Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Secularization

Richard K. Fenn

in Beyond Idols

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780195143690
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199834174 | DOI:
Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Secularization

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Radical brotherhoods have been particularly subversive of patriarchal authority because they remain more open than the church or the state to a wide range of possibilities contained in both the past and the future. Radical brotherhoods were not completely successful in their attempts to replace the charismatic and traditional authority of abbots, noble families, and patricians. However, they did institute a commonwealth of time that undermined precedents and claims to priority and made the present open to the past and the future. In complex modern societies, patriarchal authority is diffused through law and administration, and it is far more difficult to identify the sources of repression and the causes of unnecessary suffering. Further steps toward secularization will depend in part on the ability of radical confraternities to break the ties of diffuse obligation that bind the individual to the larger society.

Keywords: authority; brotherhoods; confraternities; individual; law; patriarchal; patricians; repression; secularization; traditional

Chapter.  10422 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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