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The Formation of a Persecuting Society: Power and Deviance in Western Europe, 950 - 1250

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  22 reviews
The 10th to the 13th centuries in Europe saw the appearance of popular heresy and the establishment of the inquisition, expropriation and mass murder of Jews, the foundation of leper hospitals in large numbers and the propagation of elaborate measures to segregate lepers from the healthy. These have traditionally been seen as distinct and separate developments, and explain ...more
Paperback, 176 pages
Published March 13th 2001 by Wiley-Blackwell (first published January 1st 1988)
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Jan-Maat
This is a nice, if completely joyless, companion piece to Medieval Heresy. It's an attempt to answer why medieval society began to persecute heretics, Jews and Lepers (amongst others), essentially anybody different. One of the principal drivers for Moore is the attempt to gain political power on the part of the persecutors hence the ringleaders in anti-Jewish riots tended to be those most indebted to Jewish lenders, and why in some cases the protectors of Jewish communities might include the rel ...more
Katie
Sometimes I think it is too easy for the study of history to turn into an endless series of over-corrections. Some flaws are found in a traditional narrative, they're picked up by a historian with a particularly open sense of imagination, and they're woven into a new narrative, often situated at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum. It's not a bad thing in and of itself: it's how the process is supposed to work, and ideally it means that eventually these oscillations to either side get s ...more
Jonfaith
It is the argument of this that however the tremendous extension of the power and influence of the literate is described, the development of persecution in all its forms was part of it, and therefore inseparable from the great and positive achievement with which it is associated. Whether they might have taken place without it is another question, and one which, perhaps thankfully, historians are not called upon to answer.

The above is how Professor Moore concludes this harrowing taxonomy on the p
...more
J.M. Hushour
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Moore makes a sound argument for the roots of "Western" ideas of persecution in nodes of power and authority, rather than in some incoherent "mob" rule. Writing against self-righteous historiographical and political trends in historiography that depict all the terrible bits of the European cultural legacy as emanating from the unruly rabble, Moore shows that it was in fact institutional at its root.
His approach is threefold, focusing mostly on Jews, lepers, and gay peeps, to a lesser extent. His
...more
Domhnall
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The 2000 edition of this book, originally published in 1987, contains two chapters responding to earlier criticism and willingly accepts some corrections, in at least one case at the expense of an important argument. So this author is not opinionated and is careful about the claims made. Moore acknowledges that violence and persecution are pretty nearly universal, but his thesis is that in the Twelfth Century, the emerging nation states of Western Europe, and also the papacy, established persecu ...more
Siria
(Second edition) This is a fascinating and important work, an extended essay on the persecution of lepers, heretics and Jews by others in medieval Europe. Moore takes issue with the traditional explanation for the increase in the scale and force of that persecution from the eleventh and twelfth century onwards—that it became more strenuous and more oppressive because heretics, Jews and lepers increased in number—and argues that we should seek the cause of persecution not in the persecuted but in ...more
Benjamin Fry
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing




R.I. Moore is a leading British academic of Medieval History. Over a career that has spanned forty years he has published numerous works including; The Birth of Popular Heresy (1975), The Origins of European Dissent (1977), and The First European Revolution c.970-1215 (2000). In recent years Moore has been the Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle and is working on a new publication which promises to investigate the War on Heresy from the Eleventh to Fourteenth centuries. Consideri
...more
Victoria
Demolishes the old truism (which I had never encountered) that persecution of heretics, lepers and Jews began in earnest in the 11th and 12th centuries as a result of the concurrent increase in population and power of the same. Argues instead that the practice of persecution was the result of a new European mindset to expel the Other and thereby protect the integrity of the community. Not entirely borne out, and actually blatantly contradicted in the last few pages of the text, which argue that ...more
Jackson Cyril
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hoskins' brilliant thesis on the 'twelfth century renaissance' is well known. Moore studies the negative effects of the rise and spread of literacy during this period. He argues that while governments certainly persecuted populations prior to this period, it was not until the 12th century (Lateran III and IV are key here) that Western Europe developed into a society which began to continuously persecute people based on a variety of vaguely defined censures (Moore begins his work by quoting Monte ...more
David Austin
Feb 03, 2020 rated it did not like it
Absolutely terrible read. Historical generalizations abound, combined with a severe lack of objective scholarship make this book not worthwhile to read. Do not buy it!
Steve Horton
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I came upon this book the best way possible...a referral by 2 PhD's in their respective areas of expertise. I was listening to two different Learning Company tape series...The Medieval World by Dr. Dorsey Armstrong and The HIgh Middle Ages by Dr. Philip Daileader. During the last lecture of both, when summarizing trends in the field, both mentioned this book. It is well worth the endorsements by both professors, as its thesis is very illuminating.

Dr. Moore illustrates through a number of exampl
...more
Myles
Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book from the Trump Toolkit: Scapegoating 101

"We have seen how during the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Jews, heretics, lepers, male homosexuals and in differing degrees various others were victims of a rearrangement of Leach’s ‘internalized version of the environment’, which defined them more exactly than before and classified them as enemies of society. But it was not only a matter of definition. In each case a myth was constructed, upon whatever foundation of reality, by
...more
Kathryn Wilmotte
The first four chapters (essentially the entire first edition) are sound, if a little outdated, and make a compelling case for reading the increased persecution of Jews, lepers, and heretics in the 12th century as a sign of a new "persecuting society" controlled by a new and powerful set of rulers intent on exercising their new domination in a crucial period of change in European history.
However, the 5th chapter and the conclusion (added with the second edition) are simply a re-tread of the fir
...more
Kate
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
An incisive view of the function of persecution in medieval society, the groups which it affected, and the literate, clerical origins of what is commonly perceived as based in popular peasant sentiment.
Emily
Feb 03, 2020 rated it liked it
convincing but the way the author got to his argument was confusing and at times, unclear. the way he writes is largely inaccessible and far too wordy for my taste. run on sentences galore.
✨ emma ✨
Read this for class.
Esther
Jan 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: persecution
It was a remarkable thing that Jesus touched the lepers. How he shocked the people of his time! Who would think that the persecution of the Jews is tied to such a thing as the separation of the lepers? R.I. Moore shows how the persecuting society formed in Europe. It is less a persecuting society now, but vulnerable. He goes too far I think however. There is persecution and there is persecution. You cannot so easily equate worse things with lesser.
Laura
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction, class
This, despite being a book I had to read for a class, was legitimately a very interesting one. Some of his ideas are a bit 'out there,' but the whole idea of a society changing as fundamentally as the change he describes is a fascinating one.
Jenn
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Again I say, I can find value in any book that makes its point in less than 200 pages. I like Moore's other book (First European Revolution) better.
AskHistorians
A game-changer in how we view the development of high medieval heresy and heretics.
Laura
Apr 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Good view point of Europe and persecution.
Elfofbooks
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Sep 27, 2012
Stallfast
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Jan 01, 2016
Corinne
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Feb 09, 2015
Rachel Ninnette
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Mar 02, 2015
Leonardo Gomes
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Apr 18, 2020
Rachel
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Mar 21, 2019
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Brigitte Dale
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Nov 01, 2019
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Robert Ian Moore is a British historian who specialised in issues of heresy in medieval Europe. Professor Emeritus of History at Newcastle University and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

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