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The Contra: Recognizing A Role For Violence

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Chapter Summary

Before this chapter undertakes a fresh exploration of the myriad ways that parochial religion denigrated and problematized the use of violence, it first covers the more familiar and expected role of the medieval Church; that is as the 'Church militant', promoter of violence. The clergy did preach to parishioners that on occasion, violence and aggression were both commendable and holy. For late medieval parishioners, Christ was not just a reputable householder; he was the most reputable householder from the most reputable family. Portrayals of God and Christ, theories about God's chastisement of heresy and sin, as well as the implementation of judicial punishments all helped to condone violent action. In contrast to images of sinful and demonic violence, these images, texts and punishments revealed the existence of divinely sanctioned violence which purged society of sin, punished the wicked and restored order.

Keywords: Church; God; parishioners; violence



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