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IMC 2009: Sessions

Session 1616: Shepherding the Faithful

Thursday 16 July 2009, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Peter Douglas Clarke, Department of History, University of Southampton
Paper 1616-aGodric of Finchale: The Holy Man and the Danger of the Crowd
(Language: English)
Dominic Alexander, Barnet College
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Hagiography, Religious Life, Social History
Paper 1616-bThe Faith in 13th-Century England: Morals and Dogma
(Language: English)
Andrew Reeves, Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Toronto
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Education, Mentalities, Religious Life

This session explores how heresy is kept distant from the flock by different forms of pastoral care, designed either to unify practice or limit the power of non-orthodox influence.

Paper -a:
Holy men in the 11th and 12th centuries were implicated in the key processes of social and institutional change, but the ascetic could act as both a challenge to established order as well as a 'legitimator'. The role of the 'crowd' in the popularity of a holy man is thus treated with care in the vitae of the period, and in the case of Godric of Finchale can be shown to be related to Durham priory's establishment of control over the independent holy man and his local popularity. Comparison with other holy men and their relations with the 'crowd' will indicate how concerned ecclesiastical institutions were to prevent holy men from becoming the focus of social dissent.

Paper -b:
Ecclesiastical reformers in 13th century England strove for all Christians to learn the basic components of Christianity - the Creed and Articles of Faith, the Lord's Prayer, and the Hail Mary. The motivation for these requirements was not so much to make lay people affirm a certain set of truth claims as it was to form the foundation of a Christian life perfected in love of God and neighbour. This concern with morality reflects a larger understanding of orthodoxy in terms of a humble submission to the Church and her teachings rather than subscription to a set of beliefs.