Sketches of Church History from 600 to 1300 AD by G.S.M. Walker

G.S.M. Walker, The Growing Storm. Sketches of Church History from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1350That the so-called “Dark Ages” contained a surprising amount of light soon becomes clear from the pages of this second volume in the Paternoster Church History. Even the Medieval Papacy, whose rise and fall is, broadley speaking, covered by the period of this book, and which became a laughing-stock and was treated as a scandal, had at the outset sought to embody a great principle – the principle that the spiritual is superior to the temporal, that morality is superior to politics, that Christ is superior to the kingdoms of mankind. It was for the same principle that in later times Scottish Covenanters were to contend and suffer, so demonstrating a historical unity of problems in widely differing periods and circumstances.

Indeed, this book cealr underlines this historical unity by showing that even in the Middle Ages men grappled with problems not unlike our own; but the roles were so surprisingly reversed that it is often hard for the modern mind to see clearly which was the angels’ side. The instance, monks were busy preaching puritan sermons, scholars were almost all fundamentalists, early “Protestants” were devoted to the Virgin, and there was actually a sort of evangelical revival which won warmer sympathy from the reigning Pontiff than would have been shewn by an English Bishop of John Wesley’s day.

This complex period Dr. Walker graphically illustrates by telling the story of some characteristic lives, with sufficient background to make the narrative cohetrent, in spite of the seven-and-a half centuries that are covered. Gregory, Boniface, and Hildebrand, Anselm, Abelard and Bernard, Francis, Aquinas, Raymond Lull, Dante and others, all make their contribution to a composite picture in which the various convictions, catholic and evangelical and liberal, are well and widely represented, sometimes even fermenting together in the same brain. Then we see the tension mounting and the storm-clouds gathering, as distinct parties draw apart in a struggle that would intensify with the coming of Wycliffe, and would come to its climax in the Reformation.

From the dustjacket

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G.S.M. Walker, The Growing Storm. Sketches of Church History from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1350. London: The Paternoster Press, 1961. Hbk. pp.252. [Click to visit the download page]

Contents

  • Preface
  1. Gregory the Great
  2. Boniface an the Conversion of Northern Europe
  3. Alcuin and the Carolingian Renaissance
  4. The East from Leo the Isaurian to Michael Cerularius
  5. The Hildebrandine Reform
  6. The First Crusade
  7. Anselm and the Rise of Scholasticism
  8. Abelard and Bernard of Clairvaux
  9. The Waldensians
  10. The Pontificate of Innocent III
  11. Francis and his Followers
  12. The Dominicans; Aquinas; and the German Mystics
  13. The Last Crusader
  14. The Missionary Zeal of Raymond Lull
  15. Dante and the Dawn of a New Age
  • Bibliography
  • Index

New Book on the Cathars and Waldenses

Caterina Bruschi, The Wandering Heretics of Languedoc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Hbk. ISBN-13: 9780521182270. pp.232.

The publishers blurb reads:

How should historians read sources which record inquisitorial trials in the Middle Ages? How can we understand the fears felt by those on trial? By analysing six volumes of depositions in the trial of Cathar and Waldensian heretics in Languedoc between the late twelfth and the fourteenth century, in this 2009 book, Caterina Bruschi challenges old methodologies in the study of dissent. She examines the intrinsic narratological problems related to the sources and, using approaches from the social sciences, analyses the different fears felt by deponents and how those fears affected their actions and decisions. In so doing, she sheds light on itinerancy within the ecclesial structure of non-conformist movements and contextualises the problem of itinerancy as a benchmark for the definition of heresy. Focusing on the lives and attitudes of trial witnesses, this innovative account is a major contribution to our understanding of the nature of religious non-conformity in the Middle Ages.

Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Stories, and how to read them
2. Catharism and its mobility
3. Heretical itinerancy
4. Patterns of fear and risk
Conclusions (and starting points)
Bibliography.

Features

• Challenges methodological assumptions about how to read medieval trial records
• Analyses unpublished primary sources
• Provides insights into the interactions between inquisitors and deponents