The beguines and beghards
that are the focus of the essays collected here represent the new forms of medieval spirituality that emerged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
On the other, the spread of Joachite themes mixed with the precepts of the Franciscan Spirituals--such as Olvi and Arnold--in oral and printed vernacular was brought about by sects like the Beghards
The selections are not limited to the narrowly orthodox: Cathars, Lollards, and Waldensians are represented, as are Beghards
and Beguines, controversial visionaries (chapter 37) as well as recognized saints.
Examples abound throughout the book; the society of the Beguines and Beghards
, referenced in several sections, are certainly outside the modern norm.
The second chapter deals with Alfonso Martinez de Toledo's Arcipreste de Talavera, and it proves that in homiletic prose men are subjected to as much criticism as women, as becomes evident in the passage in which Martinez de Toledo writes about the Beghards
As religious fervor grew, he notes, the two camps also saw the appearance of popular preaching societies, the Beghards
and Beguines among the thirteenth-century French and Flemish, the Sufis among the Arabs and other Muslim nations.
The English-speaking world has had to make do with Ernest McDonnell's rather our-of-date and unwieldy, The Beguines and Beghards
in Medieval Culture: With Special Emphasis on the Belgian Scene (New Brunswick, NJ, 1954).
One would like more guidance to the scholarship on such topics as the medieval debates over scriptural interpretation, or the Beguines and Beghards
net/advent/) now contains nearly 7000 articles, many of which concern medieval persons and subjects, like "Beatification and Canonization," "Relics, "Beguines and Beghards
," or "Saint Clare of Assisi.
Three years earlier, the Council of Vienne (1311) had placed under interdict and excommunicated all beguines and beghards
8)For an overview of the persecution of Beguines, see, for example, Richard Kieckhefer, Repression of Heresy in Medieval Germany (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1979), chapter three, "The War against Beghards
and Beguines"; Jean-Claude Schmitt, Mort d'une Heresie (Paris: Mouton Editeur, 1978); Herbert Grundmann, Religioese Bewegungen im Mittelalter (Hildesheim: Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung Hildesheim, 1961).
The endnotes could have profited from an extra proofread, while the index could have been more comprehensive (the index lacks references to beghards
or cataphatic theology, for instance).