Description: For many, the medieval world seems dark and foreign—an often brutal and seemingly irrational time of superstition, miracles, and strange relics. The aggressive pursuit of heretics and attempts to control the “Holy Land” might come to mind. Yet the medieval world produced much that is part of our world today, including universities, the passion for Roman architecture and the development of the gothic style, pilgrimage, the emergence of capitalism, and female saints.
This new narrative history of medieval Christianity, spanning the period 500 to 1500 CE, attempts to integrate what is familiar to readers with new themes and narratives. Elements of novelty in the book include a steady focus on the role of women in Christianity; the relationships among Christians, Jews, and Muslims; the experience of ordinary parishioners; the adventure of asceticism, devotion, and worship; and instruction through drama, architecture, and art. Madigan expertly integrates these areas of focus with more traditional themes, such as the evolution and decline of papal power; the nature and repression of heresy; sanctity and pilgrimage; the conciliar movement; and the break between the old Western church and its reformers.
Illustrated with more than forty photographs of physical remains, this book promises to become an essential guide to a historical era of profound influence.
"This much-needed book deftly combines the institutional, theological and intellectual history of medieval Christianity. Madigan admirably includes important topics missing from earlier surveys, such as Christian attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, the roles of women, liturgy, popular devotion and the arts."—E. Ann Matter, University of Pennsylvania
This book, written for religious and nonreligious people alike in clear and accessible language, explores a teaching central to both Jewish and Christian traditions: the teaching that at the end of time God will cause the dead to live again. Although this expectation, known as the resurrection of the dead, is widely understood to have been a part of Christianity from its beginnings nearly two thousand years ago, many people are surprised to learn that the Jews believed in resurrection long before the emergence of Christianity. In this sensitively written and historically accurate book, religious scholars Kevin J. Madigan and Jon D. Levenson aim to clarify confusion and dispel misconceptions about Judaism, Jesus, and Christian origins.
Madigan and Levenson tell the fascinating but little-known story of the origins of the belief in resurrection, investigating why some Christians and some Jews opposed the idea in ancient times while others believed it was essential to their faith. The authors also discuss how the two religious traditions relate their respective practices in the here and now to the new life they believe will follow resurrection. Making the rich insights of contemporary scholars of antiquity available to a wide readership, Madigan and Levenson offer a new understanding of Jewish-Christian relations and of the profound connections that tie the faiths together.
Since the earliest days of the Church, theologians have struggled to understand how humanity and divinity coexisted in the person of Christ. Proponents of the Arian heresy, which held that Jesus could not have been fully divine, found significant scriptural evidence of their position: Jesus wondered, questioned, feared, suffered, and prayed. The defenders of orthodoxy, such as Hilary of Poitiers, Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, and Augustine, showed considerable ingenuity in explaining how these biblical passages could be reconciled with Christ's divinity. Medieval theologians such as Peter Lombard, Thomas Aquinas, and Bonaventure, also grappled with these texts when confronting the rising threat of Arian heresy. Like their predecessors, they too faced the need to preserve Jesus' authentic humanity and to describe a mode of experiencing the passions that cast no doubt upon the perfect divinity of the Incarnate Word. As Kevin Madigan demonstrates, however, they also confronted an additional obstacle. The medieval theologians had inherited from the Greek and Latin fathers a body of opinion on the passages in question, which by this time had achieved normative cultural status in the Christian tradition. However, the Greek and Latin fathers wrote in a polemical situation, responding to the threat to orthodoxy posed by the Arians. As a consequence, they sometimes found themselves driven to extreme and sometimes contradictory statements. These statements seemed to their medieval successors either to compromise the true divinity of Christ, his true humanity, or the possibility that the divine and human were in communication with or metaphysically linked to one another. As a result, medieval theologians also needed to demonstrate how two equally authoritative but apparently contradictory statements could be reconciled-to protect their patristic forebears from any doubt about their unanimity or the soundness of their orthodoxy. Examining the arguments that resulted from these dual pressures, Madigan finds that, under the guise of unchanging assimilation and transmission of a unanimous tradition, there were in fact many fissures and discontinuities between the two bodies of thought, ancient and medieval. Rather than organic change or development, he finds radical change, trial, novelty, and even heterodoxy.
"This book will delight and engage biblical scholars as well as historians and medievalists. It explores the tensions between the portraits of Jesus in the Gospels and later Christological doctrine and between patristic and medieval theologies. Its thesis, that there are radical discontinuities in Christian tradition and theology, as well as continuities, is important and timely." -- Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation at Yale University Divinity School, author of Cosmology and Eschatology in Jewish and Christian Apocalypticism and Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse
"This important and innovative book challenges readers to re-think continuities and discontinuities in western Christian thought, and indeed with respect to one of its most central issues, the humanity of Christ. For too long scholars have described medieval scholastic theologians as indebted, even enchained, to inherited patristic authorities. Madigan demonstrates the ingenious creativity these writers brought to the interpretation of texts and issues when they had to articulate for themselves what it meant to say that Christ suffered or gained in knowledge or feared death. This will prove an outstanding new way to introduce students to the originality and subtlety of scholastic theologians." --John Van Engen, Professor of Medieval History, University of Notre Dame
"By tracing how western Christian authors from the patristic period to the High Middle Ages have dealt with the problem of Christ's passions, Kevin Madigan not only explores a central problem of Christology, but also makes a provocative argument about the history of Christian thought. Where previous scholars have seen continuity and development, Madigan finds discontinuity and tacit disavowal. Madigan claims that Christian orthodoxy, far from emerging organically from tradition, in fact continually reinvents itself, sometimes by distorting the thought of the "Fathers" it claims as authoritative. This thought-provoking book will stimulate much-needed debate among theologians and students of Christian history." --David Brakke, Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University, author of Demons and the Making of the Monk: Spiritual Combat in Early Christianity
"Kevin Madigan's study is an achievement, due to its remarkable proportions: concise in length, sharp in thinking, well-contained in its scholarship, and as clear-cut in its statements. The argument is amde in a manner as meticulous as straight."--Thomist
"Madigan's slim book is an attempt to show that there was no substantial continuity in the doctrinal thought on the possibility of Christ between the patristic and medieval theologians... One welcomes such a book, which should open up more resources to students of medieval thought, literature, history, and theology." --Journal of Religious History
In a time when the ordination of women is an ongoing and passionate debate, the study of women's ministry in the early church is a timely and significant one. There is much evidence from documents, doctrine, and artifacts that supports the acceptance of women as presbyters and deacons in the early church. While this evidence has been published previously, it has never before appeared in one complete English-language collection.
