Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Crusade Indulgence. Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of Crusades, C. 1095-1216

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Crusade Indulgence. Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of Crusades, C. 1095-1216

Article excerpt

The Crusade Indulgence. Spiritual Rewards and the Theology of Crusades, c. 1095-1216. By Ane L. Bysted. (Boston: Brill. 2015. Pp. 330. $163.00. ISBN 978-9-004-28043-4.)

This book by Ane Bysted is the first book devoted to the history of the crusade indulgences up to 1216. The chronological choice, as explained by the author (p. 8), is due to the history of crusade indulgences: 1216 is the end of the pontificate of Innocent III (r. 1198-1216), who established the formula of crusade indulgence that persisted up to the sixteenth century. Before Innocent, the formula changed constantly. Geographically, the study is not limited to the crusades to the Holy Land, but also involves other locations such as the Reconquista.

Starting with a survey of spiritual rewards of the period prior to the crusades, the book analyzes crusade indulgences and their historical background. Writing about theoretical development of indulgences in general, Bysted demonstrates that as the crusades began, there was stiE no precise Emit between guilt and punishment, between eternal and temporal punishment, and between the parts of earthly individuals and God in temporal punishment (pp. 93-96). Peter Abelard formulated these distinctions, which were accepted by the majority of subsequent theolo- gians (p. 107). Nor was it determined which absolutions were the prerogatives of the Church (p. 95). Then in the twelfth century, it was specified that the Church can absolve an individual from temporal punishment composed of earthly penance and punishment in purgatory (pp. 23, 154-55).

A part of chapter 4 presents a range of interesting reflections on terminology used in papal letters regarding indulgences. The research is based on a statistical study of different formulas in papal correspondence that can be found in the Patrología Latina Database. It demonstrated that, at the start, there was no certainty about the authority that could give the right to provide crusaders with indulgences; the formulas used for crusade indulgences were not specific and were used for other occasions as well (p. …

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