Heresy and Literacy, 1000-1530

Heresy and Literacy, 1000-1530

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Did growing literacy in the later medieval period foster popular heresy, or did heresy provide a crucial stimulus to the spread of literacy? Such questions were posed in the polemic of the time - heretics were laici illiterati but were at the same time possessors of dangerous books which their opponents sought to destroy, and among them were preachers whose skills in dialectic and in exegesis threatened orthodoxy - and have challenged the investigators of heresy and literacy ever since. This collaborative volume, written by a group of established scholars from Britain, continental Europe and the United States, considers the importance of the written word among the main pre-Lutheran popular heresies in a wide range of European countries and explores the extent to which heretics' familiarity with books paralleled or exceeded that of their orthodox contemporaries.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 340 pages
  • 152 x 224 x 26mm | 539.77g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 10 b/w illus.
  • 0521575761
  • 9780521575768
  • 1,262,251

Review quote

'To be called 'idiotae et sine litteris'... what exactly did it mean? How literate was the heretic? One of the objects of Heresy and Literacy 1000-1530 is to answer these questions. This is a fine collection of sixteen elegant essays.' The Heythrop Journal '... a rich collection of articles with not a single dud in it.' Malcolm D. Lambert, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
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Table of contents

1. Heresy and literacy: earlier history of the theme Peter Biller; 2. Literacy and the making of heresy c.1000-c.1150 R. I. Moore; 3. Wisdom from the East: the reception by the Cathars of Eastern dualist texts Bernard Hamilton; 4. The Cathars of Languedoc and written materials Peter Biller; 5. Italian Catharism and written culture Lorenzo Paolini; 6. Heresy and literacy: evidence of the thirteenth-century exempla Aaron Gurevich; 7. The literacy of Waldensianism from Valdes to c.1400 Alexander Patschovsky; 8. Waldensian books Anne Brenon; 9. Waldensians in the Dauphine (1400-1530): from dissidence in texts to dissidence in practice Pierette Paravy; 10. Were the Waldensians more literate than their contemporaries (1460-1560)? Gabriel Audisio; 11.Writing and resistance among Beguins of Languedoc and Catalonia Robert E. Lerner; 12. Religious reading amongst the laity in France in the fifteenth century Genevieve Hasenohr; 13. Laicus litteratus: the paradox of Lollardy Anne Hudson; 14. Literacy and heresy in Hussite Bohemia Frantisek Smahel; 15. Heterodoxy, literacy and print in the early German Reformation Bob Scribner; 16. Literacy, heresy, history and orthodoxy: perspectives and permutations for the later Middle Ages R. N. Swanson.
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