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Bishops, Authority and Community in Northwestern Europe, c.1050–1150

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought: Fourth Series

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108444637
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About the Authors
  • This important study of episcopal office and clerical identity in a socially and culturally dynamic region of medieval Europe examines the construction and representation of episcopal power and authority in the archdiocese of Reims during the sometimes turbulent century between 1050 and 1150. Drawing on a wide range of diplomatic, hagiographical, epistolary and other narrative sources, John S. Ott considers how bishops conceived of, and projected, their authority collectively and individually. In examining episcopal professional identities and notions of office, he explores how prelates used textual production and their physical landscapes to craft historical narratives and consolidate local and regional memories around ideals that established themselves as not only religious authorities but also cultural arbiters. This study reveals that, far from being reactive and hostile to cultural and religious change, bishops regularly grappled with and sought to affect, positively and to their advantage, new and emerging cultural and religious norms.

    • Offers an innovative approach to understanding the medieval clergy from a wide variety of perspectives, with strong interdisciplinary appeal
    • Combines a broader regional study with focused local case studies, to draw out the far-reaching implications beyond the regional focus
    • Brings together a wide variety of textual sources, such as charters, hagiography, chronicles and letters
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Written in an interesting way, offering to the reader a huge amount of information which is not only emphasized but also analysed by the author, the book of John Ott entitled: Bishops, Authority and Community in Northwestern Europe, c.1050–1150, published in 2015 at Cambridge University Press is surely an important contribution not only for the study and understanding of the history of Medieval Church in the aforementioned space, but also for the medieval history, because it contains references to the interference between religion and politics.' Iuliu-Marius Morariu, Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia

    'Ott has with this book connected with many of his excellent articles on the bishops of the province of Reims and produced a decidedly intelligent and multifaceted study on the bishops of province and their conception of office. He sketches an image of bishops who did not oppose social and institutional changes reluctantly or even with hostility, but were an integral component of contemporary culture … [this book] will serve as important reading not only on the bishops of the region of Reims, but also for episcopal conceptions of office in the eleventh and twelfth century in general.' Historische Zeitschrift

    'This is a rewarding book that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of episcopal office, and which is sure to facilitate further study of the transformation of clerical culture in the central Middle Ages.' Edward Roberts, Speculum

    'Through uncovering neglected sermons and saints’ Lives, Ott helps to explain how competition between these various communities resulted in an explosion of church-building, many (although not all) of which churches are still standing in the various cities to which he gives attention. … Ott opens up a promising new field of inquiry.' Constant J. Mews, Journal of Ecclesiastical History

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    Customer reviews

    23rd May 2018 by Iuliu

    Written in an interesting way, offering to the reader a huge amount of information which is not only emphasized but also analysed by the author, the book of John Ott entitled: Bishops, Authority and community in Northwestern Europe C. 1050-1150, published in 2015 at Cambridge University Press is surely an important contribution not only for the study and understanding of the history of Medieval Church in the aforementioned space, but also for the medieval history, because it contains references to the interference between religion and politics. Extract from: Iuliu-Marius Morariu, John S. Ott, Bishops, Authority and community in Northwestern Europe c. 1050-1150, (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Life and Thought. Fourth Series), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2015, 380 pp., in Anuario de Historia de la Iglesia, XXVII (2018) pp. 529-531 (ISSN: 1133-0104 ISSN-e: 2174-0887).

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108444637
    • length: 392 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 150 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.57kg
    • contains: 4 maps 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. The bishop and his authority
    2. Becoming bishop: clerical culture and episcopal formation in the archdiocese of Reims around 1100
    3. Restless flocks: the challenges to episcopal authority
    4. Band of brothers: episcopal networks in the archdiocese of Reims
    5. Personal histories: the revival of archiepiscopal historiography at Reims in the eleventh century
    6. Sanctity and history in a border diocese: the vita of Lietbert of Cambrai (1051–76)
    7. Urban space, memory, and episcopal authority: the bishops of Amiens in peace and conflict, 1073–1164
    8. Bishops and the word
    9. Toil and togetherness in the vineyards of the Lord
    10. Conclusion
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    John S. Ott, Portland State University
    John S. Ott is Professor of Medieval European History at Portland State University. He is the founder and current President of the international scholarly society Episcopus: Society for the Study of Bishops and Secular Clergy in the Middle Ages (episcopus.org). He is the editor of The Bishop Reformed: Studies of Episcopal Power and Culture in the Central Middle Ages (with Anna Trumbore Jones, 2007) and Saintly Bishops and Bishops' Saints (with Trpimir Vedriš, 2012). He was the recipient in 2002 of the Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize, awarded by the Medieval Academy of America, for Outstanding First Article in Medieval Studies. He holds a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, St Michael's College, Toronto, Ontario, and has been the recipient of multiple fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

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