This book brings important new evidence to bear on the practice of penance in England in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and increases our understanding of the role of the episcopate and the administration of pastoral care. It also considers the political aspects of penance during the reign of Aethelred the Unready and shows how ideas of penance affected the relations between king and church during his reign. It examines manuscript, homiletic, legal and other evidence for penance and uses this to build up a picture of the role of penance. Following on from the work of Allen Frantzen, Rob Meens, Sarah Hamilton and Alexander Murray, it examines modern debates about the place of penance in pastoral care and evaluates English evidence in the light of continental practice. Arranged as a series of studies set within the framework of a discussion of the tenth and eleventh century church, it reappraises the Benedictine reforms at this period and emphasizes the pastoral concerns of the reformers and their followers, and will be of interest to early medieval historians, art historians and literary specialists in Old English, and scholars of medieval religion, canon law and theology.
Penance and Penitentials in Tenth and Eleventh Century England