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Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and the fear of heresy in late Twelfth-Century England

Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and the fear of heresy in late Twelfth-Century England
Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and the fear of heresy in late Twelfth-Century England
Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury was one of the most influential English ecclesiasts of the late twelfth century. He was also a prolific writer, whose writings are significant in their synthesis of Cistercian spirituality and monastic theology. His Liber de Sectis Hereticorum, composed in the 1170s whilst he was still a monk, is a unique example of an anti-heretical treatise produced in England before the rise of Wycliffe, and yet it has received far less attention than his other works. This thesis, for the first time, argues that heresy was an important issue to ecclesiasts in England at this time. Twelfth-century England was a keen observer of continental popular heresy. This perspective inspired debate about the theoretical prospect of heresy which was combined with an active concern for the faith across the country, and how heresy could be identified and confronted. Baldwin’s Liber was the most ambitious manifestation of this discourse which drew inspiration from a second key consideration. This was a recognition that the monasteries, and specifically the Cistercian order, had a special role to play in the Church’s struggle against heresy. The Cistercians’ involvement with heresy in the twelfth century came in the anti-heretical activities of some of its most famous members, and in the development of specifically Cistercian thinking on society, caritas, and humility, which inspired individuals both inside and outside the monasteries to expect the participation of monks in the Church’s affairs. This thesis demonstrates how Baldwin’s role as an anti-heretical polemicist provided a link between an ambitious new religious order and a country preparing for the unprecedented threat of heretical incursion.
University of Southampton
Coley, Suzanne, Grace
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Coley, Suzanne, Grace
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Karn, Nicholas
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Clarke, Peter
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Coley, Suzanne, Grace (2018) Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury and the fear of heresy in late Twelfth-Century England. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 337pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Archbishop Baldwin of Canterbury was one of the most influential English ecclesiasts of the late twelfth century. He was also a prolific writer, whose writings are significant in their synthesis of Cistercian spirituality and monastic theology. His Liber de Sectis Hereticorum, composed in the 1170s whilst he was still a monk, is a unique example of an anti-heretical treatise produced in England before the rise of Wycliffe, and yet it has received far less attention than his other works. This thesis, for the first time, argues that heresy was an important issue to ecclesiasts in England at this time. Twelfth-century England was a keen observer of continental popular heresy. This perspective inspired debate about the theoretical prospect of heresy which was combined with an active concern for the faith across the country, and how heresy could be identified and confronted. Baldwin’s Liber was the most ambitious manifestation of this discourse which drew inspiration from a second key consideration. This was a recognition that the monasteries, and specifically the Cistercian order, had a special role to play in the Church’s struggle against heresy. The Cistercians’ involvement with heresy in the twelfth century came in the anti-heretical activities of some of its most famous members, and in the development of specifically Cistercian thinking on society, caritas, and humility, which inspired individuals both inside and outside the monasteries to expect the participation of monks in the Church’s affairs. This thesis demonstrates how Baldwin’s role as an anti-heretical polemicist provided a link between an ambitious new religious order and a country preparing for the unprecedented threat of heretical incursion.

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Published date: April 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421121
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421121
PURE UUID: 47956fcd-06e4-41c3-86b6-65d67d1662a2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 18:33

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Contributors

Author: Suzanne, Grace Coley
Thesis advisor: Nicholas Karn
Thesis advisor: Peter Clarke

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