The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival, C. 1170-C. 1570

The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival, C. 1170-C. 1570

The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival, C. 1170-C. 1570

The Waldensian Dissent: Persecution and Survival, C. 1170-C. 1570

Synopsis

The Poor of Lyons, whom their detractors called "Waldensians"--after the name of their founder Waldo (or Vaud¿s)--first emerged around 1170 and formed a sect that embraced evangelism, prophesy and poverty. Challenging prohibition by following the Scripture to the last letter, they were condemned as heretics. The Waldensians constituted the only medieval heresy to have survived to the dawn of the so-called "modern" period. Their tale of simple devotion mixed with a fierce tenacity serves to illuminate aspects of religious belief that have persisted to the present day.

Excerpt

It is quite a hazardous undertaking to seek at the same time to take into account the most recently published research by historians on a particular question and also to present it in as simple and honest a manner as possible to an inquiring but generally non-specialist reader. The difficulty becomes even greater when the domain in question is so vast, chronologically and geographically speaking, and so varied and complex in theme that it would be rash indeed for anyone to claim to be an authority on the entire history of the Waldensians. Who could maintain that they had read and studied the entire corpus of available sources written in various languages and scattered throughout Europe?

It would be presumptuous indeed for me to claim that this work presents an overview just of my own research into such varied aspects of the Waldensians' history across the centuries. My aim, rather, has been to make accessible to the 'enlightened amateur' the results of the latest research on the question, both my own and that of other specialists in Waldensian history. I have purposely omitted those works which I consider unreliable. I believe I have mentioned all those which I deem important. All works and articles which provided me with information have been cited: the reader will find relevant publications and other sources listed at the end of each chapter. It is only just that proper acknowledgement should be made where it is due, for we all benefit from the work of those who went before us, in the distant or the recent past. I have never ceased to be moved by the words that John of Salisbury attributed to Bernard of Chartres who, as early as the twelfth century, was perhaps aware that he could see further than his masters, to whom he paid the following homage: 'We are dwarfs, set upon giants'

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