Sex, Gender, and Episcopal Authority in an Age of Reform, 1000-1122

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Overview

The eleventh and early twelfth centuries were a period of intense debate over ecclesiastical reform in western Europe. This book examines the debates from a new perspective, exploring the ways in which contemporary political writers conveyed messages about ‘public’ life through textual and sometimes visual images of the ‘private’ life of the Church. It argues that the images they used - of bishops as husbands of their sees, of the laity as the sons of Mother Church, and of the pope as father of bishops - were shaped not only by intellectual and ritual traditions, but also by contemporary ideas about sexuality and gender. Megan McLaughlin reveals that the boundaries between the ‘public’ and the ‘private’ were extremely fluid in the central middle ages – both because of both the realities of political life in that period and the changing nature of life within European households.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"…superb…McLaughlin argues her point in lively and subtly amusing prose, sparked with effective quotations of medieval authors. Her book is perfect for classes on medieval politics and churches…Non-specialists can easily follow the argument, while fellow medievalists will appreciate the book’s methodological innovations and evidentiary heft, and feminists will be glad to discover that it considerably advances the scholarly project of gendering the medieval past." -Lisa M. Bitel, American Historical Review

"This book is a must have for any scholar or student of the central Middle Ages." -Becky R Lee, Canadian Woman Studies/les cahiers de la femme

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521870054
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Megan McLaughlin is Associate Professor of History, with additional appointments in the Departments of Gender and Women's Studies, and Religion, at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests focus particularly on two areas of medieval European history: the intersection between religion and social/economic/culture structures; and the history of women and gender in medieval Europe. Her previous publications include Consorting with Saints: Prayer for the Dead in Early Medieval France (1994).
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The reform of marriage; 2. The Bride of Christ; 3. The ambiguities of motherhood; 4. The Mother of the Faithful; 5. Fathers and sons; 6. Fathers in the spirit; Conclusion: the stumbling block.
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