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Look Inside Indulgences in Late Medieval England

Indulgences in Late Medieval England
Passports to Paradise?


  • Date Published: September 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521293921

£ 39.99

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About the Authors
  • Indulgences played a major role in medieval 'strategies for eternity', easing the journey through Purgatory to Heaven after death. However, theological attacks during the Reformation and the subsequent Protestant rejection of indulgences have given them a poor reputation, compounding the effect of the fourteenth-century satires by Chaucer and Langland of the pardoners who ensured their widespread distribution. This book examines indulgences in late medieval England and it offers an extensive and authoritative re-evaluation of their role in England's religious, social and economic life between 1300 and the Reformation. R. N. Swanson traces their importance to devotional life, their contribution to charitable and economic structures and the complex tale of their disappearance under Henry VIII. This is a major contribution to the religious history of late medieval England and will be essential reading for scholars of medieval history, religious studies and the Reformation.

    • Was the first major study of the role of indulgences in religious and social life in medieval England
    • Sheds light on late medieval religion and the origins of the Reformation
    • Essential reading for scholars of medieval history, medieval studies and religious studies
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: '…not only the first scholarly book on indulgences specifically focused upon England, but the result of Herculean archival research …This is a long-awaited and necessary book, aimed at scholars but written with great verve and clarity.' The Tablet

    Review of the hardback: … sheds much new light and challenges long-held views in a fresh and stimulating way.' Contemporary Review

    'Swanson's impressively extensive study seeks to dispel the myths surrounding pardoners and the undulgences (pardons) they sold … this is a difficult topic superbly handled by a master of the field. What Swanson provides in [this book is not so much a rehabilitation of the pardon in history, more a reassessment - and a highly detailed and long-overdue one at that. This will be the seminal text on the subject for a long time to come.' The Journal of Church History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521293921
    • length: 594 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 31 mm
    • weight: 0.79kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Doctrine and development
    2. Pardons for every occasion
    3. Nooks, crannies, needles, haystacks - the sources
    4. The practicalities of pardons
    5. A pardoner there was ...
    6. Devotion and veneration
    7. Indulgences debated
    8. Responses and appreciations
    9. Indulgences in England's economy
    10. Into oblivion: the reign of Henry VIII
    11. Conclusion.

  • Author

    R. N. Swanson, University of Birmingham

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