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Contestation, Co-Operation, Coercion, And Resistance

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Chapter Summary

Carolingians were well aware of the problematic aspects of ritualised confession and penance that had broad application and ambiguous form. Penitentialism initiated apparently extensive debate at all levels of the social and political hierarchy, and debate and reflection continued for decades?indeed centuries?as the implications and consequences of the Carolingian vision of penitential correction of the laity took hold. Fears about the potential for inappropriate exercise of power produced modes of defensive resistance, as clergy and laity sought to balance the system and create a viable means of performing reconceptualised roles in prosecution, confession, ministry, recuperation, witnessing, and judgement. The use of coercion in the cause of salvation was a sensitive topic both within and outside court circles in the wake of the policy of using baptism as an expression of conquest concomitant with Charlemagne?s military suppression of resistance on the eastern frontier.

Keywords: baptism; Carolingians; Penitentialism; ritualised confession



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