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The Formation Of A Persecuting Society: Power And Deviance In Western Europe, 950-1250 [Paperback]

By R. I. Moore (Author)
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Item Number 92623  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.96" Width: 5.92" Height: 0.51"
Weight:   0.67 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 31, 2001
Publisher   Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN  0631171452  
EAN  9780631171454  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
The Tenth to the Thirteenth centuries in Europe saw the appearance of popular heresy and the establishment of the inquisition; expropriation and mass murder of Jews; the foundation of leper hospitals in large numbers and the propagation of elaborate measures to segregate lepers from the healthy. These have traditionally been seen as distinct and separate developments, and explained in terms of the problems that their victims presented to medieval society. In this stimulating book Robert Moore argues that the coincidences in the treatment of these and other minority groups cannot be explained independently, and that all are part of a pattern of persecution that now appeared for the first time to make Europe become, as it has remained, a persecuting society.

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More About R. I. Moore

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! R. I. Moore is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at Newcastle University.

R. I. Moore was born in 1941 and has an academic affiliation as follows - Newcastle University formerly University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne former.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Dangerous and skewed volume  Feb 19, 2003
R.I. Moore has done a great disservice to historians and historiography with this volume. He has made several broad assumptions regarding persecution, marginalizing of groups, and even the nature of illness. On top of this he places late 20th century nurban expectations upon an earlier society.

Moore is on fairly safe ground when he speaks of the marginalization of Jews during the Middle Ages -- this is well documented -- but he overstates his case. His assertation that this practice only started in the Middle Ages is, however, rather off the mark. Certainly we can read Roman authors (and edicts) which show active persecution of Jews. But Moore tells us that it was only during the Middle Ages that organized persecution be minorities truly began; I am sure this is a great comfort of Christians persecuted since the 1st century A.D. within the confines of the Roman Empire.

When he turns to lepers he is on terribly dangerous ground and, indeed, utterly misinterprets evidence laid before his eyes. As Moore points out there have been many studies that show that what was called "leprosy" during the Middle Ages was probably a wide range of both related and non-related illnesses, so we cannot equate it exactly with the modern disease; however it must also be remembered that germ theory did not exists until the 19th century. What Moore tells us is that the creation of leper colonies during the Middle Ages is the moral equivalent to concentration camps in the 20th century. Here are nobles, particularly noble women, who are forcing these "lepers" to live apart from society. Thus nobles decide who is a leper and segregate them from society. QED, a persecuting society. Instead, from a medieval point of view, these nobles were providing a chance at life for individuals who were likely to die on their own because they had been shunned by their own families, due to some horrible, disfiguring disease. What was in actuallity an example of good works and aid to one's fellow man is twisted by Moore into proto-Nazism.

Moore is a man who wants to answer a question -- why is their racism and when did it begin? The problem is that by overstating his case and trying to suggest that only one area (Europe) at only one time (the 9th-12th centuries) are responsible for this phenomenon worldwide. This, sadly, is not true. People have been marginalized for their skin colour, their faith, their way of dress, or any of a host of other reasons practically since human beings emerged and certainly it is, again sadly, a world-wide phenomenon. It would have been comforting to stick this label, but in doing so Moore is, in effect, guilty of exactly the same crime that he wishes to place on others -- marginaliztion of a group of people because they do not fit to his personal beliefs and standards. Much as there was evil in medieval Europe, it is far from responsible for all the sins of the world.

useful overview, interesting and topical subject  Aug 19, 2002
Since i started to study European (Medieval and Renaissance) history, I got the distinct impression that intolerance, a fear of the other, although a human universal throughout world history, plays a particularly important role in European history. Prof. Moore gives a good overview or pulling together various sources on how this phenonemon reared its ugly head again, and especially toward what were deemed new heretical movements in Europe from the 11/12th century onward, after relative calm son that front since the 7th century or so.
Although he does not really offer altogether new insights or sources, which he himself freely admits, this is nevertheless an interesting and useful overview of the creation and treatment of various considered 'marginal' groups in society, such as heretics, lepers, Jews, homosexuals and prostitutes. He tries to explain why in this particular period heretical movements made their comeback, and why persecution started to become much more vigourous and vicious. It is an interesting question and he links it to a number of reasons such as the rise of the money economy that greatly upset existing social arrangements in that time. His main point however, and an interesting one, is that persecution did not necessarily reflect popular sentiment at all, but that to find cogent reasons one needs to look more to the persecutors rather than the persecuted. He states that persecution was the decision of princes and prelates for their own political reasons. This much reflects or coincides with Misha Glenny's observation on the persecutions in Balkan history that nearly each genocide has had the more or less active support of local governments. Also, the political use of disease is well documented elsewhere and so this did not add much new, but it was still good to read it here again.

The author does elaborate on this interesting conclusion, and it is indeed central to Moores' book, but I did miss a more specific or detailed discussion or explanation of why these princes and prelates indeed did think it to their political advantage to start perscution and build the elaborate machinery for this in these particular times. Another point that i would have liked to see discussed a bit more is whether these developments are uniquely European or could be found with as much roots in other societes in that time as well. For this the book is too short and leaves one wondering. Nevertheless, i do recommend the book as it deals succinctly with a very important subject that has obvious links with present Europe and elsewhere.

Exploring the rise of intolerance  May 28, 2000
This book is an insightful, if brief, examination of the how and why behind the rise of intolerance and persution in the mid to late middle ages. Lots of books are written about one of the specific topics or groups Moore analyzes (lepers, Jews, homosexuals, people considered religious heretics, etc.) but Moore connects these various expressions of persecution to the historical context and the factors encouraging intolerance at particular times of European culture. Unlike many authors, Moore unpacks and questions assumptions about the inevitability of religious persecution and the creation and persecution of so-called heretical religious beliefs and behavior.

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