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date: 24 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

‘Civic religion’ is a modern term, but useful nonetheless in framing the particular context of religion in medieval towns and cities, where greater social and political stratification paradoxically made an emphasis upon communitas and unity all the more important. This chapter examines various ways in which the social and political intersects with the religious within the medieval city, looking at institutions such as hospitals and confraternities, figures such as bishops and saints, and practices such as processions and ‘carnival’. It argues that theology and religious institutions gave medieval city-dwellers a framework, language, and tools through which they could pursue their social, economic, political and spiritual goals.

Keywords: communitas, ritual, Reformation, medieval hospitals, confraternities, mendicants, charity

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