Edited by John Shinners and William J. Dohar
The traditional image of the medieval pastor is cliché-ridden, mocking, and inaccurate, according to John Shinners and William J. Dohar, with its portrayal of the parish priest as a “barely literate, barely celibate, barely sober bumpkin, more at home in a tavern than at an altar.” This book brings together documents, many never before available in translation, which illustrate the multifaceted lives and responsibilities of parish clergy in medieval England. By offering a range of readings focused on pastors, their lives, and their relationships with their flock and the larger clerical community, the editors reveal complex individuals working in a complicated age and environment.
“This is a rich volume of translated and modernized excerpts from texts that take the reader from the contemporary images of the pastor to his education, ordination, and admission to cure his relationships with superiors and inferiors, his work, his income, and a mixed bag of topics under the heading of life and manners. The introductions to each chapter are lucid and the editors have provided a useful glossary for students. The volume is extremely well-designed for classroom use." — Church History
“[T]he editors have performed an invaluable service by making such a varied selection of translations available. . . . [T]hey present a well rounded picture of the life and work of the medieval English priest. . . . [This volume] opens up an important and neglected area of medieval life to a new generation and should have a place on every medievalist’s shelf.” — Medieval Sermon Studies
“This research benefits more than medieval scholars and students, for, like all compelling historical accounts, it draws the reader out of his own age and into another.” — Concordia Theological Review
“[T]he range of sources that this collection brings together shows the rich diversity of clerical experiences. . . . This collection present a rich portrait of the late medieval English clergy, making it harder to fall back on old stereotypes.” — The Medievel Review
“Even those long aquainted with the medieval English church will find something here to ponder. Wide-ranging in its concerns, but throughout maintaining its focus on pastoral care, this volume fills a significant gap in the range of materials available for students and should prove extremely useful.” — Heythrop Journal