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Power & Purity – Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Power & Purity: Cathar Heresy in Medieval Italy

Carol Lansing


Catharism was a popular medieval heresy based on the belief that the creation of humankind was a disaster in which angelic spirits were trapped in matter by the devil. Their only goal was to escape the body through purification. Cathars denied any value to material life, including the human body, baptism, and the Eucharist, even marriage and childbirth. What could explain the long popularity of such a bleak faith in the towns of southern France and Italy? This book explores the place of Cathar heresy in the life of the medieval Italian town of Orvieto. Based on extensive archival research, it ... More

Keywords: Catharism, heresy, angelic spirits, devil, purification, Cathars, baptism, Eucharist, marriage, childbirth

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2001 Print ISBN-13: 9780195149807
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149807.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Carol Lansing, author
University of California, Santa Barbara