Deviance: Brethren Behaving Badly

G. Geltner

in The Making of Medieval Antifraternalism

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199639458
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741098 | DOI:
Deviance: Brethren Behaving Badly

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This chapter tracks religious mendicants’ gross misbehavior as it emerges mostly from the orders’ internal documents. Rather than taking polemicists and other authors at their word, it carefully gauges the frequency and profile of deviance among the brethren, especially but not exclusively Dominicans. Given the brethren’s strong presence in urban centers and in episcopal and secular courts, their misconduct was hard to conceal and even harder to dismiss in light of the ideals they stood for: humility, obedience, and poverty. Deviance, in turn, exacerbated pressures created by the friars’ growing number of antagonists, both within and outside the church, who were able to manipulate potentially isolated events to their own benefit in the context of local and regional power struggles.

Keywords: deviance; antifraternalism; urban space; mendicant orders; social order; religious obedience

Chapter.  11429 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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