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Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Farmer88 - 02-23-2015

I'm looking for good resources to study and learn about medieval Catholicism. Scholarly works or devotional works or spiritual writings or websites or whatever.

I already have most of Eamon Duffy's works and have been slowly working through The Stripping of the Altars, so we can cross him off that list, haha.

But I've developed this massive interest in medieval Catholicism. Virtually all of it is still "legitimate" too. And it's beautiful too, absolutely beautiful. I have also discerned through what little I know is that the "charismatic" aspects of medieval Catholicism are far greater than anything the supposed "Catholic Charismatic Renewal" could offer us.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - arkansas_trad - 02-24-2015

This is definitely a subject of interest for myself as well so I will be following this with anticipation. Hopefully some folks can point us to some solid sources.
Thanks for posting this request.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Clare Brigid - 02-24-2015

I would recommend the works, drawings and music of St. Hildegard of Bingen, now a Doctor of the Church.

Also, Revelations of Divine Love, by Bl. Julian of Norwich.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Renatus Frater - 02-24-2015

Well, there are those famous medievalists like Etienne Gilson. I suppose he is a good start.




Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - formerbuddhist - 02-24-2015

There's a good book about St. Bernard by Abbé Theodore Ratisbonne that TAN used to put out. Cistercian Publications has other resources for monasticism in general, especially the Carthusians, Benedictines and Cistercians. There's a lot of medieval history stuff from a monastic  perspective.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - rasbat - 02-25-2015

This is an area of specialty for me. it would help to know what aspect you are interested in more specifically to make good recommendations. Monasticism? mysticism? popular piety? religious art? scholastic or other theology? Lay movements and confraternities? apocalypticism? hagiography? the inquisition? crusades? mendicant life? the papacy? anyway the list goes on. I can probably help you out with a bit more information but The primary sources seem to be the best if you have a basic undertanding of the era. Half the time translations come with a good solid introduction anyway. Have you looked into the classics of western spirituality series of books? they have an incredibly wide range of medieval writings not readily available in translation and they come with introductions making the text highly accesable. Duffy's work which you mention is quite good. Have you read his translation of the golden legend? one of the best and most widely read anthologies of saints lives in the era. I am not sure entirely what "charismatic" entails for you but you may want to look into the late medieval "devotio moderna" movement. Everybody knows of Thomas a kempis and his work the imitation of Christ which came out of this movement but there is other good stuff there as well like the sermons of geert groote. if you want some real fire and brimstone material try reading Savonarola. Really the list is endless. The primary writings from the middle ages themselves are a whole world with dozens of genres and sub-genres. The secondary materials available today are an endless sea. Just some more information about your interest could help.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Farmer88 - 02-25-2015

(02-25-2015, 09:13 AM)rasbat Wrote: This is an area of specialty for me. it would help to know what aspect you are interested in more specifically to make good recommendations. Monasticism? mysticism? popular piety? religious art? scholastic or other theology? Lay movements and confraternities? apocalypticism? hagiography? the inquisition? crusades? mendicant life? the papacy? anyway the list goes on. I can probably help you out with a bit more information but The primary sources seem to be the best if you have a basic undertanding of the era. Half the time translations come with a good solid introduction anyway. Have you looked into the classics of western spirituality series of books? they have an incredibly wide range of medieval writings not readily available in translation and they come with introductions making the text highly accesable. Duffy's work which you mention is quite good. Have you read his translation of the golden legend? one of the best and most widely read anthologies of saints lives in the era. I am not sure entirely what "charismatic" entails for you but you may want to look into the late medieval "devotio moderna" movement. Everybody knows of Thomas a kempis and his work the imitation of Christ which came out of this movement but there is other good stuff there as well like the sermons of geert groote. if you want some real fire and brimstone material try reading Savonarola. Really the list is endless. The primary writings from the middle ages themselves are a whole world with dozens of genres and sub-genres. The secondary materials available today are an endless sea. Just some more information about your interest could help.

Honestly? Literally anything. Primary sources are always a plus, but I do mean literally anything. I've poked through the bibliography of The Stripping of the Altars, which I have yet to search for the books and articles but I've found several that look interesting.

I do own his translation of the Golden Legend. Fascinating book, absolutely fascinating. It should still be a popular read for Catholics today.

I have actually never heard of the Devotio Moderna movement. But I know the "charismatic" influence of writings like the Cloud of Unknowing and other certain English Catholic mystics (as the ones that I can think of off the top of my head).

But, as I said at the beginning, literally anything. Medieval Catholicism fascinates me. I see so much usefulness to it, especially today. If we want to find a truly authentic Catholicism, we should be looking to the medieval Church for inspiration. That's what the goal of the Liturgical Movement was originally. Not what it gave us (the Novus Ordo), but to revive the medieval liturgies.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Neopelagianus - 02-26-2015

I pretty much agree. I believe that we should at least restore some parts of the medieval liturgy in areas where they are practiced. I say, let us also restore the parochial singing of Matins, Lauds, Vespers and Compline too.

