International Medieval Research 5

The Vocation of Service to God and Neighbour: Essays on the Interests, Involvements and Problems of Religious Communities and their Members in Medieval Front cover, IMR 5 - Click to enlargeSociety
Edited by Joan Greatrex

The impingement of monastery on marketplace provides the unifying theme for this collection of nine research papers. Separation from the world, for most members of religious orders in the Middle Ages, did not imply isolation from the rest of society but, rather, a new spirituality orientated relationship which took different forms in different times.

Three of the contributors are concerned with particular aspects of the intellectual activities of the religious orders in both university and cloister. Two others examine the traumatic effects of the enforced return to secular life of thousands of men and women religious in England when monastic life was brought to an abrupt end in 1540. An individual monk's pastoral role among the laity is explored and evaluated in one paper, while another reveals the extent to which a rural English nunnery was both rooted in the local community and dependent on foreign supervision. Problems encountered by the friars are discussed by two other contributors who, on the basis of their recent research, conclude that the hostility between Franciscans and Benedictines has been overstated and that some German Dominicans risked their reputations in their involvement with contemporary heterodox movements among the laity.

Articles in this volume include:

  • Monachi and Magistri: The Context and Culture of Learning at Late Medieval St Albans, by James Clark
  • Dissolution and De-Conversion: Institutional Change and Individual Response in the 1530s, by Peter Cunich
  • Westwood, a Rural English nunnery with its Local and French Connections, by Margaret Goodrich
  • John Lydgate, Monk of Bury St Edmunds, as Spiritual Director, by Nicholas Heale
  • The Influence of Humanism in the Monasticism of Robert Joseph, Monk of Evesham, by Anthony Marett-Crosby
  • Unsafe Passage: The State of the Nuns at the Dissolution and their Conversion to Secular Life, by Marilyn Oliva
  • Benedictine and Franciscan Cloisters: Partnership and Rivalry in the Thirteenth Century, by Michael Robson
  • Rhineland Dominicans, Meister Eckhart and the Sect of the Free Spirit, by Walter Senner
  • Merit Ranking, the Religious Orders, and the Parisian Faculty of Theology in the Later Middle Ages, by Thomas Sullivan