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Beyond IdolsThe Shape of a Secular Society$
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Richard K. Fenn

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195143690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0195143698.001.0001

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Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Secularization

Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Secularization

Creativity, Secularity, and the Creation of Space for the Present Generation

Chapter:
(p.89) 4 Brotherhoods, Sisterhoods, and Secularization
Source:
Beyond Idols
Author(s):

Richard K. Fenn (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195143698.003.0005

Radical brotherhoods have been particularly subversive of patriarchal authority because they remain more open than the church or the state to a wide range of possibilities contained in both the past and the future. Radical brotherhoods were not completely successful in their attempts to replace the charismatic and traditional authority of abbots, noble families, and patricians. However, they did institute a commonwealth of time that undermined precedents and claims to priority and made the present open to the past and the future. In complex modern societies, patriarchal authority is diffused through law and administration, and it is far more difficult to identify the sources of repression and the causes of unnecessary suffering. Further steps toward secularization will depend in part on the ability of radical confraternities to break the ties of diffuse obligation that bind the individual to the larger society.

Keywords:   authority, brotherhoods, confraternities, individual, law, patriarchal, patricians, repression, secularization, traditional

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