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Introduction To Part I

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Chapter Summary

John Bossy especially emphasized the role of parochial religion as a peacemaker and instrument of social discipline, at a time when most studies still focused on earlier and often less pervasive, efforts against violence. Indeed, long before the maturation of parishes into the bedrock of social and cultural life, some clerics and laity were preoccupied by the problem of violence and aggression between Christians. Through an analysis of a variety of sources, particularly English synodal statutes, sermon-collections, liturgical manuals, confessors' handbooks and even some lay religious poems, this part one illumines the range of spiritual media, accessible to late medieval parishioners, that problematized the use of violence by encouraging a zeal for charity, an admiration for self-restraint, a concern for spiritual condition as much as if not more than public repute and a degradation of some violent action as dishonorable and impious.

Keywords: John Bossy; parishioners; parochial religion; violence



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