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Power and Purity : Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy - Carol Lansing

Power and Purity

Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy

Hardcover

Published: 1st September 1997
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Catharism was a popular medieval heresy based on the belief that the creation of humankind was a disaster in which angelic spirits were trapped in matter by the devil. Their only goal was to escape the body through purification. Cathars denied any value to material life, including the human body, baptism, and the Eucharist, even marriage and childbirth. What could explain the long popularity of such a bleak faith in the towns of southern France and Italy?
Power and Purity explores the place of cathar heresy in the life of the medieval Italian town of Orvieto. Based on extensive archival research, it details the social makeup of the Cathar community and argues that the heresy was central to the social and political changes of the 13th century. The late 13th-century repression of Catharism by a local inquisition was part of a larger redefinition of civic and ecclesiastical authority. Author Carol Lansing shows that the faith attracted not an alienated older nobility but artisans, merchants, popular political leaders, and indeed circles of women in Orvieto as well as Florence and Bologna. Cathar beliefs were not so much a pessimistic anomaly as a part of a larger climate of religious doubt. The teachings on the body and the practice of Cathar holy persons addressed questions of sexual difference and the structure of authority that were key elements of medieval Italian life. The pure lives of the Cathar holy people, both male and female, demonstrated a human capacity for self-restraint that served as a powerful social model in towns torn by violent conflict. This study addresses current debates about the rise of persecution, and argues for a climate of popular toleration. Power and Purity will appeal to historians of society and politics as well as religion and gender studies.

"Lansing is judicious in describing what the records she analyzed do or do not contain....Lansing's book is highly recommended. It is beautifully written and carefully researched."--The Medieval Review "Lucid writing and scrupulous documentation....the book is a persuasive reminder that understanding religious phenomena requires solid contextualization. Historians, social scientists, and scholars of religion will benefit from this splendid book."--Theological Studies "Carol Lansing's book is a fine example of a local study that transcends its original scope by stimulating further reflection on the nature and function of heresy, and by implication on that of religion....A particular mention deserves Lansing's skilful reading of religious and political symbolism, which unveils the probable implications of a piece of rotten meat thrown at a procession a long time ago."--Sixteenth Century Journal "The book makes valuable contributions to our understanding of the social context of Catharism in Orvieto and also the place of Catharism in the popular religiosity of the High Middle Ages...A worty contribution to scholarship on Catharism and medieval Italy." --Catholic Historical Review "Lansing is judicious in describing what the records she analyzed do or do not contain....Lansing's book is highly recommended. It is beautifully written and carefully researched."--The Medieval Review "Lucid writing and scrupulous documentation....the book is a persuasive reminder that understanding religious phenomena requires solid contextualization. Historians, social scientists, and scholars of religion will benefit from this splendid book."--Theological Studies "This is an interesting and important book...This is a model study of how communities work."--Religious Studies Review

Introductionp. 3
The Cathar Communityp. 7
Repression and Heresyp. 12
Definitions and Sourcesp. 15
The Politics of the Catharsp. 21
The Murder of Parenzop. 23
Pope and Bishop in Orvietop. 25
Cathar and Papal Rectorp. 29
The Early Catharsp. 37
Orvietan Society and the Early Popolop. 43
Social Structure and Familyp. 44
Clientagep. 51
The Rise of the Popolop. 54
Early Efforts Against the Catharsp. 57
The Catharsp. 60
Minor Elitesp. 61
Furriers and Artisansp. 66
Florentine Catharsp. 71
The Beliefs of Italian Catharsp. 79
Belief and Doubtp. 81
Cathar Believersp. 84
Skepticism and Doubtp. 96
Doubt and Authority in Orvietop. 103
Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodiesp. 106
Creation and Sexual Differencep. 108
Sexual Difference in Cathar Practicep. 116
Marriagep. 120
Bodies of the Deadp. 125
Orthodoxy and Authority: The Cathars Become Hereticsp. 135
Inquisition, Repression, and Tolerationp. 137
Guelf Dominance and the Sentences of the Inquisitorsp. 139
Repression and Powerp. 145
Protest and Popular Toleration: The Tumult in Bolognap. 151
Corpus Domini and the Creation of Adam and Evep. 158
Papal Curia and Corpus Dominip. 161
Civic Authorityp. 166
Creation Retoldp. 168
The Statement of Andreas and Pietrop. 179
A 1212 Marriage Case from the Bishop's Courtp. 183
Notesp. 187
Works Citedp. 245
Indexp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195063912
ISBN-10: 0195063910
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st September 1997
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.74 x 14.86  x 2.9
Weight (kg): 0.48