Benedictine Maledictions / Edition 1

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Overview

"'May they be cursed in town and cursed in the fields. May their barns be cursed and may their bones be cursed. May the fruit of their loins be cursed as well as the fruit of their lands.' French monks of the Middle Ages hurled curses like these at their enemies, seeking supernatural assistance when no secular judge could help them. In a long-awaited book written with elegance and erudition, Lester Little undertakes the first full-length study of these maledictions. . . . The book's focus is the way that religious communities--especially the monks who followed Benedict's Rule and hence were known by his name--used liturgical cursing to safeguard their integrity and their possessions, against both laymen and other ecclesiastics." --Journal of Social History

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"'May they be cursed in town and cursed in the fields. May their barns be cursed and may their bones be cursed. May the fruit of their loins be cursed as well as the fruit of their lands.' French monks of the Middle Ages hurled curses like these at their enemies, seeking supernatural assistance when no secular judge could help them. In a long-awaited book written with elegance and erudition, Lester Little undertakes the first full-length study of these maledictions. . . . The book's focus is the way that religious communities—especially the monks who followed Benedict's Rule and hence were known by his name—used liturgical cursing to safeguard their integrity and their possessions, against both laymen and other ecclesiastics."—Journal of Social History

"Little begins with a custom that may seem quaint; he ends by leading the reader through a series of centrally important historical developments, and in most cases he succeeds in showing their relevance to this extraordinary custom of liturgical cursing."—Richard Kieckhefer, Northwestern University, American Historical Review, December 1995

"Professor Little has carried out in masterly fashion his stated goal, the re-creation of the whole cutlure of medieval clamor, and in the process he has illuminated many other aspects of medieval religious, social, and legal practices. His book, filled with charming personal asides, will be duly appreciated by scholars, admirers, and nonspecialists."—Bede K. Lackner, University of Texas, Arlington, Speculum, October 1995

Booknews
Little (history, Smith College) reconstructs and explores the phenomenon of officially sanctioned religious cursing in medieval Europe, focusing on a church service, called in Latin either clamor or maledictio, used by monastic communities (primarily in Francia) between approximately 990 and 1250. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801481130
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1993
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Introduction: Of Tristram Shandy and French Monastic Curses 1
1 Formulas 17
Clamors 20
Humiliation of Relics 26
Excommunication and Anathema 30
Geography of Maledictory Formulas 44
2 Sources 52
Sanction Clauses 52
The Bible 59
The Liturgy 72
Canon Law 85
3 Justifications 88
Occasional Curses 89
Biblical Curses 94
Liturgical Curses 105
Speech Acts 113
4 Uses 121
Ireland and Wales 123
Francia 131
Rites of Reintegration 143
Geography of the Use of Clamors 146
5 Experts 150
Irish Saints 154
Pilgrims on the Continent 173
The Irish Sphere of Influence 182
6 Contexts 186
Religion 186
Justice 200
Property 218
Conclusion: New Contexts 230
Appendixes 241
A Gathering Clamors 243
B Elusive Evidence 248
C A Miscellany of Curse Formulas 254
D Fulbert of Chartres as Author of In spiritu humilitatis 268
E Vestiges in the Age of Reformation and Counter-Reformation 271
F Clamors and Cursing Formulas 280
Index of Manuscripts 287
General Index 289
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