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The Cathars: Dualist Heretics in Languedoc in the High Middle Ages Paperback – August 27, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0582256613 ISBN-10: 0582256615 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (August 27, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0582256615
  • ISBN-13: 978-0582256613
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'well-illustrated and attractive...deserves a wide readership' English Historical Review'provides an admirable review of recent scholarship...Professor Barber has shown the ways in which Cathar history should move forward'.History 'beautifully written ... Barber's cool common sense gives a chance to see the religion and the society in which it became rooted in a new light. Highly recommended'THES 'excellent history' Antiquaries Journal

From the Back Cover

The Cathars were dualist heretics who, in the twelfth and early thirteenth centuries, presented more coherent doctrinal opposition to the Catholic church than any contemporary movement. They were present in most areas of Latin Christendom, but they were particularly strong in southern France and northern Italy, where they drew adherents from all social classes.

This new book traces the origins and spread of dualist ideas, assesses their attraction for contemporaries, and describes the reaction of the ecclesiastical and lay authorities in the form of preaching campaigns, intellectual refutation, crusade, and inquisitorial investigations. A fascinating account of the development of radical religious belief and the means used to suppress it, this book raises many important issues which transcend the specifics of time and place, including the nature of evil, the ethics of warfare, and the use made of history by later generations.

Richly illustrated, this book will have a wide appeal for all those interested in medieval perceptions of the world, the Crusades and the Inquisition.

Malcolm Barber is Professor of History at the University of Reading. He is the author of The Two Cities:Medieval Europe, 1050-1320 (1992), and two books on the Templars, The Trial of the Templars (1978) and The New Knighthood (1994).

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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Leon on June 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
You'd be hard pressed to find someone who has done more scholarly work on the Templars and Cathars than Malcomb Barber. Simply stated, Barber's work, which traces the genesis of the Cathar religion from original source documents, to their ultimate demise in the 1400's.
Barber begins his study with the origins of the cathars from the Manchieans to the Bogomils and either supports or refutes various other conclusions concerning the Cathar history. He identifies the ideology from original source documents, and ultimately the schisim within the Cathar Church as to theology.
Perhaps the most profound impact this book will have, at least to those who take the time and read it, is to emphatically refute the claims of that nice little cottage industry that has been percolating throughout the years that the Cathars were the guardians or holders of this magnificent treasure, or that they were the guardians of the true teachings of Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth, as wonderfully pointed out by Barber. Yes the Catholic Church was bad, but enough with the conspiracy stories. I implore you to read Barber's books on the Templars and then compare those books and their research to this cottage industry, I think you will find not only that Barber is unquestionably one of the finest historians today, but that books like Holy Blood Holy Grail simply don't make sense.
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12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Thomas on March 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Malcolm Barber, The Cathars: Dualistic heretics in Languedoc in the High Middle Ages. Pearson Education Limited 2000 (225 pages) Reviewer: Benjamin Thomas

Malcolm Barber in his book The Cathars explains to a tee the relationships and events that shape and end Catharism in southeastern France during the high medieval ages. Malcolm suggests ever so slightly without having a clear thesis that Catharism wasn't directly killed off by the crusades and violent action, but rather by destabilizing the environment in which the Cathars were tolerated. Malcolm a history professor at the university of Reading has published books dealing with the templars, which provides him with a firm background in the research of occult groups in the medieval world. Malcolm keeps his nose out of the writing and presents a fair view from every direction that he can provide, but often the only view he can provide is of the papal legates and crusaders since few Cathars wanted to leave traces of their heresy for the inquisitors to find. Malcolm is very interested in this topic and although he never says it himself his research is bountiful stretching every piece he could gather from the time period, and all the way back to of the Manichaeans in ancient Persia.

In order for Malcolm to support his thesis he dives back into history with Peter I of the Bogomils in Bulgaria and discusses and uses direct quotes relating to their belief in a dualistic god of pure good of the spiritual world and a evil god of the material world. The Bogomils were equivalent to the eastern parents of the Cathars, becoming a thorn in the power of the patriarch of Constantinople before Cathars were numerous enough to be deemed worthy of a crusade.
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