N.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - rasbat - 02-26-2015

They say some trads have been accused of "fiftiesism", or too much affinity for the culture etc of the nineteen fifties. I sometimes I think I have this for the middle ages. It is somewhat of an area of obsession. It seems to me to be almost a golden age of the faith. Unfortunately in modernist circles it is completely blotted out and intentionally overlooked. That mean nasty legalistic medieval church with its "yardstick spirituality" is all they can see. The middle ages saw the flourishing of popular devotion, the origins and rise of almost all of the religious orders out there still today, a huge accumulation of spiritual literature that is unparalelled in its insight and much better than the stuff out there today. They had a deeply penitential spirituality that scares modern people for some reason. Just look at the number of great saints produced by this era. It is my conjecture that some civilizations are just more receptive to God's truth and are intrinsically better than others because they are founded on objective truth. The middle ages at least in its ideals certainly had this. Don't get me wrong there were still hideous things going on in the middle ages. I just mean that the sinners at least knew they were sinners and did it anyway, and that the ideals which were frequently actually realized were truly amazing. Anyway I could rant about the middle ages all day. it is unbelievably underapreciated.
          For writings since you mentioned the cloud of unknowing and english mystics try Richard rolle of hampole-the Incendio Amoris, walter Hilton and others are good but the continental mystics are under read. try Henry suso or tauler etc.


Re: Best resources for medieval Catholicism? - Farmer88 - 02-26-2015

(02-26-2015, 05:08 AM)Neopelagianus Wrote: I pretty much agree. I believe that we should at least restore some parts of the medieval liturgy in areas where they are practiced. I say, let us also restore the parochial singing of Matins, Lauds, Vespers and Compline too.

N.

I couldn't agree more. As to the singing of the Divine Office, yes, that would be a great boon. The usage of Vespers on Saturday night is what should have been put there, not a Saturday evening Mass. And the expectation of people to go to Vespers on Saturday evening should be encouraged (even though that would be difficult to convince people to do, for even strict "traditional" Catholics). And churches, in particular cathedrals, should have choir seating in the old arrangement where they are not hidden from view in a loft, but rather seated between the altar and nave (this goes along with my firm belief that medieval structure of church buildings is preferable to post-Trent structure, especially since it's more in line with the Eastern Church practices too). Like we can still see in many medieval English churches. I personally believe that St. Giles Catholic Church in Cheadle is a perfect example of what a Latin Catholic church should look like, although I will admit that they don't have to be THIS extravagant:

[Image: 1280px-St_Giles_Church_Cheadle.jpg]

What a church! The architect used medieval inspiration, which explains the rood screen. The commissioner of the church wanted pews that extended all the way across, the architect (Augustus Pugin) hated the idea because medieval churches didn't really have pews to begin with and any seats that did exist were portable (the wide open naves had numerous liturgical uses throughout the year). Unfortunately, I cannot tell whether the free-standing altar is original or not.

That actually reminds me, I forget where I read it, but the "rood screen" that existed in most medieval churches and cathedrals got torn down and replaced with altar rails after Trent because Trent advocated for a "more active participation," even though nothing was said about the rood screens. This is why we see them mostly still existing in Church of England churches. I found it HIGHLY ironic that the SAME EXACT thing happened after Vatican II. Altar rails got removed in the name of "more active participation" even though nothing was said at all about the altar rails.


(02-26-2015, 07:14 AM)rasbat Wrote: They say some trads have been accused of "fiftiesism", or too much affinity for the culture etc of the nineteen fifties. I sometimes I think I have this for the middle ages. It is somewhat of an area of obsession. It seems to me to be almost a golden age of the faith. Unfortunately in modernist circles it is completely blotted out and intentionally overlooked. That mean nasty legalistic medieval church with its "yardstick spirituality" is all they can see. The middle ages saw the flourishing of popular devotion, the origins and rise of almost all of the religious orders out there still today, a huge accumulation of spiritual literature that is unparalelled in its insight and much better than the stuff out there today. They had a deeply penitential spirituality that scares modern people for some reason. Just look at the number of great saints produced by this era. It is my conjecture that some civilizations are just more receptive to God's truth and are intrinsically better than others because they are founded on objective truth. The middle ages at least in its ideals certainly had this. Don't get me wrong there were still hideous things going on in the middle ages. I just mean that the sinners at least knew they were sinners and did it anyway, and that the ideals which were frequently actually realized were truly amazing. Anyway I could rant about the middle ages all day. it is unbelievably underapreciated.
          For writings since you mentioned the cloud of unknowing and english mystics try Richard rolle of hampole-the Incendio Amoris, walter Hilton and others are good but the continental mystics are under read. try Henry suso or tauler etc.

I feel the same way about the Middle Ages. I think it really was a golden age of the faith (why else would the Liturgical Movement be originally striving to return to the liturgies of the Middle Ages?). And of course there were problems, but when weren't there problems? The "fiftiesism" tends to overlook the problems of that time in the Church.

And okay, cool, for the suggestions. Please, honestly, just list like any good writings you can think of, primary or secondary. I myself tend to have a fascination with medieval liturgies, so writings about Cluny and the absolutely beautiful liturgies would be a plus. Also, as I'm sure you can tell, I can rant on all day about the Middle Ages as well. Highly under-appreciated, even by many traditional-minded Catholics. And it's all pretty much "kosher" for Catholics today too, which makes the ignorance and under-appreciation even more disappointing.