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).
Many books on topics related to the medieval Bible have appeared in recent years, usually collections of essays by different authors, and a lot of them have been disappointing in their lack of overall focus and variable scholarly quality. The volume under review in the Manchester Medieval Studies series is a single-author work with a clear aim, and is rigorously scholarly throughout.
As this book begins (p. 1), the author marvels how the art of the Wycliffite Bible, one of the most popular books in late medieval England, has not been studied systematically. The answer lies in the historiography of the Wycliffite Bible. Kennedy suggests that the ‘Shadow of the Reformation’ has created a binary view of Wycliffite Bibles, linking them to heresy and illegality.
The writings of John Wyclif (c.1330–84) do not make for easy reading.
The life and writings of Aelred of Rievaulx (1110–67) provide some of the most important material for the study of Cistercian monasticism in 12th-century England, Cistercian teachings and beliefs, and the relationship of the order with other ecclesiastical and secular bodies.
Both in the number and quality of his writings, William of Malmesbury (c.1090-1142) has been widely recognised as one of the foremost contributors to the pronounced historiographical turn seen throughout the Anglo-Norman realm from the first decades of the 12th century onwards.
Brian Fitzgerald begins this timely, useful and extremely interesting book by stating what should be pretty obvious to scholars of medieval prophetic texts; that prophecy in the Middle Ages took a wide variety of forms, right across Europe and beyond.