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Medieval Academy of America

Review: [untitled] Author(s): Robert E. Lerner Reviewed work(s): Medieval Heresy: Popular Movements from Bogomil to Hus by Malcom Lambert Source: Speculum, Vol. 53, No. 4 (Oct., 1978), pp. 821-824 Published by: Medieval Academy of America Stable URL: Accessed: 08/09/2009 09:20
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useful guide for those who would attempt a similar operation; and, finally, an introduction (Ch. A, pp. 5-6) and outline (Ch. B, pp. 7-19) of the theoretical background for the application routine, certainly the most provocative and informative portion of the volume for the general reader involved with textual edition. Given the dichotomy between empirical observation and formulated textual tradition on the one hand and between covariate similarity and dependency on the other hand, the authors establish three analytic postulates: 1) observation of similarity among variants (or groups of variants) corresponds, on the level of textual filiation, to assumption of duplication; 2) observation of dependency among variants (or groups of variants) corresponds, on the level of textual filiation, to assumption of derivation; and 3) relationships among traditions of consecutive passages are identical. Obviously, these postulates are of different orders and divergent truth values under application. Moreover, an overriding concern in textual correlation is not simply similarity vs. dependency, but error analysis (facilior vs. difficilior) and its prior recognition (emendatio),all aspects of manuscript investigation with such multifarious instantiations as seemingly to defy the essentially predictive format that constitutes programming, at least at its present stage of refinement, though split-plot techniques perform this for certain types of data. Multivariate and relational analyses are not enough. Despite these reservations, Kochendorfer and Schirok have succeeded in demonstrating that, while not serviceable for the most sophisticated problems, computer applications are practically indispensable for economic variant collation and grouping, otherwise inordinately laborious tasks that have often delayed the appearance of critical editions. In this, they have built in large measure on the work of notable Italian predecessors, e.g. E. Maretti, Sebastiano Timpanaro, and Gian Piero Zarri. No one currently engaged in the preparation of critical editions or the determination of stemmata should fail to apprise himself of the distinct advantages of computer aids for manuscript studies.

University of Michigan

MAICO,LM LAMBERT, Medieval Heresy: Popular

Movements from Bogomil to Hus.


York: Holmes & Meier, 1977. Pp. xvi, 430; 12 maps, 9 illustrations. $29.50. THIS book, the product of fifteen years' labor, has been worth waiting for. Conceived in the early 1960s as a paperback essay in a series called "New Dimensions in History," it has taken on girth and achieved ends different from those proposed in the advertisements for the original series. The sixties' "New Dimensions" were to express innovative methods and "novel approaches to historical thought" (few in fact did- few, indeed, ever appeared); Lambert's book has replaced the emphasis on novelty with considered synthesis and added a quality that was never mentioned in the "New Dimensions" advertisements, namely, excellence. Lambert's subtitle - "Popular Movements from Bogomil to Hus" - indicates quite accurately that he has not omitted anything notable from his survey of medieval European popular heresies. All that we would expect to find is here: Bogomils, the eleventh-century cases; the twelfth-century wandering preachers, Waldensians, Cathars, mystics, Franciscan Spirituals, Joachites, Lollards, Hussites - each group set in terms of its particular geographical background as well as the changing attitudes and repressive policies of the church. In covering this wide range of material Lam-



