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Handling Sin

Penance, confession and their texts (penitential and confessors' manuals) are important topics for an understanding of the middle ages, in relation to a wide range of issues, from medieval social thought to Chaucer's background. These essays treat a variety of different aspects of the topic: subjects include the frequency and character of early medieval penance; the summae and manuals for confessors, and the ways in which these texts (written by males for males) constructed women as sexual in nature; William of Auvergne's remarkable writing on penance; and the relevance of confessors' manuals for demographic history. JOHN BALDWIN's major study From the Ordeal to Confession', delivered as a Quodlibet lecture, traces the appearance in French romances of the themes of a penitent's contrition, the priest's job in listening, and the application of the spiritual conseil and penitence.PETER BILLER is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Yor; A.J. MINNIS is Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of York.Contributors: PETER BILLER, ROB MEENS, ALEXANDER MURRAY, JACQUELINE MURRAY, LESLEY SMITH, MICHAEL HAREN, JOHN BALDWIN
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Table of Contents

Medieval confession - introduction, Peter Biller; the frequency and nature of early-medieval penance, Rob Meens; counselling in medieval confession, Alexander Murray; gendered souls in sexed bodies - the male construction of sexualtiy in some medieval confessors' manuals, Jacqueline Murray; William of Auvergne and confession, Lesley Smith; confession, social ethics and social discipline in the "Memoriale Presbiterorum", Michael Hare; the interrogatories of officials, lawyers and secular estates of the "Memoriale Presbiterorum" - edition and translation; confessors' manuals and the avoiding of offspring, Peter Biller; the 1996 York Quodlibet Lecture - from the ordeal to confession - in search of lay religion in early-13th-century France.


Interesting, learned. MEDIUM AEVUM

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