Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland, C. 1100-C. 1250

By Knoll, Paul W. | The Catholic Historical Review, July 1996 | Go to article overview

Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland, C. 1100-C. 1250


Knoll, Paul W., The Catholic Historical Review


Parishes, Tithes and Society in Earlier Medieval Poland, c.1100-c. 1250. By Piotr Gorecki. [Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,Volume 83, Part 2.] (Philadelphia: The American Philosophical Society. 1993. Pp. x, 146. $15.00 paperbound.)

This brief study, derived from research which Professor Gorecki undertook in connection with his earlier study, Economy, Society, and Lordship in Medieval Poland (New York and London: Holmes and Meier, 1992), concentrates upon the duchy and diocese of Wroclaw, which was at this time considered part of the Regnum Poloniae. It is a very carefully argued work, emphasizing chiefly economic and legal matters. Although the title of the book suggests broader issues in ecclesiastical history, the actual focus of the book is more narrowly upon the ways in which secular and ecclesiastical control emerged over the churches of the area and how lords, both secular and religious, disposed of tithe revenues. Nevertheless, there are some important insights which Gorecki's study provides for understanding the development of both parishes and tithes, especially the way in which he shows how monastic churches appropriated local resources as the (probable) result of episcopal passivity. (Because of the limitations in source material, his focus is necessarily upon episcopal and monastic churches for the earlier period. Only after the beginning decades of the thirteenth century do parish structures and organization become clearer.)

One of the elements missing from this study is any sense of the religious and spiritual interests of the individuals involved. …

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