bert has sought out and scoured with awesome pertinacity the best and most recent secondary literature in the major Western European languages. He does not read Serbo-Croatian or Czech, but that has not discouraged him from locating Eastern European articles with resumes in languages he does read and from consulting and corresponding with Slavic experts. His footnotes on the Bosnian Church, for example, show him to be as informed about current work coming out of Sarajevo and Zagreb as his treatment of the Lollards shows him informed about the most recent scholarship (dissertations and works in progress included) of his own country. Each one of Lambert's chapters accordingly summarizes the best research that has been done on a given subject and provides a marvelous bibliographical apparatus for further reading. Lest it be thought that Lambert's work is purely derivative, it must further be emphasized that he definitely has a mind of his own. He conveniently lists in his preface seven points on which he takes issue with current interpretations or takes sides in a debate, and he subsequently argues each point with civilized conviction and impressive control of the primary as well as the secondary literature. It is unlikely that he will persuade every reader about all of his contentions, especially in cases where the sources are very thin, but, for what it is worth, his score with this one was five out of seven. (I do not agree with his emphasis on Bogomilism as an influence on Western heresy before c. 1140, and must reserve judgment on the degree to which the Provencal Spirituals were heading toward heresy before the persecution under John XXII, but I do agree that poverty was a dominant trait of the early Waldensians, that the Waldensian component in the Hussite movement can be too easily exaggerated, that Catharism was destroyed mainly by force, that Lollardy - not just anticlericalism - had a continuous life in England up to the sixteenth century, and that Western European heresy was not so predominantly urban as N. Cohn would have us believe.) With the author's encouragement generations of student book reviewers will probably refer to "Lambert's seven," but in fact his independence from received opinions is not limited to seven points: his wide and deep reading has allowed him to advance smaller revisions and corrections in numerous other places: e.g., "Grundmann underestimates the significance of references . . . to weaving" (p. 63, n. 60). Lambert's unwillingness merely to boil down other people's work can also be seen in his extensive original use of maps (which, it must be said, do not always yield a commensurate return on his investments) and his clear and resourceful exposition of developments in Joachite thought by means of reference to authentic Joachite "figures." Aside from greater and lesser revisions, is there a "Lambert thesis" on the nature of medieval heresy in general? Fortunately there is not. The author is too sensitive a scholar to imagine that what may have held for tenth-century Bulgaria held in the same measure for thirteenth-century Lombardy or fifteenth-century England. There is, however, a Lambert approach - namely, primary attention to religious currents balanced by differentiated considerations of varying political, economic, and social circumstances. Lambert's deep and perceptive familiarity with various medieval religious currents is particularly impressive. For me one of the best passages in the book is the summary portrayal of later Waldensianism and Lollardy as "the perennial religion of the layman from lower classes, who painfully acquired some booklearning or learnt by rote passages of Scripture and passed on by word of mouth his anticlerical, Donatist views, mixed with an earthy scepticism about facets of Catholicism" (p. 271). (A passage like this, or the designation of eleventh-century Western heresies as "in a sense collector's pieces" [p. 35] also shows how deftly Professor Lambert can write.)



Since no full review would be complete without some cavils, some now follow. I noticed only a few outright slips: it is redundant to say "idiotaand unlettered" (p. 80); false to say "second and third decades" of a century when one means twenties and thirties (p. 108 - same problem p. 152); incorrect to say "in the north beguinus as a term for a man was at first not usual" (p. 174) (the contrary is true); false to say that Wyclif wrote "the first commentary on the whole Bible since the days of Stephen Langton" (p. 226) (thereby ignoring Hugh of St. Cher and Nicholas of Lyra); misleading to suggest that interest in the coming of Antichrist was "eccentric" (p. 277); and unfair to criticize Cohn without taking cognizance of his revised (1970) edition (passim- particularly relevant concerning the treatment of Tanchelm). Lambert's argument for interrelatedness in the incidents of eleventh-century heresy can never by proven or disproven, but it does seem dubious to suggest a link between northern France and Italy on the basis of trade fairs in Champagne which are not known to have existed so early (p. 35). I doubt too (though we probably can never be sure) that Cathars were ever "well represented in Germany" (p. 108), that Joachite "myths" helped to combat those of the Cathars (pp. 140-41, following Manselli), or that the late-fourteenth-century inquisitorial campaigns of Peter Zwicker "came near to driving [the Waldensians] out of existence" (p. 152). Despite the book's remarkable comprehensiveness, there are at least two egregious omissions: lack of reference to the career of Robert the Bougre and to the trial of John Drandorf (Heimpel's treatment of which is one of the greater achievements of recent heresiological scholarship). Least excusable is the lack of a statement of conclusions: the book ends lamely with some obiterdicta on links with the Reformation without any attempt at a retrospective consideration of the ground covered. The appearance of such an excellent synthesis prompts one in conclusion to take stock of where scholarship on medieval heresy currently stands. Researchers in the field have much to be proud of: as Lambert's book amply demonstrates, midtwentieth-century study of medieval heresy ranks in significance and accomplishments with study of, say, canon law or twelfth-century humanism. Of the great conceptualizers of the last generation the name of Grundmann stands at the head of the list: one is struck on reading Lambert by how well guidelines set out by Grundmann in 1935 still serve for a synthesis published in 1977. (In fact, now that Lambert's book is here, there is hardly a need for a translation of Religiose Bewegungen.) There may be no Grundmanns among the current workers in the field, but great progress has recently been made both in terms of important manuscript discoveries and in general understanding. Where do we go from here? In chronological terms, not surprisingly it is the period after 1250 that calls most for further detailed research. Lambert's survey reveals that there is still room for special studies on southern European "free spirits," later Waldensians, and Lollards. In working in these areas and others no one should think that the manuscript evidence has been exhausted, for virtually every important recent study of late medieval heresy has added to the textual data base. (It is also wise to find the best manuscripts of known texts and not place unwarranted trust in older printed editions.) The questions asked of the evidence will surely differ with the examiners. Old ones will of course continue to be raised: how well do we understand the nature of the procedures against heretics? how well do we understand the thoughts and motivations of the heretics themselves? If there is going to be any primarily new basis for questioning the material, it will probably be the sociological one. Lambert himself laments the lack of adequate treatments of social context. For the period before 1250 this may be explained by the paucity of the sources, but such is not the case for the later Middle Ages. Lambert did not have the opportunity to do



