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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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Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodies

Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodies

(p.106) Six Sexed Bodies, Married Bodies, and Dead Bodies
Power & Purity

Carol Lansing

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores three topics in Cathar understandings of male and female bodies, set against the background of contemporary Catholic belief. The first topic is sexual difference and lust. It explores ideas about sexual difference as stated and as practiced by Cathars. The second topic is marriage. One teaching common to virtually all Cathar texts is the condemnation of marriage and the procreation of children. Finally, the chapter turns from sexuality and marriage to a third focus of debate over the body: corpses. Catholic clerics did not directly attack dualist heresy by emphasizing the divine origins of human sexuality and consummation as the perfection of the sacrament of marriage. Instead, they answered heresy by stressing the ways in which corpses revealed sanctity or sin.

Keywords:   Catharism, Cathars, Catholic belief, religious belief, sexual difference, marriage, corpses, heresy

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