5th Edition

Medieval Monasticism Forms of Religious Life in Western Europe in the Middle Ages

By C.H. Lawrence, Janet Burton Copyright 2024
    368 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    368 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Medieval Monasticism traces the Western Monastic tradition from its fourth-century origins in the deserts of Egypt and Syria through the many and varied forms of religious life it assumed during the Middle Ages. It explores the relationship between monasteries and the secular world around them.

    For a thousand years, the great monastic houses and religious orders were a prominent feature of the social landscape of the West, and their leaders figured as much in the political as on the spiritual map of the medieval world. In this book many of them, together with their supporters and critics, are presented to us and speak their minds to us. We are shown, for instance, the controversy between the Benedictines and the reformed monasticism of the twelfth century and the problems that confronted women in religious life. A detailed glossary offers readers a helpful vocabulary of the subject.

    This fifth edition has been revised by Janet Burton to include an updated bibliography and an introduction which discusses recent trends in monastic studies, including reinterpretations of issues of reform and renewal, new scholarship on religious women, and interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. This book is essential reading for both students and scholars of the medieval world.

    1. The call of the desert

    2. The rule of St Benedict

    3. Wandering saints and princely patrons

    4. England and the continent

    5. The emperor and the rule

    6. The age of cluny

    7. The cloister and the world

    8. Monastic reform: The quest for the primitive

    9. The Cistercian model

    10. The new monasticism versus the old

    11. A new kind of knighthood

    12. Sister or handmaids

    13. The Friars

    14. Epilogue: The individual and the community


    C.H. Lawrence was Professor Emeritus of the University of London, UK. His previous publications include St Edmund of Abingdon (1960), Matthew Paris and St Edmund (1996), The Friars: The Impact of the Mendicant Orders on Medieval Society (2001) and The Letters of Adam March (ed. and translated 2006-10).

    Janet Burton is Professor of medieval history at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, UK. Her previous publications include Historia Selebiensis Monasterii: The History of the Monastery of Selby (2013), Monastic Wales: New Approaches, ed. with Karen Stöber (2013), The Regular Canons in the British Isles in the Middle Ages, ed. with Karen Stöber (2011) and, with Julie Kerr, The Cistercians in the Middle Ages (2011). She is joint general editor of the Journal of Medieval Monastic Studies (Brepols).