Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Lu Ann Homza
My work reconsiders the division between "elite" and "popular" religion in the high Middle Ages. Against earlier scholars who stressed a deep cultural divide, I argue that the clergy and laity shared much in common in respect to beliefs and practices that illustrate a basic shared worldview, using the texts of thirteenth-century exempla and the Dialogus Miraculorum of Caesarius of Heisterbach in particular. Chapter one gives an overview of the historical context of religion in the thirteenth century, and argues for the lower clergy's role as intermediaries between the institutional Church and the people. Chapter two argues for a unity in belief and perception between the clergy and laity by analyzing stories of demons and saints in the exempla. Chapter three looks at common religious practices inherited from the ancient world and argues that they too suggest a shared worldview.
Lewis, Jaimie, "Negotiating 'Popular' Religion: Clerical and Lay Culture in Thirteenth-Century Exempla" (2009). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 330.
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