Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Medieval MarriageSymbolism and Society$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

David d'Avray

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780198208211

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208211.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see www.oxfordscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 21 April 2019

Indissolubility

Indissolubility

Chapter:
(p.74) 2 Indissolubility
Source:
Medieval Marriage
Author(s):

D. L. d'Avray (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208211.003.0003

An apparently unique feature of the later medieval Church's marriage system in a world-historical comparative perspective is that it permitted neither divorce nor polygamy. This system was rooted in marriage symbolism, and especially in ideas synthesized out of biblical elements by Augustine of Hippo, whose thought on the matter was a time-bomb which did not go off until the central medieval period. The key idea was that the union of man and woman should be not less inseparable than the union of Christ and the Church. While the idea was accepted by churchmen in theory, it was largely ignored in practice in the early medieval period. From the Carolingian period on it began to have an impact on lay society, but powerful laymen could still easily get out of a marriage. The Gregorian Reform started a wind of change. Previously, it had been common even for senior churchmen to have wives or partners, but when celibacy began to become a reality in the higher echelons of Church government, sympathy for the ‘needs’ of patriarchal males could no longer be assumed or expected. It was however Innocent III who really turned indissolubility into a social reality, by an intransigent attitude and changes in Canon Law that closed the loopholes that had allowed easy annulments.

Keywords:   Augustine, divorce, Gregorian Reform, celibacy, polygamy, Innocent III

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .