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Cultures Of Property Between Cloister And World

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Chapter Summary

In 1202 Pope Innocent III arrived at the monastery of Subiaco in Italy. Pope Innocents letter to Subiaco recalled a story that had been known in Western monastic communities for generations. Custom, status and the lordship of the household superior in turn shaped religious lifes durable bonds of intercessory prayer and provision. Monks, nuns and canons, many of their houses centuries old by 1200, were the embodiment of an entire way of life, a distinct status whose men and women, property and privileges remained, along with the other estates, constitutive of the social order. The religious orders themselves turned to positive law to help govern the tensions of property and community in their ranks. Fourteenth- and fifteenth-century society organized itself conceptually as a society of estates, but the estates themselves were embodied and encountered in the particular routines, behaviors and customs that rendered each status distinct.

Keywords: canons; monks; Pope Innocent III; religious orders; Western monastic communities



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