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The War On Heresy: Faith and Power in Medieval Europe Hardcover – 15 Mar 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (15 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846681960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846681967
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.6 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 590,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Thrilling, unsettling, revelatory (Tom Holland, author of 'Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom')

Beautifully written, measured, searching, and sublimely free from jargon (René Weis, Professor of English, University College London, and author of 'The Yellow Cross: The Story of the Last Cathars, 1290-1329')

A masterfully researched and deeply thought book that tells its exciting and still relevant story with verve and with sympathy for the victims of the war on heresy (Anders Winroth, Professor of History, Yale University, and author of 'The Conversion of Scandinavia')

A brilliant and sobering meditation... The War on Heresy is a triumph (Conrad Leyser Standpoint 2012-03-01)

Moore makes a very powerful case ... If only half of his revolutionary new claims are accepted, every encyclopaedia entry on the Cathars will gave to be completely rewritten. (Noel Malcolm Sunday Telegraph 2012-03-25)

Moore's latest book is as good, and as provocative, as anything he has produced ... The book is one of the finest accounts of medieval heresy that you are likely to encounter ... serves to enhance Moore's status as one of the finest historians of medieval heresy. (Jonathan Wright BBC History Magazine 2012-05-01)

A very important book (John Arnold History Today 2012-05-01)

A lucid narrative, rich in anecdote ... elegant and intelligent (Nicholas Vincent Literary Review 2012-05-01)

Moore makes a very powerful case in this new study and if some of his revolutionary new claims are accepted, many views on the Cathars will have to be revised. (John Hinton Catholic Herald 2012-06-15)

Remarkable . . . a brilliant demonstration of the infinitely challenging truth that the questions we ask profoundly shape the answers we find (Helen Castor THES 2012-07-19)

A brilliant book (Paul Richardson Church of England Newspaper 2012-11-04)

The problem here is that of course our own scholarly constructions, not least of medieval Catharism, can be no less rickety [than fictional ones as in The Name of the Rose], an enduring problem recently tackled by one of the great heresiarch-turned-pontiffs of the field, R. I. Moore. (Andrew Roach and James R. Simpson Heresy and the Making of European Culture: Medieval and Modern Perspectives 2013-09-17)

Book Description

A passionate history of the great war on heresy which dominated medieval Europe.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
On the face of it, this excellently researched volume on Heresy in Medieval Europe appears to be the sort of dry, scholarly book associated with history geeks. Obviously the reader will be someone who has an interest in history or, someone researching religious movements and the Albigensian Crusade in Europe. Hidden within however, is a revealing and interesting, story of how modern European states came into being while highlighting the anxieties, self-doubt and neuroses of medieval European society. Well worth a perusal by the general reader wishing to increase their knowledge of the European psyche.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have rather mixed feelings about this book. As a general reader I found it quite heavy going, and indeed it took me rather a long time to complete it, although i did learn much about the preoccupations of medieval europe, and the way in which accusations of heresy were used for political purposes as well by those who were sincerely motivated by a desire to resist, as they saw it, the work of the devil.

Taking each campaign of action against heresy in turn, the author shows how there was little in the way of an organised Cathar grouping, but that there was quite widespread support for a range of beliefs that were consdidered heretical by the Catholic church - refusing to eat meat, or to engage in proctreative activity were rather dangerous positions for people to take.

Overall this series of analyses can be a little pedanatic, as the author concedes in the afterward, but for those with strong knowledge of the period there is likely to much of interest and to stimulate further debate
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By Keen Reader TOP 50 REVIEWER on 24 July 2013
Format: Hardcover
After reading around the growth of Christianity and the repression of various `pagan' beliefs, I found it interesting to consider the appearance of heresy; whereas various pagan belief systems had for centuries existed side by side, with the growth of Christianity it became more prevalent for those who were not Christians according to a prescribed and approved understanding of the same to be considered `outside' religion, or heretics. Pagans still existed, but if you were not pagan, and were not considered a `correct' Christian, clearly you had to fall somewhere else - you became a heretic.

By the eleventh century, from when the action in this book really kicks off, Western Europe was predominantly Roman Catholic, and the Pope and Church had representatives in every kingdom. During the eleventh century, proceedings against `heretics' picked up in a big way; yet, as the author points out, many of these proceedings were politically motivated against the ruler or powers that protected the victims that were accused of heresy. So heresy became a way to embarrass or undermine those in authority. There were also, of course, purely religious accusations - and those most well known during the medieval period were against the Cathars and the Waldensians.

This is a most interesting book, which gives the reader much to ponder. It is not particularly easy to read; not that it is a dense, scholarly book, rather that much of the work covers new ways of looking at concepts and new interpretations that you need to consider closely as you progress through the book. Thus, it is probably most beneficial to approach if you already have a working knowledge of Medieval Europe and some of the major features and players of the time.
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