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Taking and Breaking Monastic Vows in Early Modern Europe
An unwilling, desperate nun trapped in the cloister, unable to gain release: such is the image that endures today of monastic life in early modern Europe. In By Force and Fear, Anne Jacobson Schutte demonstrates that this and other common stereotypes of involuntary consignment to religious houses-shaped by literary sources such as Manzoni's The Betrothed-are badly off the mark.
Drawing on records of the Congregation of the Council, held in the Vatican Archive, Schutte examines nearly one thousand petitions for annulment of monastic vows submitted to the Pope and adjudicated by the Council during a 125-year period, from 1668 to 1793. She considers petitions from Roman Catholic regions across Europe and a few from Latin America and finds that, in about half these cases, the congregation reached a decision. Many women and a smaller proportion of men got what they asked for: decrees nullifying their monastic profession and releasing them from religious houses. Schutte also reaches important conclusions about relations between elders and offspring in early modern families. Contrary to the picture historians have painted of increasingly less patriarchal and more egalitarian families, she finds numerous instances of fathers, mothers, and other relatives (including older siblings) employing physical violence and psychological pressure to compel adolescents into "entering religion." Dramatic tales from the archives show that many victims of such violence remained so intimidated that they dared not petition the pope until the agents of force and fear had died, by which time they themselves were middle-aged. Schutte's innovative book will be of great interest to scholars of early modern Europe, especially those who work on religion, the Church, family, and gender.
This classic study presents the history of the Byzantine Empire from the sixth to the fifteenth century in terms of political events, art, literature, and thought. It is addressed to the general reader of history as well as to students and scholars.
Captives and Their Saviors in the Medieval Crown of Aragon argues that by this time the ransoming efforts were on a kingdom-wide scale engaging not only professional ransomers, merchants, and officials of the crown but the population at large.
The "Hystoria Constantinopolitana" of Gunther of Pairis
The armies of the Fourth Crusade that left Western Europe at the beginning of the thirteenth century never reached the Holy Land to fight the Infidel; they stopped instead at Byzantium and sacked that capital of eastern Christendom. Much of what we know today of those events comes from contemporary accounts by secular writers; their perspective is balanced by a document written from a monastic point of view and now available for the first time in English.
The Hystoria Constantinopolitana relates the adventures of Martin of Pairis, an abbot of the Cistercian Order who participated in the plunder of the city, as recorded by his monk Gunther. Written to justify the abbot's pious pilferage of scared relics and his transporting them back to his monastery in Alsace, it is a work of Christian metahistory that shows how the sack of Constantinople fits into God's plan for humanity, and that deeds done under divine guidance are themselves holy and righteous.
The Hystoria Constantinopolitana is one of the most complex and sophisticated historiographical work of its time, deftly interweaving moods and motifs, themes and scenes. In producing the first English translation and analysis of this work, Alfred Andrea has captured the full flavor of the original with its alternating section of prose and poetry. His introduction to the text provides background on Gunther's life and work and explores the monk's purpose in writing the Hystoria Constantinopolitana—not the least of which was extolling the virtues of Abbott Martin, who was sometimes accuse of laxity by his superiors in the Order.
Gunther's work is significant for its effort to deal with problems raised by the participation of monks in the Crusades, making it a valuable contribution to both crusading and monastic history. The Capture of Constantinople adds to our knowledge of the Fourth Crusade and provides unusual insight into the attitudes of the participants and the cultural-intellectual history of the early thirteenth century.
This volume provides a thorough introduction to the Cyrillic collection, and contains the detailed descriptions of the fifty-six Slavonic Cyrillic codices or fragments thereof held by the National Széchényi Library in Budapest, the vast majority of which are here described for the first time. The analysis of the codices has been done using the resources of modern technology. Written from the thirteenth to early nineteenth century, the codices were mostly produced within the confines of the historical Kingdom of Hungary. The catalogue is extensively illustrated with pictures of the most characteristic and decorative pages and a few covers of the codices. This publication is a further step towards the complete documentation of the Cyrillic manuscript heritage of Central Europe.
