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The medieval dissenters known as ‘Waldenses’, named after their first founder, Valdes of Lyons, have long attracted careful scholarly study, especially from specialists writing in Italian, French and German. Waldenses were found across continental Europe, from Aragon to the Baltic and East-Central Europe. They were long-lived, resilient, and diverse. They lived in a special relationship with the prevailing Catholic culture, making use of the Church’s services but challenging its claims.

Many Waldenses are known mostly, or only, because of the punitive measures taken by inquisitors and the Church hierarchy against them. This volume brings for the first time a wide-ranging, multi-authored interpretation of the medieval Waldenses to an English-language readership, across Europe and over the four centuries until the Reformation.

Contributors include: Marina Benedetti, Peter Biller, Luciana Borghi Cedrini, Euan Cameron, Jacques Chiffoleau, Albert De Lange, Andrea Giraudo, Franck Mercier, Grado Giovanni Merlo, Georg Modestin, Martine Ostorero, Damian J. Smith, Claire Taylor, and Kathrin Utz Tremp.
Miracle accounts provide a window into the views and conceptions of the laity, the uneducated, women, and even children, whose voices are mostly missing from other types of sources. They are not, however, simple to use. This volume offers a methodological insight into the medieval world of the miraculous. Consisting of 15 cutting-edge articles by leading scholars in the field, it provides versatile approaches to the origins, methods, and recording techniques of various types of miracle narratives. It offers fascinating case studies from across Europe, which show how miracle accounts can be used as a source for various topics such as lived religion, healing, protection, and family and gender.

Contributors are Nicole Archambeau, Leigh Ann Craig, Ildikó Csepregi, Jussi Hanska, Emilia Jamroziak, Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Jenni Kuuliala, Iona McCleery, Jyrki Nissi, Roberto Paciocco, Donald S. Prudlo, Marika Räsänen, Jonas Van Mulder, and Louise Elizabeth Wilson.
Author: Hugh Morrison
At Christmas 1936, Presbyterian children in New Zealand raised over £400 for an x-ray machine in a south Chinese missionary hospital. From the early 1800s, thousands of children in the British world had engaged in similar activities, raising significant amounts of money to support missionary projects world-wide. But was money the most important thing? Hugh Morrison argues that children’s education was a more important motive and outcome. This is the first book-length attempt to bring together evidence from across a range of British contexts. In particular it focuses on children’s literature, the impact of imperialism and nationalism, and the role of emotions.

This chapter addresses the developments in the practicalities and documentation of the process of canonization from the high Middle Ages to the late medieval period. It starts with the discussion of the process of validating sainthood before the official process was introduced and in particular the importance the official Vita and the local bishops had in this process. Following this, Paciocco analyses the developments of the 12th and 13th centuries, which saw increasing influence of the Canon Law for the validation of sainthood and finally the development of the Roman-canonical procedure. After this, the chapter moves on to discuss the actual practicalities of cult promotion and recording of the process, also in its curial phase. The final part of the chapter discusses the later developments of the Avignon period and the 15th century. The analysis of the chapter demonstrates the uniform principles but varying practices behind the processes and the source material that derives from them.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections
Author: Jyrki Nissi

In the canonization process of Bernardino of Siena there are four cases in which an infant is thought to be born dead but later revived by divine intervention. This chapter investigates the depositions given in these cases. The testimonies of birth miracle cases increase our knowledge on the use of expert witnesses in canonization processes. Like medical men’s testimonies in other cases, birth attendants’ testimonies were used to evidence that nothing but a miracle could have caused the recovery of an infant. The testimonies reveal to us how a community functioned and what the birth attendants’ strategies were if a birth did not go according to plan. The obstetrix had the main role during the birth but if it turned out to be a death moment other women or even men could step in and play an important role as they prayed for saint’s help.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections
Author: Iona McCleery

This chapter is an exploration of the many non-healing miracles found in medieval shrine collections and canonization processes, with a particular focus on a set of liberation miracles recorded for late medieval Portugal. The first part defines what is meant by “non-healing” miracles and discusses some methodological difficulties; the second part considers non-healing miracles in the context of the Portuguese cult of the saints. The last part of the chapter provides a case study of protection miracles from the cult of Our Lady of Virtues, focusing on liberation from prison or escape from execution. The argument of the chapter is that non-healing miracles are highly political in nature, but rather than being signs of disorder, they reinforced existing standards and norms. Such miracles are guides to ideal behaviour and performances of power that shed considerable light on medieval Portuguese criminal justice.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections

The miracle narratives of the early Dominican saints provide a window through which to view both the development of the Order of Preachers and the history of miracles and sainthood. This chapter studies the miracle narratives of Dominic, Peter of Verona, and Thomas Aquinas to trace the interactions between lay piety and the requirements of institutionally recognized sanctity. What appears is a mutually supportive dialogue between educated and non-educated Christians about incarnational holiness. By comparing Dominican works to those of the broader Church, we can come to a better understanding of the meanings of “miracle” and “holiness” in the period.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections
In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections

In the medieval world, the diving line between an illness and spiritual state, demonic possession, was not always evident and many of the symptoms were similar. Both of them could be seen as outer forces attacking a victim. In some canonization processes an undisputable proof was required to categorize the disorder as supernatural, while in other hearings such a categorization seem to have been accepted quite willingly by the inquisitorial committee. A third group was constituted by those processes, where the diving line was not clear and apparently not important. Deliveries from malign spirits were never the most numerous manifestations of saintly powers. The societal changes during the late Middle Ages, like medicalization, reformation and clerical attempts to control the miraculous had their effect on the categorizations, but demonic possession was not one uncomplicated category -- to discern lived realities and personal experiences, to fully understand the phenomenon, one has to be sensitive to the nuances of various cases and contexts.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections

This chapter focuses on the Lifes and canonization records of Saint Margaret of Hungary and establish and analyze various typologies of miracles. Her miracle records combine the narrative patterns of the earlier miracle tradition and the juridical nature of the processes and present a rich and unique picture of how miracles developed and were “used” in different social, monastic and literary contexts.

In: A Companion to Medieval Miracle Collections