Western Society and the Church in the Middle Ages

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1990-08-16
  • Publisher: Penguin Books

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The concept of an ordered human society, both religious and secular, as an expression of a divinely ordered universe was central to medieval thought. In the West the political and religious community were inextricably bound together, and because the Church was so intimately involved with the world, any history of it must take into account the development of medieval society. Professor Southern's book covers the period from the eighth to the sixteenth century. After sketching the main features of each medieval age, he deals in greater detail with the Papacy, the relations between Rome and her rival Constantinople, the bishops and archbishops, and the various religious orders, providing in all a superb history of the period.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations

1. Church and Society

2. The Divisions of Time
I. The Primitive Age, c. 700-c. 1050

II. The Age of Growth, c. 1050-c. 1300
The main development
The rise and limits of clerical supremacy
The positive achievement

III. The Age of Unrest, c. 1300-c. 1550
The changing environment
Political change and reaction

3. The Divisions of Christendom
I. The Seeds of Disunity
Divergent habits
Political separation
Doctrinal differences

II. The Two Churches

III. The Search for Reunion
The military way
The political package deal
The way of understanding

4. The Papacy
I. The Primitive Age, c. 700-c. 1050
The Vicar of St. Peter
The supreme temporal lord

II. The Age of Growth, c. 1050-c. 1300
The Vicar of Christ
The growth of business
The primacy and temporal power
The lawyer-popes

III. The Inflationary Spiral, c. 1300-c. 1520
International politics
The struggle for benefices

5. Bishops and Archbishops
I. The Carolingian Church Order and Its Break-Up
The formation of a bishop
The break-up of the Carolingian ideal

II. Bishops in the Service of the Pope
An archbishop in northern France
An archbishop in England
A bishop in Germany
An episcopal family in northern Italy

6. The Religious Orders
I. The Benedictines
The Rule
The centuries of greatness
Change and decay

II. The New Orders
The Augustinian canons
The Cistercians

III. The Friars
The environment
Aims and origins
Growth and achievement

7. Fringe Orders and Anti-Orders
I. The General Environment
The behaviour of crowds
The influence of women in religious life

II. A Confusion of Tongues
The beguines of Cologne
The religious brethren of Deventer and its neighbourhood

List of Popes, 590-153 Index

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