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This is the first comprehensive account in English of the most feared and the most mysterious of medieval heretics.

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This is the first comprehensive account in English of the most feared and the most mysterious of medieval heretics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Catharism was the most radical of medieval heresies. Since it touched most areas of Europe in some degree, research on its character and fortunes makes formidable demands on the learning and linguistic ability of any scholar who tackles it, not to mention demands also on his judgement. Malcolm Lambert, well known for his lucid and authoritative writings on medieval heresy, is a match for this challenging task. His new book, The Cathars, is to be welcomed as the most comprehensive and up-to-date treatment of the subject now available in English." Alexander Murray, University College, London

"Lambert's command of the literature and his ability to integrate it into a coherent narrative are unmatched. His book deserves to become the standard account of medieval Catharism." Medieval Review

"This is the first comprehensive study in English of the most mysterious and radical of medieval heresies. Malcolm Lambert ... 'combines scholarly investigation with lucid narrative.'" TD Book Survey

"Malcolm Lambert, with deep erudition allied to pristine sensitive prose, masterfully narrates [the] distinctive history [of] the cathars ... The Cathars ... is, quite simply, indispensible." Catholic Historical Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631209591
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 7/28/1998
  • Series: Peoples of Europe Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Malcolm Lambert was Reader in Medieval History at the University of Bristol until 1991 when he retired to devote himself to writing and research. His previous books are Franciscan Poverty (1961, reissued 1998) and Medieval Heresy (2nd edition, 1992).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.

List of Maps.



1. The Little Foxes.

2. The First Cathars.

3. The Wise Man from the East.

4. The Growth of Catharism.

5. Innocent III, Heresy and Reform.

6. The First Inquisitors.

7. The Cathars of Languedoc.

8. The Battle for Souls in Italy.

9. The Suffocating of Catharism in Languedoc.

10. The Last Missionary.

11. The Decline of Italian Catharism.

12. Inertia and Survival: the Bosnian Church.

Epilogue: The Legacy of Catharism.

List of Abbreviations.


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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted May 23, 2010

    Sadly, the authors own religious beliefs have skewed his writing. At one point, he seems to believe that the Inquisition, on the whole, was a good thing.

    He has a problem with women being taught to read and write: to have the bible translated into the vernacular; and that there's nothing wrong in torturing people to get at the truth. Not acceptable as evidence in modern courts (UK).
    His research talks of the "fortress" of Montségur. The current castle was built post the seige. It was a fortified mountain village, as many others in this semi-lawless border country.
    Ditto "no cultivable land close by". Even the few current farmers in the area would disagree. It's on a Puy, surrounded on three sides by cultivable land.
    48 notepages in 300 pages, and some with more than one comment.
    Another interesting Catholic justification of the Crusade against the Cathars. Why the Cathars? Out of all the Albigensian movement which stretched from Bulgaria through Northern Europe, down through France into Spain & Portugal. Because the people were educated (could read), where often even the priests were illiterate; the perfect had no need for money or fancy cloathes, whereas the Church of Rome set/sets great store by it's fancy clothes. If all the stones in all the cardinal's rings who attended the recent Pope's coronation were sold, World Poverty could be eradicated.
    By the by. Catharism didn't die with the fall of Montségur. It still lives on quietly here in the shadows.

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