Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages

The Search for Legitimate Authority

By Jeffrey Burton Russell

Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages

paperback-logo

  • ISBN: 9781597521024
  • Pages: 140
  • Publication Date: 2/22/2005
  • Retail Price: $20.00
Web Price: $16.00
Web Price: $16.00

Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages

The Search for Legitimate Authority

By Jeffrey Burton Russell

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781597521024
  • Pages: 140
  • Publication Date: 2/22/2005
  • Retail Price: $20.00
Web Price: $16.00

About-

The study of the conflict between religious orthodoxy and heresy in the Middle Ages has long been a controversial field. Though the sectarian differences of the past have faded in intensity, the varieties of academic correctness that today inform historical studies are equally likely to give rise to a number of interpretations, sometimes providing more information about the sympathies of contemporary historians than the beliefs, feelings, and actions of Medieval people.

In this book, Jeffrey Burton Russell provides a fresh overview of the subject from the Council of Chalcedon (451 A.D.) to the eve of the Protestant Reformation. The fruit of many years of thought and scholarship, 'Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages' is a concise introduction to the full range of religious and social phenomena encompassed by the book's title. While tracing the intellectual battles that raged between the champions of orthodoxy and the partisans of dissent, Russell grounds these conflicts, which often seem rather recondite to the modern reader, in the evolving social context of Medieval Europe. In addition to discussing conflicts within Christianity, Russell sheds new light on such vexing topics as the origin of anti-Semitism and the persecution of alleged witches.

More than just an overview, Russell's study is also an original interpretation of a complex subject. Russell sees the conflict between dissent and order not as a war of binary opposites, but rather as an ongoing dialectic, a "creative tension" that, despite the excesses it entailed on both sides, was essential to the development of Christianity. Without this creative tension, Russell argues, Christianity might well have stagnated and possibly died. Dissent and order, then, are perhaps best seen as symbiotically joined aspects of a single living, healthy organism.

'Dissent and Order in the Middle Ages' will appeal to, and challenge, all readers interested in European history, from beginning students to seasoned scholars, as well as those concerned with Christianity's past - and future.

Contributors-

Jeffrey Burton Russell

Bio(s)-

Jeffrey Burton Russell is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Besides UCSB, he has taught History and Religious Studies at Berkeley, Riverside, Harvard, New Mexico, and Notre Dame. He has published seventeen books and many articles, most of them in his special field, history of theology. His other books include a five-volume history of the concept of the Devil published by Cornell University Press between 1977 and 1988, 'Inventing the Flat Earth' (1991), and 'A History of Heaven: The Singing Silence' (1997).

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