Heresy and Heretics in the Thirteenth Century

Heresy and Heretics in the Thirteenth Century

The Textual Representations

L.J. Sackville

The first book to deal with all the principal treatments of heresy and anti-heretical writings during their heyday in the thirteenth century.
Heresy is always relative; the traces that it leaves to us are distorted and one-sided. In the last few decades, historians have responded to these problems by developing increasingly sophisticated methodologies that help to unravel and illuminate the tangled layers from which the texts that describe heresy are built, but in the process have made our reading of heresy fractured and disconnected.
Heresy and Heretics seeks to redress this by reading the different types of anti-heretical writing as part of a wider, connected tradition, considering all the principal orthodox treatments of heresy for the first time. Drawn from the mid-thirteenth century, a time when both medieval heresy and the church's response to it were at their zenith, they describe a spectrum of material that ranges from the theological arguments of some of the greatest thinkers of the age to the homely sermons of the wandering preachers. In considering the whole scope of anti-heretical writing from this narrow period, it becomes apparent that, far from being an artificial construct isolated from reality, the church's treatment of heresy in fact had a far more complex relationship with its subject matter.

Dr Lucy Sackville teaches in the Department of History, University of York.

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Table of Contents

To avoid evil: anti-heretical polemic
To retreat from sin: texts for edification
Who walks in shadow: the canon-legal perspective
High is the heart of man: inquisition texts
De heresi
Appendix: Perfecti as a Term to Denote Heretics


The sheer scale of material covered and its detailed analysis constitute a significant contribution to medieval scholarship. PARERGON

A well-researched analysis. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

This is the clearest and most comprehensive analysis yet published of the literature generated by the effort to confute and eliminate heresy in the thirteenth century. [...] students of thirteenth century heresy will be in Sackville's debt for her careful analysis of the varieties of the genre. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

A comprehensive overview of the anti-heretical literature of the central Middle Ages. [...] Sackville has made available an exceptionally useful descriptive guide that takes the reader on a tour among inquisitional literature, registers, legal texts, and antiheretical tracts. All of this is bound together with an interesting textual study of various themes found in these works. [It] will be useful to both researchers and students, providing a finding guide and descriptive assessment of particular late-twelfth- and thirteenth-century inquisitional literature. THE CATHOLIC HISTORICAL REVIEW

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