The Birth of Purgatory

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University of Chicago Press, Dec 15, 1986 - History - 430 pages
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In The Birth of Purgatory, Jacques Le Goff, the brilliant medievalist and renowned Annales historian, is concerned not with theological discussion but with the growth of an idea, with the relation between belief and society, with mental structures, and with the historical role of the imagination. Le Goff argues that the doctrine of Purgatory did not appear in the Latin theology of the West before the late twelfth century, that the word purgatorium did not exist until then. He shows that the growth of a belief in an intermediate place between Heaven and Hell was closely bound up with profound changes in the social and intellectual reality of the Middle Ages. Throughout, Le Goff makes use of a wealth of archival material, much of which he has translated for the first time, inviting readers to examine evidence from the writings of great, obscure, or anonymous theologians.
 

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User Review  - LPierson - LibraryThing

An excellent, thoroughly-researched history of doctrine. Read full review

Contents

The Third Place
3
THE HEREAFTER BEFORE PURGATORY
17
Ancient Imaginings
19
The Fathers of Purgatory
54
The Early Middle Ages Doctrinal Stagnation and the Riot of Imagination
98
THE TWELFTH CENTURY THE BIRTH OF PURGATORY
131
The Century of the Great Advance
132
The Fire of Purgatory
135
The Scholastic Systematization
239
Social Victory Purgatory and the Cure of Souls
291
The Poetic Triumph The Divina Commedia
336
Why Purgatory?
358
Bibliography of Purgatory
363
Purgatorium The History of a Word
364
Earliest Images
369
Recent Works
371

Locus Purgatorius A Place for Purgation
156
Purgatory between Sicily and Ireland
179
The Logic of Purgatory
211
THE TRIUMPH OF PURGATORY
237
Notes
377
Index
425
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About the author (1986)

Jacques Le Goff is the author of Time, Work, and Culture, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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