Monasticism, in all of its variations, was a feature of almost every landscape in the medieval West. So ubiquitous were religious women and men throughout the Middle Ages that all medievalists encounter monasticism in their intellectual worlds. While there is enormous interest in medieval monasticism among Anglophone scholars, language is often a barrier to accessing some of the most important and groundbreaking research emerging from Europe. The Cambridge History of Medieval Monasticism in the Latin West offers a comprehensive treatment of medieval monasticism, from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages. The essays, specially commissioned for this volume and written by an international team of scholars, with contributors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States, cover a range of topics and themes and represent the most up-to-date discoveries on this topic.
A Benedictine Reader, 530–1530, has been more than twenty years in the making. A collaboration of a dozen scholars, this project gives as broad and deep a sense of the reality of the first one thousand years of Benedictine monasticism as can be done in one volume, using primary sources in English translation. The texts included are drawn from many different genres and from several languages and areas of Europe. The introduction to each of the thirty-two chapters aims to situate each author and text and to make connections with other texts and studies within and outside the Reader. The general introduction summarizes the main ideas and practices that are present in the Rule of Saint Benedict and in the first thousand years of Benedictine monasticism while suggesting questions that a reader might bring to the texts.
Examining liturgy as historical evidence has, in recent years, developed into a flourishing field of research. The chapters in this volume offer innovative discussion of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem from the perspective of 'liturgy in history'. They demonstrate how the total liturgical experience, which was visual, emotional, motile, olfactory, and aural, can be analysed to understand the messages that liturgy was intended to convey. The chapters reveal how combining narrative sources with liturgical documents can help decode political circumstances and inter-group relations and decipher the core ideals of the community of Outremer. Moreover, understanding the Latins’ liturgical activities in the Holy Land has much to contribute to our understanding of the crusade as an institution, how crusade spirituality was practised on the ground in the Latin East, and how people engaged with the crusading movement. This volume brings together eight original studies, forwarded by the editors’ introduction, on the liturgy of Jerusalem, spanning the immediate pre-Crusade and Crusade period (11th-13th centuries). It demonstrates the richness of a focus on the liturgy in illuminating the social, religious, and intellectual history of this critical period of ecclesiastical self-assertion, as well as conceptions of the sacred in this time and place. This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Medieval History.
Mobile Saints examines the central medieval (ca. 950–1150 CE) practice of removing saints’ relics from rural monasteries in order to take them on out-and-back journeys, particularly within northern France and the Low Countries. Though the permanent displacements of relics—translations— have long been understood as politically and culturally significant activities, these temporary circulations have received relatively little attention. Yet the act of taking a medieval relic from its “home,” even for a short time, had the power to transform the object, the people it encountered, and the landscape it traveled through. Using hagiographical and liturgical texts, this study reveals both the opportunities and tensions associated with these movements: circulating relics extended the power of the saint into the wider world, but could also provoke public displays of competition, mockery, and resistance. By contextualizing these effects within the discourses and practices that surrounded traveling relics, Mobile Saints emphasizes the complexities of the central medieval cult of relics and its participants, while speaking to broader questions about the role of movement in negotiating the relationships between sacred objects, space, and people.
This book provides an introduction to current work and new directions in the study of medieval liturgy. It focuses primarily on so-called occasional rituals such as burial, church consecration, exorcism and excommunication rather than on the Mass and Office. Recent research on such rites challenges many established ideas, especially about the extent to which they differed from place to place and over time, and how the surviving evidence should be interpreted. These essays are designed to offer guidance about current thinking, especially for those who are new to the subject, want to know more about it, or wish to conduct research on liturgical topics. Bringing together scholars working in different disciplines (history, literature, architectural history, musicology and theology), time periods (from the ninth to the fifteenth centuries) and intellectual traditions, this collection demonstrates the great potential that liturgical evidence offers for understanding many aspects of the Middle Ages. It includes essays that discuss the practicalities of researching liturgical rituals; show through case studies the problems caused by over-reliance on modern editions; explore the range of sources for particular ceremonies and the sort of questions which can be asked of them; and go beyond the rites themselves to investigate how liturgy was practised and understood in the medieval period.
Emanating from the tradition of the Italian hermit communities the Franciscans developed organisational structures already early in their history, allowing them to offer pastoral care on a wide scale. This process of transition led firstly to constitutional structures as defined in the order's early legislation but it also occurred within relationship networks at different levels, in the context of Church and papacy, within the different European regions and before the background of the emerging Canon Law. The term "organisation" has been given a wide definition in the articles published in this volume. They offer a survey of general issues related to the structuring and running of religious orders as well as a number of case studies. Comparisons with other mendicant orders offer an analysis of the issues in a wider context.
For over a thousand years, monks, nuns, canons, friars, and others under religious vows stood at the pinnacle of Western European society. For their ascetic sacrifices, their learning, piety, and expertise, they were accorded positions of power and influence, and a wide range of legal, financial and social privileges. As such they present an important opportunity to consider the nature and dynamics of an "elite" in medieval culture. Using medieval religious life as their interpretive lens, the essays of this volume seek to uncover the essential markers of elite status. They explore how those under vows claimed and manifested elite status in complex spiritual, temporal, and social combinations. They explore the workings of elite status from day to day, across region and locale - who earned recognition and how, whether through specific achievements or the deployment of specific capacities; who recognized, conferred, or helped maintain elite status, how and why; how elite status could be redefined, contested or rejected. The essays also seek to understand how medieval European religious elites compared to those found in other cultures and settings, from Syria and South Asia to the early modern transatlantic world.
This book surveys the full panorama of ten centuries of Christian monastic life. It moves from the deserts of Egypt and the Frankish monasteries of early medieval Europe to the religious ruptures of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the reforms of the later Middle Ages. Throughout that story the book balances a rich sense of detail with a broader synthetic view. It presents the history of religious life and its orders as a complex braid woven from multiple strands: individual and community, spirit and institution, rule and custom, church and world. The result is a synthesis that places religious life at the center of European history and presents its institutions as key catalysts of Europe’s move toward modernity.