Robert Grosseteste and the 13th-Century Diocese of Lincoln

An English Bishop’s Pastoral Vision


Author: Philippa Hoskin
In this book Philippa Hoskin offers an account of the pastoral theory and practice of Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln 1235-1253, within his diocese. Grosseteste has been considered as an eminent medieval philosopher and theologian, and as a bishop focused on pastoral care, but there has been no attempt to consider how his scholarship influenced his pastoral practice.
Making use of Grosseteste’s own writings – philosophical and theological as well as pastoral and administrative – Hoskin demonstrates how Grosseteste’s famous interventions in his diocese grew from his own theory of personal obligation in pastoral care as well as how his personal involvement in his diocese could threaten well-developed clerical and lay networks.

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Philippa Hoskin, D.Phil. (1996), Oxford University, is Professor of Medieval Studies at the University of Lincoln. She has published extensively on the medieval English Church, including an edition of the administrative rolls of Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln 1235-1253.
"this is a valuable addition to the flourishing field of Grosseteste studies, combining in-depth knowledge of the bishop himself (Hoskin's last book was an edition of Grosseteste's episcopal rolls) with a strong sense of the world in which he operated. As a case study of one man's approach to pastoral care, it provides a valuable counterpart to broader-based studies such as William Campbell's The Landscape of Pastoral Care in Thirteenth-Century England (Cambridge, 2018). There is also much of interest here for the historian of the medieval episcopate, an area which has experienced something of a resurgence of interest in recent years.[...] Although Grosseteste was in many respects an exceptional bishop (or at least an exceptionally-well documented one), his experiences were far from unique, and raise important questions about the nature and functions of episcopacy in thirteenth-century England. Consequently, Robert Grosseteste and the 13th-Century Diocese of Lincoln is a must-read not only for fans of its protagonist, but for anyone who wants to understand what it meant to be a medieval bishop. Katherine Harvey in The Medieval Review , April 2020.
''Philippa Hoskin’s new book on Robert Grosseteste allows the reader to enter into the dynamics of the diocese of Lincoln from a very particular angle. Grosseteste, one of the most significant bishops of medieval Europe, has been much studied by important scholars such as D. A. Callus, James McEvoy, R. W. Southern, Joseph Goering, and F. A. C. Mantello. This book is distinctive, however, in that Hoskin plugs the gap between the scholarly works of Robert Grosseteste and his practical actions within the diocese of Lincoln. In the book, Hoskin attempts to establish a bridge between his intellectual mind and his practical deeds'' [...] ''Philippa Hoskin’s book, based on exemplary research of different aspects of Robert Grosseteste’s life and works, offers a well-argued case linking the two most important aspects of Robert Grosseteste: his intellectual acumen in studying and writing and his practical abilities and skills in working within the diocese. Grosseteste comes across as a man of high intellect and wholly committed to the parishes and the diocese of Lincoln''. Angelo M. Silvestri, in Journal of British Studies, 59 (2), April 2020.
1 Robert Grosseteste
2 The Book 16
1The Background to Reform
1 The Fourth Lateran Council 24
2 Developments in English Church Government 30
3 English Diocesan Statutes 1215–1250 35
4Conclusion 46
2Grosseteste’s theory of Pastoral Care
1 Penance and the Restoration 52
2 Right Use of Authority 56
3 Hierarchy and Order 58
4 Justice and Mercy 67
5 Natural Law and Divine Law 71
6 Conclusion 76
3The Principal Shepherds of the Sheep: Grosseteste’s Administration within the Diocese
1 Grosseteste and His Administration: the Tension of Separation 82
2 The Archdeacons 87
3 Grosseteste and His Archdeacons 93
4 Conclusion 99
4Friars and Visitation: Grosseteste’s Interventions in the Diocese
1 Grosseteste and the Friars 102
2 Grosseteste and Parochial Visitation 115
3 Conclusion 125
5A Royal Priesthood: Grosseteste’s the Parish Priests
1 Classifying Pastoral Competence – a Tool for Reforming the Clergy 132
2 Grosseteste’s Ideal Clergyman 133
3 Grosseteste’s Bad Clergyman 138
4 The Inadequate Clergyman141
5 Grosseteste’s Work with His Parish Clergy145
6 Grosseteste and Book Eight of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 148
7 Conclusion 151
6Illuminating the Darkness: Grosseteste’s Panoptic Vision of the Diocese
1 Grosseteste and the Jews of the Diocese 155
2 Grosseteste and the Lay Elite 159
3 Grosseteste and His Religious Houses 172
4 Conclusion 179
7Grosseteste’s Pastoral Afterlife
1 Grosseteste’s Network amongst the Episcopate 181
2 Grosseteste and Episcopal Gravamina 1253–1261 189
3 Grosseteste and Secular Authority 198
4 Conclusion 211
All interested in the history of thirteenth-century England, particularly the Church in medieval England, and anyone interested in medieval pastoral care, philosophy and theology.