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Between Church and State
The Lives of Four French Prelates in the Late Middle Ages
Bernard Guenée
University of Chicago Press, 1990
For the past several decades, French historians have emphasized the writing of history in terms of structures, cultures, and mentalities, an approach exemplified by proponents of the Annales school. With this volume, Bernard Guenée, himself associated with the Annalistes, marks a decisive break with this dominant mode of French historiography. Still recognizing the Annalistes' indispensable contribution, Guenée turns to the genre of biography as a way to attend more closely to chance, to individual events and personalities, and to a sense of time as people actually experienced it. His erudite, lively, elegantly written study links in sequence the lives of four French bishops, illuminating medieval and early modern history through their writings.

Guenée chooses as his frame the momentous period from the height of Saint Louis's reign in the mid-thirteenth century to the beginning of the Italian wars two hundred years later. During this time of schism in the church, of war between nascent states, and of treachery among princes, Bernard Gui (1261-1331), Gilles Le Muisit (1272-1353), Pierre D'Ailly (1351-1420), and Thomas Basin (1412-1490) all rose from modest circumstances to the dignity of office. Guenée shows us how these prelates used their talent, ambition, patrons, zeal, and experience to juggle the competing demands of obedience to church and state; to overcome competition from an upcoming new generation; and to cope with plague, war, and violence. Free of jargon yet steeped in learning, Between Church and State reveals the career patterns and politics of an era while forging a new model for points of departure in historical scholarship.

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Blessing the World
Ritual and Lay Piety in Medieval Religion
Derek A. Rivard
Catholic University of America Press, 2009
In Blessing the World, Derek A. Rivard studies liturgical blessing and its role in the religious life of Christians during the central and later Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the blessings of the Franco-Roman liturgical tradition from the tenth to late thirteenth centuries.

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The Bonds of Love
St. Peter Damian's Theology of the Spiritual Life
Gordon Mursell
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
St Peter Damian (1007-1072) is an exceptional example of a paradox that is found in many saints and thinkers through the ages (St Jerome, St Bernard, St Bridget of Sweden, St Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton come to mind) – of a lifelong tension between two competing vocations: the call to solitude and holiness and the call to prophetic social and ecclesial engagement. The author has explored this tension throughout his adult life, both in his published work and in his own life as an Episcopalian/Anglican priest and later bishop. Damian’s “The Book of ‘The Lord be with you’” is a profound exploration of the spirituality of solitude, whereas his “Book of Gomorrah” is an intense attack on clerical sexual abuse which has helped to give Damian a new recent prominence in the light of the huge challenges facing the Church today. The Bonds of Love shows that the paradox at the heart of Damian's life and everything he cared about was rooted in the remarkable theology of love which finds expression across the whole of his work and gives it both coherence and dynamism. His life and spirituality are of far more than academic interest, and will make a major contribution, not only to those committed to ecclesial reform and renewal, but to all who struggle to live with the kind of competing tensions that made St. Peter Damian who he was.

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Bonds of Wool
The Pallium and Papal Power in the Middle Ages
Steven A. Schoenig
Catholic University of America Press, 2016
The pallium was effective because it was a gift with strings attached. This band of white wool encircling the shoulders had been a papal insigne and liturgical vestment since late antiquity. It grew in prominence when the popes began to bestow it regularly on other bishops as a mark of distinction and a sign of their bond to the Roman church. Bonds of Wool analyzes how, through adroit manipulation, this gift came to function as an instrument of papal influence. It explores an abundant array of evidence from diverse genres - including chronicles and letters, saints' lives and canonical collections, polemical treatises and liturgical commentaries, and hundreds of papal privileges - stretching from the eighth century to the thirteenth and representing nearly every region of Western Europe. These sources reveal that the papal conferral of the pallium was an occasion for intervening in local churches throughout the West and a means of examining, approving, and even disciplining key bishops, who were eventually required to request the pallium from Rome.

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Book and Verse
A Guide to Middle English Biblical Literature
James H. Morey
University of Illinois Press, 2000
Exploding the myth that the Bible was largely unknown to medieval lay folk, Book and Verse presents the first comprehensive catalog of Middle English biblical literature: a body of work that, because of its accessibility and familiarity, was the primary biblical resource of the English Middle Ages.   The medieval Bible, much like the Bible today, consists in practical terms not of a set of texts within a canon but of those stories which, because of a combination of liturgical significance and picturesque qualities, form a provisional "Bible" in the popular imagination. As James Morey explains in his introduction, although the Latin Bible was not accessible to the average English-speaker, paraphrases— systematic appropriation and refashioning of biblical texts—served as a medium through which the Bible was promulgated in the vernacular. This explains why biblical allusions, models, and large-scale appropriations of biblical narrative pervade nearly every medieval genre. 
 Book and Verse is an indispensable guide to the variety and extent of biblical literature in England, exclusive of drama and the Wycliffite Bible that appeared between the twelfth and the fifteenth centuries. Entries provide detailed information on how much of what parts of the Bible appear in Middle English and where this biblical material can be found. Comprehensive indexing by name, keyword, and biblical verse allows a researcher to find, for example, all the occurrences of the Flood Story or of the encounter between Elijah and the Widow of Sarephta. An invaluable resource, Book and Verse provides the first easy access to the "popular Bible" assembled before and after John Wyclif's translation of the Vulgate into English.       

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