Money and the Church in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200: Practice, Morality and Thought, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Money and the Church in Medieval Europe, 1000-1200

Practice, Morality and Thought, 1st Edition

By Giles E. M. Gasper, Svein H. Gullbekk


320 pages

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Bringing together essays from experts in a variety of disciplines, this collection explores two of the most important facets of life within the medieval Europe: money and the church. By focusing on the interactions between these subjects, the volume addresses four key themes. Firstly it offers new perspectives on the role of churchmen in providing conceptual frameworks, from outright condemnation, to sophisticated economic theory, for the use and purpose of money within medieval society. Secondly it discusses the dichotomy of money for the church and its officers: on one hand voices emphasise the moral difficulties in engaging with money, on the other the reality of the ubiquitous use of money in the church at all levels and in places within Christendom. Thirdly it places in dialogue interdisciplinary perspectives and approaches, and evidence from philosophy, history, literature and material culture, to the issues of money and church. Lastly, the volume provides new perspectives on the role of the church in the process of monetization in the High Middle Ages. Concentrating on northern Europe, from the early eleventh century to the beginning of the thirteenth century, the collection is able to explore the profound changes in the use of money and the rise of a money-economy that this period and region witnessed. By adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, the collection challenges current understanding of how money was perceived, understood and used by medieval clergy in a range of different contexts. It furthermore provides wide-ranging contributions to the broader economic and ethical issues of the period, demonstrating how the church became a major force in the process of monetization.


'[This] book does an excellent job of picking apart the many interconnections between money and religion in the period, and its most valuable contribution is to show the fallacy of viewing the Church as monolithic in this regard. There was no single, offical 'Church attitude' to money; practices and viewpoints were malleable depending on circumstance, which the wide-ranging case studies offered [in this volume] highlight well.' - Aleksandra McClain, The Journal for the Society of Medieval Archaeology.

'We have come a long way in the last half-century in our understanding of the Church's involvement in and influence on medieval economic life and thought. The thirteen essays in this volume present excellent examples of this sophisticated understanding.' - Joel Kaye, The Catholic Historical Review.

'In highlighting how economic concerns were never entirely divorced from moral and spiritual ones this volume provides new insights into the problems and dilemmas that medieval people faced when dealing with money.' - Pamela Nightingale, Economic History Review.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Attitudes to Money within the Church: Turpe lucrum? Wealth, money and coinage in the Millennial Church

Rory Naismith

Contemplating money and wealth in monastic writing c.1060-c.1160

Giles E. M. Gasper

Nummus falsus: the perception of counterfeit money in the 11th and early 12th century

Greti Dinkova-Bruun

A herald of scholasticism: Alan of Lille on economic virtues

Odd Langholm

Part 2 Buying, Selling and Building:

The Use of Money by the Church: Financing cathedral-building in the Middle Ages: the 11th to 13th centuries

Wim Vroom

The Church and money in 12th century England

James L. Bolton

The Church and monetization in early medieval Denmark, c. 1060-1160

Bjorn Poulsen

The Church, markets and money in early medieval England

S. J. and N. J. Mayhew

Part 3 Money and Power:

Coinage, Salvation and Ritual: From HEINRICVS REX to ROTHARDVS ABBAS - monastic coinage under the Ottonians and Salians (c. 911-1125)

Sebastian Steinbach

Saints, dukes and bishops: coinage in ducal Normandy, c. 930-c. 1150

Jens Christian Moesgaard

Saints, sinners and … a cow: offerings, alms and tokens of memory

Lucia Travaini

The Church and money in Norway c. 1050-1250: salvation and monetisation

Svein H. Gullbekk

About the Authors

Giles E.M. Gasper is a Senior Lecturer in Medieval History within the Department of History at Durham University, UK. Professor Svein H. Gullbekk is Professor in Numismatics and History of Money at the Department of Ethnography, Numismatics and Classical Archaeology at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway.

About the Series

Religion and Money in the Middle Ages

The series explores the connections between two of the most dominant aspects of medieval society and culture: religion and money. Both are ubiquitous throughout the Middle Ages, and both are expressed through a wide variety of media, from the textual to the material. In this light, the series recognises the importance of multi-disciplinary perspectives, and welcomes joint as well as individual authorship and editorship. All disciplinary perspectives are welcome, particularly from archaeology, history (social, ecclesiastical, intellectual and economic), theology, anthropology and numismatics. The series operates with a broad chronological range, in western European terms from late Antiquity to the Reformation. While the geographical and cultural focus lies in western Christendom, the series will be open to cross-cultural comparative studies, and to treatments of money and religion in all religious communities within the period, within Christendom and without.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Medieval
RELIGION / History