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Knowledge Of The Origins: Constructing Identity And Ordering Monastic Life In The Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter attempts to sketch, in a comparative way, the most significant and remarkably different forms in which historical knowledge was produced and used in the monastic world of the Middle Ages. Around the year 1272, Girardus de Arvernia, a cleric from the diocese of Clermont-Ferrand, wrote a universal chronicle bearing the title Abbreviatio historie figuralis at the request of Ivo I, abbot of Cluny. The universal chronicle was oriented towards Cluny to a remarkable degree: it integrated the monastery and its congregation into salvific history in such a way as to make them appear as the constitutive elements of this history. Religious institutions such as orders or monasteries saw themselves confronted, probably more often than they would have liked, with the necessity of drawing on these very continuities and origins that they did not possess.

Keywords: Cluny; Girardus de Arvernia; historical knowledge; Middle Ages; monastic world



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