Dreams, Visions, and Spiritual Authority in Merovingian Gaul by Isabel MoreiraDreams, Visions, and Spiritual Authority in Merovingian Gaul by Isabel Moreira

Dreams, Visions, and Spiritual Authority in Merovingian Gaul

byIsabel Moreira

Hardcover | June 29, 2000

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In early medieval Europe, dreams and visions were believed to reveal divine information about Christian life and the hereafter. No consensus existed, however, as to whether all Christians, or only a spiritual elite, were entitled to have a relationship of this sort with the supernatural. Drawing on a rich variety of sources—histories, hagiographies, ascetic literature, and records of dreams at saints' shrines—Isabel Moreira provides insight into a society struggling to understand and negotiate its religious visions.

Moreira analyzes changing attitudes toward dreams and visionary experiences beginning in late antiquity, when the church hierarchy considered lay dreamers a threat to its claims of spiritual authority. Moreira describes how, over the course of the Merovingian period, the clergy came to accept the visions of ordinary folk—peasants, women, and children—as authentic.

Dream literature and accounts of visionary experiences infiltrated all aspects of medieval culture by the eighth century, and the dreams of ordinary Christians became central to the clergy's pastoral concerns. Written in clear and inviting prose, this book enables readers to understand how the clerics of Merovingian Gaul allowed a Christian culture of dreaming to develop and flourish without compromising the religious orthodoxy of the community or the primacy of their own authority.

Isabel Moreira is Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah.
Title:Dreams, Visions, and Spiritual Authority in Merovingian GaulFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.94 inPublished:June 29, 2000Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801436613

ISBN - 13:9780801436611


Editorial Reviews

"This is a terrific book. It sets up a compelling problem and an accessible hypothesis and skillfully places the whole in the context of late antique/early medieval church politics and culture. Isabel Moreira writes in an intelligent, often humorous and friendly, voice. She never forgets to take the reader with her through the steps of her fabulous argument."

- Lisa M. Bitel, University of Kansas