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The Great Medieval Heretics: Five Centuries of Religious Dissent
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The Great Medieval Heretics: Five Centuries of Religious Dissent

3.45 of 5 stars 3.45  ·  rating details  ·  60 ratings  ·  10 reviews
Replete with terror, passion, and hope, this gripping narrative history explores the intricate mysteries of medieval Europe through the lives of the great heretics whose beliefs and practices challenged the teachings of an all-powerful church. Five centuries of social and spiritual turmoil are covered through a vivid and telling mix of events, personalities, and ideas.
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by BlueBridge (first published January 1st 2007)
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John David
More than perhaps any other time, the average person of the European middle ages found their identity bound up in religious and moral norms. In this book, Michael Frassetto discusses what can happen when some thinkers pushed the boundaries of traditional religious understanding, and were eventually branded as "heretics." What is particularly special about this text is that the author does not present the heresies compartmentalized from their social context; rather, he integrates apropos aspects ...more
I don't know that I would call this a "gripping" read but it was certainly an eye-opening experience to the "heresies" of medieval Christianity. The author doesn't explore every aspect of every recorded heresay from the medieval period but chose to select what he identifies as the ten most prominent from the period. Those selected are a combination of "true" heresies and those of the more questionable sort--those that posed a direct challenge to the leadership of the Church and its clergy.
A good survey of 10 prominent western heretics/heresies (9 if you count the two flowerings of Catharism) from Bogomil (10th century) to Hus (early 15th century). Focus is more on the dissatisfaction with the medieval church structure / corruption / worldliness than on the true theological differences, but in this sense has a clear progression towards Martin Luther. The two chapters on Catharism probably the weakest, but there are plenty of other books about them anyway.
Sharman Wilson
Accessible religious history. Frassetto does a good job of putting heretical movements and their leaders into the cultural, political, and social milieu where they originated. Very interesting how the people whose ideas win out get to define what is heresy, as well as the sad consequences for the losers.
c2007. Way too dry and stodgy for me. The 10 major heritical beliefs are covered but the writing is just a statement of fact which does little to entice the reader. Very few illustrations and lots of names and dates. I felt this book was rather like my attempts at baking - very little to recommend it.
There is too little on the subject of heresies in the middle ages. This does a nice job tracing the threads going through several.
Bill Tucker
The medieval Roman Church? Not much for free-thinkers, were they?
Informative but very dry at tiems.
Aug 20, 2011 Jaime rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
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