Medieval Christianity: A New History
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For many, the medieval world seems dark and foreign—an often brutal and seemingly irrational time of superstition, miracles, and strange relics. The aggressive pursuit of heretics and attempts to control the “Holy Land” might come to mind. Yet the medieval world produced much that is part of our world today, including universities, the passion for Roman architecture and the development of the gothic style, pilgrimage, the emergence of capitalism, and female saints.
This new narrative history of medieval Christianity, spanning the period 500 to 1500 CE, attempts to integrate what is familiar to readers with new themes and narratives. Elements of novelty in the book include a steady focus on the role of women in Christianity; the relationships among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; the experience of ordinary parishioners; the adventure of asceticism, devotion, and worship; and instruction through drama, architecture, and art. Madigan expertly integrates these areas of focus with more traditional themes, such as the evolution and decline of papal power; the nature and repression of heresy; sanctity and pilgrimage; the conciliar movement; and the break between the old Western church and its reformers.
Illustrated with more than forty photographs of physical remains, this book promises to become an essential guide to a historical era of profound influence.
city dwellers, and parish priests were almost never trained to give sermons. Nor were churches designed, architecturally, for large urban crowds to hear sermons until the coming of the friars. The friars made the sermon a part of ordinary liturgical experience in the thirteenth century. In turn, the friars excelled at sermon making and sermon delivery. This ability was directly linked to the seriousness with which Dominicans and Franciscans took the writing of instructional literature in the art
no rains, if there is an earthquake, if there is famine or pestilence, immediately the cry is: ‘Away with the Christians to the lions!’” The aforementioned Pliny persecuted local Christians in Bithynia-Pontus because of local economic factors. Similarly, regional factors, unknown to us, caused mob violence in Gaul in 177. Some Christians were brutally tortured, others tormented by animals in the amphitheater. Still others lapsed and, as the Romans ordered, worshipped the gods. In the end, the
Secular-Mendicant Controversy The rebels in the Marches of Ancona, under the bewitching influence of Joachim, likely saw themselves living on the cusp of the Age of the Holy Spirit, under whom they claimed to be guided—never a happy proclamation for those in authority. Direct guidance from the Holy Spirit also made instructions from priestly authorities irrelevant. Crescentius responded by denouncing them before the entire chapter of 1244. But it was too late. The “zealous” wing of the order or,
over time. A large number of Lollard sermons survive, along with other tracts and texts. The so-called “Twelve Conclusions of the Lollards,” a broadside on clerical disendowment, posted on the doors of Westminster Hall and St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1395, received significant attention in the late fourteenth century. Some of this attention came from the socially powerful, not the disenfranchised. It has recently been proven that some knights, who held power at the royal court, were favorably
street.” One year later, Bede’s monasteries in Northumbria and Wearmouth were looted and then burned. The next year, Iona was sacked. The conventional pattern of assault for the Northmen was to raid in the summer months and then to return to their northern homes before winter. In the 840s and 850s, however, they began to spend winters on the offshore islands of France and England. The new location allowed them to escalate the number of their attacks. Soon, much of Anglo-Saxon England was ruled by