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Holy Warriors: The Religious Ideology of Chivalry (Middle Ages) [Englisch] [Taschenbuch]

Richard W. Kaeuper

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5. Februar 2014 Middle Ages
The medieval code of chivalry demanded that warrior elites demonstrate fierce courage in battle, display prowess with weaponry, and avenge any strike against their honor. They were also required to be devout Christians. How, then, could knights pledge fealty to the Prince of Peace, who enjoined the faithful to turn the other cheek rather than seek vengeance and who taught that the meek, rather than glorious fighters in tournaments, shall inherit the earth? By what logic and language was knighthood valorized? In Holy Warriors, Richard Kaeuper argues that while some clerics sanctified violence in defense of the Holy Church, others were sorely troubled by chivalric practices in everyday life. As elite laity, knights had theological ideas of their own. Soundly pious yet independent, knights proclaimed the validity of their bloody profession by selectively appropriating religious ideals. Their ideology emphasized meritorious suffering on campaign and in battle even as their violence enriched them and established their dominance. In a world of divinely ordained social orders, theirs was blessed, though many sensitive souls worried about the ultimate price of rapine and destruction. Kaeuper examines how these paradoxical chivalric ideals were spread in a vast corpus of literature from exempla and chansons de geste to romance. Through these works, both clerics and lay military elites claimed God's blessing for knighthood while avoiding the contradictions inherent in their fusion of chivalry with a religion that looked back to the Sermon on the Mount for its ethical foundation.


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"Kaeuper's arguments brilliantly elucidate the theological ideas that were used to justify chivalric conduct... The book is carefully and elegantly written, and the arguments are abundantly documented. It must be essential reading for any scholar concerned with the knightly culture of the Middle Ages."-Michael Prestwich, American Historical Review "It brings to bear the rich experience, wide knowledge, and balanced judgment of a long scholarly career while pushing forward the lines of investigation where they yield most results... An excellent book that greatly enhances our understanding of medieval chivalric culture."-Speculum "Kaeuper's book offers much to the understanding of knighthood because it examines a little understood aspect of chivalry in detail, namely, the religious ideas of chivalry and their application in the daily life of the knight."-Parergon "A triumph... in bringing attention to the specifically devotional aspects of chivalry and the ways in which this elite group of laity reacted to and transformed Church initiatives, Kaeuper deserves special credit."-Sixteenth Century Journal

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Richard W. Kaeuper is Professor of History at the University of Rochester. He is author of Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe and coeditor (with Elspeth Kennedy) of The Book of Chivalry of Geoffroi de Charny: Text, Context, and Translation, the latter also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  1 Rezension
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Splendidly written and a pleasure ot read 2. Dezember 2010
Von Christian G. Cameron - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Prof. Kaeuper's latest is a careful examination of the religious underpinnings of the chivalric world. It is NOT a book about Templars or Crusaders, per se, but rather, about the cultures and mentalities of the chivalric ordo and their clerical advocates and critics. Kaeuper's evocation of the major texts (like De Charny) and of the vast canon of chivalric literature (the chansons de geste and other poems) is skillfully used to support his thesis; his investigations into Medieval theology--or rather, into the practical applications of asceticism, for example, and their effect on the life and belief systems of the chivalric professionals) are masterful, well written, well argued.

I enjoyed the book and its arguments immensely, and I'd recommend it to anyone with more than a passing interest in chivalry. As Kaeuper includes most of the quotes he uses in the text, and utterly eschews academic jargon, the text is accessible to any reader.
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