Contemporaries hailed the preacher and reformer Robert of Arbrissel (c 1045-1116) as a thunderclap of holy eloquence that lit up the Church - or they castigated him as a sponsor of sexual license. Robert has remained a controversial figure ever since, seen as a missionary to all manner of Christians, a heretic, a feminist, a founder of the ideal of courtly love, or a libertine. His preaching was so renowned that he was invited to speak before Pope Urban II; many were inspired to take up religious life after exposure to his charismatic asceticism and evangelical gifts. Best known as the founder of Fontevraud, a monastery for women and men in Western France that became the prosperous head of an order of nearly 100 religious houses, Robert of Arbrissel never became a saint. Gathering the major medieval sources for the first time in any modern language, this book traces Robert of Arbrissel's multifaceted life from humble origins to dramatic death and burial. Two short biographies, Robert's one surviving letter, an account of Robert's preaching in a brothel, and two highly critical letters addressed to Robert together illustrate his activities, personality and impact. The documents explore themes of reform, preachers and preaching, monasticism, patronage, literary genre, gender and sexuality in a dynamic era of historical and cultural change. The translations are highly readable and the book is abundantly annotated with an introduction, thorough notes to each document, a map and a chronology. ""Robert of Arbrissel: A Medieval Religious Life"" invites students and teachers of the Middle Ages and general readers to draw their own conclusions about this fascinating medieval holy man.
Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press
Number of pages: 216
Weight: 268 g
Dimensions: 221 x 136 x 14 mm