Against the Friars

Antifraternalism in Medieval France and England

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About the Book

The friars represented a remarkable innovation in medieval religious life. Founded in the early 13th century, the Franciscans and Dominicans seemed a perfect solution to the Church’s troubles in confronting rapid changes in society. They attracted enthusiastic support, especially from the papacy, to which they answered directly. In their first 200 years, membership grew at an astonishing rate, and they became counsellors to princes and kings, receiving an endless stream of donations and gifts.
Yet there were those who believed the adulation was misguided or even dangerous, and who saw in the friars’ actions only hypocrisy, deceit, greed and even signs of the end of the world. From the mid–13th century, writings appeared denouncing and mocking the friars and calling for their abolition. Their French and English opponents were among the most vocal. From harsh theological criticism and outrage at the Inquisition to vulgar tales and bathroom humor, this thoroughly documented work is suitable for the newcomer, as well as for readers who are familiar with the subject but might like to investigate specific topics in more detail.

About the Author(s)

Tim Rayborn is a historian, medievalist, and musician, with a Ph.D. from the University of Leeds in England. He is a writer on a variety of topics in history and the arts, and lives in Berkeley, California.

Bibliographic Details

Tim Rayborn
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 256
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6831-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1914-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface   1

Introduction   3

1. Popular Religion, Heresy and Mendicancy 9

2. The University of Paris and the Quarrels 32

3. The Perils of the Last Times: The Writings of Guillaume de ­Saint-Amour 52

4. Antichrist’s Boy: False Seeming, the Apocalypse and the Roman de la Rose 63

5. Poetry and Song in 13th-Century France: Rutebeuf, the Trouvères and the Goliards 83

6. Scandalous Fables and Vulgar Animals: Reynard, the Fabliaux and Fauvel 96

7. England: The Turbulent 14th Century, and the Writings of Chaucer, Langland and Gower 117

8. English Religious Criticism: Matthew Paris, Oxford University, Richard FitzRalph and John Wyclif 134

Conclusion   162

Appendix A: Art Bibliography and Resources   165

Appendix B: Music Bibliography and Resources   168

Chapter Notes   172

Bibliography   224

Index   245