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Conclusion: Ideals Of Episcopal Power In Tenth-Century Aquitaine

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Chapter Summary

The recent crop of work on bishops in the tenth and early eleventh centuries has, ironically but perhaps inevitably, made these prelates harder to characterize. The wide range and complexity of the bishop's authority, and the difficulty of describing that authority, which numerous scholars have wrestled with recently, go hand in hand. A recurring feature of this study has been its challenge to dichotomies other scholars have drawn, between canons' and bishops' estates, lay and ecclesiastical power, the duties of family and office, the secular and regular clergy, and so on. The power of the Aquitanian bishop was neither the holy power of retreat from the world, following a monastic model, nor might wielded exclusively in the world. If a generalization can be made about episcopal power in tenth- and eleventh-century Aquitaine, therefore, it may be that such power provided the bishop with the ability to create and maintain community.

Keywords: Aquitanian bishop; Episcopal Power

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