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The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism Polemic, Violence, Deviance, and Remembrance by G. Geltner

The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism Polemic, Violence, Deviance, and Remembrance


The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism Polemic, Violence, Deviance, and Remembrance by G. Geltner

The mendicant orders-Augustinians, Carmelites, Dominicans, Franciscans, and several other groups-spread across Europe apace from the early thirteenth century, profoundly influencing numerous aspect of medieval life. But alongside their tremendous success, their members (friars) also encountered derision, scorn, and even violence. Such opposition, generally known as antifraternalism, is often seen as an ecclesiastical in-house affair or an ideological response to the brethren's laxity: both cases registering a moral decline symptomatic of a decadent church. Challenging the accuracy of these views, Geltner contends that the phenomenon exhibits a breadth of scope that on the one hand pushes it far beyond its accustomed boundaries, and on the other supports only tenuous links with Reformation or modern forms of anticlericalism. Drawing from numerous sources, from theological treatises to poetry and criminal court records, Guy Geltner shows that people from all walks of life lambasted and occasionally assaulted the brethren, orchestrating detailed scenes of urban violence in the process. Their myriad motivations and diverse goals preclude us from associating antifraternalism with any one ideology or agenda, let alone allow us to brand many of its proponents as religious reformers. At the same time, he demonstrates the friars' active role in forging a medieval antifraternal tradition, not only by deviating from their founders' paths to varying degrees, but also by chronicling their suffering inter fideles and thus incorporating it into the orders' identity as the vanguard of Christianity. In doing so, Geltner illuminates a major chapter in Europe's social, urban, and religious history.


This volume is a stimulating and innovative study that is enriched by archival evidence bringing a fresh perspective to the analysis of the friars
impact on the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries

. * Michael Robson, Heythrop Journal * an important book ... it brings new lights and reflections on the phenomenon of antifraternalism (and anticlericalism). Geltner's research is wide and deep, and his presentation is clearly articulated. * Jean-Francois Godet-Calogeras, Sehepunkte * Geltner's study is a compelling read (references to Erik the Viking are always welcome) based on an innovative interpretation of an impressively wide range of evidence, * Sean L. Field, Journal of Social History * this stimulating and innovative study is enriched by archival evidence that brings a fresh perspective to the analysis of the friars impact on the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. * Michael Robson, Archivum Franciscanum Historicum * Guy Geltner's book is an important contribution to the ongoing historiography of the mendicant orders in the Middle Ages. * C. H. Lawrence, Speculum * Geltner effortlessly segues from analysis of texts and textual reception to social and quantitative methodologies ... will be most useful to fellow specialists or upper graduate level students. * Travis E. Ables, Journal of Ecclesiastical History * This is an interesting short book that brings to life an aspect of literary history that has been deaf to the ideas and behaviour of real people. * Ian Forrest, English Historical Review * Geltners finely crafted book is a significant contribution to the study of the medieval mendicant orders and their place in medieval Europe. * George Dameron, History * important book. It provides us with a significant corrective to an over-reliance on evidence from literary and theological works in understanding criticisms of the friars in the Middle Ages, and Geltner's argument for the contribution of the friars
own historiography to the development of the antifraternal tradition offers a whole new perspective on that process. Most important, however, Geltner brings this material together in a call for a comprehensive revision of how we think about antifraternalism

. * Geoffrey Dipple, The Catholic Historical Review *

About the Author

Guy Geltner is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Amsterdam and Director of The Center for Medieval Studies Amsterdam. His research focuses on the social, environmental, and religious history of the late Middle Ages, especially in an urban context. He has published The Medieval Prison: A Social History (2008); William of St. Amour's De periculis novissimorum temporum (2008), and Defenders and Critics of Franciscan Life (co-edited with Michael F. Cusato; 2009).

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2012


G. Geltner

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Oxford University Press


206 pages


Social & cultural history
History of religion

European history



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