Polemic: False Apostles, False Seemings, False Starts

G. Geltner

in The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639458
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741098 | DOI:
Polemic: False Apostles, False Seemings, False Starts

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This chapter examines the literature associated with the medieval antifraternal tradition, a corpus of texts supposedly inspired by the Parisian theologian William of St Amour (d. c.1273) and united in its call to eradicate the mendicant orders. By looking at both doctrinal and literary texts composed during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, it demonstrates that few authors actually adhered to William’s ecclesiology, rendering his magnum opus something of a false start. While theologians mostly shied away from rejecting the orthodoxy of religious mendicancy, authors of poetry and prose fiction appropriated themes and ideas from William’s works in ways far removed from his reactionary writings. Thus, insofar as there was a medieval literary antifraternal tradition, it is comprised predominantly of theological treatises that criticized but did not abhor the friars and works belonging to the polyvalent realm of estates satire.

Keywords: antifraternalism; medieval ecclesiology; medieval estates satire; William of St Amour; Geoffrey Chaucer; Jean de Meun; Richard FitzRalph; John Wyclif; Paris University Quarrels; mendicant orders; Louis IX

Chapter.  15495 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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