Armstrong-Partida, “Defiant Priests”

In June, Cornell University Press will release Defiant Priests: Domestic Unions, Violence, and Clerical Masculinity in Fourteenth-Century Catalonia by Michelle Armstrong-Partida (University of Texas at El Paso). The publisher’s description follows:

Defiant PriestsTwo hundred years after canon law prohibited clerical marriage, parish priests in the late medieval period continued to form unions with women that were marriage all but in name. In Defiant Priests, Michelle Armstrong-Partida uses evidence from extraordinary archives in four Catalan dioceses to show that maintaining a family with a domestic partner was not only a custom entrenched in Catalan clerical culture but also an essential component of priestly masculine identity, one that extended to the carrying of weapons and use of violence to resolve disputes and seek revenge, to intimidate other men, and to maintain their status and authority in the community.

From unpublished episcopal visitation records and internal diocesan documents (including notarial registers, bishops’ letters, dispensations for illegitimate birth, and episcopal court records), Armstrong-Partida reconstructs the personal lives and careers of Catalan parish priests to better understand the professional identity and masculinity of churchmen who made up the proletariat of the largest institution across Europe. These untapped sources reveal the extent to which parish clergy were embedded in their communities, particularly their kinship ties to villagers and their often contentious interactions with male parishioners and clerical colleagues. Defiant Priests highlights a clerical culture that embraced violence and illuminates how the parish church could become a battleground in which rivalries among clerics took place and young clerics learned from senior clergymen to meld the lay masculine ideals that were a part of their everyday culture with the privilege and authority of their profession.

Davis-Secord, “Where Three Worlds Met”

In June, the Cornell University Press will release “Where Three World Met: Sicily in the Early Medieval Mediterranean,” by Sarah Davis-Secord (University of New Mexico).  The publisher’s description follows:

Sicily is a lush and culturally rich island at the center of the Mediterranean Sea. Throughout its history, the island has been conquered and colonized by successive logo_cornelluniversitypresswaves of peoples from across the Mediterranean region. In the early and central Middle Ages, the island was ruled and occupied in turn by Greek Christians, Muslims, and Latin Christians.

In Where Three Worlds Met, Sarah Davis-Secord investigates Sicily’s place within the religious, diplomatic, military, commercial, and intellectual networks of the Mediterranean by tracing the patterns of travel, trade, and communication among Christians (Latin and Greek), Muslims, and Jews. By looking at the island across this long expanse of time and during the periods of transition from one dominant culture to another, Davis-Secord uncovers the patterns that defined and redefined the broader Muslim-Christian encounter in the Middle Ages.

Sicily was a nexus for cross-cultural communication not because of its geographical placement at the center of the Mediterranean but because of the specific roles the island played in a variety of travel and trade networks in the Mediterranean region. Complex combinations of political, cultural, and economic need transformed Sicily’s patterns of connection to other nearby regions—transformations that were representative of the fundamental shifts that took place in the larger Mediterranean system during the Middle Ages. The meanings and functions of Sicily’s positioning within these larger Mediterranean communications networks depended on the purposes to which the island was being put and how it functioned at the boundaries of the Greek, Latin, and Muslim worlds.

Burnham & Dickens, “Medieval Heresy”

In May, I.B. Tauris Publishers will release Medieval Heresy: The Church’s Struggle for Orthodoxy and Survival by Louisa Burnham (Middlebury College) and Andrea Janelle Dickens (United Theological Seminary). The publisher’s description follows:

Medieval HereticsInquisitors in the Middle Ages believed they could easily tell the difference between orthodox believers and heretics. They wrote manuals that described the beliefs and practices of heretical groups, devising questions designed to ferret out the fifth columnists hiding dangerously and threateningly in their midst. Heretics were the enemy within, the rotten apples in the religious barrel. It was essential to sort the sheep from the goats, in order to sustain the social and ecclesiastical order. But were heretics and faithful Christians really so very unlike? Louisa Burnham argues that historians have been too anxious to make simplistic distinctions between heresy and canonical orthodoxy. She contends that heretics were part of a complex movement that was as deeply spiritual as that of their enemies.Far from existing at the margins of popular religious life, heresy was central to the medieval Church’s attempt to define itself.Examining in turn some of the key heretical movements of the period (such as the Cathars, Waldensians, Beguins, Lollards, Wycliffites and Hussites), this bold and original textbook shows students and teachers of medieval history that there was a fine line between heresy and orthodoxy: and that, apart from circumstance, the distinction made between sinner and saint might often have been very different.

Worrall et. al.,”Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government”

In November, Praeger will release “Hezbollah: From Islamic Resistance to Government” by James Worrall, Simon Mabon, and Gordon Clubb. The publisher’s description follows:

This is the first book of its kind to offer a comprehensive study of Hezbollah, providing an overview of the organization’s key personalities, events, and structures over the past three decades. Inspired by the latest terrorism research and contemporary developments in the Middle East, the book reflects upon Hezbollah’s religious foundations and its present role as a player in Middle East relations.

Chapters place Hezbollah within the Middle East security environment, analyzing the rise of the Party of God within the context of Iranian-inspired Shi’a activism, examining the ideological underpinnings of the movement, and addressing its dominant political position post Arab Spring. This authoritative volume introduces the party’s full range of activities, including resistance, propaganda, organized crime, and educational facilities. The content highlights Hezbollah’s role as a social welfare provider—specifically, the types of aid given, the source of financing for the endeavor, and the challenge this role presents to the Lebanese state.

 

Fudge, “The Trial of Jan Hus: Medieval Heresy and Criminal Procedure”

This May, Oxford published The Trial of Jan Hus: Medieval Hersey and Criminal9780199988082_140 Procedure by Thomas A. Fudge (University of New England, Australia). The publisher’s description follows.

Six hundred years ago, the Czech priest Jan Hus (1371-1415) traveled out of Bohemia, never to return. After a five-year legal ordeal that took place in Prague, in the papal curia, and finally in southern Germany, the case of Jan Hus was heard by one of the largest and most magnificent church gatherings in medieval history: the Council of Constance. Before a huge audience, Hus was burned alive as a stubborn and disobedient heretic. His trial sparked intense reactions and opinions ranging from satisfaction to accusations of judicial murder.

Thomas A. Fudge offers the first English-language examination of the indictment, relevant canon law, and questions of procedural legality. In the modern world, there is instinctive sympathy for a man burned alive for his convictions, and it is presumed that any court that sanctioned such an action must have been irregular. Was Hus guilty of heresy? Were his doctrinal convictions contrary to established ideas espoused by the Latin Church? Was his trial legal? Despite its historical significance and the controversy it provoked, the trial of Jan Hus has never before been the subject of a thorough legal analysis or assessed against prevailing canonical legislation and procedural law in the later Middle Ages.

The Trial of Jan Hus shows how this popular and successful priest became a criminal suspect and a convicted felon, and why he was publicly executed, providing critical insight into what may have been the most significant heresy trial of the Middle Ages.

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