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VINE VOICEon 27 December 2014
This short book explains the origins of the Cathar movement of medieval Languedoc, Italy and the Balkans, placing it in the context of different theological approaches that had grown up in preceding centuries in both eastern and western European Christianity. Of course it also covers the appallingly violent - and, in some places and at some times near genocidal - and ultimately successful campaign by the Catholic Church and Inquisition to eliminate the Cathars both as a theological current within and opposed to the mainstream church, and to eliminate physically the Perfect, the Cathar equivalent to the priesthood, through mass burnings while giving others the opportunity to recant. The whole experience is a classic illustration of the vast gulf between the Medieval and modern mindset in assuming the measures that are appropriate in even a civilised society to decide which of two (or more) competing views of the world will prevail - a stark and somewhat depressing affirmation of the old adage that "the past is a different country, they do things differently there".
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on 25 October 2013
Having read Kate Mosse and wanting more info on the Cathars I decided that this book was the one for me. I have studied religion in college and found that this book deals with a lot of various religions in the lead into Cathar faith. I bought this on the kindle and find it better to read as you have the dictionary for some terminology which is needed.
this book may be a small bit heavy going for somebody with no previous knowledge of Church History.
I found it quite informative and detailed and there are some shocking parts in this book. Overall its a nice one to have for a reference.
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on 8 August 2014
I read this because I have read a trilogy of Kate Mosse's books which were based in the Languedoc region, and I wanted to find out more about The Cathars.
This book took a little while to really grab my interest. The start was quite slow and not very interesting. But when the Cathars themselves appeared it made the story far more readable.
The persecution by the Crusaders was truly horrific.
I would recommend this to people who are wanting to learn a bit about this religion/area.
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on 29 August 2013
I bought this book because I have an interest in the religious upheavals in southern Europe at the time of the Cathars. I was hoping for a book that would help me understand better the interactions between the mainstream church and the various reform movements and alternative views on Christianity. This book went part of the way on answering. There is quite a bit of information about the Cathar church in various localities. The history of dualism is a clear and comprehensive summary.

Where I was let down was in the analysis of the interaction of the Cathars with other groups and the Roman church. From the language used, my best guess is that this stemmed from an anti-Roman prejudice. Certainly history books with clearly defined "goodies" and "baddies" are rarely accurate or satisfying.

This is a useful book if you are looking for details of what happened in Languedoc. It is less useful if you want to know why.
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on 30 May 2012
Having retired to the south west of France I recently read Rosemary Bailey's book on life in this region during WW2. It was an eye opener and revealed much about persecution,betrayal, belief and myth in this area. It was an excellent fictional read based on some factual evidence. Wanting to know more about the earlier history I found this little book.
It is essentially another book that communicates persecution, betrayal, belief and myth but grounded in fact. I was unable to put it down until finished. Being a scientist that relies on accuracy and precision this book provides just that. However as senior citizen with increasing memory loss it would have helped a little to have a time line line at the beginning to enable contextual referral.
A great read. Thanks
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on 6 April 2012
Well written and interesting book, that I really enjoyed and left me feeling a lot of pity for the Cathars, who seemed to be wiped out by the Catholics, basically because of jealousy. The Cathars being "better christians". Just reminded me, of how evil the Catholic church was... and still is? It's strange to think, that really the first crusade was effectively between christians. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in history and/or christianity and how it evolved.
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on 3 October 2013
An enjoyable read explaining the full tragic history of the Cathars.
I finished the book feeling that ostensibly decent people had been subjected to a Genocide, because of their different Gnostic version of Christianity, which was simple and humane, compared to the abuses, and brutality , of the Catholic Establishment of the time.
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on 1 October 2013
I found this to be a very good read ,perhaps because I was reading it on holiday in southern France!
It gave me a greater understanding of Cathar beliefs, It also gives an excellent guide to further reading, and there were a number of points in the book where I did feel i would like to follow up further research. Perhaps I am being harsh not giving 5 stars but I think my rating is about right.
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on 14 January 2017
Books were in very good condition so I'm happy and will be confident to buy from Julie's books again.
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on 10 November 2013
I only had heard about the Cathars in France - and this is what I was expecting to read about. However the cathars were all over the place for a lot longer time period than I realised. I am going to have to read this book again as, on first reading it, i kept losing track of where i was.
So fingers crossed for the second attempt
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