The rhetoric of reform
in Reform and papacy in the eleventh century
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This chapter explores how the clergy were rhetorically persuaded to embrace reform. In many ways, it was the issue of lay investiture that made the reformers' efforts to find a clear rhetoric of purity far simpler. It would be easy to dismiss the language of bodily purity and pollution as nothing more than a convenient rhetorical strategy on the part of ecclesiastical and especially monastic writers. Apart from Humbert of Silva-Candida, the reformers continued to insist on the integrity of the sacraments of clerics compromised by simony, their rhetoric often blurred fine theological lines. In contrast to the position of contamination stood Gregory VII who, as with simony, tended to treat clerical marriage or concubinage as an issue of obedience. Clerical marriage and concubinage likewise unleashed a torrent of polemic, chiefly focusing on the perceived contamination and confusion engendered by a cleric's sexual activities.

Reform and papacy in the eleventh century

Spirituality and social change




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