Scholars and analysts seeking to illuminate the extraordinary creativity and innovation evident in European medieval cultures and their afterlives have thus far neglected the important role of religious heresy. The papers collected here - reflecting the disciplines of history, literature, theology, philosophy, economics and law - examine the intellectual and social investments characteristic of both deliberate religious dissent such as the Cathars of Languedoc, the Balkan Bogomils, the Hussites of Bohemia and those who knowingly or unknowingly bent or broke the rules, creating their own 'unofficial orthodoxies'. Attempts to understand, police and eradicate all these, through methods such as the Inquisition, required no less ingenuity. The ambivalent dynamic evident in the tensions between coercion and dissent is still recognisable and productive in the world today.
Andrew P. Roach is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of The Devil’s World; heresy and society, 1100-1300 (2005). James R. Simpson is Reader in French at the University of Glasgow. He is author of Fantasy, identity and misrecognition in medieval French narrative (2000) Troubling Arthurian histories : court culture, performance and scandal in Chrétien de Troyes's Erec et Enide (2007) and co-editor of The culture mangle : conflict and violence in language and culture (2010).
'The editors should be congratulated for bringing together a stimulating collection of essays. For those interested in Central and Eastern Europe, it is heartening to find in such a volume contributions concerned with regions and cultures that are frequently missing from English-language discussions of important themes in European history.' Slavonic and East European Review '...the book proves extremely successful, and achieves its target: it shows how mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion set up and pursued by all parties were far more nuanced than some historiography tends to suggest.' Sehepunkte