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Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200$
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Tom Licence

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199592364

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592364.001.0001

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How anchorites helped others

How anchorites helped others

(p.150) 7 How anchorites helped others
Hermits and Recluses in English Society, 950–1200

Tom Licence (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Academic debates about sin and confession in the parish have begun to investigate the anchorite's role. Chapter 7, building on the argument that the anchorite's vocation was concerned with eradicating sin, reveals how anchorites helped their clients and confraternity members to tackle the problem of sin in their own lives. The first step, usually, was to inspire repentance in the sinner or extract some sort of confession by a process of informal negotiation, whereby penitent supplicants hoped for intercession in return. Contrite clients were rewarded with the anchorite's services as an intermediary between God and humanity, but not everyone was lucky enough or worthy to enjoy this special privilege. Anchorites would not do all the work; sinners were expected to undertake penance, but the parish anchorite, who communicated with the heavens through visions, may well have offered a certain spiritual expertise that was lacking in the parish priest.

Keywords:   sin, confession, intercession, confraternity, parish, visions, mysticism

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