A History of Medieval Heresy and Inquisition by Jennifer Kolpacoff Deane

By Jennifer Kolpacoff Deane

In this concise and balanced survey of heresy and inquisition within the center a while, Jennifer Kolpacoff Deane explores the more and more sour encounters among piety, reform, dissent, and the institutional Church among 1100 and 1500. even if the loaded phrases of ''heresy'' and ''orthodoxy'' hired by way of ecclesiastical officers recommend a transparent department among correct and incorrect, that department used to be in truth vigorously contested through medieval humans in any respect degrees of society. Deane investigates key matters that sparked confrontations among Christians, together with entry to scripture, apostolic versions of poverty and preaching, the Eucharist and sacramental strength, and clerical corruption and wealth. She strains the ability during which Church elites constructed an more and more complicated set of inquisitorial methods and assets to spot, label, and repress ''heresy,'' examines a number of the local eruptions of such confrontations throughout medieval Europe, and considers the judicial procedures that introduced many to the stake. The booklet levels from the ''Good Christians'' of Languedoc and Lombardy and the pan-European ''Poor,'' to religious Franciscans, lay non secular girls, anticlerical and vernacular hobbies in England and Bohemia, mysticism, magical practices, and witchcraft. all through, Deane considers how the recent inquisitorial bureaucracies not just fueled anxiousness over heresy, yet really generated fictional ''heresies'' via their very own texts and strategies. Incorporating fresh examine and debates within the box, her research brings to existence a compelling factor that profoundly motivated the medieval world.

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In what would be the era’s first thorough polemical response to the heretics, Eckbert penned a treatise called Sermons against the Cathars for the archbishop of Cologne, a document consisting of thirteen sermons that refuted the heresy point by point and concluded with an excerpt from St. Augustine’s On the Manichaeans to lend ancient and authoritative weight to the text. Eckbert also suggests that this new type of dissent was not limited to Cologne, for it had appeared by now in the Rhineland city of Mainz, where a community of approximately forty known adherents had reportedly been able to practice their beliefs for some time.

ORIGINS OF WESTERN DUALISM Religious dualism, as the name suggests, is rooted in opposition and the division of all things into one of two camps: light or dark, good or evil, spiritual or material. In its absolute form, dualism posits two different, independent, and equally matched deities (usually God and the devil) in eternal opposition. Mitigated or moderate dualism assigns greater power to God, assigning the force of darkness to the devil, usually a fallen angel like Lucifer, who “owns” the wicked and material world.

It is from Eckbert’s letter and Hildegard’s sermon that we first run across a specific, pejorative name for heretics that would echo for centuries through inquisitorial and historical records: Cathar. The origins of the term are unclear, perhaps deriving from the Greek word katharos (meaning “pure”) or, less plausibly, the German Katze (cat; long associated in Europe with sin, sexual perversion, and witchery). Whatever its origin, the term became a staple in the language of orthodox opponents and was repeated by myriad clerical observers throughout the Middle Ages.

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