The Medieval Clergy, 800–1250: A Sourcebook

John S. Ott and Anna Trumbore Jones

Mediaeval Sources in Translation 63; Saint Michael’s College Mediaeval Translations. xxiv, 512 pp. ISBN 978-0-88844-313-7 • Paper • $47.50

The Medieval Clergy is a collection of documents from the ninth to thirteenth centuries by and about the so-called secular clergy – a group that included priests, bishops, deacons, and canons, whose primary responsibilities included ministering to laypeople.

For most medieval people, these clergy stood at the center of religious life: they served as the face of the church and the link between the faithful and God, between this life and the next. These clerics administered the sacraments, and their churches sheltered the poor, housed the relics of the saints, and offered places of protection and community. The documents collected here allow readers to explore the richness of the lives of these clergy: the ideals they strove to emulate, the complexity of their lived experiences, and the multifaceted roles they played – pastoral, sacramental, familial, social, educational, liturgical, memorial, military, economic, legal, and civic. Most of the documents here appear for the first time in English; the collection also includes dossiers of interconnected documents that allow students and non-specialists to explore individuals, ideas, and historical contexts in depth.


John S. Ott is Professor of History at Portland State University, and holds degrees from the University of Puget Sound, Stanford University, and the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. He is the author of Bishops, Authority and Community in Northwestern Europe, c.1050–1150 (2015). His publications center on ecclesiastical history and the history of canon law, particularly for northern France.

Anna Trumbore Jones is Professor of History at Lake Forest College, and was educated at the University of Chicago, University College London, and Columbia University. She is the author of Noble Lord, Good Shepherd: Episcopal Power and Piety in Aquitaine, 877–1050 (2009), and numerous essays about secular clergy and religious life in tenth- and eleventh-century southwestern France.


“This intelligently compiled and edited collection of sources in translation on the secular clergy in the Middle Ages provides selections that facilitate analyses of individual places and people across key centuries for the development of European society. The source groupings come classroom-ready with questions for students to consider as they read and create opportunities for writing assignments that allow comparisons across time as well as explorations of specific issues. This sourcebook will be a great boon to all those teaching and studying the history of western Christianity in the European Middle Ages.” — Maureen C. Miller, University of California Berkeley


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