Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Religieux et Religieuses En Empire Du Xe Au XIIe Siècle

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Religieux et Religieuses En Empire Du Xe Au XIIe Siècle

Article excerpt

Religieux et religieuses en Empire du Xe au XIIe siècle. By Michel Parisse. [Les Médiévistes français, 11.] (Paris: Éditions A. et J. Picard, 2011. Pp. 253. euro34,00 paperback. ISBN 978-2-70844-0908-8.)

This book brings together fifteen of the author's articles, published between 1982 and 2004. They describe the varied forms that monasticism took between the tenth and twelfth centuries, mostly in those parts of the Empire that would become France-that is, Alsace and Lorraine-although two of the chapters describe female monasticism in Saxony. The abbey of Gorze near Metz is mentioned often, and Michel Parisse notes his debt to Kassius Hallinger's previous study of that monastery and its reforms. Parisse makes the argument in his preface that monasticism in the region that was medieval Lotharingia represents a middle-ground or axis ("un espace moyen," p. 11; "l'axe lotharingien," p. 96) between French and German models, and there is frequent comparison of the subjects of his study to neighboring regions, especially to Burgundy and Flanders. The book suffers from the inevitable consequences of its origins-there is some overlap in the analysis from one chapter to another, although the author has added comments throughout that send the reader to other chapters for more background or other details. Still, Parisse describes as his goal to make more evident the diversity within the consecrated religious life in the region in this era (p. 13), and he accomplishes this amply. Some monasteries existed independently under the Rule of Saint Benedict, interpreted more or less strictly; others joined the growing monastic networks. In addition to regular communities (that is, under a rule), there were also secular ones, especially for women and especially in Saxony, that permitted their members greater freedoms to move about or even leave permanently as well as to enjoy greater creature comforts such as servants and private apartments. …

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