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Condemnation of Wyclif’s teaching
Stephen Penn

, proclaiming, among other things, two of their deadly doctrines: The first is that in the sacrament of the altar the substance of the material bread and wine, which were present prior to consecration, really remains in place after consecration. The second, which is more execrable to hear, is that in that venerable sacrament, the body and the blood of Christ are not present either essentially or substantially, or even corporally, but only figuratively or tropically; therefore, Christ is not truly present in his own, physical person

in John Wyclif
Suzanne Conklin Akbari

immanence of Christ’s humanity, in devotional objects such as the crucifix and, especially, in the relic of MUP_McDonald_02_Ch1 29 11/18/03, 16:57 30 Suzanne Conklin Akbari Christ par excellence: that is, the eucharistic host. In this context, it is striking to note the resemblance of the behaviour of the crucifix in the Siege of Melayne to that of the host in the fifteenth-century Croxton Play of the Sacrament: like the crucifix in the earlier poem, the eucharist in the drama moves from being victim to tormentor. When the unscrupulous Jew Jonathas stabs the

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
A conceptual history 1200–1900

This collection explores how concepts of intellectual or learning disability evolved from a range of influences, gradually developing from earlier and decidedly distinct concepts, including ‘idiocy’ and ‘folly’, which were themselves generated by very specific social and intellectual environments. With essays extending across legal, educational, literary, religious, philosophical, and psychiatric histories, this collection maintains a rigorous distinction between historical and contemporary concepts in demonstrating how intellectual disability and related notions were products of the prevailing social, cultural, and intellectual environments in which they took form, and themselves performed important functions within these environments. Focusing on British and European material from the middle ages to the late nineteenth century, this collection asks ‘How and why did these concepts form?’ ‘How did they connect with one another?’ and ‘What historical circumstances contributed to building these connections?’ While the emphasis is on conceptual history or a history of ideas, these essays also address the consequences of these defining forces for the people who found themselves enclosed by the shifting definitional field.


The church as sacred space places the reader at the heart of medieval religious life, standing inside the church with the medieval laity in order to ask what the church meant to them and why. It examines the church as a building, idea, and community, and explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was crucial to its place at the centre of lay devotion and parish life. At a time when the parish church was facing competition for lay attention, and dissenting movements such as Lollardy were challenging the relevance of the material church, the book examines what was at stake in discussions of sanctity and its manifestations. Exploring a range of Middle English literature alongside liturgy, architecture, and material culture, the book explores the ways in which the sanctity of the church was constructed and maintained for the edification of the laity. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary theoretical approaches, the book offers a reading of the church as continually produced and negotiated by the rituals, performances, and practices of its lay communities, who were constantly being asked to attend to its material form, visual decorations, and significance. The meaning of the church was a dominant question in late-medieval religious culture and this book provides an invaluable context for students and academics working on lay religious experience and canonical Middle English texts.

R. N. Swanson

examining his conscience at this holy time of Lent, set aside and ordered for the reformation of the soul. For, according to the proverb of old men, whoever is not holy in Lent or busy at harvest is unlikely to prosper. Everyone, therefore, beating his breast in compunction, shall rise up strongly to spiritual works. And you, dear child, should do the same. Begin with the sacrament of

in Catholic England
Abstract only
Susan Royal

have a more significant role in the church, as shown in Walter Brute’s belief that women could validly administer sacraments ( Chapter 4 ). The same tendency appears in material that suggested women could publicly preach ( Chapter 6 ). While scholars of the lollards like Shannon McSheffrey and Patrick Hornbeck have argued that the movement did not provide an avenue for women’s agency in religious affairs, it appears that Foxe was concerned that it would. 3 Additionally, Foxe was sensitive to lollard material that challenged the sovereignty

in Lollards in the English Reformation
Cheshire on the eve of civil war
Authors: and

This book aims to revisit the county study as a way into understanding the dynamics of the English civil war during the 1640s. It explores gentry culture and the extent to which early Stuart Cheshire could be said to be a ‘county community’. It investigates the responses of the county’s governing elite and puritan religious establishment to highly polarising interventions by the central government and Laudian ecclesiastical authorities during Charles I’s Personal Rule. The second half of the book provides a rich and detailed analysis of the petitioning movements and side-taking in Cheshire during 1641-42. This important contribution to understanding the local origins and outbreak of civil war in England will be of interest to all students and scholars studying the English Revolution.

Living spirituality

Between 1598 and 1800, an estimated 3, 271 Catholic women left England to enter convents on the Continent. This study focuses more particularly upon those who became Benedictines in the seventeenth century, choosing exile in order to pursue their vocation for an enclosed life. Through the study of a wide variety of original manuscripts, including chronicles, death notices, clerical instructions, texts of spiritual guidance, but also the nuns’ own collections of notes, this book highlights the tensions between the contemplative ideal and the nuns’ personal experiences. Its first four chapters adopt a traditional historical approach to illustrate the tensions between theory and practice in the ideal of being dead to the world. They offer a prosopographical study of Benedictine convents in exile, and show how those houses were both cut-off and enclosed yet very much in touch with the religious and political developments at home. The next fur chapters propose a different point of entry into the history of nuns, with a study of emotions and the senses in the cloister, delving into the textual analysis of the nuns’ personal and communal documents to explore aspect of a lived spirituality, when the body, which so often hindered the spirit, at times enabled spiritual experience.

Elisabeth van Houts

in these matters of marriage and “concerning Christ and the Church” as the Apostle says, by confirming the sacrament through the priestly ministry’. 9 Roger and his advisers draw upon thinking about marriage in canon law and theology. They knew of St Augustine’s doctrine of marriage as an indissoluble monogamous union, an idea based upon Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, which compares marriage to Christ’s union with his Church. 10 The Church’s propagation of this symbolism has been extensively studied by David d’Avray. 11 Roger II’s edict particularly reflects

in Rethinking Norman Italy
The First Commandment and sacramental confession in early modern Catholic Europe
Nicole Reinhardt

into a contested point between competing Christian denominations. As Protestant soteriology denied that humans could save themselves through good works or sacraments, reformed churches promoted the correspondence between the Decalogue and external law. Conversely, the Catholic Church, emphasising the distinction between the spheres of law (body) and grace (soul), through the ‘power of the keys’ claimed exclusive jurisdiction over the moral sphere, externally in ecclesiastical tribunals and internally through the

in Rules and ethics