Abstract

Abstract:

Historiography has shown great interest for many decades in eunuchs and their role in premodern societies. But scholars of medieval Europe have not paid a great deal of attention to the clerics whose genitals were amputated. Drawing upon the example of men who had mutilated themselves and sought to become deacons, priests or bishops, this paper shows how their exclusion from the sacred sphere has been shaped in medieval canon law and what were the possible exemptions to the general rule. The pope himself and more especially the Apostolic Penitentiary played an eminent role in their integration, since they granted special authorizations and dispensations to all priests or aspiring priests who were lacking their virilia. Finally, we try to explain why this prohibition addressed to eunuchs reflects the Catholic Church's broader conception of masculinity.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1534-0708
Print ISSN
0008-8080
Pages
pp. 27-49
Launched on MUSE
2020-05-11
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.