O’Rourke Samuel, Episcopal power in Anglo-Norman England, 1066-1135

O’Rourke Samuel, Episcopal power in Anglo-Norman England, 1066-1135, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2014, (University of East Anglia)

Résumé/abstract :

The thesis presents an empirical view of episcopal power in England from 1066 to 1135. For simplicity’s sake, ‘power’ is defined as efficacy, or the ability to achieve one’s ends. No formal distinction is made here between ‘power’ and ‘authority’. The bulk of the thesis (Chapters 3-5) consists of three case studies: the first examines the political relationship between bishops, the papacy and the kings of England; the second looks at episcopal landholding; and the third considers disputes between bishoprics and abbeys. These case studies start by asking what bishops did: what their political goals were and the extent to which they achieved them. They then ask how bishops did what they did: what resources bishops deployed; why certain actions were possible; why certain strategies were or were not successful. By doing this it is possible to determine the nature of the power which bishops exercised. Three conclusions emerge: firstly, that episcopal power was highly dependent on royal power in this period; secondly, that the basis of episcopal power was often intangible (ideology or personality), rather than material (land or money); and thirdly, that episcopal power was inherently limited, in that bishops sometimes had very little freedom of action. Chapters 1 and 2 are not case studies. They are concerned with ideals of episcopal power. Chapter 1 shows that ideals of episcopal conduct and episcopal power (as expressed in contemporary hagiography) changed in eleventh-century England. It attempts to link these changes to historical developments in this period. Chapter 2 shows that these changing ideals were reflected in the narrative sources for the episcopate of Anglo-Norman England, but not in the reality of episcopal conduct, and that historians have often been misled by these narrative sources, reproducing a model of episcopal power which was little more than a monastic fantasy.

[Source : https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/48695/]

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