This collection of essays explores the survival of Catholic culture in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England—a time of Protestant domination and sometimes persecution. Contributors examine not only devotional, political, autobiographical, and other written texts, but also material objects such as church vestments, architecture, and symbolic spaces. Among the topics discussed in this volume are the influence of Latin culture on Catholic women, Marian devotion, the activities of Catholics in continental seminaries and convents, the international context of English Catholicism, and the influential role of women as maintainers of Catholic culture in a hostile religious and political environment. Catholic Culture in Early Modern England makes an important contribution to the ongoing project of historians and literary scholars to rewrite the cultural history of post-Reformation English Catholicism.
The Regulation of Language in Tudor-Stuart England
In this study of the reciprocities binding religion, politics, law, and literature, Debora Shuger offers a profoundly new history of early modern English censorship, one that bears centrally on issues still current: the rhetoric of ideological extremism, the use of defamation to ruin political opponents, the grounding of law in theological ethics, and the terrible fragility of public spheres. Starting from the question of why no one prior to the mid-1640s argued for free speech or a free press per se, Censorship and Cultural Sensibility surveys the texts against which Tudor-Stuart censorship aimed its biggest guns, which turned out not to be principled dissent but libels, conspiracy fantasies, and hate speech. The book explores the laws that attempted to suppress such material, the cultural values that underwrote this regulation, and, finally, the very different framework of assumptions whose gradual adoption rendered censorship illegitimate.
Virtually all substantive law on language concerned defamation, regulating what one could say about other people. Hence Tudor-Stuart laws extended protection only to the person hurt by another's words, never to their speaker. In treating transgressive language as akin to battery, English law differed fundamentally from papal censorship, which construed its target as heresy. There were thus two models of censorship operative in the early modern period, both premised on religious norms, but one concerned primarily with false accusation and libel, the other with false belief and immorality. Shuger investigates the first of these models—the dominant English one—tracing its complex origins in the Roman law of iniuria through medieval theological ethics and Continental jurisprudence to its continuities and discontinuities with current U.S. law. In so doing, she enables her reader to grasp how in certain contexts censorship could be understood as safeguarding both charitable community and personal dignitary rights.
For the scholastic philosopher William Ockham (c. 1285-1347), there are three kinds of heresy. The first, and most unmistakable, is an outright denial of the truths of faith. Another is so obvious that a very simple person, even if illiterate, can see how it contradicts Divine Scripture. The third kind of heresy is less clear cut. It is perceptible only after long deliberation and only to individuals who are learned, and well versed in Scripture.
It is this third variety of heresy that J.M.M.H. Thijssen addresses in Censure and Heresy at the University of Paris, 1200-1400. The book documents 30 cases in which university trained scholars were condemned for disseminating allegedly erroneous opinions in their teaching or writing, and focuses particularly on four academic censures that have occupied prominent positions in the historiography of medieval philosophy.
Thijssen grants central importance to a number of questions so far neglected by historians regarding judicial procedures, the authorities supervising the orthodoxy of teaching, and the effects of condemnations on the careers of the accused. He also places still current questions regarding academic freedom and the nature of doctrinal authority into their medieval contexts.
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 Metaphor of Love in Dream Visions and Troilus and Criseyde
While covering all the major work produced by Geoffrey Chaucer in his pre-Canterbury Tales career, Chaucer from Prentice to Poet seeks to correct the traditional interpretations of these poems. Edward Condren provides new and provocative interpretations of the three "dream visions"--Book of the Duchess, Parliament of Fowls, and House of Fame--as well as Chaucer's early masterwork Troilus and Criseyde.
Condren draws an arresting series of portraits of Chaucer as glimpsed in his work: the fledgling poet seeking to master the artificial style of French love poetry; the passionate author attempting to rebut critics of his work; and, finally, the master of a naturalistic style entirely his own.
This book is one of the few works written in the past century that reevaluates Chaucer's early poetry and the only one that examines the Dream Visions in conjunction with the Troilus. It should frame the discourse of Chaucer scholarship for many generations to come.