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Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages

Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages

P.H. Cullum
Katherine J. Lewis
Volume: 9
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 200
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt31nhpk
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  • Book Info
    Religious Men and Masculine Identity in the Middle Ages
    Book Description:

    The complex relationship between masculinity and religion, as experienced in both the secular and ecclesiastical worlds, forms the focus for this volume, whose range encompasses the rabbis of the Babylonian and Palestinian Talmud, and moves via Carolingian and Norman France, Siena, Antioch, and high and late medieval England to the eve of the Reformation. Chapters investigate the creation and reconstitution of different expressions of masculine identity, from the clerical enthusiasts for marriage to the lay practitioners of chastity, from crusading bishops to holy kings. They also consider the extent to which lay and clerical understandings of masculinity existed in an unstable dialectical relationship, at times sharing similar features, at others pointedly different, co-opting and rejecting features of the other; the articles show this interplay to be more far more complicated than a simple linear narrative of either increasing divergence, or of clerical colonization of lay masculinity. They also challenge conventional historiographies of the adoption of clerical celibacy, of the decline of monasticism and the gendered nature of piety. Patricia Cullum is Head of History at the University of Huddersfield; Katherine J. Lewis is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Huddersfield. Contributors: James G. Clark, P.H. Cullum, Kirsten A. Fenton, Joanna Huntington, Katherine J. Lewis, Matthew Mesley, Catherine Sanok, Michael L. Satlow, Rachel Stone, Jennifer D. Thibodeaux, Marita von Weissenberg

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-186-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. viii-ix)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. x-x)
    P.H.C. and K.J.L.
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-15)
    P.H. Cullum and Katherine J. Lewis

    Medievalists are fortunate to be able to draw on a great deal of insightful scholarship that has uncovered the devotional practices of medieval women (both lay and religious). There has been much fruitful discussion of the representation and veneration of female saints, and the ways in which lay piety was informed by ideals and practices that can be identified as ‘feminine’.² Indeed, ‘femininity’ has often been presented as the dominant discourse through which late medieval religion was both envisaged for and experienced by lay people, alongside discussions of the development of an individualised affective or Christocentric piety and the female...

  7. FROM SALVE TO WEAPON: TORAH STUDY, MASCULINITY AND THE BABYLONIAN TALMUD
    (pp. 16-27)
    Michael L. Satlow

    ‘Who is a [real] warrior?’ the ancient Jewish sage Ben Zoma rhetorically asked, ‘He who conquers his desire, as it is written, “Better to be forebearing than a warrior, to have self-control than to conquer a city.’”¹ If there has been one central insight from the last two decades or so of the study of masculinity in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, this short maxim, probably dating from the third century CE, encapsulates it. Whether they were Roman philosophers, ancient rabbis, or medieval monks, cultural producers and religious specialists went to extraordinary lengths to transform the discourse of masculinity and...

  8. GENDER AND HIERARCHY: ARCHBISHOP HINCMAR OF RHEIMS (845–882) AS A RELIGIOUS MAN
    (pp. 28-45)
    Rachel Stone

    In 881 the clerics and laity of the city of Beauvais in Picardy were electing a new bishop. Beauvais had long been vulnerable to attacks by Vikings on the Carolingian Empire. The city was burned by raiders in the early 850s; in 859 a previous bishop, Ermenfrid, was killed by the Danes.¹ The archbishop of the province in which the diocese of Beauvais lay, Hincmar of Rheims, sent the citizens a letter about the election, advising them of the procedure they should follow and the qualifications they should look for.² Hincmar is clear that the right sort of man has...

  9. THE DEFENCE OF CLERICAL MARRIAGE: RELIGIOUS IDENTITY AND MASCULINITY IN THE WRITINGS OF ANGLO-NORMAN CLERICS
    (pp. 46-63)
    Jennifer D. Thibodeaux

    A poem of unknown provenance from the late eleventh or early twelfth century shares what must have been the perspective of a married priest at a time of changing laws on clerical marriage. The writer tells us:

    We married clergy were born to be made fun of, to be ridiculed, to be criticised by everyone … you draw up harsh laws, bitter statutes, and make things generally impossible for us. You deny it is right to touch a woman’s bed and to consummate the marriage rite in the bridal chamber. But it is the natural right of a man to...

  10. WRITING MASCULINITY AND RELIGIOUS IDENTITY IN HENRY OF HUNTINGDON
    (pp. 64-76)
    Kirsten A. Fenton

    In 1125 the papal legate John of Crema arrived in England where he presided over an ecclesiastical council held at Westminster.² At this council, according to the twelfth-century chronicler Henry of Huntingdon, John

    dealt most severely with the matter of priests’ wives, saying that it was the greatest sin to rise from the side of a whore and go to make the body of Christ. Yet, although on the very same day he had made the body of Christ, he was discovered after vespers with a whore. This affair was very well-known and could not be denied. The high honour...

