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This chapter considers fourteenth-century Italian debates about the costs of marriage to the work of a philosopher. Following Heloise's famous injunction against the idea of marriage to Abelard, when she railed against the impact it would have upon his work, this chapter investigates how the terms of this conversation were transformed by the insights of lay intellectuals of cities like Arezzo, Bologna, and Florence, who were grappling with the implications of fatherhood as part of the economic unit of the household, and its role in the political life of the city.
Keywords: Prehumanism, Fatherhood, Heloise, Family
One of the major accomplishments of Constant Mews is his effort to establish Heloise as a thinker and a writer in her own right. Long before he joined her name to that of her husband in the title of a volume dedicated to ‘great medieval thinkers’, he had already pinpointed her intellectual impact on Abelard in an important article devoted to their readings of Jerome. Of the pair, she clearly was the one who had a greater familiarity with the Church Father. Asserting this fact was instrumental in Mews's identification soon afterwards of Heloise as the woman in the Epistolae duorum amantium, whose intimate knowledge of Jerome is remarkable. Jerome is also a central reference in what has to be considered as Heloise's intellectual masterpiece. Her famous ‘Dissuasion from marriage’ (‘dehortatio matrimonii’), inserted within Abelard's Historia calamitatum, relies heavily on arguments to that effect borrowed from Jerome's Contra Jovinianum. It is unfortunate that the study of misogynistic prejudices is itself sometimes encumbered by misogynistic preconceptions. Scholars often doubted that Heloise could have really built on her own a complex argumentation, putting to use a large number of classical examples. Since Abelard also used many of them in his Theologia christiana (written in or soon after 1122), it seemed logical to infer that he first gathered them at that time, before putting them to use again in the Historia calamitatum (around 1131). Yet, a closer textual analysis reveals that, in that chapter of the Historia, Abelard is indeed reporting extracts of the authentic letter Heloise had sent him around 1117, while refusing the wedding plans he had made with her uncle Fulbert.
The process through which a group of devout Franciscans and their lay followers in southern France gradually moved away from obedience to the Roman Church, were condemned as heretics in May 1318, and were then hunted down throughout lower Languedoc, is one of the best documented cases of collective heretication in medieval Europe. The story of these Spiritual Franciscans and their Beguin followers could even serve as a model in helping historians to realize that heresy is neither just the projection of inquisitorial fantasies, nor the expression of a revolutionary will to break with ecclesiastical authority, but rather the result of a complex interaction between opposing forces whose conflicting views over what constitutes a legitimate Christian community gradually harden to the point of becoming entirely irreconcilable. Robert E. Lerner has made the crucial point that the Beguins are the first popular dissidents to make abundant use of writings. These books or quires allowed them to engage in repeated collective readings of the key documents defining their beliefs and convictions, most of which were works by Peter John Olivi. Yet, as far as is known, none of the volumes that circulated in Languedoc at the time have been preserved. During the core of the repression period (1318–25), while about a hundred Beguins were burned at the stake, confiscated books and papers were probably also destroyed. The great mission that the Beguin Peire Trencavel set himself after his escape from the Wall (Carcassonne's inquisitorial prison) in 1323 was to save Olivi's written texts from destruction. While entrusting a number of these books to Johan Adzorit and Johan Rotgier, both secular priests in Béziers, Trencavel was planning to meet up with another companion in the Auvergne. Sadly, the probability of one day recovering a leather bag containing Olivian manuscripts from the cellar of an isolated farm in Correze or Cantal is extremely low.
Historians must rely instead on documents produced or kept by the persecutors, in the first place by the inquisitors of Carcassonne and Toulouse. The story of Olivi's doctrinal trials and eventual post mortem condemnation can be traced thanks to the annotations made by his censors in the books they studied, either at the time of the 1283 Paris commission that examined his controversial works, or when Bonagrazia of Bergamo wrote repeatedly in one volume from 1310 to 1325.
A manuscript from Avignon (Bibliothèque municipale 1087) contains fragments of a long advice produced in 1325 as part of the heresy trial against Peter John Olivi's Commentary on the Apocalypse. The chapter demonstrates that this document, which also attacks authentic works by Joachim of Fiore, matches the description of a lost tract by Jacques Fournier that features in the inventories of the Avignon pontifical library. Once preserved in the same library, another lost volume, similar to the famous Inquisition register of Fournier, included the investigations of the bishop of Pamiers against Beguins active in his diocese. The doctrinal and inquisitorial fight against this movement therefore constituted a major part of his activities before his election to the Holy See.
Keywords: Beguins, heresy, Jacques Fournier, Joachim of Fiore, Peter John Olivi, theological advice
Posterity has been unfair to Jacques Fournier. During past decades, the attention of historians has been focused almost exclusively on the famous inquisitorial register of the bishop of Pamiers, which is, in the end, merely a document of his administrative practices. At the same time the scholarly works of the Cistercian theologian have remained utterly forgotten. While little or nothing survives of his oeuvre, it was actually in Avignon during his time both as cardinal and as pope that Fournier wrote his great theological opus. This monumental commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, magnificently preserved in six volumes in the papal library, has, however, rarely found a voice. It was partially published, and even then only by accident, by a Dominican who believed that he was editing the works of his fellow friar, Benedict XI (1303–1304). A second aspect of Fournier’s intellectual production is linked to his position as theological advisor to John XXII (1316–1334) during the most important doctrinal trials of the years 1325–1333. Of this activity, which is both cause and effect of his dazzling ascent to the papal Curia in this period, only the dossier of his arbitrations on the debate concerning the Beatific Vision has been preserved, although it remains for the most part unpublished. In what follows I add to this list a new document identifying one of his earliest theological assessments – an opinion or piece of advice given on the occasion of the last phase of the trial against the Commentary on the Apocalypse by the Franciscan theologian Peter John Olivi.
De quoi sont faites les monnaies nationales ? Comment décrire ces entités étranges que sont le franc, le dollar ou le yen ? Leur existence tangible et familière nous est donnée sous la forme de pièces métalliques ou de billets de banque. Mais ces objets, tout comme l'ensemble des instruments de paiements (chèques, cartes, etc.), n'ont d'existence monétaire qu'en tant qu'ils expriment une certaine quantité de l'unité de compte nationale. C'est donc en réfléchissant à partir de cette mesure monétaire, et de ce qui la rend si particulière, qu'on peut tenter d'éclairer le problème. En théorie, la mesure monétaire possède la même universalité que les cinq formes de mesure physique (longueur, surface, volume, masse et durée) à cette différence près que la qualité qu'elle nombre, la valeur, est strictement abstraite et sociale, et qu'elle ne prend ainsi corps que dans des espaces socio-politiques déterminés.
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