Michel Foucault famously described sodomy as an utterly confused category. The same could be said for marriage, especially during the Middle Ages, as the two studies under review demonstrate. Like sodomy, marriage is a category traversing several fields – law, culture, religion – that bites into people’s flesh.
Silence speaks as a visual conceit through the serene icon of Mary Magdalene, chosen to illustrate the dust jacket enfolding Silence: A Christian History, foreshadowing themes in Diarmaid MacCulloch’s magisterial study.
This is a welcome translation of an important book. Arlette Jouanna’s studies of the French nobility in its relations with the monarchy and the 16th-century Wars of Religion give her the breadth of vision and contextual knowledge necessary to offer new insights into perhaps the single most famous event of these wars.
This is not the usual kind of book review that I usually write. Instead, in the spirit of the IHR’s intention to create a forum for serious, collaborative engagement, please consider me an agent provocateur who will try to stir things up for the sake (I hope) of our mutual edification. Ellen Arnold sets her sights on a number of very ambitious goals in her fine new book, based on her
The work of Mary Carruthers is well known to students of medieval culture. Her Book of Memory charted discussions of memory from antiquity to the late Middle Ages, treading in the footsteps of Frances Yates in arguing that memory was not just another concept in the minds of medieval writers, but a conceptual motor for the organisation and motivation of thought.
This collection of articles in English and German presenting a study of specific female religious communities in Central Europe in the ‘long’ 18th century shows a confluence of several current research interests: religious life in previous centuries, the life of cloistered women within this context, the influence (not to say intrusion) of secular and church hierarchies into a religious communit
Demons or cunning priests?
‘The Pythia at Delphi, sitting with her petticoats bunched up and her arse on the Tripod, received her inspiration from below’. Denis Diderot
The continuing importance of Ignatian spirituality and the Society of Jesus is hard to deny these days especially in the wake of the recent election of the first Jesuit as pope. It certainly helps to explain the flurry of biographies on the founder of the order in the last two decades alone.
The period of medieval intellectual history covered by this book, primarily the 12th and 13th centuries, is one that has received considerable attention for well over a century. The main question, then, is what does Ian Wei bring to this subject that has not been done before, or how has he reshaped it? The answer is he has done much in both respects.
The study of religious minorities and their experience of persecution is sadly topical.