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The Norm-Deviation Model Reconsidered: Four Cases of 'Alternative' Sexual Morals Judged by the Inquisition

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image of Journal of Religion in Europe

The inquisitional register of Jacques Fournier from the years 1318–1325, well known thanks to the book Montaillou by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, reaches far beyond the topic of heresy. It encompasses various details about the common life, including sexuality and sexual morals. This case study reconsiders the normdeviation model on the basis of four Fournier's trials dealing with sexual morals: that of Beatrix of Lagleize, Peter Vidal, Arnold of Verniolles, and Grazida Lizier. Sexual morals of these four people are certainly very different from the morals required by Jacques Fournier, but they are rather independent systems and norms than simple deviations from another system or norm, i.e. the official sexual morals. The paper suggests that the norm-deviation model distorts the field of medieval sexual morals.


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