscanum, vols. 5–6 (Rome, Liber sententiarum Bernard Gui, Le Livre des sentences de l’inquisiteur Manuel Bernard Gui, Le Manuel de l’Inquisiteur, ed. G. Mollat, 2 vols. ...
NOTE ON BEGUIN NAMES
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A thorny problem for medievalists is what to call individuals whose names are given to us in Latin. For those whose names are well known to the historical record (such as Peter Olivi, Jacques Fournier, or Michael of Cesena), there is little question: I use the form most commonly encountered in English-language literature, and when there is a doubt, I use the form of ...
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...is home to Carcassonne, Fanjeaux, and several of the exceedingly popular “Châteaux Cathares.” While the historian may quibble about the “cathar-icity” of some of the monuments promoted by the departmental commis-sion on tourism, there is no question in the mind of the tourist: the Midi is Cathar Country. There is also little question in the minds of local govern-...
CHAPTER ONEPOVERTY AND APOCALYPSE
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Against the will of the lax brothers, the feast of brother Peter of by all the people, that never in these parts in these days was a ince came together to his tomb; no fewer, as they say, than come n April of the year 1313, Angelo Clareno, an Italian Franciscan friar of radical tendencies, was in Avignon, having just returned ...
CHAPTER TWOTHE WEAPONS OF THE TRULY WEAK
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Do you believe that if the pope ties the tail of an ass on earth, that with considerable ingenuity. Though opposition to the inquisitors was rarely overt and never violent, it is nevertheless possible for us to observe the tactics of the Beguins’ resistance movement in the years following 1318. In this chapter, we examine the stories of four men and women who exemplify ...
CHAPTER THREEAN URBAN UNDERGROUND
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He rented a house for the aforementioned Guilhem, paid the rent (or part of it), and carried him from one hiding place to another seemed like the perfect place to hide, because it was one of the last cities any inquisitor would have expected to have heretical sympathies. In so many ways, medieval Montpellier was an anomaly among the cities of the Midi. ...
CHAPTER FOURHERETICS, HERESIARCHS, AND LEADERS
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...1 “Item credit esse infi deles et hereticos episcopos seu prelatos et inquisitores qui con-dempnaverun predictos Beguinos tanquam hereticos et etiam illos qui in predicta con-dempnacione dederunt consilium si in hoc pertinaciter perseverunt. Item quod dominus and preserve the true faith of Christ. Many Beguins told inquisitors that they believed the inquisitors themselves (and the authorities behind them, up to ...
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Though the plight of the Beguins of Languedoc has not been of great interest to historians until now, the larger context of the poverty controversy within the Franciscan Order within which we have found ourselves is well enough known that it has even provided the ingenious setting for two modern novels. The best known, of course, is Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, set ...
APPENDIX: BURNINGS OF BEGUINSIN LANGUEDOC AND PROVENCE,1318–1330
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October 14, 1319 Three Beguins: Mai de Blandisio or de Brandis, October 18, 1319 Three Beguins: Johan Barra, Peire Canonici, and 1 The feast was the vigil of the revelation of Saint Michael (also the second Sunday after Easter). WM, ll. 1–4. The sentence is in Baluze-Mansi 2:248–251.2 The feast of Saint Calixtus, pope, a Sunday. WM, ll. 5–6, and Baluze-Mansi 2:257–...
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Archiv für Literatur- und Kirchengeschichte des Mittelalters. Ed. Henri Denifl e and F. Ehrle. 7 vols. Berlin, 1885–1900. Reprinted Graz, 1955–1956.Arnau de Vilanova. L’“Alia Informatio Beguinorum” d’Arnau de Vilanova. Ed. Josep ——. Arnau de Vilanova: L’obra espiritual. Ed. Francesco Santi. Valencia, .——. Obres Catalanes. Ed. Joaquin Carreras y Artau and Miguel Batllori. Vol. 1. ...
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2008
Series Title: Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past