This article investigates canon 13 of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), arguing that scholars have been too ready to interpret the canon as a prohibition against new religious orders. By examining the difference between religio and ordo, and by examining the broader context of reform movements within western Christendom in the long twelfth century, including Innocent III's actions as well as grassroots initiatives, this article notes that canon 13 did not ban new orders and that it was not as restrictive as it has been considered. While this article is not the first to note this, the implications of such a reassessment still deserve more scrutiny, including the implications for women in particular. A more flexible appreciation of the context of corporate religious life out of which canon 13 grew, and to which it contributed, helps us to understand better the religious lives of thirteenth-century women, including Beguines.


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pp. 1-23
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