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Studies and Texts (ST 163)
P. J. Payer
Sex and the New Medieval Literature of Confession, 1150-1300

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X+249 p., 155 x 230 mm, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-88844-163-8
Languages: English
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This volume rounds out an important trilogy of studies by Pierre Payer on the topic of sex in the ecclesiastical thought and writings of the middle ages that began with Sex and the Penitentials: The Development of a Sexual Code, 550-1150 (1984) and continued with The Bridling of Desire: Views of Sex in the Later Middle Ages (1993).

In every way the equal of the two magisterial studies that preceded it, this third volume examines the treatment of sex in the 'new' literature of penance and confession. Composed by canon lawyers and by theologians for the instruction of priests, it is one of the most popular genres of writing of the later middle ages, although it remains largely unknown and underutilized as a historical source.

Pierre Payer guides readers through this varied and heterogenous corpus with great patience and erudition. His analysis ranges over the origin and development of the idea of lechery as one of the capital sins and the distinction between natural and unnatural acts, and explores the moral consequences of sexual beahviour even within marriage, providing us much insight into the act, and art, of confession and the intimate relationship between priest and penitent that underlies it.

Interest Classification:
Religion (including History of Religion) & Theology
Christian Church : laity & heterodoxy
Expressions of penance
Christian Theology & Theologians
Scholastic (c. 1200-1500)
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Religious history

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