Warrior Churchmen of Medieval England, 1000-1250 (Hardcover)
Theory and Reality
Boydell Press, 9781783271627, 304pp.
Publication Date: December 15, 2016
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This book, focusing on a number of individual English clerics between 1000 and 1250, seeks to untangle the cultural debate surrounding this military behaviour. It sets its examination into a broader context, including the clerical reform movement of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the development of a more comprehensive canon law, and the popularization of chivalric ideology. Rather than portraying these clerics as anachronistic outliers or mere criminals, this study looks at how contemporaries understood their behaviour, arguing that there was a wide range of views - which often included praise for clerics who fought in licit causes. The picture which emerges is that clerical violence, despite its prescriptive condemnation, was often judged by how much it advanced the interests of the observer.
Craig M. Nakashian is Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.