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Reformist hagiography : the life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the struggle for power in early eleventh-Century Lotharingia

Koen Vanheule (UGent)
(2016) JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY . 42(5). p.511-534
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Monastic leadership in the post-charismatic age: Constructing a new paradigm for the study of reforms before the emergence of the great Orders (Western Europe, tenth-early twelfth centuries)
Abstract
This paper explores an example of ‘reformist’ hagiographic production in early eleventh-century Lotharingia by focusing on the Life of St Roding of Beaulieu, a small monastery in the diocese of Verdun. Until recently, this text was interpreted exclusively in terms of the scant information it provides on this institution’s early medieval history and in terms of its ideological message regarding monastic discipline and leadership. By integrating the redaction of this text into the then-current regional geography and political context, this paper proposes a new approach to its interpretation and to the understanding of Beaulieu’s ‘monastic reform’ in general. Close analysis of the narrative reveals that its redaction was inspired by specific issues relating to local and regional politics in the mid-1010s, and that parts of the institution’s recent history were allegorically veiled behind the portrayal of Roding. However, rapid changes in power relationships rendered those aspects of the text outdated within a few years. This raises significant questions regarding the long-term relevance of such hidden stories and the degree to which their various ideological, political and other messages remained accessible to medieval audiences.
Keywords
eleventh century, nobility, Poppo of Stavelot, Beaulieu, hagiography, Lotharingia, monastic reform, Abbot Richard of Saint-Vanne

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Chicago
Vanheule, Koen. 2016. “Reformist Hagiography : the Life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the Struggle for Power in Early eleventh-Century Lotharingia.” Journal of Medieval History 42 (5): 511–534.
APA
Vanheule, K. (2016). Reformist hagiography : the life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the struggle for power in early eleventh-Century Lotharingia. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY , 42(5), 511–534.
Vancouver
1.
Vanheule K. Reformist hagiography : the life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the struggle for power in early eleventh-Century Lotharingia. JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY . 2016;42(5):511–34.
MLA
Vanheule, Koen. “Reformist Hagiography : the Life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the Struggle for Power in Early eleventh-Century Lotharingia.” JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY 42.5 (2016): 511–534. Print.
@article{6951178,
  abstract     = {This paper explores an example of {\textquoteleft}reformist{\textquoteright} hagiographic production in early eleventh-century Lotharingia by focusing on the Life of St Roding of Beaulieu, a small monastery in the diocese of Verdun. Until recently, this text was interpreted exclusively in terms of the scant information it provides on this institution{\textquoteright}s early medieval history and in terms of its ideological message regarding monastic discipline and leadership. By integrating the redaction of this text into the then-current regional geography and political context, this paper proposes a new approach to its interpretation and to the understanding of Beaulieu{\textquoteright}s {\textquoteleft}monastic reform{\textquoteright} in general. Close analysis of the narrative reveals that its redaction was inspired by specific issues relating to local and regional politics in the mid-1010s, and that parts of the institution{\textquoteright}s recent history were allegorically veiled behind the portrayal of Roding. However, rapid changes in power relationships rendered those aspects of the text outdated within a few years. This raises significant questions regarding the long-term relevance of such hidden stories and the degree to which their various ideological, political and other messages remained accessible to medieval audiences.},
  author       = {Vanheule, Koen},
  issn         = {0304-4181 },
  journal      = {JOURNAL OF MEDIEVAL HISTORY },
  keyword      = {eleventh century,nobility,Poppo of Stavelot,Beaulieu,hagiography,Lotharingia,monastic reform,Abbot Richard of Saint-Vanne},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {511--534},
  title        = {Reformist hagiography : the life of St Roding of Beaulieu and the struggle for power in early eleventh-Century Lotharingia},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03044181.2016.1230512},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2016},
}

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