The studies in the present selection of Giles Constable's work concentrate on culture and spirituality in the 11th and 12th centuries, though they also touch on the early and late Middle Ages. The cultural articles are concerned respectively with perceptions of time and the past, forgery (seen as a reflection of social and religious concerns), entry to religious life, preaching, and letters and letter-writing. The articles on spirituality deal with the themes of suffering and attitudes towards the self, especially the growing concentration on the individual in the religious life of the 12th century.
Table of Contents
Contents: Forgery and plagiarism in the Middle Ages; Forged letters in the Middle Ages; Dictators and diplomats in the 11th and 12th centuries: medieval epistolography and the birth of modern bureaucracy; Past and present in the 11th and 12th centuries. Perceptions of time and change; A living past: the historical environment of the Middle Ages; The language of preaching in the 12th century; The ceremonies and symbolism of entering religious life and taking the monastic habit, from the 4th to the 12th century; The diversity of religious life and acceptance of social pluralism in the 12th century; Attitudes towards self-inflicted suffering in the Middle Ages; Moderation and restraint in ascetic practices in the Middle Ages; The ideal of inner solitude in the 12th century; The concern for sincerity and understanding in liturgical prayer, especially in the 12th century; Index.
'a very stimulating volume...well worth reading.' Parergon, Vol. 15, No. 2 '...an excellent and informative collection...overwhelmingly one is left with the sense of inquiry, open-minded interest, and wide-ranging scholarship that consistently inform his work.' Reviews in History