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This major 2006 history of monasticism in early Anglo-Saxon England explores the history of the Church between the conversion to Christianity in the sixth century and a monastic revival in the tenth. It represents the first comprehensive revision of accepted views about monastic life in England before the Benedictine reform. Sarah Foot shows how early Anglo-Saxon religious houses were simultaneously active and contemplative, their members withdrawing from the preoccupations of contemporary aristocratic society, while still remaining part of that world. Focusing on the institution of the 'minster' (the communal religious community) and rejecting a simplistic binary division between active 'minsters' and enclosed 'monasteries', Foot argues that historians have been wrong to see minsters in the light of ideals of Benedictine monasticism. Instead, she demonstrates that Anglo-Saxon minsters reflected more of contemporary social attitudes; despite their aim for solitude, they retained close links to aristocratic German society.Read more
- First revisionist account of early English monasticism
- Accessibly written, with numerous quotations in English from contemporary sources
- Draws on an impressive range of sources, including liturgy, diplomatic and narrative history and archaeology
Reviews & endorsements
"In this new book, Foot synthesizes for the first time what is known and unknown about ministers between the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons in the seventeenth century and the first wave of Viking invasions of England[...]Her book will be required reading for anyone interested in Anglo-Saxon religious life before the tenth-century Benedictine reforms.[...]Cambridge University Press deserves thanks for producing a handsome volume with a readable type face, good illustrations, and informative maps."
-Joseph H. Lynch, Ohio State University, American Historical ReviewSee more reviews
"Sarah Foot's comprehensive survey of Anglo-Saxon monastic institutions is bound to become the standard survey of the subject for years to come...Foot demonstrates her skills as a medievalist...[her] work is lucid and vivid...It has a place on every medievalist's shelf."
-Benjamin Lee, Comitatus
"The strengths of the volume are the author's attention to nuance in the sources and her awareness of historiographical and theoretical tools...Foot's book is essential reading for scholars of Anglo-Saxon England, medieval religious life, and Western church history." --Religious Studies Review
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- Date Published: March 2009
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521739085
- length: 416 pages
- dimensions: 244 x 188 x 25 mm
- weight: 0.75kg
- contains: 15 b/w illus.
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: situating the problem
2. The ideal minster
Part I. Within the Walls:
3. The making of minsters
4. The minster community
5. Daily life within the minster
Part II. Without the Walls:
6. Dependencies, affinities, clusters
7. Minsters in the world
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