A Companion to the Great Western Schism (1378-1417)


The division of the Church or Schism that took place between 1378 and 1417 had no precedent in Christianity. No conclave since the twelfth century had acted as had those in April and September 1378, electing two concurrent popes. This crisis was neither an issue of the authority claimed by the pope and the Holy Roman Emperor nor an issue of authority and liturgy. The Great Western Schism was unique because it forced upon Christianity a rethinking of the traditional medieval mental frame. It raised question of personality, authority, human fallibility, ecclesiastical jurisdiction and taxation, and in the end responsibility in holding power and authority. This collection presents the broadest range of experiences, center and periphery, clerical and lay, male and female, Christian and Muslim. Theology, including exegesis of Scripture, diplomacy, French literature, reform, art, and finance all receive attention.

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Joëlle Rollo-Koster, Ph.D. (1992) in History, SUNY Binghamton, is Professor of Medieval History at the University of Rhode Island. She has published on the papacy, papal Avignon, and the Great Western Schism, including her most recent Raiding Saint Peter: Empty Sees, Violence, and the Initiation of the Great Western Schism (1378) (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2008).
Thomas M. Izbicki, Ph.D. (1973) in History, Cornell University, is a Humanities Librarian at Rutgers University. He has published on the late medieval papacy, including Pope Pius II, Cardinal Juan de Torquemada OP, and Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa. His most recent book is Nicholas of Cusa, Writings on Church and Reform (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008).
“Since its initiation in 2006, the series to which this volume belongs has established itself as a major reference point for scholars working on Christian history. The volumes offer comprehensive reviews of the state of play in a specific field of research without sacrificing quality and originality in their contributions. This track record of success is maintained by the collection of essays under review, which provide the reader with a stimulating introduction to the most fruitful areas of current research on the Great Schism.”
Norman Housley, University of Leicester. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 62, No. 2 (April 2011), pp. 385-386.

"Given the deeply contested historical interpretations of the Schism ... the present volume develops a welcome
methodological commitment to an “antipartisan” (or benignly a-confessional) approach to this historically contested
field...engages both the history and the historiography of the Great Schism while simultaneously presenting a fresh methodological approach to this previously contentious era of ecclesial history."
John T. Slotemaker, Boston College. In Religious Studies Review, Vol. 37, No.3 (September 2011), pp. 223.

"This volume adds to an already large and impressive collection in Brill’s series of companions to the Christian tradition, which cover mostly the medieval and Reformation periods, giving attention to such topics as quodlibetical disputations, prayer, penance, indulgences, and several important historical figures. This volume is a welcome addition to the series, gathering together as it does several intelligently written chapters by leading scholars engaging with the most up-to-date scholarship. The volume aims to be introductory, and it achieves this aim admirably."
Sean Otto, Wycliffe College, Toronto School of Theology. In: Toronto Journal of Theology, Vol. 27, No. 1 (2011), pp. 117–118.

"This wide-ranging and fascinating collection deserves a large readership, offering much to everyone from neophytes to seasoned scholars. Each of the eleven contributors examines and carefully evaluates earlier research, and then presents new contexts and materials for analyzing various aspects of the Schism."
Alison Williams Lewin, Saint Joseph’s University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4 (Winter 2010), pp. 1332-1333.

"Mit diesem Sammelband ist es Herausgebern und Autoren zweifellos gelungen, einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Erforschung des Schisma-Ausbruchs und seines Verlaufs zu liefern. Die auch methodisch ambitionierten Ansätze zeigen Wege auf, wie es möglich ist, lange schon ungelöste Probleme auf innovative und produktive Art und Weise anzugehen."
Ansgar Frenken, Ulm (H-Soz-u-Kult, 1 August 2010)
List of Illustrations

Introduction: The Great Schism and the Scholarly Record, Joëlle Rollo-Koster and Thomas M. Izbicki
Civil Violence and The Initiation of the Schism, Joëlle Rollo-Koster
Luxury and Extravagance at the Papal Court in Avignon and the Outbreak of the Great Western Schism, Stefan Weiß
Local Experiences of the Great Western Schism, Philip Daileader
The Conceptualization and Imagery of the Great Schism, Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski
Witness to the Schism: The Writings of Honorat Bovet, Michael Hanly
Byzantium, Islam, and the Great Western Schism, Michael A. Ryan
Seeking Legitimacy: Art and Manuscripts for the Popes in Avignon from 1378 to 1417, Cathleen A. Fleck
The Reform Context of the Great Western Schism, Christopher M. Bellitto
Extra ecclesiam salus non est—sed quae ecclesia?: Ecclesiology and Authority in the Later Middle Ages, David Zachariah Flanagin
The Authority of Peter and Paul: The Use of Biblical Authority during the Great Schism, Thomas M. Izbicki
The Council of Constance (1414–18) and the End of the Schism, Philip H. StumpM
Conclusion: The Shadow of the Schism, Thomas M. Izbicki

Notes on Contributors
All those interested in the history of the Church, papal, social and cultural history, the history of religious institutions, and historico-cultural issues.
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