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Weavers into Heretics? The Social Organization of Early-Thirteenth-Century Catharism in Comparative Perspective

  • Lutz Kaelber

Extract

How did a person become a heretic in the Middle Ages? Then, once the person was affiliated with a heretical group, how was the affiliation sustained? What social processes and mechanisms were involved that forged bonds among heretics strong enough, in some cases, for them to choose death rather than return to the bosom of the Church? Two competing accounts of what attracted people to medieval heresies have marked the extremes in historical explanations (Russell 1963): one is a materialist account elucidated by Marxist historians; the other one focuses on ideal factors, as proposed by the eminent historian Herbert Grundmann.

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