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Crises of cenobitism: abbatial leadership and monastic competition in late eleventh-century Flanders

(2012) ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW. 127(525). p.259-284
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Abstract
This paper argues that the now-abandoned notion of a ‘crisis of cenobiticism’ in the late eleventh and early twelfth century should be replaced by one in which endemic institutional processes and increased competition among Benedictine institutions led to a profound shift in the societal position and government of ‘old-style’ monasticism. As an analysis of evidence relevant to the abbey of Saint-Bertin shows, a series of events and setbacks had a significant effect on the abbey’s prominent position in Flanders in the middle decades of the eleventh century. Unable to compete effectively with the recently founded Bergues-Saint-Winnoc, Saint-Bertin was hindered by its own historical legacies when trying to adapt to changing economic, political and other circumstances. Yet towards the end of the eleventh century these same historical legacies, which effectively made the abbey’s leadership less dynamic than that of younger institutions, allowed the abbots of Saint-Bertin to reclaim a prominent position in Flanders, and to actively intervene in the institutional development of its immediate competitors. The renewed association with the count of Flanders was essential in this process. If nothing else, this shows the remarkable dynamics of institutional development in this period which has long been represented as a sterile time for Benedictine monasticism.
Keywords
Monasticism, reform, institutional development, Flanders

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Citation

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Chicago
Vanderputten, Steven. 2012. “Crises of Cenobitism: Abbatial Leadership and Monastic Competition in Late Eleventh-century Flanders.” English Historical Review 127 (525): 259–284.
APA
Vanderputten, S. (2012). Crises of cenobitism: abbatial leadership and monastic competition in late eleventh-century Flanders. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW, 127(525), 259–284.
Vancouver
1.
Vanderputten S. Crises of cenobitism: abbatial leadership and monastic competition in late eleventh-century Flanders. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW. 2012;127(525):259–84.
MLA
Vanderputten, Steven. “Crises of Cenobitism: Abbatial Leadership and Monastic Competition in Late Eleventh-century Flanders.” ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW 127.525 (2012): 259–284. Print.
@article{1923225,
  abstract     = {This paper argues that the now-abandoned notion of a {\textquoteleft}crisis of cenobiticism{\textquoteright} in the late eleventh and early twelfth century should be replaced by one in which endemic institutional processes and increased competition among Benedictine institutions led to a profound shift in the societal position and government of {\textquoteleft}old-style{\textquoteright} monasticism. As an analysis of evidence relevant to the abbey of Saint-Bertin shows, a series of events and setbacks had a significant effect on the abbey{\textquoteright}s prominent position in Flanders in the middle decades of the eleventh century. Unable to compete effectively with the recently founded Bergues-Saint-Winnoc, Saint-Bertin was hindered by its own historical legacies when trying to adapt to changing economic, political and other circumstances. Yet towards the end of the eleventh century these same historical legacies, which effectively made the abbey{\textquoteright}s leadership less dynamic than that of younger institutions, allowed the abbots of Saint-Bertin to reclaim a prominent position in Flanders, and to actively intervene in the institutional development of its immediate competitors. The renewed association with the count of Flanders was essential in this process. If nothing else, this shows the remarkable dynamics of institutional development in this period which has long been represented as a sterile time for Benedictine monasticism.},
  author       = {Vanderputten, Steven},
  issn         = {0013-8266},
  journal      = {ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW},
  keyword      = {Monasticism,reform,institutional development,Flanders},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {525},
  pages        = {259--284},
  title        = {Crises of cenobitism: abbatial leadership and monastic competition in late eleventh-century Flanders},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/cer409},
  volume       = {127},
  year         = {2012},
}

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