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Author: John Edwards

As European politics, society, economy and religion underwent epoch-making changes between 1400 and 1600, the treatment of Europe's Jews by the non-Jewish majority was, then as in later periods, a symptom of social problems and tensions in the Continent as a whole. Through a broad-ranging collection of original documents, the book sets out to present a vivid picture of the Jewish presence in European life during this vital and turbulent period. This book discusses the history and background of the Jewish presence in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Europe. As far as the late medieval Church was concerned, the basis for the treatment of Jews, by ecclesiastical and secular authorities, was to be found in the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council of the Roman Church, which were issued in 1215. The book is concerned with Jewish economic activities for their own sake, and Jews' financial relations with Christian rulers. It then concentrates on other aspects of the dealings which went on between European Jews and their Christian neighbours. The book includes the Jews' own economic presence and culture, social relations between Jews and Christians, the policies and actions of Christian authorities in Church and State. It draws upon original source material to convey ordinary people's prejudices about Jews, including myths about Jewish 'devilishness', money-grabbing, and 'ritual murder' of Christian children. Finally, the book demonstrates from the outset that much of the treatment of European Jews, in the period up to the Reformation and thereafter, was to be a practical result of the controversies within 'Christendom' on the subject of authority, whether ecclesiastical or secular.

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La Pucelle
Author: Craig Taylor

This book collects together for the first time in English the major documents relating to the life and contemporary reputation of Joan of Arc. Also known as La Pucelle, she led a French Army against the English in 1429, arguably turning the course of the war in favour of the French king Charles VII. The story of Joan of Arc has continued to elicit an extraordinary range of reactions throughout almost six centuries since her death. Her story ended tragically in 1431 when she was put on trial for heresy and sorcery by an ecclesiastical court and was burned at the stake. The book shows how the trial, which was organised by her enemies, provides an important window into late medieval attitudes towards religion and gender. Joan was effectively persecuted by the established Church for her supposedly non-conformist views on spirituality and the role of women. She was ransomed by her captors to their English allies who in turn handed her over to the Church to be tried and finally executed for heresy at Rouen on 30 May 1431. This slur against her reputation would remain until her friends and acquaintances gave evidence before a Nullification trial that eventually overturned the earlier judgement against her on 7 July 1456. The textual records of the Nullification trial also present problems for modern scholars, parallel to those for the original Rouen trial.

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David Jones

Fasciculus Morum , a preaching handbook of Franciscan origin and datable to c .1300. 27 These short, vivid narratives are important because they offer insights into a whole range of aspects of medieval church life. Although exempla occur in sermons intended for many different kinds of audience, their use was particularly recommended when preaching to the laity or others who would otherwise

in Friars’ Tales
John Edwards

As the very foundation of the medieval Church’s attitude to the Jews was Scripture, it is proper to begin with some of the texts which particularly influenced the teaching given to Catholics. Included here are some verses from the Gospels and from one of Paul’s epistles. These passages are presented in the Latin of the Vulgate Bible, in which they would

in The Jews in western Europe 1400–1600
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Susan Royal

differ on the interpretation of baptism, all Protestant confessions upheld these two rites as sacraments. Foxe, then, would have identified as precursors to his own movement the medieval critiques of sacramental theology. Every one of the seven traditional sacraments of the medieval church was called into question or even rejected wholesale by some lollards. Most lollards viewed the sacraments as being under the direct control of a corrupt clerical hierarchy, laden with unnecessary ceremony, and/or a means for priests to obtain money from lay

in Lollards in the English Reformation

a fairly broad section of society. 52 Those who established chantries were doing something out of the ordinary, yet something which in no way challenged existing patterns of devotion, but rather consolidated traditional beliefs and practices. They were an example of how the medieval church could expand and diversify religious observance without damaging either the certainties of its doctrine or the cohesion of its parish congregations. In Manchester at least seven new chantries were founded between

in Manchester Cathedral
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The supernatural and the textual
Janet Hadley Williams

Verse in Older Scots includes humorous poems that have been described as elrich – ‘connected with supernatural beings or elves; uncanny’. The poems in this tradition, products of the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, are all concerned with other worlds – of fairyland, heaven, hell, paradise or nonsense. Their inhabitants can be elves, fairies, ghosts, brownies, giants, devils, spirits, warlocks or witches. Activities might include shape-shifting, cursing, magical trickery, visions, nightmares or conjurations. The viewpoint can be enigmatic, threatening, dreamlike, disorienting, a reversal of the natural order. Time is beyond precise date: when a giant is offspring of an acorn or the king and queen of fary have authority. The humour in these poems can be dark, even sadistic, drawing on the medieval church’s ever-present fear of evil spirits. Narratives can resemble nightmares. Devils, or the Devil himself, can tear sinful souls into rags, chillingly proclaim a sentence of eternal damnation or order a dance in Hell. In other poems, humour can have a lighter, dreamlike comic incongruity, often a childlike delight in the ghoulish. However great the supernatural threat, cumulative tension is always dissolved and the everyday world reasserted.

This chapter examines the textual challenges these poems present to those investigating the supernatural in early modern Scotland. Agile study is needed to make sense of these difficult texts, which have lost their immediate context and suffered textual changes, deliberate and inadvertent, because they survive only in manuscripts compiled long after the poems themselves were composed.

in The supernatural in early modern Scotland
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Laura Varnam

, Northamptonshire, whose surviving wall paintings offer a glimpse into the sacred world of the late medieval church. A rural church nestled beside a farm, a most ‘semely syȝte’ greets the visitor when they unlock the door and turn on the lights. Immediately visible on the south wall facing the entrance is a huge painting of St Christopher carrying the Christ child, who raises his hand in blessing, protecting the viewer from sudden death that day. At St Christopher’s feet, a mermaid gazes into a mirror, smoothing her hair, while a series of comical fish look on, as if puzzled to

in The church as sacred space in Middle English literature and culture
Author: Laura Varnam

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.

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Clare Hartwell

Manchester: Something rich and strange Stained glass – Clare Hartwell Like almost all medieval churches of any size, Manchester Cathedral was once filled with stained glass, but little is known of it, apart from tantalising descriptions and a few fragments taken elsewhere.4 What survived into the twentieth century, including Victorian as well as ancient glass, was finished off by the Manchester Blitz. The cathedral went on to acquire the major examples of twentieth-century glass which are considered here. Stained and painted glass was and remains a major strand

in Manchester