This book has been long awaited and its appearance is a major event. John Blair's work over the last twenty years on the role and importance of minsters and on the subsequent emergence of a local network of parish churches has already transformed historians' understanding of the Anglo-Saxon Church.
The core of this book, which, like all in this series, is a revised version of an Oxford doctoral dissertation, comprises a good empirical study of six twelfth-century miracle collections. It also contains some more general or theoretical analysis about which one might have some reservations.
Europe after Rome: A New Cultural History 500-1000 should be read completely by all early medievalists, who will then endeavour to assign relevant portions on student reading lists (an example is given near the end of this review) while urging the best and most interested students to read the whole thing.
Euan Cameron, former Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Newcastle, now Henry Luce III Professor of Reformation Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York, has written a fascinating and, in many ways, remarkable study.
In the six centuries after his death in 1404 William Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, has not lacked biographers. As prelate and patron of learning, he inspired pious remembrance. Dr Thomas Aylward, one of his executors, composed a brief memoir shortly after his death, and Robert Heete, a beneficiary of his patronage, compiled a more substantial memoir in the early 1420s.
As P. G. Maxwell-Stuart notes in his introduction to these selections, the Malleus Maleficarum (c.1486) has elicited periodic interest throughout the last hundred years, perhaps more than it ever did in the two centuries or so of witch persecution after its first publication (p. 36).
‘It happened once in Paris that a certain sorceress impeded a man who had left her so that he could not have intercourse with another woman whom he had married. So she made an incantation over a closed lock and threw the lock into a well, and the key into another well, and the man was made impotent.
A few years ago, I pestered friendly Lollard scholars with a question which tended to flummox them slightly: how did English bishops know how to prosecute heretics? The broadest outlines of a reply had been sketched, in an article from 1936 by H. G. Richardson and another by Margaret Aston in 1993. In addition, Anne Hudson and J. A. F.
The first nine studies in this notable book relate directly to monastic patronage, in England, France, Denmark, and the Empire.
Bishops, in theory the central figures in the Anglo-Saxon Church, have received polarized, and sometimes unbalanced, treatment from its historians.