Handling Sin: Confession in the Middle Ages

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Peter Biller, Alastair J. Minnis
Boydell & Brewer Ltd, 1998 - History - 219 pages
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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 Professor of Medieval History at the University of York; A.J. MINNIS is Douglas Tracy Smith Professor of English, Yale University. Contributors: PETER BILLER, ROB MEENS, ALEXANDER MURRAY, JACQUELINE MURRAY, LESLEY SMITH, MICHAEL HAREN, JOHN BALDWIN
 

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Contents

Introduction 1
17
The Frequency and Nature of Early Medieval Penance
43
Counselling in Medieval Confession
63
The Male Construction of Female
79
William of Auvergne and Confession
95
Confession Social Ethics and Social Discipline in the Memoriale
109
The Interrogatories for Officials Lawyers and Secular Estates of
123
Confessors Manuals and the Avoiding of Offspring
165
In Search of Lay Religion
191
Index
211
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