Publication details

Geoffrey of Auxerre and How to Fight Heresy

Authors

NOUTSOU Stamatia

Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Description “Geoffrey of Auxerre and How to Fight Heresy” The second half of the 12th century has been described by historians as a crucial period for the development of the Church’s response against heresy. This fight not only became more centralized and institutionalized as mirrored, for example, in the decisions of various ecclesiastical councils, but also in the more widespread use of potestas instead of caritas. The Cistercian Order, as historians have successfully shown, played a pivotal role in the shaping of the polemical rhetoric and the centralization of the anti-heretical fight, not least by the personal engagement of its abbots. The questions, however, as to how (1) the Cistercians abbots considered the use of violence against heresy and (2) influenced the gradual transition toward more widespread use of potestas warrant further investigation. Geoffrey of Auxerre provides one example of a Cistercian abbot who actively participated in the fight against heresy in these crucial years and merits further scholarly attention. Besides participating in Bernard of Clairvaux’s preaching mission in 1145 and playing a key role in the Council in Lyon in 1180 or 1181, Geoffrey also wrote about heresy in the Vita prima Bernardi (Books 3-5) and in two sermons in his commentary Super Apocalypsim. By analyzing his anti-heretical writings, and especially the means he employed and propagated against heresy, this paper will identify and analyze Geoffrey of Auxerre’s view on the use of coercion and his significant role in the anti-heretical struggle.
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