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Order and Exclusion: Cluny and Christendom Face Heresy, Judaism, and Islam (1000-1150) (Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past) [Hardcover]

Dominique Iogna-Prat , Graham Robert Edwards , Barbara H. Rosenwein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 3, 2003 0801437083 978-0801437083
Order and Exclusion is a rare and magnificent book of medieval history with clear relevance to today's headlines. Through the lens of the polemics of Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, Dominique Iogna-Prat examines the process by which christianity transformed itself into Christendom, a powerful spiritual, social, and political system with pretensions to universality. Iogna-Prat's close examination of a set of writings central to the history of Catholicism resolves into a deeply troubling study of the origins of attitudes that continue to shape world events. Iogna-Prat writes that "versions of fundamentalism nourished by the soil of an often terrible common history" show that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have all been capable of intolerance.Peter the Venerable's writings had a far-reaching impact: the powerful network of Clunaic houses expanded from the founding of the original monastery of Cluny to dominate Christendom by the twelfth century. This Christendom, Iogna-Prat demonstrates, defined itself in part through its increasingly bitter struggles against its perceived enemies both within and without. Peter the Venerable's all-pervasive logic pitted the "order" of the monastery and its hierarchical society against all those—heretics, Jews, Muslims, lepers—outside its bounds. In his proclamations against Jews and Muslims, Peter devised a Christian anthropology: in his view, to be non-Christian was to be non-human. The power of the Church came at a great and lasting price.

Editorial Reviews


"This new interpretation of monasticism's influence and the deep roots of intolerance is strongly recommended for academic and seminary libraries."—Library Journal, January 2003

"Anyone who wishes to understand how monasticism took shape in Western Europe and how it was, exactly, that monks and monasteries fit into the whole of medieval society will find here a superb introduction to the subject that is not only anchored in an impressive array of primary sources but also in constant conversation with other historians through footnotes as dense as the forests of medieval Europe. Though this is a book aimed at scholars, nonspecialists should not fear getting lost. . . . 'Order and Exclusion' is indispensable reading, especially for anyone trying to understand the deep roots of the religiously inspired fanaticisms that still bedevil us in the 21st century."—Los Angeles Times Book Review, August 10, 2003

"There is much food for thought in this book, which is marked by broad learning and a close reading of the texts."—Giles Constable, Institute for Advanced Study, American Historical Review, April 2004

"Dominique Iogna-Prat's Order and Exclusion: Cluny and Christendom Face Heresy, Judaism, and Islam is such a welcome and needed contribution to the field. . . . Iogna-Prat's approach will be helpful for those seeking to understand relations between majority and minority relations in places and times far distant from twelfth-century France, and this lucid translation will bring his work to the wider audience it deserves."—Lucy K. Pick, University of Chicago, The Journal of Religion

"Dr. Iogna-Prat's book, Ordonner et exclure (1998), which here appears in a very satisfactory English translation, has two themes. One is the evolution from a loosely-structured medieval society to one dominated by an order that was strictly conceived and repressive to dissent. The other, which the author sees as closely connected with the first, is the spirituality and thinking of the order of Cluny. . . . The strength of this study lies in its understanding of Clunaic thought, and to that it makes a real and important contribution."—Colin Morris, The Catholic Historical Review, April 2004

"This is an interesting and well-written book, which I very much enjoyed. The argument is certainly convincing. Scores of people were marginalized in the central Middle Ages as western Europeans began to order their world. Various religious, social, economic, cultural, and political changes came together to make for a more cohesive society and one of the terrible and paradoxical results of this new cohesion was exclusion. . . . The greater goal of this book is to foster tolerance in the present; it asks Catholics and non-Catholics to reflect on and come to terms with troubling aspects of the religion's long history. . . . Works such as these could serve as catalysts for change."—Dawn Marie Hayes, H-Catholic, H-Net Reviews, July 2004

"Order and Exclusion is a powerful, important, and disturbing book. Dominique Iogna-Prat marshals his intimate knowledge of Cluniac sources and his perfect command of German, French, and Anglo-American scholarship to produce a micro-historical analysis of a crucial moment and a pivotal institution in the process of turning western Christianity into a culture of repression. The most unsettling aspect of this book is its convincing demonstration that the very aspiration to universalism at the heart of Cluniac ideology, in the hands of Peter the Venerable, its greatest intellectual, created not only a theology but an anthropology focused on sexual abstinence and religious sacrifice. Peter the Venerable's work exalted celibate clerics and excluded heretics, Jews, and Muslims, not only from the community of the faithful but also from humanity itself."—Patrick J. Geary, University of California Los Angeles

"After its reordering in the eleventh century Latin Europe demanded religious conformity more insistently, and excluded those who failed to satisfy it more ruthlessly, at every social level, than any other world civilization. From the perspective of one of medieval Christendom's most central institutions, Cluny, and through the eyes of one of its most compelling and commanding figures, Peter the Venerable, Order and Exclusion provides the most intimate account we have yet had of how and why this came to be so. It is enthrallingly readable, and fundamental in every sense."—R. I. Moore, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

"Just think of what effects identification with Rome had on Christianity and you'll be ready to confront this challenging study by Iogna-Prat, for something comparable happened to Cluniac monasticism as its pretensions became intertwined with those of the world-embracing Gregorian papacy. No wonder the vita apostolica sought refuge elsewhere."—Lester K. Little, American Academy in Rome and Smith College

"Dominique Iogna-Prat's Order and Exclusion is a wonderful book, and a very important book both for its insight on twelfth-century treatment of the 'Other,' and for its presentation of life at Cluny in that era. . . Beautifully translated and produced, this book will change the way that we think about the twelfth century and the origins of the intolerance of our own age."—Constance H. Berman, University of Iowa

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

Product Details

  • Series: Conjunctions of Religion and Power in the Medieval Past
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press (January 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801437083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801437083
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.7 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,481 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and accurate micro-historical study July 26, 2005
Order and Exclusion is a brilliant and accurate micro-historical study on the handling by Cluny of 11th century ideas opposing christianity. At that time Cluny was the most powerfull institute in Europe and the ideas of Peter the Venerable, wich are so accurately described in Order and Exclusion, would have major impact on the development of Europe. The ideas form the basis of every major prosecution of free thinking until the French revolution (and maybe even until now if I read the review of Paul J. Tetreault Jr. well).

The review "History or Propaganda? of August 22, 2004" by Paul J. Tetreault Jr. should not have been written. It is a shame and a warning to society that this man is a lawyer. I did read the book (in french) and was shocked by this review. The writer did not read the book, has no idea about history and generaly is driven by faith. He is a christian fundamentalist and writes as if he is a member of the inquisition. With all dangers related to this. If this represents the way lawyers work in the USA then let us be warned!
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was That A Review ? December 6, 2004
A previous "review" entitled "History or Propaganda?" should not have been posted. The writer of this "review" admits in his last paragraph that he has not even read the book! This reminds me of Bill Murray's review of films on Saturday Night Live. Murray would concede that he had not actually viewed the movies under consideration (but at least he made this admission UP FRONT!).

I am going to purchase "Order and Exclusion." And though I have not read it yet, I am going to give it five stars anyway, because I did read a rave review of it in the August 10, 2003 LA Times Book Review. And that review was offered by a Yale University professor of religion.
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