Book Series Medieval Church Studies, vol. 38

Episcopal Power and Local Society in Medieval Europe, 900-1400

Peter Coss , Chris Dennis , Melissa Julian-Jones , Angelo Silvestri (eds)

  • Pages: xi + 293 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:2 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2017

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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57340-3
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-57341-0
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The essays collected in this volume analyse aspects of the formation, enhancement and manifestation of episcopal power at the level of its foundation in local society in medieval Europe between 1000 and 1400.

Review(s)

“The volume demonstrates the manifold ways in which the topic might be handled: it is well-judged and timely. It highlights the excellent work being done on the bishop and his diocese, just as it underlines the continuing need for a clearer comparative framework for discussing the local lives of bishops.” (Philippa Byrne, in Reviews in History, 12.04.2018)

“An enjoyable and stimulating read, it has begun a discussion that will ultimately accomplish the book’s purpose of helping create a framework for examining episcopal power in its local context.” (Kyly Walker, in Parergon, 36/1, 2019, p. 197)

Summary

The medieval bishop occupied a position of central importance in European society between 900 and 1400. Indeed, medieval bishops across Europe were involved in an assortment of ecclesiastical and secular affairs, a feature of the episcopal office in this period that ensured their place amongst the most influential figures in their respective milieux. Such prominence has inevitably piqued the interest of modern scholars and a number of important studies focusing on individual aspects of the medieval episcopal office have emerged, notably in recent years. Yet scholarly attention has often been drawn towards the careers of extraordinary bishops, men whose renown was often due to their involvement in both ecclesiastical and secular activities that took them beyond the borders of their dioceses. As a result, there has been a tendency to overlook the significance of the function of the episcopal office within local society, and, in particular, the way that this context shaped episcopal power.

The purpose of this volume is to examine the foundations of episcopal power in medieval Europe by considering its functioning and development at the level of local society. This collection of essays derives from papers delivered at a conference at Cardiff University in May 2013, and is divided into three sections focusing on the construction of episcopal power in local society, the ways in which it was augmented, and the different forms through which it was expressed. The essays have a broad geographical scope and include studies focused on English, French, Italian, and Icelandic dioceses.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

PETER COSS, CHRIS DENNIS, MELISSA JULIAN-JONES, ANGELO SILVESTRI 

Part I: Constructing Episcopal Power 

Bishops, Chronicles and Historians: the Case of Twelfth-Century Coventry

PETER COSS 

Chieftains, Change, and Collaboration: Bishop Árni Þorláksson as the Reformer of the Icelandic Church, 1269-98

HEIDI ANETT ØVERGÅRD BEISTAD 

Ecclesiastical Revival and the Spoils of War: Reconstructing Episcopal Power in the Diocese of Coutances after 1066

CHRIS DENNIS 

The Life, Education and Deeds of Robert Grosseteste: Perceptions of Episcopal Power at Thirteenth-Century Lincoln

ANGELO SILVESTRI 

The Power of the Canons? Episcopal Authority and the Cathedral Chapter of Sion (Valais) around 1300

MELANIE BRUNNER 

Part II: Enhancing Episcopal Power

Episcopal Power and Local Society in the Countryside: the Case of Brescia in the Twelfth Century

MARIA CHIARA SUCCURRO

Bishop Zoen of Avignon (1241-61) and the Programmatics of Power

CHRISTINE AXEN

Edges of Episcopal Power: Local Society and the Evolution of Diocesan Borders in Liège (c.900-c.1200)

JELLE LISSON

Holy Bishops and the Shaping of Episcopal Discourse in Early Eleventh-Century Cambrai

PIETER BYTTEBIER

Bishops’ Deputies and Episcopal Power in Medieval Law, c.1150 to c.1350

AARON HOPE

Part III: Expressing Episcopal Power

New Cathedrals and Old Saints: Expressing Episcopal Power in Durham’s New Cathedral in the Late Eleventh Century CHARLOTTE LEWANDOWSKI 

Sealing Episcopal Identity: The Bishops of England 1200-1300

MELISSA JULIAN-JONES 

Popular Perceptions of Episcopal Power in Late Thirteenth-Century Hereford: Thomas Cantilupe and the Case of Christina Cray

ANDREW FLEMING 

‘Despite the Prohibition of the Lord Bishop’: John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter (1327-1369), and the Illusion of Episcopal Power

JOHN JENKINS