Book Series Disputatio, vol. 17

Doubt in an Age of Faith

Uncertainty in the Long Twelfth Century

Sabina Flanagan

  • Pages: 216 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Language(s):English, Latin
  • Publication Year:2009

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52748-2
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-55795-3
  • E-book
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The first systematic treatment of doubt and its role in medieval Latin culture.


"The topic of the book is also its greatest strength, as few eras lend themselves so well to an analysis of doubt as this one. Flanagan offers fresh insights in the discovery of the self (...). ... Flanagan's steady focus on doubt has much to offer, not the least of which is to nuance once again any one-dimensional idea of the twelfth century as one of intellectual progress alone." (W. Otten, in: American Historical Review, October 2010, p. 1205-1206)


Doubt in an Age of Faith presents the first systematic scholarly treatment of doubt and its cultural role in Latin Christendom during the long twelfth century (c. 1060-1220). Flanagan rejects the popular image of the credulous Middle Ages, showing the centrality of doubt to intellectual and religious discourses of the period. However this wide-ranging investigation is not confined to matters of faith or religious scepticism. Examining doubt as both a psychological and social phenomenon, Flanagan explores how medieval people experienced uncertainty, and the different ways in which they sought to resolve it. Both positive and negative aspects of doubt are discussed. Her proposal that the rejection of doubt as a tool of intellectual inquiry, coupled with the quest for ever-greater certainty contributed to the closing of minds that marked the thirteenth century, has obvious implications for our own times.