The Cistercians and the anti-heretical struggle in the period before the inquisition: some preliminary results

Oplægget ved Matina Noutsou, ph.d.-stipendiat, finder sted mandag d. 2. december i lokale 27.1.47 på KUA1 kl. 17.15.

The violent persecution of the heretics in medieval Europe has been, without doubt, a subject of much scholarly research. The history of the heresy in the High Middle Ages (Wakefield and Evans 1969: Lambert 2002: Peters 1980: Roach 2005) and the efforts of the Church to suppress the heretics, the establishment of the Inquisition and the Albigensian Crusade against the heretics in Southern France (Cohn, 1975: Moore, 1987: Ginzburg, 1989: Peters, 1989: Nirenberg, 1996: Given, 1997: Arnold, 2001) have been some of the issues that the modern historiography has aimed to examine. Historians, especially through the last decades, have provided several answers about the origins and the nature of the institutionalized violence, especially the inquisition.

In this paper, I will present some first results of my current research on the issue of the legitimacy of violence in the period before the Inquisition. Building on the results of the recent historiography on the Cistercian anti-heretical preaching (Newman 1996: Kienzle 2001) and the medieval persecution, my PhD thesis aims to investigate, by applying social scientific models from other disciplines, the anti-heretical discourse of Cistercian authors in the second half of the 12th century. The question, that I will pose, is how violence, as a way to solve the “heretical” problem, attained legitimacy in the Cistercian anti-heretical writings.


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