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Controversy And Compromise In Religious Communities In The Eleventh And Twelfth Centuries

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Chapter Summary

The religious houses founded in the eleventh and twelfth centuries frequently experienced difficulties in their early years. It is the purpose of this chapter to look at the nature of these difficulties and to propose a tentative typology of their nature and causes. Before doing so, however, attention should be drawn to some historiographical problems both in the sources and in secondary works. Most contemporary accounts of the reform of old houses and the foundation of new ones were written from the point of view of reformers, who in order to justify the changes described the conditions in old houses in the blackest terms. The difficulties can be considered under three headings. Almost all medieval monasteries suffered from difficulties which can be seen as part of the endemic fragility, as it were, of religious communities.

Keywords: eleventh century; religious communities; twelfth century



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