Religious History

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By Andrew Brown

This booklet deals a clean interpretation of the connection among the church, society and faith throughout 5 centuries of switch. Andrew Brown examines how the lessons of an more and more common Church have been utilized at a neighborhood point and the way social switch formed the non secular practices of the laity. His technique encompasses the buildings of company faith, the devotional practices surrounding cults and saints, the consequences of literacy (not least at the improvement of heresy), and the way gender, category and political strength affected and fragmented the expression of faith.

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Extra info for Church and Society in England, 1000-1500 (Social History in Perspective)

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In any case, if the virtues of a monk were indeed inner virtues, it might be possible for a layman to possess and develop them. By the end of the eleventh century, it was already considered appropriate for lay people to pursue a religious life beyond monastic walls. 17 The knight who protected the Church – particularly against the infidel – might be deemed a pilgrim or a monk with a shield around his neck. The first crusade, triggered by Pope Urban II’s sermon at the council of Clérmont in 1096, crystallized a conviction that a certain kind of activity, to which the lay knight was best suited, might be a route to salvation.

But many such sites did survive and with the seal of ecclesiastical approval. The rock at Ebblesfleet which preserved St Mildrith’s footprints was in the late eleventh century, according to Goscelin, the centre of a thaumaturgic cult. 53 We have already met the ‘superstitious rustics’ crowding St Ivo’s well. Perhaps in many of these cases churchmen were simply accepting a more ‘popular’ attitude or responding to a preexisting cult, adapting rather than inspiring it. Just as early conversion had required a syncretic approach to numinous sites in the landscape, so later churchmen, in a largely Christianized country, found it necessary to respond to pressures and religious needs outside their initial control or even approval.

43 The manner of conversion had even encouraged the perpetuation of these beliefs. 44 Pagan practices like the sacrificing of animals might be tolerated if slaughtered for food and to the praise of God. ‘Celtic’ missionaries, outside the Roman tradition (and just as important in the conversion process), appear to have been more accommodating still of pagan practices. The process of conversion had been syncretic: the miracles produced by St Ivo’s gushing spring may have ‘Christianized’ a pagan belief in water as an abode for deities.

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