  11. ‘THE QUALITY OF HIS VIRTUS PROVED HIM A PERFECT MAN’: HEREWARD ‘THE WAKE’ AND THE REPRESENTATION OF LAY MASCULINITY
    (pp. 77-93)
    Joanna Huntington

    One Christmas, some years before the Battle of Hastings, Gilbert of Gent held his traditional festivities at his Northumbrian household. He held thrice-yearly contests, ‘testing the strength and spirit of those young men who were hoping for the belt and arms of knighthood by letting wild beasts out from cages’.² This season’s beast was a particularly ferocious bear: the ‘offspring of a famous Norwegian bear which had the head and feet of a man and human intelligence, which understood the speech of men and was cunning in battle’.³ Its father had allegedly raped a girl in the woods and fathered...

  12. EPISCOPAL AUTHORITY AND GENDER IN THE NARRATIVES OF THE FIRST CRUSADE
    (pp. 94-111)
    Matthew Mesley

    Analysis of medieval masculinities, and the various ways in which men were conceptualised and represented in different contexts, has often focussed on the rich evidence provided by the impact of the eleventh-century reform movements. One significant consequence of this movement was the unrelenting insistence by religious reformers that there should be a greater distinction made between the lives of the clergy and the laity. There were repeated calls for the improvement of clerical behaviour and education; celibacy was more strictly enforced upon the male clergy; and priests were restricted from taking up arms.¹ The behaviour of male professional religious discussed...

  13. ‘WHAT MAN ARE YOU?’: PIETY AND MASCULINITY IN THE VITAE OF A SIENESE CRAFTSMAN AND A PROVENÇAL NOBLEMAN
    (pp. 112-125)
    Marita von Weissenberg

    As the historian Jacques Dalarun has written: ‘The saint is abnormal because he is a being of exception, but also because he places himself against the norms, separate from the world.’² The norm for laymen in the Middle Ages was to marry and raise a family. They secured their livelihoods through landholding and farming, or mercantile enterprise and other worldly activities. As is well known, the majority of saints rejected this secular world – they became monks, tertiaries, hermits, and so on.³ However, several male saints married, and fathered and raised children. Many bought, sold, or manufactured goods. Saints from...

  14. ‘IMITATE, TOO, THIS KING IN VIRTUE, WHO COULD HAVE DONE ILL, AND DID IT NOT’: LAY SANCTITY AND THE REWRITING OF HENRY VI’S MANLINESS
    (pp. 126-142)
    Katherine J. Lewis

    Henry VI was murdered in the Tower of London during the night of 21–22 May 1471. Earlier on 21 May Edward IV had entered London in triumph, following his victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury on 4 May. Henry’s only son, Prince Edward of Westminster, had been killed at or shortly after the battle, and his death evidently sealed the fate of his father. Edward IV had Henry buried out of the way at Chertsey abbey, doubtless in part to forestall veneration of his body. Nonetheless, rumours of miracles performed at Henry’s tomb began to spread and he became...

  15. JOHN OF BRIDLINGTON, MITRED PRIOR AND MODEL OF THE MIXED LIFE
    (pp. 143-159)
    Catherine Sanok

    John of Bridlington, the last English person to be canonized before the Reformation, enjoyed a vigorous, if short-lived, cult. His tomb in the church of the Augustinian house where he had been prior became a site of pilgrimage soon after his death in 1379: it was the site, Thomas Walsingham records, of ‘miracles so great and so manifest that astonishment fell upon almost the whole of England’.¹ Alexander Neville, archbishop of York, lost no time in amassing evidence of his sanctity, and the official canonization proceedings went forward with notable speed. The papal inquiry began in 1391, and John was...

  16. WHY MEN BECAME MONKS IN LATE MEDIEVAL ENGLAND
    (pp. 160-183)
    James G. Clark

    The monastic life held a powerful attraction for men in late medieval England. Such an assertion sits uneasily with the usual associations of later monastic history, the rising tide of public complaint and popular conflict which even inundated the precincts in 1327 and 1381, and the receding waterline of patronal support. Yet the customary focus on trouble at the frontier between convent and community tends to obscure the simple fact that throughout the period between the Black Death and the Break with Rome, successive generations of men continued to cross the battle-lines, pass into the precincts, enter the enclosure and...

  17. FEASTING NOT FASTING: MEN’S DEVOTION TO THE EUCHARIST IN THE LATER MIDDLE AGES
    (pp. 184-200)
    P.H. Cullum

    At the time of writing it is twenty-five years since Caroline Walker Bynum published Holy feast, holy fast: the religious significance of food to medieval women; it has remained highly influential in the field of lay piety, and a major landmark in the historiography that argues for a distinctive feminine piety in the Middle Ages.² But in the absence of an exploration of male devotion, and particularly eucharistic devotion or devotion to the person of Christ, the extent to which that can be defined as a distinctively feminine form of piety, as opposed to a form of piety which was...

  18. INDEX
    (pp. 201-214)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-215)