Book Series Studies and Texts, vol. 200

Sin, Interiority, and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West

Susan R. Kramer

  • Pages: 171 p.
  • Size:150 x 230 mm
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2016

  • ISBN: 978-0-88844-200-0
  • Hardback
  • Available


“As I have indicated above, troubadour lyric in particular, and the courtly tradition in general, clearly belong to this evolution, and scholars of those and other twelfth-century texts will gain much insight from the arguments of this book.” (Sarah Spence, in The Medieval Review, 02.04.2017)

“This book is an impressively masterful, concise account of the long twelfth century’s changing conceptions and practices of selfhood. It is written with exemplary clarity, treating patristic writings and postmodern historiographies with the same analytical sharpness and deft understanding (…) this is an excellent book. For those new to the subject, its summary of historiography, fullness of background and clarity of prose will make it an ideal introduction. For scholars well-versed in the field, it offers important new arguments.” (Laura Ashe, in Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 69, 2018, p. 390-391)


The aim of Sin, Interiority, and Selfhood in the Twelfth-Century West is to uncover the conception of self that underlay the demand that all Christians confess their innermost thoughts. Drawing on sources from the world of the medieval schools, it juxtaposes discussions that treat topics ranging from the difficulties of discerning the source of tears to the mechanics of original sin. All these discussions are linked by their underlying interest in the internal aspects of committing or remitting sin. Contextualizing these aspects of interiority allows us to see what role was assigned to internal actions in medieval definitions of the self; it also provides insight into the intellectual currents that contributed to that understanding.