The Purchase of Paradise: Gift Giving and the Aristocracy, 1307-1485, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Purchase of Paradise

Gift Giving and the Aristocracy, 1307-1485, 1st Edition

By Joel T. Rosenthal


182 pages

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Hardback: 9780367205379
pub: 2019-07-12
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Originally published in 1972, The Purchase of Paradise is an account of medieval philanthropy and looks at the late medieval aristocracy as a social, rather than political group. The book analyses their voluntary behaviour, their gift giving and the Church, and addresses the nature of charity in the Middle Ages, providing an insight into the noble families of the time. The book depicts charitable practices within the family, such as the buying of prayers for relatives, and the family traditions of support for favoured houses lasting through several generations. The book shows that the family was the most operative unit for most forms of benefaction and ecclesiastical contact, and that the hard necessities of baronial politics were often ignored when men turned their thoughts to philanthropy and prayers for their immortal souls. The book will of value to historians and sociologists alike, as well as those working in the field of anthropology.

Table of Contents



1. Introductions

2. Prayers for the Dead

3. Chantries

4. New Foundations

5. Endowments to Burial Churches

6. Miscellaneous Philanthropy

7. Conclusion

Appendix I: Alienations in Mortmain

Appendix II: Tables with Raw Numbers


About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: The Medieval World

The volumes in this set, originally published between 1938 and 1994, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medieval history and medieval literature, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines medieval history from the early Middle Ages, right up until the Reformation, as well as the effect of the medieval period on later cultures, such as the Victorians. This collection draws together books on the monarchy, medieval philosophy, religion, art, music, psychology and architecture as well as volumes on medieval archeology. The collection also brings together key volumes on medieval literature of the period, with formative works examining medieval religious literature, medieval legends and oral tradition. The collection also includes titles examining specific poems from the period such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Pearl, as well as volumes on influential writers of the period such as Jean Froissant, John Lydgate and Margery Kempe. This collection brings back into print a collection of insightful and detailed books on the diverse medieval period and will be a must have resource for academics and students, not only of history and literature, but of anthropology, music, psychology and religion.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General