Monastic Prisons and Torture Chambers: Crime and Punishment in Central European Monasteries, 16001800

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9781625640406: Monastic Prisons and Torture Chambers: Crime and Punishment in Central European Monasteries, 16001800
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Following the Council of Trent (1545-1563), Catholic religious orders underwent substantial reform. Nevertheless, on occasion monks and nuns had to be disciplined and--if they had committed a crime--punished. Consequently, many religious orders relied on sophisticated criminal law traditions that included torture, physical punishment, and prison sentences. Ulrich L. Lehner provides for the first time an overview of how monasteries in central Europe prosecuted crime and punished their members, and thus introduces a host of new questions for anyone interested in state-church relations, gender questions, the history of violence, or the development of modern monasticism.

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Ulrich L. Lehner is Professor of Historical Theology and Religious History at Marquette University. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on early modern religion, including Enlightened Monks (2011), and the main organizer of The Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology (forthcoming).

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This is a very short book, but it is packed with information that is mostly quite unknown to general and even to monastic historians - for example, as to which orders' monasteries regularly had prisons and which (especially the Benedictines) did not. It seems that the Franciscans were especially severe on friars whom they considered delinquent. Few books of much greater length than this one cast so much new light on their subject.--Derek Beales, University of Cambridge: Journal of Ecclesiastical History 

While this work is "impressionistic," rather than a detailed systematic analysis of large bodies of evidence, enough has been presented to warrant further research and scholarly attention. Lehner deserves gratitude for shining light on one of the darker corners of the Christian past.-- Kenneth Parker, University of St. Louis, Church History

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