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Power & PurityCathar Heresy in Medieval Italy$
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Carol Lansing

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195149807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195149807.001.0001

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(p.3) ONE Introduction
Power & Purity

Carol Lansing

Oxford University Press

This introductory chapter begins with a brief discussion of Catharism. It then sets out the focus of the book, namely the Cathar community in the town of Orvieto. This book aims to provide a vivid evocation of the Cathars in one important community, to compare them with the Cathars from other towns, and to draw on that understanding to open larger questions about Italian Cathar belief and popular attitudes. It discusses two ways to study Catharism. First, one can reconstruct the social and political roles, motivations, and beliefs of the Cathars themselves. Second, one can analyze their repression: the ways their opponents defined them as heretics who threatened the whole of Christian society and then used that threat to reshape their own authority.

Keywords:   Catharism, Cathars, Orvieto, repression, heresy

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