With this book, church historians Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek present fully translated literary, epigraphical, and canonical references to women in early church offices. Through these documents, Madigan and Osiek seek to understand who these women were and how they related to and were received by, the church through the sixth century. They chart women's participation in church office and their eventual exclusion from its leadership roles. The editors introduce each document with a detailed headnote that contextualizes the text and discusses specific issues of interpretation and meaning. They also provide bibliographical notes and cross-reference original texts. Madigan and Osiek assemble relevant material from both Western and Eastern Christendom.
"The richly varied texts introduce us to a remarkable group of women."
"An invaluable resource for all who are interested in the historical evidence relating to the ordination of women as deacons and presbyters in the early centuries up to roughly the sixth century."
"Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek's collection and analysis of the historical documents on the topic is important and relevant to church historians and modern church leaders alike."
"Kevin Madigan and Carolyn Osiek... have done the important work of bringing together into one volume all known Greek and Latin references to women deacons and presbyters."
"Thanks to this work, most of the pieces of the jig saw of the history of women in the diaconate are laid out before us."
"A masterful compilation and translation."
"Madigan and Osiek bring considerable scholarly expertise and experience to this difficult task."
"A thorough, well-researched, and lucid documentary history."
"Finally, readers have a single compendium in English of the evidence that women did hold church office as deacon, presbyter, and bishop, not simply as spouses of male officeholders and not in heretical sects but in their own right and in the Catholic Church."
"No academic library (and particularly seminary library) will want to be without this book."
"An excellent resource for deeper study of original texts as well as for informed entry into current ecclesial discussions of practice and polity."
"It is impossible to come away from this excellent, erudite and evenly argued book without some very uncomfortable questions about how women in the church have from the beginning been fitted into wider society's conception of what is appropriate and expedient."
"Madigan and Osiek have produced the best, most comprehensive, and extremely useful documentary history to date regarding the ordination of women in the early church."
"This publication will be very welcome to a wide audience that will include interested general readers as well as more advanced students of the history of early Christianity and will make a substantial contribution to the field."
University of Notre Dame Press (October 2003)
In this important new work, Kevin Madigan studies the development and union of scholastic, apocalyptic, and Franciscan interpretations of the Gospel of Matthew from 1150 to 1350. These interpretations are placed within the context of high-medieval religious life and attitudes of the papacy toward the Franciscan Order. Madigan uses the fortunes of the Franciscan Peter Olivi (d. 1298) and his commentary on Matthew as a lens through which to observe the larger theological and ecclesiastical developments of this era.
Structured in three sections, Olivi and the Interpretation of Matthew in the High Middle Ages begins with an analysis of the scholastic gospel commentary tradition in the schools of Laon and Paris. The second section of the book offers a detailed examination of the Treatise on the Four Gospels by the famed apocalyptic writer Joachim of Fiore. Finally, Madigan turns his attention to the disputes which plagued the Franciscan Order during the first century of its existence.
Madigan also focuses on Olivi’s Commentary on Matthew. He argues that this little-known work is perhaps the only Matthew commentary in the high Middle Ages to have been influenced by Joachim’s apocalyptic thought and shaped by internal and external disagreements over the highest form of religious life. Filled with severe criticisms of the hierarchy and leadership of the church, Olivi’s Matthew commentary was examined and eventually condemned by papally appointed theologians in the early fourteenth century.
“. . . An important and needed contribution to the history of biblical interpretation.” — The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. XXXVI, no.1, 2005
“It is . . . heartening to turn to this penetrating study of Peter John Olivi. . . . Madigan shows himself a very able scholar who works in the tradition of Beryl Smalley. . . . With Madigan’s help, there are new reasons to benefit from the unique exegesis expounded by this gifted Franciscan friar from the land of langue d’oc, who often enough said no to whatever he thought shortchanged the ideals of Jesus and Francis.” — Cistercian Studies
“Madigan ends by noting that Olivi’s distinctive exegetical traits—occasional controversialism and muted Joachism—had no future, for the Franciscan exegete who called the late-medieval tune, Nicholas of Lyra, had absolutely no use for them. Madigan’s book, however, will surely have a future because of its clarity and sovereign control of the material.” — The Catholic Historical Review
“For specialists in medieval exegesis and spirituality, it is important for the access it provides to Olivi’s unedited and largely unstudied Matthew commentary and for the fascinating implications it teases out.” — Religious Studies Review
“. . . Kevin Madigan has taken a careful scholarly knowledge of a biblical commentary and worked it into a much bigger picture. He contextualizes Olivi’s commentary in the history both of scriptural exegesis and of the mendicant-secular quarrels, especially over poverty, of the high Middle Ages. He employs his close reading to illuminate newly a much wider question, as all good scholarship should.” — Speculum