more than drop a footnote reference to E. Le Roy Ladurie's recent Montaillou, which has made a recent reviewer marvel like Keats on opening Chapman's Homer, but that work should inspire others to follow similar directions in using inquisitorial evidence to develop sociological perspectives. Let us hope then that we will be travelling in realms of gold. If the next few generations do as well in heresiological research as the last ones have done, it will then be time for a new synthesis; may that one be as expert and balanced as the present work of Malcolm Lambert.

Northwestern University The Dissolution of the Medieval Outlook: An Essay on Intellectual and Spiritual Change in the Fourteenth Century. New York: New York University Press, 1976. Pp. vi, 154. $7.95. THE theme of Professor Leff's recent work is made more explicit by its subtitle: "An Essay on Intellectual and Spiritual Change in the Fourteenth Century." This interpretative essay is divided into four chapters: "Orientations," "Knowledge and Belief," "The Physical World," and "The Spiritual World." The chapter on orientations provides the conceptual framework of the essay. In it Leff describes what he understands by the word "outlook." He does so in epistemological terms strikingly similar to those of Ockham, whose thought is so central to his essay. An "outlook," according to Leff, is basically "a set of abstractions formed from our idea of the ideas, attitudes, and beliefs of different individuals or groups." Since, as he asserts, knowledge of individuals is the sole source of certitude, it is not surprising that the unity and reality he ascribes to an "outlook" is totally conceptual. Leff next directs his attention to the manner in which the essential unity of an "outlook" is maintained amid the phenomenon of change. In this context he distinguishes between continuous and discontinuous change. The former takes place within an existing conceptual framework and remains in harmonious relationship with it. The latter introduces ideas that are not fully consonant with that framework and through the creation of incongruities and contradictions eventually results in its fragmentation. According to Leff, most intellectual and spiritual change up to the fourteenth century is essentially continuous and consistently reenforces traditional medieval views. With the fourteenth century, the rate of discontinuous change intensifies and eventually results in the dissolution of the "medieval outlook." The areas in which the author seeks to substantiate his thesis are philosophy and theology, the physical sciences, and the realm of spirituality. These areas constitute the subject matter of his succeeding chapters. What Leff understands by the "medieval outlook" is the "overwhelming tendency to interpret reality in terms of universal natures or essences or forms as the created expression of the universal archetypes or divine ideas in God." This approach found its embodiment in the Augustinian and Thomistic traditions of moderate realism. The element of discontinuity that Ockham introduced was the emphatic assertion that only individuals exist and that universals, consequently, possess but a conceptual reality. Furthermore, since, with the exception of God, all existence is contingent, knowledge drawn from individuals enjoys only varying degrees of probability. While, therefore, the Christian context in which Ockham developed his thought remained intact, the categories of that thought changed considerably. Logic replaced metaphysics and probability supplanted certitude. After Ockham, the major philoGORDON LEFF,