Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodies

Carol Lansing

in Power & Purity

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780195149807
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849079 | DOI:
Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodies

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter explores three topics in Cathar understandings of male and female bodies, set against the background of contemporary Catholic belief. The first topic is sexual difference and lust. It explores ideas about sexual difference as stated and as practiced by Cathars. The second topic is marriage. One teaching common to virtually all Cathar texts is the condemnation of marriage and the procreation of children. Finally, the chapter turns from sexuality and marriage to a third focus of debate over the body: corpses. Catholic clerics did not directly attack dualist heresy by emphasizing the divine origins of human sexuality and consummation as the perfection of the sacrament of marriage. Instead, they answered heresy by stressing the ways in which corpses revealed sanctity or sin.

Keywords: Catharism; Cathars; Catholic belief; religious belief; sexual difference; marriage; corpses; heresy

Chapter.  12315 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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