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Much medieval anticlerical satire stems from perceived discrepancies between proclaimed ideal and everyday reality, but it also owes much to a particularly successful literary tradition and cannot be accepted without question. After identifying the predominant literary characteristics of the medieval Portuguese clergy, this study uses other sources - sermons, exempla, visitation documents, doctrinal tracts, confession manuals and chronicles - to gauge clerical success or failure in fundamental areas of responsibility: attending and convoking councils and synods, carrying out visitations and preaching. It reveals the contrast between the literary stereotypes and documentary evidence.
Edwin Mellen Press Ltd
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