Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical Cursing in Romanesque France

Benedictine Maledictions: Liturgical Cursing in Romanesque France

by Lester K. Little
     
 

"'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

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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

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780801428760
Publisher:
Cornell University Press
Publication date:
12/01/1993
Series:
4/28/2005
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
5.91(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Lexile:
1540L (what's this?)

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