A study of the involvement of the Cistercian Order in the events surrounding the outbreak of heresy - particularly that of the Cathars and the resulting Albigensian Crusade - in southern France.
Led by the example of Bernard of Clairvaux, Cistercian monks turned their attention to the world outside the monastery walls in response to the threat posed by heretical Christians, in particular the Cathars. The white monks, withother intellectuals, turned to pen, pulpit and popular preaching to counteract heresy, some accepting posts as bishops and papal legates, helping and even directing the Albigensian crusade, and contributing to the formulation ofprocedures for inquisition. Kienzle examines this important but little-studied aspect of Cistercian history to discover how and why the Order undertook endeavours that drew the monks outside their monastic vocation. The analysis of texts about the preaching campaigns and their contexts illuminate the ways in which medieval monastic authors perceived heresy, preached, and wrote against it.
Professor BEVERLY MAYNE KIENZLE teaches at Harvard Divinity School.
Learned and thoughtful. HISTORY * A particularly helpful introduction to a group of key issues in twelfth-century history still inadequately recognised. * ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW *