Book Series Europa Sacra, vol. 4

Charisma and Religious Authority

Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Preaching, 1200-1500

Katherine L. Jansen, Miri Rubin (eds)

  • Pages: xi + 260 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:5 b/w
  • Language(s):English, Arabic, Hebrew
  • Publication Year:2010

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-52859-5
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-53767-2
  • E-book
  • Available


"Charisma and Religious Authority is a valuable contribution to the study of medieval and early modern preaching" (N. Christie, in: The Medieval Review, 11.02.23)

"This is a well-produced and -edited collection (...) it is a very interesting collection." (D. S. Prudlo, in: The Catholic Historical Review, January 2012, Vol. 98, no. 1, p. 102-104)

"It is a valuable contribution to scholarship on medieval and early modern preaching and makes profitable use of Weberian theory. It will be of interest to students and researchers of sermon studies, the history of performance, theatre and rhetoric, and medieval religious cultures." (Jonathan Adams, in: Medieval Sermon Studies, Vol. 56, 2012, p. 69)

"As a collection of papers about late medieval Christian, Jewish, and Muslim preaching, (...), the work makes an important contribution to the study of the diversity of a key religious activity." (Michael G. Baylor, in: Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XLIII/1, Spring 2012, p. 171-172)


This volume of essays concentrates on the effects of preaching in late medieval and early modern Europe, particularly through the concept of charisma, a term introduced into the discussion of religion and politics by Max Weber. Used by Weber, the term indicates the power of a person to move others to action, to animate and mobilize them. The late medieval and early modern periods witnessed the emergence of preachers who became powerful public figures central to the mobilization of populations towards religious reform or crusades. Such preachers were also enmeshed in civic life and the life of courts. Super-preachers like Bernardino of Siena and John of Capistrano shaped opinion on a wide range of issues: the ethics of business, marriage and gender relations, attitudes towards minorities, the poor and social responsibility, as well as the role of kings and other rulers in society. Preaching events were the mass media of the day, and in their wake could follow pogrom, lay revival, crusade, peace movement, or reconciliation within a faction-riven city. The power of these events was great and not merely confined to the Christian community. This volume introduces for the first time a comparative dimension which looks at the theme of charisma and religious authority in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim preaching traditions.



Introduction - Katherine L. Jansen and Miri Rubin

Prophetic Performances: Reproducing the Charisma of the Prophet in Medieval Islamic Preaching - Linda G. Jones

Tauler’s Minnenclich Meister: Charisma and Authority in the Vernacular Mystical Tradition of the Low Countries and the Rhineland - Geert Warnar

Crisis and Charismatic Authority in Hildegard of Bingen’s Preaching against the Cathars - Beverly Mayne Kienzle

Attempts to Control the Pulpit: Medieval Judaism and Beyond - Marc Saperstein

Audience and Authority in Medieval Islam: The Case of Popular Preachers - Jonathan P. Berkey

Italian Pulpits: Preaching, Art, and Spectacle - Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby

Preaching and Publicness: St John of Capestrano and the Making of his Charisma North of the Alps - Ottó Sándor Gecser

‘Preaching to the People, Dressed as a Hermit’: The Discreet Charm of Italian Hermits - George Ferzoco

Places and Gestures of Women’s Preaching in Quattro- and Cinquecento Italy - Gabriella Zarri

Virtue and the Common Good: Moral Discourse and Political Practice in the Good Parliament, 1376 - Christopher Fletcher

Can Orthodoxy Be Charismatic? The Preaching of Jean Gerson - Mishtooni Bose

Rhetorics of Transcendence: Conflict and Intercession in Communal Italy, 1300-1500 - Stephen J. Milner