• Maureen Flynn


Among the illiterate folk of medieval Europe, history shows us few individual personalities. The paucity of written records expressing their personal views makes it virtually impossible to capture the multiple dimensions of their private lives. The communal lives of the common people, however, are much more accessible to investigation. Collected into groups, the faceless individuals merge to form corporate personalities whose features are clear enough to appear in historical documents. Confraternities, guilds and youth associations of various sorts provided their undistinguished members not only the monetary means but also the self-confidence to commission scribes to document their thoughts.


Sixteenth Century Common People Corporate Personality Poor Relief Christian Ideal 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Emile Durkheim, Les formes élémentaires de la vie religieuse: le systèm totémique en Australie (1912) translated by Joseph Ward Swain, The Elementary Forms of Religious Life (New York: Free Press, 1965).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ibid., p. 16.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    E.g., Ingeborg Weber-Kellermann, Deutsche Volkskunde zwischen Germanistik und Sozialwissenschaft (Stuttgart, 1969).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Gabriel Le Bras, ‘Statistiques et histoire religieuses. Pour un examen détaillé et pour une explication historique de l’état du catholicisme dans les diverses régions de France’, Rev. dHistoire de lEglise de France (October 1931) pp. 425–49; Introduction a lhistoire de la pratique religieuse en France (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1942–5); and Etudes de sociologie religieuse (Paris: Presses universitaires de Paris, 1955).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic (London, 1971);Google Scholar
  6. Natalie Z. Davis, Society and Culture in Early Modern France (Stanford, 1975);Google Scholar
  7. Carlo Ginzburg, Religioni della classi popolari, Quaderni Storici, XLI (May–August, 1979) and The Cheese and the Worms. The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, translated by John and Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore, 1980); Richard C. Trexler, Public Life in Renaissance Florence (New York, 1980); William A. Christian Jr., Local Religion in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Princeton, 1981); and Thomas A. Brady, Jr. Ruling Class, Regime and Reformation at Strasbourg 1520–1555 (Leiden, 1978). and The Cheese and the Worms. The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller, translated by John and Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore, 1980);Google Scholar
  8. Richard C. Trexler, Public Life in Renaissance Florence (New York, 1980);Google Scholar
  9. William A. Christian Jr., Local Religion in Sixteenth-Century Spain (Princeton, 1981);Google Scholar
  10. and Thomas A. Brady, Jr. Ruling Class, Regime and Reformation at Strasbourg 1520–1555 (Leiden, 1978).Google Scholar
  11. 7.
    Aron Ja. Gurevich, review of Jacques Le Goff, La naissance du Purgatoire (Paris, 1981) in Journal of Medieval History, ix (1983) 71–90; and ‘Oral and Written Culture of the Middle Ages: Two “Peasant Visions” of the Late Twelfth-Early Thirteenth Centuries’, New Literary History, xvi (Autumn 1984) 1, 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 8.
    Lionel Rothkrug, ‘Religious Practices and Collective Perceptions: Hidden Homologies in the Renaissance and Reformation’, Historical Reflections, vii 1 (Spring 1980);Google Scholar
  13. and Roland Bainton, Here I Stand! A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville & N.Y., 1950).Google Scholar
  14. 9.
    Herbert Grundmann, Religiöse bewegungen im mittelalter; untersuchungen über die geschichtlichen zusammenhange zwischen der ketzerei (Berlin, 1935);Google Scholar
  15. Jacques Toussaert, Le Sentiment religieux en Flandre à la fin du moyen age (Paris, 1963);Google Scholar
  16. Cinzio Violante, Studi sulla cristianità medioevale (Milan, 1972);Google Scholar
  17. R. Manselli, La religion populaire au moyen age (Montreal-Paris, 1975);Google Scholar
  18. and Oronzo Giordano, Religiosità popolare nellalto medioevo (Paris, 1979).Google Scholar
  19. 10.
    Benedicta Ward, Miracles and the Medieval Mind. Theory, Record and Event, 1000–1215 (Philadelphia, 1982) p. 76.Google Scholar
  20. 12.
    Jean Delumeau, Catholicism from Luther to Voltaire, originally published in 1971 by Presses universitaires de France; English edition, 1977.Google Scholar
  21. 14.
    G. Le Bras, ‘Les confréries chrétiennes. Problèmes et propositions’, Revue historique de droit français et étranger (Paris, 1940–1) 324.Google Scholar
  22. 15.
    John Bossy, ‘The Counter-Reformation and the People of Catholic Europe’, Past and Present, 47 (May 1970) 51–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 16.
    For example, León Lallemand, Histoire de la Charité (4 vols, Paris, 1910);Google Scholar
  24. W. K. Jordan, Philanthropy in England 1480–1660 (London, 1959);Google Scholar
  25. A. R. Hands, Charities and Social Aid in Greece and Rome (Ithaca, New York, 1968);Google Scholar
  26. M. Mollat, Etudes sur lHistoire de la Pauvreté (Paris, 1974);Google Scholar
  27. William R. Jones, ‘Pious Endowments in Medieval Christianity and Islam’, Diogenes, cix (Spring 1980).Google Scholar
  28. 17.
    Teófanes Egido, ‘La cofradía de San José y los niños expósitos de Valladolid’, Estudios Josefinos, 53 (Valladolid, 1973) 77–100; and ‘Religiosidad popular y asistencia social en Valladolid; Las Cofradías Marianas del s. XVI’, Estudios Marianos, xlv (Salamanca, 1980) 197–217.Google Scholar
  29. Pedro Carasa Soto, ‘La asistencia social y las cofradías en Burgos desde la crisis del Antiguo Régimen’, Investigaciones Históricas, iii (1982);Google Scholar
  30. Marie-Claude Gerbet, ‘Les confréries religieuse à Caceres de 1467 à 1523’, Mélanges de la Casa de Velázquez, vVII (1971) 75–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 18.
    Wm. J. Callahan, ‘Confinement and Poor Relief in Eighteenth-Century Spain’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 51 (1971); ‘Corporate Charity in Spain: The Hermandad del Refugio of Madrid, 1618–1814’, Histoire Social, ix (1976) 159–186, and La Santa y Real Hermandad del Refugio y Piedad de Madrid, 1618–1832 (Madrid, 1980).Google Scholar
  32. And María Rosa Pérez Estévez, El problema de los vagos en la España del siglo XVIII (Madrid, 1976).Google Scholar
  33. 19.
    J. Delumeau, Catholicism, pp. 129–153; and Le Bras, Etudes. See also J. Gedille, D. Julia and M. Venard, ‘Pour un repertoire des visites pastorales’, Annales, Econ. Soc. Civ. (1970) 561–6.Google Scholar
  34. 20.
    G. Meersseman, ‘Etudes sur les anciennes confréries dominicaines’, Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum,XXII (1951) 54–55.Google Scholar
  35. P. O. Kristeller, ‘Lay Religious Traditions and Florentine Platonism’, Studies in Renaissance Thought and Letters (Rome, 1956) p. 105.Google Scholar
  36. 22.
    J. J. Scarisbrick points out that women in English religious guilds were frequently full members and they sometimes held official positions: in The Reformation and the English People (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1984) p. 25.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Maureen Flynn 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maureen Flynn
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GeorgiaUSA

Personalised recommendations