Monks and Nuns, Saints and Outcasts
Religion in Medieval Society
Edited by Sharon Farmer, Barbara H. Rosenwein
A new generation of historians today is borrowing from cultural anthropology, post-modern critical theory, and gender studies to understand the social meanings of medieval religious movements, practices, figures, and cults. In this volume Sharon Farmer and Barbara H. Rosenwein bring together essays—all hitherto unpublished—that combine some of the best of these new approaches with rigorous research and traditional scholarship. Some of these essays re-envision the professionals of religion: the monks and nuns who carried out crucial social functions as mediators between living and dead, repositories for social memory, and loci of vicarious piety. In their religious life these people embodied an image of the society that produced them. Other contributions focus on social categories, usually expressed as dichotomies: male/female, insider/outsider, saint/outcast. Monks and Nuns, Saints and Outcasts is the first book to show the interaction of seemingly antithetical groups of medieval people and the ways in which they were defined by, as well as against, each other. All of the essays, taken together, form a tribute to Lester K. Little, pioneer in the study of religion in medieval society.