Monastic Reform As Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900-1100 by Steven VanderputtenMonastic Reform As Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900-1100 by Steven Vanderputten

Monastic Reform As Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900-1100

bySteven Vanderputten

Hardcover | November 15, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 413 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


The history of monastic institutions in the Middle Ages may at first appear remarkably uniform and predictable. Medieval commentators and modern scholars have observed how monasteries of the tenth to early twelfth centuries experienced long periods of stasis alternating with bursts of rapid development known as reforms. Charismatic leaders by sheer force of will, and by assiduously recruiting the support of the ecclesiastical and lay elites, pushed monasticism forward toward reform, remediating the inevitable decline of discipline and government in these institutions. A lack of concrete information on what happened at individual monasteries is not regarded as a significant problem, as long as there is the possibility to reconstruct the reformers' 'program.'’ While this general picture makes for a compelling narrative, it doesn’t necessarily hold up when one looks closely at the history of specific institutions.In Monastic Reform as Process, Steven Vanderputten puts the history of monastic reform to the test by examining the evidence from seven monasteries in Flanders, one of the wealthiest principalities of northwestern Europe, between 900 and 1100. He finds that the reform of a monastery should be studied not as an "exogenous shock" but as an intentional blending of reformist ideals with existing structures and traditions. He also shows that reformist government was cumulative in nature, and many of the individual achievements and initiatives of reformist abbots were only possible because they built upon previous achievements. Rather than looking at reforms as "flashpoint events," we need to view them as processes worthy of study in their own right. Deeply researched and carefully argued, Monastic Reform as Process will be essential reading for scholars working on the history of monasteries more broadly as well as those studying the phenomenon of reform throughout history.

Steven Vanderputten is Professor in the History of the Early and Central Middle Ages at Ghent University. He is the author of Monastic Reform as Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900–1100 and Imagining Religious Leadership in the Middle Ages: Richard of Saint-Vanne and the Politics of Reform.
Title:Monastic Reform As Process: Realities and Representations in Medieval Flanders, 900-1100Format:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:November 15, 2017Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080145171X

ISBN - 13:9780801451713

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction1. Corporate Memories of Reform2. The "Failed" Reforms of the Tenth Century3. The "Dark Age" of Flemish Monasticism4. Introducing the New Monasticism5. Processes of Reformist Government6. Shaping Reformed Identities7. The "Waning" of Reformed MonasticismConclusionAppendix A: Overview of the Leadership of Benedictine Monasteries in Flanders Reformed in the Tenth and Early Eleventh Centuries between c. 900 and c. 1120Appendix B: Booklist of the Abbey of Marchiennes, c. 1025–1050Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"In this work, Steven Vanderputten brings fresh insight to the question of monastic reform. As a result, we now know that if all politics is local, so is all reform. Indeed, at bottom, Vanderputten teaches that monastic reform is politics. How easy it used to be to speak of monastic reform! We had only to evoke the name of Cluny—or, at most, Cluny, Gorze, and Lotharingia—and all seemed clear. How difficult—how impossible—this will be henceforth!" - Barbara H. Rosenwein, Loyola University Chicago, author of Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages