Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4306
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Beaudette , Paul.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: In the world but not of it: Clerical Celibacy as a Symbol of the Medieval Church
  • Source: Medieval Purity and Piety: Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious Reform.  Edited by Michael FrassettoGarland Medieval Casebooks Series.  Garland Publishing, 1998.  Pages 23 - 46.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Canon Law Celibacy Clergy- Sexual Behavior Ecclesiastical Reform Ritual Purity
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century: 4- 5- 6- 7- 8- 9- 10- 11- 12
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  • Abstract: A dominant theme, initially formulated in a general survey article of Paul Beaudette, but surfacing in all the essays, is that the ideology of clerical celibacy is embedded in notions of cultic purity and can be traced back to the ascetic movement of the third and fourth centuries. This perspective emphasizes the Church, and the priesthood in particular, as fundamentally separate from the world. In prescriptive literature from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the term "celibacy" is not as important as notions of chastity and freedom from sexual pollution. Another strong theme that emerges is that although prohibition of marriage or any other sexual union was not officially imposed on all clerics of the rank of subdeacon and above until the early twelfth century, the ground was laid for such policies in the ninth and tenth centuries, long before the reign of Pope Gregory VII. The process by which monastic ideology was imposed on clerics in higher orders was a long drawn out affair, intricately bound up with the evolution of society in the Latin West between the ninth and eleventh centuries.~~From the review written by Constant Mews on "Medieval Purity and Piety: Essays on Medieval Clerical Celibacy and Religious Reform," "Medieval Review" (TMR ID: 96.12.11). [Reproduced by permission of the "Medieval Review."].
  • Author's Affiliation: Mount Saint Vincent University (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1998.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0815324308
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