Faith and Power in Medieval Europe

416pp ILLUS 2012 OUT OF PRINT HA44



In Western Europe at AD 1000 heresy had barely been heard of. Yet within a few generations accusations had become commonplace and institutions were created to identify and suppress beliefs and practices seen as departures from true religion. Fears of heresy inspired passions that moulded European society for the rest of the Middle Ages and resulted in a series of persecutions that left an indelible mark on its history and culture. Popular accounts of events – most notably of the Albigensian Crusade – have assumed the threats posed by the heretical movements were only too real. Some scholars by contrast have tried to show that reports of heresy were exaggerated or even fabricated: but if they are correct, why was the war on heresy launched at all? And why was it conducted with such pitiless ferocity? Moore's narrative focuses on the motives and anxieties of those who declared and conducted the war.

If only half of his revolutionary new claims are accepted, every encyclopaedia entry on the Cathars will have to be completely rewritten. SUNDAY TELEGRAPH